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Full-size pickup trucks are known for their gas-guzzling, rugged capability. Between towing heavy equipment and hauling massive payloads to the job site, these rigs are built for hard work. Over the years, manufacturers like Chevrolet have refined and improved full-size truck powertrains to improve fuel economy while retaining the capabilities they’re built to perform. A truck’s engine contributes mightily to overall performance, especially the amount of torque it produces. The more torque, the more towing and payload capacity. That’s where the diesel engine comes in, and your local Chevy diesel truck dealer is the best place to learn everything you need to know about diesel-powered rigs.
Diesel engines are preferred for their efficient fuel-burning ability and easy-to-maintain engineering. Diesel fuel produces more energy than gas because it uses compression to ignite a mixture of air and fuel that is then injected into a combustion chamber. That fuel drives the pistons and powers the engine. Gas engines rely on spark plugs to ignite the fuel mixture. Essentially diesel engines perform the ignition and injection process more efficiently, creating higher fuel economy. They also produce a lot of power at low RPMs, resulting in a torquey performance that’s ideal for pickup trucks, especially when towing and hauling payloads.
Chevy has a long history of building diesel-powered trucks. It began in the early 1980s via a partnership with Detroit Diesel. That partnership produced a 6.2-liter and later a 6.5-liter engine, the former of which first appeared in the then-named full-size C/K pickup truck line (later changed to Silverado). The 6.5-liter engine was introduced in 1992 and replaced the 6.2-liter on all 1500, 2500, and 3500 Chevy pickups. The diesel engines came at a time when traditional fuel prices were drastically rising, and while both the 6.2-liter engine and its replacement, the 6.5-liter engine, delivered great reliability and fuel economy (averaging 20 MPG combined), the torque range - especially compared to today’s diesel engines - was meager, at 240-440 lb-ft.
General Motors continued offering the Detroit Diesel engines through the turn of the 21st century. In 2000, GM partnered with Isuzu to design and build the first Duramax diesel motor, and it’s the same brand of diesel motors in Chevy trucks today. The first 6.6-liter Duramax engine showed up as an option in the 2001 line of Chevrolet trucks. It was a turbocharged V8 that delivered around 500-520 lb-ft of torque, a vast improvement over its Detroit Diesel predecessors.
Improvements to the Duramax line over the past 20 years have led Chevrolet to its current offering of diesel-powered trucks. Engine sizes range from a 2.8 liter up to a 6.6 liter, depending on the truck’s size, and diesel options are available on both the light-duty line - including the Colorado and Silverado 1500 - and the Heavy Duty 2500 and 3500. You can get torque from 369 lb-ft up to 910 lb-ft in the heavy duty trucks. These continuous improvements have led to class-leading gains in torque and fuel economy, along with a large number of diesel-powered Chevy truck fans.
Today’s Chevy truck lineup is full of diesel-powered options designed to save fuel and provide class-leading capability in towing and payload capacity. The 3.0-liter Duramax Turbo-Diesel engine offered on the 2021 Silverado 1500 pickup truck line paves the way for a max towing capacity of 9,500 lbs, largely due to its 460 lb-ft of torque and 277 horsepower performance ratings.
Silverado HD trucks get the optional Duramax 6.6-liter Turbo-Diesel V8, which ups horsepower to 445 and produces a whopping 910-lb-ft of torque. When put into a Silverado 2500HD, this engine will give you a max towing capacity of 18,510 lbs and a max payload of 3,715 lbs. If you want the most power available from the current Chevy diesel lineup, you'll want to get a Silverado 3500HD for a max towing capacity of 36,000 lbs and a max payload capacity of 6,532 lbs.
Fuel economy ratings continue to improve with the 3.0 liter Turbo-Diesel Duramax motor. Coupled with the standard 10-speed automatic transmission, Silverado trucks with the diesel motor option deliver a best-in-class max fuel economy rating of 23 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway with rear-wheel drive. Those are ratings typically seen on much smaller vehicles. Chevy also built auto start/stop technology into the motor for optimal fuel efficiency, rendering the big-truck-lousy-fuel-economy concession nothing but a bad memory.
Even the smaller 2021 Chevrolet Colorado mid-size pickup has an available diesel option. The optional Duramax 2.8-liter Turbo-Diesel motor provides 181 horsepower and a respectable 369 lb-ft of torque, which translates into a max trailering capability of 7,700-lbs. Fuel economy is exceptional, with an EPA-estimated 20 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway with standard rear-wheel drive. The Turbo-Diesel option requires the upgraded ZR2 trim level, but the increase in cost is well worth it with the money you will save and the additional power that comes from the diesel option.
Frank Kent Chevrolet is your Chevy diesel truck dealer headquarters. Our extensive inventory of light- and heavy-duty trucks is constantly changing, giving you a wide range of options to choose from. We know a thing or two about diesel motors, and our team of highly trained truck experts can take you through the pros and cons of diesel power, as well as your extensive options for truck trims and special packages. We take a no-haggle approach to your buying experience because we want you to relax and enjoy the process of choosing your new Chevy truck.
Once you’ve settled on the perfect truck for your needs, our experienced team of finance experts will find you the best and most competitive finance or lease program available. Due to our volume of cars and trucks sold, we have access to some of the best rates in the business. We want to share that benefit with you. Trading in an old truck? No problem! We’ll fairly value your trade-in to get you the most money possible.
Our relationship really begins once you drive your shiny new truck off the lot. We want to be your go-to for service and regular maintenance throughout the time you own your Chevy vehicle. Our technicians are factory-trained and certified, and our state-of-the-art facility has all the tools and diagnostic equipment necessary to keep your truck running as good as new. Whether you need a simple oil change or something more extensive, we have the know-how to do the job right the first time. We offer online scheduling and convenient extended service hours. We also have a fully-stocked parts department that carries genuine Chevrolet OEM parts.