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A truck with a diesel engine is a great way to remain fuel-efficient yet be able to haul heavy loads. Many automakers offer a diesel engine on their trucks, and each has pros and cons. Here’s a comparison between the diesel engines from Chevy and Ram.

The Chevy diesel engine

Chevy offers many engine options on the 2020 Silverado, and the diesel option is a 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine from Duramax. This engine can generate 277-hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. These impressive performance figures allow the diesel Silverado to get a great fuel economy of about 28 MPG combined.

However, few truck owners will buy a new truck just for its fuel economy. Many drivers specifically look for things that’ll make a great work truck, like payload capacity or towing capacity. Diesel engines, which generate a lot of torque, typically get great payload or towing capacities.

But with its diesel engine, the Silverado can only tow about 10,000 pounds of cargo and carry about 1,900 pounds of stuff in its truck bed. While the payload capacity is good, when compared to the Silverado’s 6.2-liter V8 gas engine option, the diesel can’t compete with its gas-powered counterpart. That 6.2-liter V8 allows the Silverado to tow over 12,000 pounds. 

The Ram diesel engine

Ram, like Chevy, offers many engine options for the 1500. And just like Chevy, the Ram 1500 has an available 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine. But just because they’re similar-sized engines, it doesn’t mean they’re the same. In fact, because Chrysler owns it, Ram uses an Italian-designed engine whereas Chevy uses an American-designed engine.

The biggest difference between these two diesel engines involves specs. Ram’s V6 diesel, for example, can generate 260-hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. Compared to the Silverado’s diesel engine, that’s almost 20 less horsepower and about 20 more lb-ft of torque. While the Ram 1500 diesel does get less horsepower, that extra torque pays dividends when it comes to towing. 

Ram claims its V6 diesel engine allows the Ram 1500 to tow over 12,500 pounds of cargo. Payload-wise, the Ram 1500 diesel will be able to carry about 1,800 pounds of cargo in its truck bed.

Ram, like Chevy, also offers a much larger 5.7-liter V8 gas engine that allows the Ram 1500 to get a slightly higher towing capacity, but not by much. That 5.7-liter V8 can tow about 12,750 pounds of cargo.

Fuel economy wise though, the Ram 1500 diesel gets an estimated combined 27 MPG. That said, car publications, like Car and Driver, get a slightly worse fuel economy than expected from the Ram 1500 diesel.

Which diesel engine is better?

At the end of the day, both Ram and Chevy offer a relatively similar diesel engine in most ways, except towing capacity. The Ram 1500 diesel is much better than the Silverado diesel. But if the Ram 1500 diesel gets a worse fuel economy than expected, then the Silverado may beat the Ram 1500. 

While fuel economy is important, towing capacity is arguably a more important spec for a truck. So, by that notion, the Ram 1500 diesel is better than the Silverado’s diesel. On top of this, if towing capacity is your biggest concern, then the diesel isn’t even the best option for the Silverado.

While that’s the same story for the Ram 1500, the differences in towing capacities between its diesel and V8 options are so small that its diesel option is simply better overall.