Chevy Tahoe And Suburban Sales Prove That Diesels Still Matter

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The Duramax offers high torque without the fuel economy penalties.

Like gasoline powerplants, the diesel engine is under threat from battery-electric vehicles. Hyundai is one of the major automakers that has said it will stop developing diesel engines. However, dieselsstill make a lot of sense in large trucks and SUVs. In these applications, the high torque output of turbodiesels mixed with reasonable economy makes them a sensible option. Last year, General Motors introduced its new 3.0-liter Duramax six-cylinder turbodiesel in vehicles like the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Tahoe, and Chevrolet Suburban. It's a decision that seems to be paying off based on the latest sales figures.

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The diesel-powered Chevy Tahoe and Suburban have both seen an increase in sales recently. By the end of April, the Duramax powerplant made up six percent of all Tahoe sales and eight percent for the Suburban. Since the SUVs went into production, this is said to be the highest take rate for the Duramax.

With 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, the 3.0-liter unit delivers decent outputs coupled with fair consumption. In the Tahoe, the EPA figures for the RWD diesel work out to 21/28/24 mpg city/highway/combined.

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By comparison, the RWD Tahoe with the 5.3-liter V8 will only manage EPA figures of 16/20/18 mpg across the same cycles. There are similar efficiency gains for the Suburban. That being said, the Duramax engine is a bit more expensive. On the Tahoe LS, you'll need to pay an extra $995 for the diesel. That seems like a fair premium considering the savings at the pumps if you don't absolutely need a V8. In the Escalade, this is the first time in over two decades that the big SUV is offered with a 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine and it's even more appealing considering you won't have to pay extra for it.

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