The GMC Sierra’s Turbo-Diesel Engine Is Overengineered for Durability

You can choose from several great engines for a 2020 GMC Sierra 1500. The base V6 generates 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque, plenty of power to move the truck around job sites. There are also two brawny V8s, the larger one producing 420 hp.

Certain trims can also be equipped with a Duramax turbodiesel engine. Truckers typically favor diesel motors for their efficiency, excellent power delivery, and longevity compared to their gasoline counterparts.

Here’s why GM says this turbodiesel engine is an excellent option for your GMC Sierra 1500.

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Duramax specs

According to GMC, the automaker optimized the 3.0-liter Duramax turbodiesel to produce 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission, complete with cruise and powertrain grade braking. This creates an easier driving experience when traveling downhill, even with a trailer attached. It also reduces wear on the brake pads.

The low-end torque gives the GMC Sierra 1500 exceptional acceleration and towing capability, up to 9,000 pounds. Even with nothing in the cargo box, the Sierra provides a comfortable riding experience with pleasantly muted bumps. Critics also agree this GMC boasts more enjoyable handling than most other trucks, especially with adaptive ride control.

The GMC Sierra: Built for all climates

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In addition to boasting about the Duramax’s best-in-class horsepower, GMC also describes the motor’s extensive testing process. Testers said the Duramax could withstand scorching Death Valley temperatures, which isn’t unusual for diesel engines. Drivers are typically more concerned with how well a diesel engine can handle sub-zero temperatures.

Test drivers navigated several GMC Sierra 1500 turbodiesels through Canada and Fairbanks, Alaska. The Duramax reportedly had no problems operating in -20 degrees, even after over 6,000 miles. Testers also drove the trucks at high altitudes and experienced no issues.

Excellent performance 

The Duramax turbodiesel is also one of the best engines for the GMC Sierra 1500 AT4. Most trucks can handle light off-roading, but driving over rocks can be difficult without the right engine. A large vehicle like a truck also needs a powerful motor to help it crest valley peaks on unsteady terrain.

Fortunately, the Duramax provides 95 percent of torque at just 1,250 rpm and its full capacity at 1,500 rpm. This gives drivers effortless acceleration and better confidence when driving in the wilderness. It also lowers fuel consumption, so you won’t get stuck in the middle of nowhere with an empty tank.

The GMC Sierra 1500’s Duramax turbodiesel is also unsurprisingly efficient. In four-wheel-drive mode, it gets 22 mpg on city roads and 26 mpg on the highway. The two-wheel-drive trucks get even better mileage: 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

Chief engineers also explain that the Duramax has several components that maintain its efficiency without sacrificing power. The Active Thermal Management system automatically regulates the powertrain’s internal temperature for any type of driving. It also has an electronically controlled turbocharger that propels the truck faster than other engines can. The turbocharger also comes with its own air cooler.

Which GMC Sierra 1500 trucks have the Duramax turbodiesel engine?

The Duramax turbodiesel engine is available for most GMC Sierra 1500 trims, including the luxurious Denali and adventurous AT4. It’s also optional for the SLE, SLT, and Elevation trims.

The Duramax engine is a pricey upgrade, but many agree that turbodiesels are well worth the money. As GMC demonstrated, these motors are designed to make heavy lifting easier. Even if the automaker went overboard to test the turbodiesel’s capabilities, you can’t deny it’s an impressive powertrain.