Not 1 Pickup Truck With a Diesel Engine Is Recommended by Consumer Reports

Diesel engines are what you want if you are towing anything super heavy. For example, if you are towing a fifth-wheel travel trailer that weighs more than 10,000 pounds, you will want a diesel-powered truck. It can produce the power you need to haul heavy loads, but it is also more cost-efficient.

Despite diesel-powered pickups being a more practical solution for towing and longevity, Consumer Reports doesn’t have a single recommendation among the diesel pickups currently on the market. Let’s look at what CR has to say and why it doesn’t recommend them.

The advantages of diesel over gas engines

A diesel cap, associated with a diesel engine.
Diesel cap | Getty Images

One of the most notable advantages of diesel over gas engines is that diesel engines are just more efficient. Compared to gas engines of equal capacity, modern diesel engines are now quieter and require less maintenance.

The absence of spark plugs or spark wires lowers maintenance costs and the fewer moving parts. In addition, gas engines burn hotter than diesel, decreasing the engine’s wear and shortening its life span.

The cost of fuel per kilowatt produced is 30% to 50% less than gas engines. Diesel fuel is more expensive at the pump, but you get significantly more power when compared to gasoline. Depending on how you intend to use your truck, this could save significant costs over time. If you are hauling heavy loads consistently, a diesel engine pickup is what you need. However, using a huge diesel engine for simple transportation is overkill and will cost you more money than gas-powered engines.

Consumer Reports doesn’t recommend these diesel engine options

The Ram 1500, Chevy Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, Jeep Gladiator, Chevy Colorado, and GMC Canyon are among the diesel engine options Consumer Reports does not recommend. The Ram 1500 Classic, in particular, didn’t score well with Consumer Reports, mainly due to its predicted reliability. Its fuel economy left a lot to be desired as well. However, the Ram 1500 gas-powered engine was recommended.

The Chevy Silverado 1500 also scored low in predicted reliability and fuel economy. Consumer Reports say that the 3.0-liter diesel may seem like a good option due to its performance and fuel economy. Still, considering its price premium and the higher cost of diesel compared to gas, it would take over 10 years to break even in terms of cost. It has similar opinions about the GMC Sierra 1500, the Jeep Gladiator, and the Chevy Colorado. 

Consumer Reports’ opinion of the larger diesel engines

Consumer Reports didn’t grade the larger diesel engines, such as the heavy-duty 250/2500 and 350/3500 trucks from Ford, Chevy, GMC, and Ram. However, it is unlikely it would recommend those versions either based on its ratings of the smaller diesel engines.

Perhaps the reason is that these larger versions are not going to be a good option for the average truck consumer unless they are regularly towing heavy loads. 

Consumers interested in these larger engines tend to be contractors who will likely tow heavy machinery from job site to job site or a full-time RV traveler crossing the country regularly with a large trailer in tow.

Diesel engines are not useful or efficient for an everyday commuter. For that, a gas-powered engine will be cheaper and more practical. However, diesel engines are a great option for towing heavy loads because of the lower cost of maintenance and better fuel efficiency when compared to gas-powered engines. 

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