Buy yourself a big half-ton pickup, and you can kiss efficiency goodbye, right? Totally wrong if you get the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Duramax Diesel. It just nailed an official EPA rating of 33 mpg highway, which beats the Honda Accord 4-cylinder's 32 mpg highway, and that's not even in the same segment. It's now the best half-ton pickup in terms of efficiency, besting the Ford F-150 diesel's 30 mpg. It's now the most fuel-efficient pickup truck. Wow. Talk about bragging rights for such a large and in-charge hauler.
The torque numbers are the best-in-class for a diesel, better than Ram and Ford. But the efficiency drops when you add four-wheel drive. But it still gets 29 highway in that configuration, which is only 1 mpg down from the Ford F-150 diesel with front-wheel drive (and way better than the F-150 diesel 4x4 with only 25 mpg highway). We'll have to see if the new Ram turbodiesel can beat the Silverado, which is a tough hurdle to overcome.
Turns out GM focused on the Silverado diesel's efficiency rather than a higher tow rating. As a result, the towing capacity is down to only 9,300 pounds, versus both the Ford and Ram. The Ford F-150 diesel can manage way more at 11,400 pounds. The Ram can pull a whopping 12,560 pounds, easily eclipsing both Ford and Chevy in diesel guise. But for those who don't plan to tow a lot and would rather save money on fuel costs, the Silverado is a brilliant option.
For those who are shopping Chevy pickup trucks and think a smaller diesel model would be better, think again. The Silverado actually beats its smaller brother at the pump. The Colorado diesel gets 30 mpg highway, getting soundly trounced by 3 mpg and tows less (7,700 lbs). So, if you're okay with spending a little more money for the bigger truck, you can save a bit on fuel. Watch trucks in the future go even further with possible hybridization or electrification, and that 33 mpg highway number will eventually look pretty paltry. But for now, it's the best half-ton option out there.