The latest new light duty truck to gain a diesel engine option is the Chevy Silverado. Here we compare it to the King: The Ford F-150
It’s almost strange to see that Ford (in 2018) and GM (just now) have decided to offer a diesel engine in their popular full-size light duty trucks now after diesel technology has taken quite a beating. Talks about adapting this technology to the non-HD trucks is decades old and now they’re here.
The weird thing is that we should be excited, we are kind of, but in the last 10-15 years, petrol engines in these trucks have grown powerful and relatively efficient. Point is here that you might not even really diesel engine in your truck.
Having said that, a diesel engine is certainly not a bad choice. Question is then: Power Stroke or Duramax? This question could be as important as Ford or Chevy? Let’s dig a little and see what we come up with.
GM’s Duramax is the newcomer. Optionally offered in both the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, the turbo-diesel 3.0-litre inline-6-cylinder engine was, until mid-June, the most powerful. With 277-horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,500 rpm, it handily outclassed the 2019 RAM 1500 Classic’s EcoDiesel V6 and the Power Stroke.
Said Power Stroke turbo-diesel 3.0-litre V6 engine in the Ford generates 250-horsepower and 440 lb.-ft. of torque as of 1,750 rpm. The RAM’s new turbo-diesel 3.0-litre V6 engine is good for 260-horsepower and more importantly, 480 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,600 rpm. Once again, it’s a numbers game.
While I’ve not driven the new EcoDiesel, I have spent time with both the Ford and the Chevy and the principal takeaway is that both are incredibly quiet, smooth and responsive. The kicker, aside from the gobs of torque available just above idle, is that both engines are mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. They shine the limelight on the juiciest part of the torque curve for maximum accelerative power no matter if loaded, towing or unladen. They are also part and parcel in the diesel’s immense efficiency.
This could be referred to as the diesel miracle. With a minimum amount of effort, midsize-car like fuel consumption numbers in the 8-9L/100km are more than possible. Couple this with the possibility of towing serious loads and the optional diesel powertrains become very attractive.
On the topic of towing, the GM can manage up to 9,300 lb. while the Ford is able to tow a maximum of 11,400 lb. The Silverado’s result is disappointing especially when considering that the now more readily available 6.2-litre V8 can do far better as cost less.
The Cost Of Diesel
On the topic of price, when the car companies say that their diesel engines are optional, they are alluding to the fact that they cost lots of money.
Pricing for the Duramax option will run between $3,000 and $7,000 depending on selected trim. These are considerable sums and when carefully calculated, are difficult to justify for all buyers. The same goes for the F-150. Trim selection varies the Power Stroke option price between $5,500 and nearly $9,000.
The value calculation must take into consideration what the truck will actually do for you in the time of ownership. The principal advantage of diesel is fuel economy. If the truck is intended for moderate towing and/or hauling and pilling on serious mileage, as in over 30,000 km annually, the price of the diesel option may pay itself off over a few years. Do also consider than maintenance costs are far greater for oil-burners over petrol-powered variants.
There is a strong likelihood that resale values will be stronger as well however this will depend heavily on whether or not the 6-cylinder Power Stroke and Duramax engines prove to be reliable.
Our Thoughts On The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Duramax vs 2019 Ford F-150 Power Stroke
With the exception of savings at the pumps, we cannot find any good reasons to consider the purchase of a diesel engine in a full-size light-duty pickup. Both companies offer tempting and affordable V8 engines that are reliable and inexpensive to maintain.
Ford’s 5.0-litre V8 with a 10-speed automatic transmission and GM’s 5.3-litre V8 with 8-speed autobox are also appreciably fuel efficient and can effortlessly tow 10,000 lb. If you need to tow more and on a regular basis, we don’t need to tell you that you’ll be better served by a Ford Super Duty or a Chevrolet Heavy Duty.
And finally, Ford or GM? Still the reigning champion: Ford.