Which Diesel Truck Gives You the Most Bang for Your Buck?

Choosing the biggest diesel truck you can get your hands on doesn’t mean you’re getting the most value for your money. Even though only a handful of trucks use diesel engines, these are the workhorses that offer the most towing power and best fuel mileage in the truck classes. Let’s dig in and find out which diesel-powered truck in each class offers the most bang for your buck.

Can you find a diesel truck in the midsize class?

2022 GMC Canyon in grey
2022 GMC Canyon | GMC

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Yes, three trucks use diesel engines in the midsize class. These three are:

  • Chevrolet Colorado
  • GMC Canyon
  • Jeep Gladiator

The Chevrolet and GMC trucks use the same powertrains and offer the same efficiency numbers. The difference between these trucks comes down to the price of a GMC vs. Chevy.

Which midsize diesel truck offers the best value?

A 2022 Chevy Colorado is parked on the side of the road. The most popular trim level isn't the best, experts say.
2022 Chevy Colorado | Chevrolet

To determine value, we’ll consider two factors:

  1. The lowest price trim with the diesel engine
  2. Efficiency compared to the price

Jeep Gladiator

Trim: Willys Sport trim, 4WD

Price: $47,480

Powertrain: 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6, 8-speed automatic

Power: 260 horsepower, 442 lb-ft of torque

Efficiency: 22 city/28 hwy mpg

Max Towing: 6,500 pounds

Chevrolet Colorado

Trim: Crew Cab, Short Box, 2WD, LT

Price: $36,970

Powertrain: 2.8-liter turbocharged Duramax 4-cylinder, 6-speed automatic

Power: 186 horsepower, 369 lb-ft of torque

Efficiency: 20 city/30 hwy mpg

Max Towing: 7,700 pounds

GMC Canyon

Trim: Crew Cab, Short Box, 2WD, Elevation

Price: $41,255

The clear winner is the Chevrolet Colorado. This midsize diesel truck is the most affordable, towing the most, and has the best overall efficiency rating.

What are the diesel truck options in the half-ton truck class?

A silver 2022 Chevy Silverado driving down the road.
2022 Chevrolet Silverado | Creative Commons

The market’s most popular truck class only offers us three trucks that use a diesel engine. These trucks are:

  • Ram 1500
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • GMC Sierra 1500

The same rules apply here to the Chevy and GMC pair as they did for the midsize class.

Which half-ton diesel truck offers the greatest value?

Blue 2022 Ram 1500 with an EcoDiesel engine
2022 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel | Stellantis

Ram 1500

Trim: Tradesman, Quad Cab, 2WD, 6’4” Box

Price: $40,790

Powertrain: 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6, 8-speed automatic

Power: 260 horsepower, 480 lb-ft of torque

Efficiency: 22 city/32 hwy mpg

Max Towing: 12,750 pounds

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Trim: Double Cab, Standard Bed, 2WD, LT

Price: $49,835

Powertrain: 3.0-liter turbocharged Duramax 6-cylinder, 10-speed automatic

Power: 277 horsepower, 460 lb-ft of torque

Efficiency: 23 city/31 hwy mpg

Max Towing: 13,300 pounds

GMC Sierra 1500

Trim: Double Cab, Standard Bed, 2WD, SLE

Price: $52,295

The diesel-powered half-ton truck that offers the greatest value is the Ram 1500. In the trim listed, this truck is nearly $10,000 cheaper than the Chevrolet Silverado 1500. This price difference isn’t offset by 550 pounds of towing, which is the GM pair’s only advantage over the Ram.

The Ram 1500 is more efficient on the highway but slightly less so in the city. The combined efficiency is identical for these three trucks, which puts the Ram ahead because of the lower price.

Moving to the big boys: which heavy-duty diesel truck offers the greatest value?

A Black 2023 GMC Sierra 3500HD Denali posed by the sunset
2023 GMC Sierra 3500HD Denali | GMC

When comparing the heavy-duty trucks, we no longer need to discuss efficiency numbers. Trucks in this class are not required to have EPA fuel mileage ratings. Instead, we’ll offer numbers for the three-quarter-ton and one-ton trucks based on price and tow ratings.

The trucks that occupy this space in the automotive world are:

  • Ram 2500HD/3500HD
  • Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD/3500HD
  • GMC Sierra 2500HD/3500HD
  • Ford F-250 Super Duty/F-350 Super Duty

As before, the GM pair use the same powertrain, which means the rules applied to the smaller trucks also apply here.

Which three-quarter-ton heavy-duty diesel truck offers the greatest value?

A Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD posed with mountains in the background
Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD | Chevrolet

Ram 2500HD

Trim: Tradesman, Regular Cab, 2WD, 8-foot Bed

Price: $54,165

Powertrain: 6.7-liter Cummins 6-cylinder, 6-speed automatic

Power: 370 horsepower, 850 lb-ft of torque

Max Towing: 19,990 pounds

Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

Trim: WT, Regular Cab, 2WD, 8-foot Bed

Price: $40,795

Powertrain: 6.6-liter Duramax V8, 10-speed automatic

Power: 445 horsepower, 910 lb-ft of torque

Max Towing: 18,500 pounds

GMC Sierra 2500HD

Trim: SLE, Regular Cab, 2WD, 8-foot Bed

Price: $55,785

Ford F-250 Super Duty

Trim: XL, Regular Cab, 2WD, 8-foot Bed

Price: $50,735

Powertrain: 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8, 10-speed automatic

Power: 450 horsepower, 1,050 lb-ft of torque

Max Towing: 20,000 pounds

The best overall value when using price and towing is the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD. Next is the Ford F-250 Super Duty, with its incredible towing power and lower price than the GMC or Ram trucks.

Which one-ton heavy-duty truck offers the greatest value at the max tow rating?

Ford F-350 Super Duty Towing a Trailer
Ford F-350 Super Duty Towing a Trailer | Ford

To determine the greatest value at the max tow rating, all of these trucks use dual rear wheels (dually) setups equipped with the fifth-wheel/gooseneck hitch.

Ram 3500HD

Trim: Tradesman, Regular Cab, 2WD, 8-foot Bed

Price: $64,050

Powertrain: 6.7-liter Cummins 6-cylinder, 6-speed automatic

Power: 400 horsepower, 1,000 lb-ft of torque

Max Towing: 35,100 pounds

Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD

Trim: WT, Regular Cab, 2WD, 8-foot Bed

Price: $56,725

Powertrain: 6.6-liter Duramax V8, 10-speed automatic

Power: 445 horsepower, 910 lb-ft of torque

Max Towing: 35,500 pounds

GMC Sierra 3500HD

Trim: SLE, Regular Cab, 2WD, 8-foot Bed

Price: $62,080

Ford F-350 Super Duty

Trim: XL, Regular Cab, 2WD, 8-foot Bed

Price: $55,170

Powertrain: 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8, 10-speed automatic

Power: 450 horsepower, 1,050 lb-ft of torque

Max Towing: 37,000 pounds

The clear winner in the one-ton diesel truck class is the Ford F-350 Super Duty. This truck is the most affordable, yet it offers towing of 37,000 pounds. Second place goes to the Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD.

Next, learn more about the interior upgrades to the Chevy Silverado HD, or watch this heavy-duty towing battle in the video below:

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