With the launch of GM’s new 3.0L, we review the diesel engines available in 2020 from The Big Three in the half-ton truck arena.

- Words and photos Perry Mack

G eneral Motors introduced the all new 3.0L Duramax for the 2020 Chevy Silverado/GMC 1500 in June. This rounds out the diesel offerings in a half-ton truck from the Big Three – Ram, Ford and GM. If you are a brand loyalist, then it won’t matter to you which is the best diesel engine. However, if you are open to some brand exploratio­n, let’s take a look at which diesel ranks number one for halfton trucks.

There have always been pros and cons to owning a diesel engine, and whether or not you should own one still depends upon your driving, towing and payload needs. However, many of the cons from previous years are slowly diminishin­g to the point where your choice of gas or diesel is a matter of wallet size and not necessaril­y needs. The new diesels are quiet, have great fuel economy, require little additional maintenanc­e and open the doors of opportunit­y for fuel efficient towing for work and play – you may not take advantage of them this year, but what will you want to tow or haul in three to five years? Or will you transform your truck into the ultimate Overland vehicle?

Ram EcoDiesel

Introduced in 2011 in the Grand Cherokee, and then in 2014 in the Ram 1500, the second generation VM Motori (an Italian subsidiary of FCA) built V6 generates 240hp @3600 rpm and 420 lb-ft (570 Nm) @ 2,000rpm, with an EPA rated fuel economy of (20/28/23 mpg) city/hwy/combined. By the numbers, it was the lowest performing engine – but not by much. Since it has had a roughly seven-year production run, there is a proven history behind the engine – call it the devil you know – as Ram has had time to iron out the wrinkles (and settle some emission violation lawsuits). The aftermarke­t also had time to design and test engine upgrades so you can save some cash buying a used Ram EcoDiesel, and then enhance the engine to suit your needs.

The third generation of the EcoDiesel will appear in the 2020 Ram 1500 producing 260 hp (194 kW) @3600 rpm and 480 lb-ft (651 Nm) of torque @ 1600 rpm with the fuel efficiency expected to top the 7.8 L/100 km (30-mpg). This will best the existing Power Stroke but not the new Duramax – read on.

Beware buying the diesel Ram 1500 in 2020 though, as the 2nd gen engine will still be offered in the 2020 Ram 1500 Classic, alongside the 3rd gen in other trims including for the first time the off-road equipped (and mouthwater­ing) Ram Rebel.

The unseen/undocument­ed side of the equation for the 2nd gen is interestin­g. The rock-solid design architectu­re lends itself to after-market upgrades that could reportedly boost the engine to over 500 hp, while design changes to the 3rd gen are as yet unproven and untested in the aftermarke­t.

Ford 3.0L Power Stroke

Ram’s solo reign ended in 2018 when Ford introduced their new 3.0L diesel into the F-150. Like the EcoDiesel, it’s a 3.0L 60° V6 but in another case of one-upmanship over the second gen EcoDiesel, Ford has this engine producing 250 hp @ 3250 rpm and 440 lbft@1750 rpm. The extra ten horsepower that kicks-in sooner than the 2nd gen EcoDiesel isn’t the big story here though, it’s the fact that the extra max 20 lb-ft of torque kicks in at 1750 rpm (250 rpm sooner) and stick around until 2250 rpm (250 rpm higher). Behind the wheel it means more pulling power earlier and the relatively flat torque curve means it sticks around longer. Bottom line – if you were looking at buying a used 3.0L by the numbers the Power Stroke wins, but come 2020, the EcoDiesel wins.

Ford also managed to squeeze out 10.7/7.8/9.4 L/100 km (22/30/25 mpg) city/ hwy/combined (Super Cab 4x2) – a two mpg bump compared to the EcoDiesel, although the fuel economy success has to be shared with Ford’s 10R80 ten-speed transmissi­on.

We have two videos with more detail. Check out the innovative design details at https://youtu.be/q4I7pAseDd­E and our onand off-road driving test at https://youtu.be/pu2WQUNRqb­w.

GM’s 3.0L Duramax

Boom! The Duramax has landed in the 2020 Chevy Silverado and once again the landscape has changed. Stepping away from the classic ‘V’ design, Chevy engineers designed an inline six turbo diesel that generates a max 277 hp @ 3750 and 460hp @1500 rpm. More torque is delivered sooner than the Power Stroke, and the Duramax delivers it right through to 3,000 rpm.

Chevy has pushed some design boundaries compared to Ram and Ford. They’ve reduced the weight of the engine by moving to a cast aluminum block (compared to the competitor­s graphite iron block), and taken the high

pressure rail to 36,250 psi (compared to 29,000 psi), which has led some detractors of the design to question its longevity – typical when new design technology is introduced.

The engine is mated to a ten-speed transmissi­on (10L80 designed in conjunctio­n with Ford) and achieves an EPA rated 7.1/10.2 L/100 km (33/23 mpg) hwy/city in 2WD models, and 8.1/10.2 (29/23 mpg) hwy/city in 4WD models.

We test drove the new configurat­ion in June 2019 and were very impressed. It is a peppy, quiet half-ton diesel that has great accelerati­on and handling for a half-ton truck. It’s a shame we weren’t able to test the towing or off-road capability at the same time.

Watch as the engineer reveals design details on our YouTube channel https://youtu. be/4KfvxxeGqw­Q, and our driving impression­s of the new diesel in the 2020 Silverado https:// youtu.be/KawBCK7TT1­g.

In 2020, you can choose your manufactur­er first for your half-ton purchase. Or, for the first time, choose your favourite diesel engine and then your half-ton manufactur­er. The good news is there are more choices than ever before.

 ??  ?? The Duramax has landed. Once again the landscape in diesel power has changed.
The Duramax has landed. Once again the landscape in diesel power has changed.
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 ??  ?? Our test vehicle with the Ford 3.0L Power-Stroke.
Our test vehicle with the Ford 3.0L Power-Stroke.
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