Still, it’s uncertain when diesels will be phased out. In the meantime, the three big Detroit automakers continue to offer compelling truck models with diesel engines.
And although diesel cars are becoming rarer, there’s still a large market for the heavy-duty diesel haulers on our list, so consumers still have plenty of options. And the good news is that diesel trucks are cleaner and more fuel-efficient than ever.
This article brings you the five best hard-working diesel trucks in 2023, ranging from 1,000 lb-ft of torque beasts to a 28 mpg midsize pickup. We’ll discuss specs, best features, price, and other highlights. So read on.
The 2023 Ford F-Series Super Duty is so ridiculously capable, it’s almost overkill. Its engine lineup includes a new high-output 6.7-liter turbocharged diesel V8 Power Stroke that now produces 500 hp and an insane 1,200 lb-ft of torque. We’re talking semi territory! Another big highlight is its best-in-class maximum available diesel gooseneck towing of 40,000 pounds. This behemoth is ready to work.
With available all-wheel drive, the Ford F-Series Super Duty boasts the most cutting-edge towing technology ever put in a truck to simplify the towing experience. The smartly engineered truck bed features promise to make workdays easier. Its robust powertrain offers plenty of power to build highways, harvest farms, move land, or tow a huge trailer.
You can also pack your cargo bed with the heaviest loads with its best-in-class maximum payload of 8,000 pounds. There’s nothing quite as impressive as the new Ford Super Duty. The only drawbacks of this truck are the squishy brake pedal and the fact that other competitors have nicer interiors.
Engine: 6.7L High-Output Power Stroke V8 Turbo Diesel
Awarded the “Most Dependable Large Heavy-Duty Pickup Of 2023” by J.D. Power, the Chevrolet Silverado HD’s brute force is unstoppable. This Chevy truck carries the Duramax diesel 6.6-liter V8 from the previous generation. Its powertrain churns out 470 horsepower and 975 pound-feet and is paired with an Allison 10-speed automatic.
Rear-wheel drive is standard, but you can opt for the more capable four-wheel drive, both of which are compatible with the single- or dual-rear-wheel axle. Towing hefty loads is a breeze with the Duramax powertrain. Its powerful engine and smooth shifting give you peace of mind when hauling heavy loads, regardless of the terrain.
The Silverado 2500 HD features a customizable trailering system that allows you to closely monitor functions like exterior trailer lighting diagnostics, maintenance reminders, and pre-departure checklists through the infotainment system.
The low point of this truck is that even with the electric-assist system, the lack of steering accuracy feels disappointing. Still, the big Chevy has a remarkably comfortable ride for all its power.
The 2023 Ram 3500 HD, or Heavy Duty Ram, is an impressive workhorse that offers big-league towing capabilities, a posh interior, and available all-wheel drive. A 12-inch optional digital instrument panel and a new rearview camera mirror with a 180-degree unrestricted view of what’s behind the truck or the trailer it is pulling are among the changes for 2023.
The 2023 Ram 3500 also offers outstanding tech goodies like the available Class-Exclusive Auto-Level Rear Air Suspension and the new-for-2023 available Trailer Reverse Steering Control that can help create a streamlined towing experience.
One of the available powertrains for the 3500 Ram is the Cummins 6.7-liter turbocharged diesel inline 6-cylinder high-output version. This impressive engine pumps out 400 horsepower and a colossal 1,075 pound-feet of torque and is mated to an Aisin six-speed automatic. This puppy has a towing capacity of 37,090 pounds and a maximum payload of 7,680 pounds.
The only negative about the 2023 Ram 3500 HD is its dated six-speed automatic. It feels ancient compared to the ten-speed transmissions from Ford or GM.
Although this next truck doesn’t have such a working profile, it has the muscle and grit to be up to any everyday towing task, especially off the road. The Jeep Gladiator can haul a very respectable 7,700 pounds when properly equipped and delivers amazing off-road performance.
The Gladiator inherits the military aesthetic of the Wrangler, although with a much more refined interior. The hand of the old FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), now part of Stellantis, is very noticeable when designing this cabin, which definitely feels more modern.
Mechanically, the Jeep Gladiator has a powerful turbodiesel engine from the Multijet family. We refer to a 3.0-liter V6 block with 264 horsepower and a massive 442 lb-ft of torque. This truck offers outstanding thrust at low revs, something essential in the field. In addition, it makes good friends with the smooth ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.
Speaking of off-road driving, the Jeep Gladiator integrates Command-Trac permanent all-wheel drive, which can be engaged on dry asphalt, although the driver can also travel with only rear-wheel drive. Cabin noise and ride quality are the lows for the Gladiator.
The 2023 GMC Sierra 3500HD is a truly refined and torque-rich diesel truck. Its turbocharger helps the Sierra HD churn out 445 horsepower and a formidable 910 lb-ft of torque. A 10-speed automatic complements the powertrain.
When properly fitted, this truck can tow up to 35,000 lbs with a 5th wheel attachment or 20,000 lbs with a conventional trailer hitch, both with complete finesse. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and available four-wheel drive is optional for Sierra HD models. Max payload is rated at 6,196 lb.
The GMC ProGrade Trailering System includes a class-exclusive clear trailer view among its fifteen camera views to assist you in keeping an eye on objects behind the truck. The MultiPro tailgate from GM is marketed as the first six-function tailgate in the world.
That means there are many practical options for hauling stuff with the tailgate down and making it simple to load and unload items from the back of the vehicle. It also features a built-in step to make getting in and out of the truck bed easier.
Engine: Duramax 6.6L Turbo-Diesel V8
Torque: 910 lb-ft
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Towing Capacity: 35,000 lb
Max Payload: 6,196 lb
Fuel Economy: 17 MPG Highway
Warranty: 3-year/36,000-mile Limited
Diesel trucks are many years away from disappearing because there’s still a huge demand for new and used diesel trucks. Consequently, there’s a whole industry of aftermarket parts and services and a culture of common DIY repairs, such as replacing nox sensors that are specific to diesel engines. Nox sensor replacements are readily available at various online retailers.
As opposed to diesel-powered cars and SUVs, which are becoming increasingly rare, diesel engines, with their improved fuel efficiency and torque, are attractive alternatives for the heavy-duty truck market thanks to their towing capabilities and because they’re more durable and last longer than their gasoline counterparts.
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