Chevrolet’s 3.0L Duramax Diesel Delivers Top MPG In Full-size 2020 Pickups
By Bruce W. Smith   Special to GCN    9/16/19
Just before the 2008 recession, all of the Big Three automotive manufacturers were set to roll out diesels in their full-size ½-ton pickups. Then those plans were shelved. A decade later, Ford, Ram Truck, and now finally GM offer diesels as an option in the light-duty pickups. But none of the new diesels are as fuel-miserly as the all-new 3.0L inline-six Duramax offered as an option in the 2020 model Chevrolet and GMC 1500s.
Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500s equipped with the 277hp turbo-diesel engine delivers an EPA-estimated 33 mpg highway and 23 city in rear-wheel-drive models, and  29 mpg highway/23 city EPA-estimated fuel economy for four-wheel drives. Those numbers best both the Ford Power Stroke and Ram EcoDiesel 3.0L V-6s.
The newest in GM’s diesel offerings is capable of meeting the towing hauling needs of the typical light-duty pickup buyer. The inline-six Duramax makes 460 lb-ft of torque, which is more than the optional 6.2L V-8, giving the diesel-powered 2020 Silverado 1500 4x4s a trailering capacity up to 9,300 pounds and a max payload of 1,870 pounds.
“We designed the all-new Silverado and the all-new 3.0L Duramax turbo-diesel to deliver both performance and efficiency,” said Tim Herrick, Silverado executive chief engineer. “The engine utilizes state-of-the-art technologies to optimize every drop of fuel, and takes advantage of architectural changes to make Silverado larger, lighter and more aerodynamic than before. The resulting combination offers all of the performance, refinement and capability customers want in a full-size truck, with highway fuel efficiency you would expect from a family sedan.”


GM says this is the first diesel offered in Chevrolet’s light-duty trucks since 1997, and the brand’s first-ever inline-six for full-size, light duty trucks. As such, engineers had a clean sheet to leverage the efficiency and balance of an inline-six-cylinder architecture.
From what I experienced after spending a couple days behind the wheel of a 2020 Silverado 1500 Crew Cab 4x4 , the in-line-six Duramax that’s matched up to the same 10-speed automatic as found in the Camaro ZL1, is a sweet package for those who want a nice balance of towing muscle and fuel economy in a half-ton pickup. Its quick, smooth, strong and quiet.

Other than the name, the dual-overhead-cam, cast-aluminum Duramax 3.0L in-line six shares almost nothing between the 2.8L I-4 Duramax found in the Colorado/Canyon and the 6.6L V8 Duramax under the hood of the heavy duty 2500/3500 Silverado and Sierra HDs. It’s an all-new engine.
Unlike the 6.6L Duramax V-8 in the HDs or the little 2.8L I-4, the 460-pound 3.0L Duramax doesn’t have a DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter), which has been the bane of many a heavy-duty diesel owners over the years. The clean-sheet design allowed the engineers to combine the SCR and DPF into one component called the “SCRF” that’s located on the passenger’s side of the engine. It appears to be a trouble-free design.
Driving the 1500 Duramax yielded a few surprises. First off, the engine starts instantly and idles so smooth and quietly one almost forgets it’s running. Second, it accelerates quickly with equally fast and crisp shifts that are perfectly matched to the little diesel’s power band. The 10L80 10-speed automatic behind the 3.0L Duramax is the same used in the 2018-newer full-size GM SUVs as well as the Camaro SS/ZL1--and in the Ford Mustang GT. (The transmission was developed as a joint venture with Ford Motor Company. Ford calls their version the 10R80.)
Pulling a boat up a ramp, towing a horse trailer or brace of ATVs, accelerating into fast-moving traffic, or making a pass around slow movers is not a problem. In many ways the 3.0L responds under those conditions just a well as the base 5.3L V-8—but with 30-percent better fuel economy.
The diesel-powered Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 Duramaxs are on sale now. The diesel option carries a $2,495 premium over the 5.3L V-8, and $3,890 over a gas  2.7L Turbo model. The Duramax 3.0L is offered on LT, RST, LTZ and High Country models, giving Silverado buyers six engine/transmission choices in the half-ton pickups. From my time behind the wheel, buyers looking for a ½-ton GM pickup will find the 3.0L Duramax option a good value. –GCN
GM’s 277hp 3.0L Duramax in-line six is the most fuel-efficient diesel offered in the 2020 light-duty pickup market. 

2020 Chevrolet-Silverado 1500

The 2020 Silverado 1500 Duramax can tow up to 9,300 pounds. The middle child of the Duramax line of engines makes the same torque as the 6.2L V-8, but with 95-percent of that torque available at a low 1,250rpm. It also delivers EPA highway mpg in the low-30s.