Fans of diesel pickup trucks love them for their power, towing prowess, longevity, and fuel-efficiency. The MotorTrend team has a few diesel fans, and they recently published a list of the 10 best diesel pickup trucks of all time. This epic list includes all the names you’d expect, like Ford Super Duty, Ram 2500 and 3500, and Chevy Silverado. Though other trucks could’ve been considered the best, MT’s reviewers knew opinions would vary. Regardless, their choices are solid and thoughtful.
The MT teamed named the 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 (along with its equally capable cousin the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500) the “Best Hot-Rod Diesel” truck. So how did the Silverado earn this distinction?
The Chevy Silverado 1500 is among the best diesel trucks of all time
When the folks at MotorTrend sat down to put together their list of all-time best diesel trucks, they knew they would disagree on each category. But they paid attention to the things they all agreed on. For example, certain diesel engines — like the Cummins used in the Ram and the Duramax in the Chevy Silverado — were favorites.
For over three decades, the Big Three truck manufacturers have produced light-duty and heavy-duty diesel pickups. The MT team knew of many trucks that potentially deserved the “best” label. They considered several factors when compiling the list, including fuel efficiency, payload and towing capacities, and powertrain performance.
The trucks they ended up with ranged from 1980s models to the latest models. So if you’re shopping for a good diesel truck, take a look below.
The 2020 Silverado is MotorTrend’s favorite ‘hot-rod’ diesel truck
Speed fans agree that to deserve the moniker “hot rod,” a truck needs enough power to be exciting. That’s where a turbocharged engine comes in. But gas-powered motors can be expensive. They require high-octane fuel.
Turbodiesel engines offer advantages, Banks Power reports. They run on the same fuel that powers big cross-country rigs, which costs a lot less than racing gas. Diesel engines also typically get up to 40 percent better mileage than their gas-powered counterparts. Plus, diesel engines can handle massive amounts of turbo boost, limited only by their physical strength.
The team at MotorTrend knew that some might question their decision to including two light-duty GM pickups on the list. They explain that the 2020 Silverado/Sierra 1500 diesel models pack the powerful 3.0-liter V6 Duramax engine under the hood. It’s mated to a ten-speed Allison automatic transmission.
The result is a powertrain with impressive hauling and towing, longevity, and decent fuel economy. It also packs plenty of power. It produces 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. The Silverado/Sierra 1500 diesel models can get the job done while showing you a good time driving them.
The 2020 model at a glance
One of the best-selling trucks in the United States, the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is a stylish light-duty pickup truck that’s highly versatile. It offers a nice lineup of powertrains, including that dynamic Duramax diesel and a potent 6.2-liter V8, Car and Driver reports.
It might not be as smooth an operator as the Ram 1500, but the Silverado offers a quiet ride in a cabin so comfortable it’s easy to forget it belongs to a truck. With a broad range of configurations and capability options, the Silverado is enough to make most truck fans happy. It can be a towing champ or an off-roading partner while keeping you and your occupants entertained.
The 2020 Silverado 1500 comes loaded with great driver-assist features such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. It offers Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a mobile hotspot. The infotainment system also has an 8.0-inch touchscreen in the upper trims, along with perks like wireless device charging and built-in navigation.
Although the Chevy Silverado saw a complete redesign in 2019, it got several new features in 2020. The powertrain with the 6.2-liter V8 and 10-speed automatic transmission is now in the lineup. The Duramax diesel is also on the options list, Car and Driver reports. Plus, Chevrolet added more driver and towing assists to the 2020 model. And the 2020 Chevy Silverado HD also got an advanced camera system.