The Chevrolet Silverado diesel is claiming the full-size pickup fuel economy crown.
Two-wheel-drive trucks powered by the new 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder turbo are set to get an EPA highway rating of 33 mpg when they go on sale this fall. That beats the Ford F-150 diesel’s 30 mpg rating by a significant 10 percent. Four-wheel-drive Silverado diesels are listed at 29 mpg, which is 1 mpg more than the Ford, and both drivetrains deliver 23 mpg in the city.
The Silverado’s numbers are also higher than midsize Chevy Colorado diesel’s, which has the same highway ratings as the F-150. The automaker says the Silverado benefits from the engine’s advanced thermal management system and the use of a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The all-new motor puts out 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. Those figures are higher than the Ford 3.0-liter V6’s 250 hp and 440 lb-ft, but the aluminum-bodied F-150 offers the engine in models that can to up to 11,400 pounds, while the Silverado maxes out at 9,300 pounds.
Chevrolet is making the diesel available in the Silverado’s LT, RST, LTZ and High Country trims. It’s a $2,495 premium over the 5.3-liter V8 in the LTZ and High Country, exactly the same price as the 6.2-liter V8 option. With the LT and RST, it’s a $3,890 step up from the 2.7-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which is the Silverado’s most efficient gasoline-powered engine at 23 mpg highway.
Chevy truck marketing boss Sandor Piszar expects the diesel to appeal mostly to retail buyers and make up less than 10 percent of Silverado sales, but said that the company is prepared to build more if demand warrants.
It will be facing more competition than just the F-150, however. The upcoming 2020 Ram 1500 diesel hasn’t been given fuel economy numbers yet, but it’s 3.0-liter V6 is rated at 260 hp, 480 lb-ft of torque and will be optional in every Ram 1500 configuration, including one that can tow 12,560 pounds.