Bigger, badder, stronger… more efficient?
Diesel is a dirty word for buyers in the United States. After VW's Dieselgate scandal, just about every manufacturer from BMW to Land Rover and almost everyone in between has dropped diesel from their lineups, with one exception. General Motors will still sell you a diesel engine, for one segment in particular - trucks. While diesel may be dirty, it provides two strong selling points on which it can't be beaten - it's mighty efficient, and it's simply mighty, generating more torque than gasoline is capable of ensuring easier towing, and importantly, a greater towing capacity. But while we knew all this, and while we knew the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado would be getting some cool upgrades for the new year, what we didn't know was just how efficient it was. Now we do, and it turns out it's even cheaper to run than the smaller Colorado diesel.
The US EPA has announced economy figures for the Silverado 1500 diesel, which employs a 3.0-liter straight-six turbo-diesel Duramax engine generating 277 horsepower and a massive 460 lb-ft of twist. This is down 33 hp on the base 2.7L V6, but up 112 lb-ft in the torque department.
As per the EPA, the Duramax motor in 2WD configuration consumes 23/33/27 mpg city/highway/combined, dropping to 22/26/24 mpg for the 4WD model. These figures are substantially better than the 2.7L's 20/23/21 mpg estimates in 2WD form, but even more impressively, these figures beat out the diesel-powered Chevrolet Colorado by some margin, as that only achieves best figures of 20/30/23 mpg in 2WD guise.
Not only is the Colorado a much smaller, midsize truck, but its Duramax diesel engine is only 2.8 liters in displacement and has only four cylinders. Critically, it only provides 181 hp and 369 lb-ft, making it much weaker than the Silverado's powerplant. The Colorado diesel is the best Colorado model for towing, but only has a maximum towing capacity of 7,700 lbs. Comparatively, the Silverado can tow up to 9,300 lbs with its own diesel motor equipped.
It's an interesting situation as for many buyers running costs mean that often the smaller truck is the better buy. In this case, however, not only is the Silverado bigger, more practical, and better at towing, but it's cheaper to run, at least from a fuelling perspective.