How do these diesel trucks perform while towing?
Two new contenders round out half-ton diesel offerings from the Big Three. The 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Duramax and the 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel join the Ford F-150, with both the new trucks claiming EPA fuel economy ratings over 30 mpg on the highway. Both trucks manage impressive figures, but how do they actually perform in the real world? To find out, Andre and Mr. Truck use our 66-mile MPG loop.
Re-testing the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
When we last tested this 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman EcoDiesel on the 98-mile MPG loop, the truck managed a staggering 40 MPG, according to the actual pump. The trip computer said the truck managed 30.0 MPG, putting our calculated figure off by a wide margin, as well as far beyond the EPA’s official fuel economy figures.
This time, we’re redoing the MPG run with the unladen truck. It’s the exact same truck as last time, complete with that 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 putting out 260 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The rear axle ratio on this truck is 3.21.
On a shorter 66-mile MPG loop, the unladen truck’s trip computer said 30.8 MPG. However, our actual result through the pump was 33 MPG, a more realistic figure and one more MPG than the official MPG numbers.
When it comes to towing, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel managed 11 MPG, less than the 12.4 MPG we managed on the first run.
Chevy Silverado MPG results
This is our first opportunity to seriously MPG test the new diesel Silverado, although our brief experience on the drive event looked promising. Under the hood, the Silverado has a 3.0-liter straight-six Duramax diesel. That engine produces 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, and is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. This particular truck is a two-wheel drive RST Double Cab model with a 3.23 rear axle ratio.
On the unladen run, the truck managed 34 MPG — again one MPG better than the EPA figures. On the towing run, the truck managed 12 MPG while towing 7,000 pounds.
Head-to-head MPG results
Here’s how the two compared on a 66-mile MPG loop:
|Chevy Silverado Duramax||Ram 1500 EcoDiesel|
|Unladen MPG||34 MPG||33 MPG|
|Towing MPG||12 MPG||11 MPG|
By the numbers both towing and empty, the two trucks are remarkably close on fuel economy. However, on price these two trucks are farther apart. The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Tradesman starts at $36,890 (excluding destination). On the other hand, the Chevy Silverado is only available with the Duramax on LT, RST and LTZ trims. Pricing for the least expensive LT model starts at $45,200 including destination.