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Diesel engines are a popular engine option for heavier vehicles thanks to their higher torque outputs, a quality that results in better acceleration. Diesel engines also have good fuel economy ratings because of their higher compression ratios. They also don’t need to be replaced very often: maybe once every 30 years.

When you think about diesel engines, a brawny pickup truck usually comes to mind. That’s why we’re surprised that experts recommend several diesel-equipped SUVs instead.

The 2023 Chevy Suburban is the best diesel-powered vehicle

A 2023 Chevrolet Chevy Suburban High Country full-size SUV model with available Duramax Turbo-Diesel engine
2023 Chevy Suburban High Country | Chevrolet

Experts at TrueCar agree that the diesel engine under the Suburban’s hood is the most satisfying option. It’s an inline-six with 277 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. It’s optional for every Suburban trim minus the Z71 model, which can have either the base 355-hp V8 or an available 420-hp V8.

The diesel-equipped Chevy Suburban has the best gas mileage, regardless of whether you prefer rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel drive. RWD models earn 21/27 mpg city/highway, and you’ll lose just one point each with the AWD setup. With both RWD and the turbodiesel, you can unlock the Suburban’s maximum towing capacity of 8,300 lbs. 

The 2023 Chevy Suburban also comes highly recommended because of its spacious interior accommodations. Up to nine passengers can fit inside, though an eight-seater configuration is standard. Even tall riders should be satisfied with over 36 inches of legroom in the third row.

The Chevy Suburban also has one of the highest cargo capacities in its class, a total of approximately 144.7 cubic ft. If you need to utilize all the seats, you’ll still get over 41 cubic ft worth of storage. Folding down the third row alone grants you almost 94 cubic ft of cargo area.

Owner reviews also highlight the Suburban’s fun road manners and smooth suspension. However, many testimonies also said that the Suburban might be overpriced. The LS starts at $59,970 when optioned with the Duramax turbodiesel, yet the interior looks bare-bones compared to the LT model.

The 2023 GMC Yukon, which offers the same turbodiesel, also garnered a lot of appeal from TrueCar. It also shares the Suburban’s ride and handling abilities, plus offers 100 lbs of extra towing capacity. However, the highest Yukon trims are much more expensive compared to the Suburban’s options.

The 2023 Cadillac Escalade wasn’t far behind

Cadillac is GM’s luxury brand, so it also has the Duramax 277-hp turbo-six engine option. Owners are highly satisfied with their Escalades, particularly regarding ride comfort. The cabin stays peacefully quiet at any speed, and the suspension soaks up hard bumps with no trouble.

The Cadillac Escalade can hold up to eight riders on either synthetic or leather seats, with the latter reserved for the Premium Luxury trim. The Luxury model is already well-equipped with wireless smartphone integration, highly-adjustable seats, and a massive 19-speaker AKG stereo system. Inside the Premium Luxury trim, you get several more safety features and access to exclusive upgrades. These include a rear-seat infotainment system, a MagneRide suspension, and a studio-quality audio system.

Where do diesel trucks fall on TrueCar’s list?

You can have the General Motors 277-hp Duramax engine inside the Chevy Silverado 1500 full-size pickup truck, which allows it to tow a staggering 13,300 lbs. Despite all that brawn, it earned a lower ranking from TrueCar because its ride quality isn’t as smooth as its SUV relatives.

Unlike GM’s SUVs, the Duramax isn’t available for the base Silverado 1500 or the GMC Sierra 1500 trims. The Ram 1500 offers a V8 diesel engine with nearly identical specs, though it earns slightly lower gas mileage. If you don’t absolutely need pickup-level towing capacities, you’re probably better off getting a diesel-powered SUV instead.

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