Automotive market trends change—consumers are always after the next big excitement. Who can really predict what America will be driving in the years to come? Sure, the crossover is king… For now. But then what? It’s anybody’s guess what the future of American automobiles is going to look like. But you can bet your bottom dollar, the best new diesel trucks will always be received with plenty of fanfare.
Though not necessarily the majority of the market, diesel is still the backbone of the American workforce. It offers torque and fuel economy that simply cannot be found with other fuel sources. Heck, a well-cared-for diesel engine can probably outlive us. (You know how people with gray parrots are required to make arrangements for them in their will, because they live for a bajillion years?) Yeah, we’re talking that kinda f-o-r-e-v-e-r. So, make sure you talk to a loved one about coddling your Cummins or your Power Stroke after you’ve moved on to the big truck pull in the sky because with a little TLC, that thing will still have plenty of heart and soul left on its odometer.
American Fan Base
It’s no big secret: the diesel engine has seen more than its share of ups and downs so far this century, particularly in European cities. Once backed as the globe-friendly fuel of the future, its popularity has now plummeted overseas, largely due to shifting opinions about its environmental friendliness and the meteoric rise of electric and autonomous vehicles. In fact, major cities like Paris have vowed to spend the next decade phasing out the diesel engine altogether.
Still, no matter what today’s opinion of the diesel engine across the pond may be, they’re doing just fine here in the US of A. Recently, we ran through a list of the Best Used Diesel Trucks For Wrenching. It’s full of useful information about which older models still have plenty to offer. But maybe you’re not so handy with a wrench. Or maybe you don’t have enough hours in the day. Or maybe you’re just thinking to yourself, “Hell, I work my tail off for my money, and I wanna spend it on a brand spankin’ new truck.” Then this portion of the program, my coal-rolling friend, is for you. Here is a rundown of some of the best new diesel trucks on the market, each one powerful, dependable, and completely at home in America, no matter what automotive changes may be in tomorrow’s wind.
2019 Ford F-150
For the first time ever, Ford’s world-leading F-150 is available as a diesel. And how, you might ask, did it go over? In a word: Excellent. In fact, it was listed as a finalist for Motor Trend Truck Of The Year, on the very first try. That Power Stroke certainly carries some clout.
The newest Power Stroke that stokes the F-150, specifically, is a 3.0 liter V-6, making 250 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque. Initially developed in a partnership with PSA Peugeot Citroen, it came to be known as the “Lion Engine,” and is used in some Land Rover models. Strengthened for truck duty, the Power Stroke is composed of graphite iron, features a forged crankshaft and a variable geometry turbocharger. Mated with an automatic ten-speed transmission, it is capable of getting up to 30 miles per gallon in two-wheel-drive highway conditions. That means its range outperforms the EcoDiesel RAM 4×2, and is neck-and-neck with the Duramax version of the Chevy Colorado. Looks like the new kid on the diesel block is laying down the fuel economy gauntlet in the LD full size arena.
Targeting a New Segment of the Market
With its emphasis placed firmly on efficiency, as opposed to towing capacity, the 2019 F-150 may not stand out on a list of best new diesel trucks to haul a mobile home with, but the upper reaches of Ford’s Super Duty diesel fleet have been on top of that game for years. The F-150 is a diesel truck for those who might not otherwise be interested in one, broadening the reach of the market to consumers who would otherwise only opt for gasoline power. Though it does a great many things well, and has a built-in following ready to give it the benefit of the doubt as a member of the beloved F-150 family.
As for cost, while things certainly can get pricey as the trim levels rise, a new SuperCrew Cab F-150 4WD diesel with a short box can be had for just under $61,000. A fair price for a trusted name and an engine that will run forever. So long, in fact, that your next truck after it might literally be a flying one. (Seriously, it’s not an insane possibility.)
2019 RAM 2500/3500 HD
Let’s state facts: Cummins is to diesel what Idaho is to potatoes. Other people are making ’em, sure, but this is the real deal. Idaho Potatoes. Cummins Diesel. It just makes sense. You need not be a third generation diesel-holic to know that. And as the power source for the 2019 RAM 2500 and 3500 HD, it is a brutish workhorse of a motor for people that have real jobs to do. Any collection of the best new diesel trucks out there would be woefully incomplete without a Cummins-powered beast of a motor anchoring it, especially with that industry-leading I-6.
Cummins has now been available as an option in Dodge and RAM trucks for 30 years. In that time, plenty of engines have come and gone, all the way back to 1989’s 160-hp 5.9-liter. But perhaps the most popular offering, ever, is the one currently powering the new Heavy Duty big boys at the top of the RAM food chain. The 6.7-liter inline-six cylinder has been almost completely reworked for 2019, and the 3500 is now capable of producing an insane 1,000 lb-ft of torque, up 70 lb-ft from last year’s numbers, which were tops in the class even then. It doesn’t even matter that most drivers won’t ever get near that figure, it’s like the torque equivalent of Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier.
Innovative Redesign with Capability in Mind
RAM credits the historic feat to an engine that is 60 pounds lighter than its predecessor, fitted with new pistons, low-friction rings, an improved turbocharger, a new exhaust manifold, and the largest intercooler ever fitted to a RAM diesel. The transmission is either one of two different six-speed automatics, depending on whether the standard-output or high-output diesel is chosen.
More than just an engine overhaul for the diesel models, the 2019 RAM Heavy Duty trucks are essentially new from toe to tip. The new frame is composed of high-strength steel. The front and rear axles are lighter and stronger. The electrical system is vastly improved to accommodate every modern tech convenience, including an available 12-inch Uconnect infotainment screen. The body is restyled too, also steel, and a total of 143 pounds lighter overall.
Oh, and did we mention it has a class-leading max towing capacity of 35,100 pounds??
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500 HD
Are you already fed up with 2019? New Year’s Resolution dead and in the ground? Tired of the government shutdowns? The Patriots? The Jenner family’s skincare regimen? Ready for a fresh start? Well then, make like the folks at Chevy. Hit fast forward and kiss 2019 goodbye! That’s what they’re doing with the new Silverado HD, already building excitement just weeks into the year for the release of their 2020 model. And though it won’t officially be announced until February’s Chicago Auto Show, and won’t be available until we’re halfway through 2019, the Silverado HD’s upcoming turbo-diesel V-8 engine is already generating a buzz as one of the best new diesel trucks on the market.
Though they share a name, the Silverado 1500 and the Silverado HD trucks don’t have very much in common. And they’ve never looked less like one another than they will in 2020, with a full facelift for the Silverado HDs that make them look less like siblings and more like 3rd cousins. In fact, the only body panel they have in common is the roof, as everything else on the Silverado HD is brand new. The edges are squared off, and the useful body-integrated sidestep is new. The grille is meaner, with Chevrolet lettering replacing the bowtie badge. Though the Silverado 1500 is available in eight trim levels, the streamlined HD offerings will be just five, from the bone stock Work Truck to the top-notch High Country.
Chevy is declaring that its 2020 HD trucks are to be its “most capable and most advanced.” And the capability begins with the power source. The aforementioned V-8 is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, and can produce 910 lb-ft of torque, matching last year’s Duramax figure. Major increases in payload capacity are also expected, as the annual challenge for towing capacity supremacy between RAM, Ford Super Duty, and Chevrolet rages on. And if you’re holding out in the hopes that something equally capable but a little bit fancier is on the way, you may be in luck. Everybody in the know fully expects an announcement about the 2020 GMC Sierra HD, the Silverado’s better-dressed identical twin, to be made any minute now.