If you're in the market for a new truck, you're likely considering features like towing capacity, payload capacity, and driving dynamics. You may also be deciding if a mid-size, full-size or heavy-duty truck works best for your needs. With so many capable trucks to choose from, you might be neglecting one other choice - should you go with a regular gas or diesel engine? The type of fuel that goes into your tank should be considered along with all the other attributes you're evaluating. Diesel trucks offer many benefits over their gas counterparts, but they don't come cheap. Learn the benefits of going with diesel and our top picks across the mid-size, full-size and heavy-duty truck segments.
Benefits of Diesel Pickup Trucks
Despite their higher initial price tags (up to several thousand dollars more), diesel trucks offer a great value to those willing to pay the premium at purchase. Diesel engine trucks typically offer slightly higher horsepower and substantially more torque than a gas-powered truck. According to U.S. News and World Report, the diesel engine's torque advantage is growing over time with up to 300 or more lb-ft of torque. When it comes to towing and hauling, torque matters more than horsepower which is why diesel can be a smart choice if you're looking for a true workhorse.
Diesel engines also have an edge in fuel economy over tradition gas-powered engines. Although gas engines are catching up thanks to new technology, diesel models still lead in this category. It's important to note that while gas models give you a price advantage at the point of purchase, diesel trucks can be less costly to own thanks to the fuel savings. These are the top diesel pickup trucks you can buy, whether you're looking for a small truck or a heavy-duty hauler.
1. 2019 GMC Canyon Duramax Diesel
If a full-size truck is too large for your needs, there are excellent mid-size options that offer big towing and hauling capacities. The 2019 GMC Canyon with the available 2.8L Duramax Diesel engine should be at the top of your list thanks to its excellent towing capacity along with the best fuel economy in the segment. Opt for the 2WD model for a class-leading EPA-estimated 30 highway mpg or the 4WD which gives you a solid 28 mpg. Going with the diesel engine option the gets you 186 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. The maximum towing capacity for the 2.8L Duramax Diesel is a best in class 7,700 lbs.
2. 2019 Ford F-150 Power Stroke Turbo Diesel
If you're looking to size up or just upgrade your full-size truck for either work or play, the 2019 Ford F-150 3.0-liter Power Stroke Turbo Diesel won't let you down. The diesel engine was first introduced in the 2018 model and carries over into 2019. Going with the turbo diesel in the Ford F-150 gives you the best of both worlds - excellent towing and payload capacities without the sacrifice in fuel economy. The 3.0-liter Power Stroke Turbo Diesel Engine offers up 250 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque, allowing you to tow up to 11,500 lbs and haul up to 1,940 lbs. The EPA-estimated 30 highway mpg fuel economy means you can save on fuel without losing any of the rugged capability you need.
3. 2020 Chevy Silverado Duramax Turbo Diesel
Not to be outdone by its rival, the Ford F-150, the Chevrolet Silverado has an all-new model for 2020 with an impressive diesel engine under the hood. Offering 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, the Silverado Duramax Turbo Diesel is the first-ever inline-six turbo diesel available in Chevy's full-size truck segment. In-line engines are typically smoother and more balanced which gives the Silverado an edge over the competition. Along with start/stop technology and a quieter ride, the Silverado's diesel engine gives you a towing capability of 9,300 lbs. Where the Silverado really shines, however, is in the fuel economy. Chevy claims the Silverado will get 23 mpg for city and 33 highway. To put the fuel economy numbers into perspective, the Honda Accord 4-cylinder gets 32 highway mpg. The Silverado Turbo Diesel will be available this fall and we anticipate it will be a top seller.
4. 2019 Ram 2500 Turbo Diesel
Need a new truck that will be able to do some heavy lifting (or trailering)? You're probably researching heavy-duty pickups like the 2019 Ram 2500. Ram redesigned its HD trucks for 2019 giving the 2500 and the 3500 more power, amenities and comfort. The Ram 2500 can be equipped with a 6.7-liter 6-cylinder Cummins Turbo Diesel engine that was updated in the redesign for better responsiveness. Despite its large size and workhorse capabilities, the Ram 2500 delivers as a daily driver. The diesel offers a brawny 370 horsepower and 850 lb-ft of torque which adds up to a class-leading 19,780 lb towing capacity and a 5,730 lb payload capacity. Although fuel economy numbers aren't provided by the EPA for the heavy-duty segment, from our observed 12.8 mpg combined highway/city, the Ram 2500 holds its own.