Chevrolet Silverado Diesel.
REDMOND, Ore. ó A
powerful and refined diesel headlines new features on the 2020
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup, as General Motorsí best-selling
brand looks to change perceptions that its full-size pickup is an
also-ran compared to Fiat Chryslerís Ram models.
straight-six diesel is smooth, amazingly quiet and likely to hit the
market at least a couple of months ahead of Ramís corresponding
new 3.0-liter light-truck diesel V-6.
Diesels have fallen
badly out of fashion with car buyers, but they still have devotees
among pickup owners. Thatís because diesels generate more torque
ó which matters most when towing ó and use less fuel than
comparable gasoline engines.
After years when they
didnít offer diesels in the light-duty 1500/150 trucks that
account for around two-thirds of pickup sales, Chevy, Ford, GMC and
Ram have made diesels the latest front in the Truck Wars. The GMC
Sierra 1500ís diesel will be available shortly, using the same
engine as Chevy.
The Silverado 1500
diesel should go on sale any day.
The only holdup is
getting final EPA certification of the pickupís fuel economy
rating, a step that normally goes without saying but has been
delayed for many new 2020-model vehicles because of the month-plus
government shutdown last December and January.
shipping diesels to dealers. The cost premium over the 5.3L V-8 is
$2,495, the same bump as to get a 6.2L gasoline V8. Itís a
considerably smaller premium than Ram charges for the old diesel V6
in the carryover Ram Classic pickup it continues to build.
A 10-speed automatic
transmission is standard with Chevyís diesel.
Diesels are expensive
engines, because they have extra parts, including the emissions
equipment Volkswagen left off its vehicles in the scandal that
virtually killed the market for diesel cars.
GMís new Duramax
3.0L is the first new inline six-cylinder engine the company has
developed since a 4.2L model that powered midsize SUVs for a few
years early this century.
the engines are often called, are less prone to vibration than some
other engines. Thatís particularly useful for diesels, which tend
to be louder and shake more than gasoline engines.
Luxury brands like
straight-sixes for their silky-smooth operation. BMW has used them
for years, and Mercedes and Jaguar Land Rover recently introduced
new ones to replace V-6s.
straight-six diesel produces 277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of
torque. That compares with 250 hp and 440 pound-feet for Fordís
3.0L diesel V6 thatís already on sale; and 260 hp/480 pound-feet
for the 2020 Ram 1500ís 3.0L V6 diesel. The 2020 Ram 1500 diesel
is due to go on sale in the third quarter.
Chevy has horsepower
for bragging rights, but the 2020 Ram carries the day when it comes
to torque, and correspondingly in towing capacity, where it claims
12,560 pounds. Iíd say thatís a ton more than Chevyís 9,300
towing capacity, but at 3,260 pounds, itís nearly a ton and a
half. Fordís diesel F-150 splits the difference with 11,400 pounds
of towing capacity.
Built in Flint,
Mich., the 3.0L Duramax diesel should eventually account for around
10% of total Silverado 1500 sales. Duramax is the brand name GM uses
for its diesels.
Even the most modern
diesels are renowned for being louder, shakier and generally less
refined that gasoline engines, but Chevyís new I-6 changes that.
Itís as smooth as a gasoline engine, and virtually devoid of the
rattle that makes other diesels recognizable half a block away
before you can read the badge on the tailgate.
The engine delivers
95% of its maximum torque at just 1,500 rpm. That means the brawny
power you want when towing a heavy trailer is available quickly when
you start, and on tap when youíre towing a trailer up a long hill
or on a highway entrance ramp.
fuel economy figures, Chevy doesnít have the mpg bragging point it
undoubtedly hopes will offset Ford and Ramís higher towing
capacities, but the Silverado team ran some tests to simulate common
driving situations on a spring day at the Indianapolis Motor
Running at a steady
50 mph on the 2.5-mile oval track, Chevy claimed a 4WD diesel
Silverado 1500 got 35.9 mpg, compared with 31.3 for a 4WD F-150
diesel. The gap narrowed to 1 mpg ó 26.7 Chevy, 25.7 Ford ó at
65 mph. The new Ram diesel wasnít available to test.
If official EPA mpg
ratings give the Silverado 1500 diesel anything like that advantage,
fuel economy, power and quiet, smooth operation, this round of the
Truck Wars could go to Chevrolet.
Silverado 3.0L I-6
diesel at a glance
Silverado LT, RST, LTZ and High Country models
Price premium vs.
5.3L V8 gasoline engine: $2,495
Power: 277 hp @ 3,750
rpm; 460 pound-feet of torque
EPA fuel economy and
electric range ratings: TBD.
Key new features:
ó 3.0L inline-six
ó Adaptive cruise
ó New towing
features, including ďinvisible trailerĒ camera
400-horsepower V8 available on Custom Trail Boss model
ó 6.2L V8 RST model
with 13,400-pound towing capacity