Chevy Silverado 1500 Duramax Sails Past Rivals, Fuel Economy Announced

  • The 2020 Chevy Silverado with the 3.0-liter Duramax diesel tops Ford and Ram in fuel economy. 
  • The in-line six diesel employs an aluminum block and nixes a balancer shaft to reduce weight. 
  • Expect the new Chevy Silverado with the 3.0-liter Duramax diesel engine later this fall. 

The fuel economy numbers are in, and it’s looking good for the new Chevy Silverado 1500 Duramax. The turbo-diesel engine returns an EPA-estimated 23/33 city/highway in two-wheel drive; 23/29 with four-wheel drive. The figures are a solid win for Chevy in the ongoing truck battle between Detroit’s Big Three. By comparison, the F-150 Power Stroke with two-wheel drive achieves 22/30 city/highway and 20/25 in a 4×4 configuration. The current Ram EcoDiesel comes in at 20/27 city/highway for two-wheelers and 19/27 with four-wheel drive.

“We designed the all-new Silverado and the all-new 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel to deliver both performance and efficiency,” explained 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.”

2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Duramax: Setting The Stage

This new 3.0-liter Duramax is the first diesel since 1997 for a Chevy light-duty truck. It’s also the automaker’s first inline-six configuration for full-size, light duty trucks. With the truck market being so competitive, the challenges of designing a new powertrain are monumental. However, engineers had plenty of experience to fall back on as they worked through the architecture of the new inline-six Duramax.

“We set out to offer light duty truck customers the best of diesel – outstanding fuel economy, great horsepower and responsive torque – plus unexpected levels of refinement,” said Nicola Menarini, Director for diesel truck engine program execution. “We leveraged our global diesel expertise to make sure the all-new 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel engine offers the impressive performance and durability our truck customers demand.”

2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 with the 3.0-liter Duramax. The engine features dual-overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, and an 84 mm x 90 mm bore and stroke. Photo: Chevrolet.

Under The Hood

Hallmarks of the 3.0-liter Duramax include an aluminum engine block, iron cylinder liners, forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods, and blended silicon/aluminum pistons. Chevy says the on-board thermal management system quickly warms up propulsion components for more efficient operation. In the interest of fuel efficiency, the new Silverado 1500 Duramax employs a driver-selectable stop/start feature. Designers also worked to keep the engine’s operation smooth absent a balancer shaft, something Mark Phelan of the Detroit Free Press noted as a strength during a recent test drive.

“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,” Herrick added.

Related: An inside look at the 2020 Chevy Silverado HD.

Transmission & Towing Specs

Chevy’s 3.0-liter Duramax delivers 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft. of torque, with max payload coming in at 1,870 lbs. Properly-equipped 4×4 trucks can tow up to 9,300 lbs., a figure Chevy says will suffice for 90 percent of buyers. Power is put to the ground via a Hydra-Matic 10L80 10-speed automatic, complete with a larger overall ratio spread and smaller steps between gears to maximize performance and efficiency. Those using the truck for towing will benefit from the standard diesel exhaust brake and tow-haul mode.

2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 with the 3.0-liter Duramax. Photo: Chevrolet.

Pricing & Availability

This new Duramax is Chevy’s fourth such diesel, joining the Colorado, Silverado HD, and Silverado Medium Duty. The 3.0-liter Duramax is available on the LT, RST, LTZ, and High Country trims. For LTZ and High Country, the engine is a $2,495 option, same as the 6.2-liter V8. The upgrade for LT and RST trims runs $3,890 more than the standard 2.7-liter turbo engine.

Expect the 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 with the Duramax diesel this fall.

Carl Anthony studies mechanical engineering at Wayne State University, serves on the Board of Directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, and is a loyal Detroit Lions fan. Before going back to school, he simultaneously held product development and experiential marketing roles in the automotive industry.

2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Duramax Gallery

Photos & Source: Chevrolet.

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