While General Motors ditched a diesel option from some SUV models due to poor sales, buyers welcomed an introduction of the turbodiesel unit in the half-ton truck segment. Following the recent thorough redesign for the 2019 model year, the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Diesel joins the gas-powered versions and its mechanical twin Chevy Silverado is also available with the Duramax inline-6 diesel.
After last year’s introduction of the fourth generation Sierra 1500, General Motors continues to add new options and expand the availability of already available ones. For the 2020 model year, the light-duty Sierra can be equipped with the 5.3-liter V-8 engine combined with the new 10-speed automatic transmission and adaptive cruise control also joins the equipment list. However, an introduction of the 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine gets the most attention.
The new turbodiesel engine provides a new level of efficiency for the light-duty truck segment but it isn’t very impressive in towing. Still, buyers will appreciate low-end torque, smooth performance and low noise. The good news is also that a Duramax diesel engine will be available in almost all trims except the base.
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Diesel: Performance
The 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Diesel comes with the 3.0-liter Duramax turbodiesel inline-6 engine and it promises some class-leading characteristics.
Genal Motors said it focused on the smoothness and efficiency when choosing the diesel unit for the half-ton trucks and the class-exclusive inline-6 design promises some benefits over the V-6 setup used in rival models. A Duramax-branded turbodiesel engine uses aluminum block and head combined with a variable intake manifold and high-pressure fuel injection. The diesel machine integrates also a water-cooled variable geometry turbocharger and stop-start technology. With all these, the inline-6 engine should provide smooth and balanced operation and low-level noise unmatched by the V-6 design while providing similar performance.
At the performance level, the Sierra 1500 Diesel delivers the class top 277 hp with the peak torque of 460 pound-feet reachable at just 1, 500 rpm. The Ram’s new generation EcoDiesel makes the class-leading 480 pound-feet of torque.
The Duramax turbodiesel will work in the combination with the smooth 10-speed automatic transmission. This engine will appear in all trims except the base and it should also be interesting when used under the hood of the off-road-ready AT4 version.
How is it at towing and efficiency?
When it comes to the towing, the diesel-powered Sierra 1500 is outplayed by the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 which can tow up to 12, 600 and 11, 400 pounds respectively. The light-duty Sierra equipped with the Duramax diesel unit can handle up to 9, 100 pounds. GMC claims its research suggests that buyers who want to tow more than 10, 000 usually opt for the heavy-duty version and that’s why the light-duty Sierra prioritizes efficiency and balanced ride.
When the efficiency is in the question, the Duramax inline-6 should provide similar scores as the near-twin Chevy Silverado 1500. The Silverado hits up to 33 mpg highway and 23 mpg in the city ride. The Ram 1500 follows with up to 32 mph highway.
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Diesel: Design
From the visual perspective, the 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Diesel won’t differ much from the gas-powered versions. The badges and specific engine clutter will help distinguish the Duramax diesel-equipped model from the gas-powered versions.
The diesel engine will appear in SLE, Elevation, SLT, AT4 and premium Denali trim. The styling will depend on the chosen trim not on the engine under the hood. The model will use chrome grille and bumpers in some trims or switch to the black grille, body-color bumpers and all-terrain tires in the case of the AT4 version. The Denali version will wear the signature chrome grille combined with the body-color bumper and unique 20-inch wheels.
Inside the cabin, every Duramax-powered Sierra 1500 will come with an upgraded 8-inch touchscreen interface with Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatibility. Starting from the mid-range SLT trim, the model will get the leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, navigation, a MultiPro tailgate, automatic climate control, etc. The AT4 version will improve the off-road capability with a 2-inch suspension lift, special shocks, all-terrain tires, two-speed transfer case, etc. The Sierra AT4 can also add a carbon-fiber cargo bed which is also available in the top Denali trim.
The Sierra 1500 Diesel will also be available with modern safety systems such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, multiple cameras, etc.
2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Diesel: Release, Price
The 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Diesel should be available at dealers with the price from $45, 770.