What Are the Best Diesel Trucks?

Gas prices are in the headlines and on everyone’s minds these days. Without any immediate solutions to the high prices at the pump, many consumers are wondering if it’s cheaper to go for diesel-fueled pickups. While gas and diesel engines operate under the same premise, they’re very different. 

Both gas and diesel engines rely on combustion. However, it’s how that combustion is achieved that’s different. The gas engine will ignite because of the spark plugs, while the diesel engine goes through a compression process that heats the air hot enough to ignite the fuel. Diesel fuel is additionally denser in energy and tends to be more fuel-efficient than gas.

Now that you’re considering switching to diesel, you’ll need a best-of list of pickups to narrow your search. These diesel trucks should be on your list based on horsepower, torque, towing capacity, and combined MPG ratings.

1. Chevrolet Silverado 1500

A 2015 Chevy Silverado 2500HD High Country Diesel pickup truck model at the Canadian International Auto Show
2015 Chevy Silverado 2500HD High Country Diesel | David Cooper/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Outfit your Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with an optional Duramax diesel, and you’ll have the best diesel pickup you can buy right now, according to iSeeCars. You can get a turbomax diesel engine on Chevy’s LT, RST, LTZ, and High Country trim levels. These trucks are the best, primarily because of their estimated fuel economy ratings of 27 combined mpg. Additionally, as Cenex points out, that’s likely the biggest benefit of going diesel in the first place.

You’ll also appreciate the Chevy Silverado 1500 because of its chops. It can harness 277 horsepower, and the diesel has a max tow rating of 9,500 lbs. With a max torque of 460 lb-ft, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any job the diesel Silverado 1500 can’t handle.

2. Ford F-150

On more than a few best-of diesel truck lists is the Ford F-150. It earns a combined fuel economy of 23 mpg, which is pretty impressive for a full-size pickup. It’s slotted to achieve 250 horsepower, offers 440 lb-ft of torque, and can tow up to 12,100 lbs.

With the Power Stroke 3.0-liter turbo six-cylinder engine and the 10-speed automatic transmission, nothing will stop you. Yet, beware, this engine isn’t available beyond the 2021 model year. So, you’ll likely have to find a used model to tap into these diesel perks.

3. GMC Sierra 1500

It may be the Silverado’s cousin, but the GMC Sierra 1500 does bring something new to the table. Some new model Sierra pickups have a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine mated with the 10-speed auto transmission. That translates to a 26 combined mpg and 277 horsepower, with 460 lb-ft of torque. It’ll also tow up to 9,500 pounds, making light work of any weekend warrior hauls you might have.

4. GMC Canyon

If you’re not into full-size trucks, you can check out the GMC Canyon with its optional Duramax diesel engine. It’s by far this model’s most efficient, with a 23 combined mpg. This turbodiesel can tow 7,700 pounds, which Nexstar says is more than double what the base engine can do. You can only get the diesel engine with a crew cab, but you probably won’t mind considering the 186 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. You’ll appreciate the price tag, too, with the average cost varying between $35,900 and $37,713.

5. Chevrolet Colorado

Coming in on this top diesel pickups to consider list, in the fifth ranking, is the Chevrolet Colorado. Nearly identical to its GMC Canyon counterpart, the Colorado can be outfitted with the turbodiesel engine and 7,700 max towing capacity. It also achieves a 23 combined mpg and can be purchased for less than its GMC cousin, within a price range of $34,700 and $35,591.

If diesel sounds more appealing to you, check out some of these pickups that are usually ranked as the best to consider. The Ram 1500 and the Nissan Titan XD deserve honorable mentions, too. However, to save at the pump without compromising power, these trucks are winners.

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