DETROIT -- The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 diesel rolls into the 2020 model year with the highest EPA-certified fuel economy ratings ever given to a full-size pickup: 23 mpg city/33 highway/27 combined. That’s an estimated 10.2 L/100km city/7.2 L/100km highway/8.7 L/100km combined, Chevrolet Canada said Friday in a news release.
The 2020 Silverado 1500 debuts General Motors' new diesel engine, a 3.0-litre Duramax turbocharged inline six-cylinder rated at 277 hp and 460 pound-feet of torque. The powerplant also will be available in the GMC Sierra.
In the Silverado, the optional engine adds $3,245 to the sticker price of LTZ and High Country models, and $4,830 to the cost of LT and RST.
The Silverado diesel is combined with a 10-speed automatic transmission and has a fuel-saving stop-start system.
The Ford F-150 diesel held the top spot on the pickup fuel economy leaderboard for the 2019 model year with an EPA rating of 22 mpg city/30 highway/25 combined in the United States. That’s an estimated 10.7 L/100km city/7.8 L/100km highway/9.5 L/100km combined in Canada.
Ram this summer will offer the only other full-size light-duty diesel pickup when it launches a revised version of its 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V-6, which was rated at 20 mpg city/27 highway/23 combined in 2017, when it was last sold in the United States. Those figures are estimated 11.7 L/100km city/8.7 L/100km highway/10.2 L/100km combined in Canada
Toyota, Nissan and Honda do not offer diesel engines in their light-duty trucks, though one version of the Nissan Titan has a Cummins diesel engine and is considered a heavy-duty truck, like the Ford F-250.
HOW LONG ON TOP?
Silverado will likely hold the fuel economy title for the foreseeable future. The F-150 would need expensive major upgrades to eclipse the Chevy truck. Ram, coming from back of the pack, would need to boost highway fuel economy by more than 20 percent to pass Silverado's highway rating.
With the addition of the Silverado 1500 diesel, Chevrolet boasts the industry's largest diesel lineup, with the fuel-saving engine available in the midsize Colorado, heavy-duty Silverado and new medium-duty Silverado.
Chevrolet says the 1500 diesel can tow 9,300 pounds or 4,218 kilograms and haul 1,870 pounds or 848.2 kilograms of cargo in its bed. Sales are expected to start in the fall.
MORE THAN DRIVETRAIN
Tim Herrick, Silverado's executive chief engineer, said the diesel's fuel economy rating is the result of more than the efficient drivetrain.
While the Silverado has taken its share of criticism for its busy styling, Herrick, during a walk-around of the truck, explained how, for instance, the air curtains on the lower front fenders improve aerodynamics.
"The proportions of the truck, the roofline, the mirrors, air curtains, everything was in line with getting the aerodynamics that could get us great fuel economy," he said. Herrick said the truck has a driving range of more than 600 miles or 965 kilometres on a full tank.
Although the full model year EPA fuel economy guide is not yet published, the Silverado diesel has a reasonable shot at becoming the most fuel efficient pickup regardless of size. No two-wheel-drive pickup in the 2019 guide has a higher ranking, and all competitors are far behind.