The diesel versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra may very soon get a very welcomed upgrade in their tow ratings. Initially, General Motors was focused on the trucks’ fuel economy and the results were impressive. The major tradeoff, however, was the lowered tow ratings for both Duramax-powered pickups.
According to John Barta, assistant chief engineer of diesel engine controls at General Motors, who spoke to MuscleCarsAndTrucks recently, important improvements are on their way for the half-ton trucks. As a result, the tow ratings of the two models could be increased.
“We’re actually looking at upgrading some of the materials around [the engine bay] to see if we can maybe raise our tow rating,” Barta told MC&T during the interview. “We do know that [95 percent] of our light-duty customers don’t tow over 9,000 pounds. There was a conscious decision to maybe not go after the towing but go after the fuel economy. We realized that our tow rating is hitting 95 percent of the customer we have,” he added.
Gallery: 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Diesel: First Drive
Currently, the segment leaders in terms of towing ratings are the Ford F-150 Power Stroke and the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel with 11,400 lbs and 12,560 lbs, respectively. The highest number for a Duramax-powered truck is just 9,300 lbs.
“Even though it’s nice to brag about big numbers, in reality, light-duty customers are not towing that large with their trucks,” Barta explained. “We think we hit the right balance with delivering class-leading fuel economy and still be able to tow what they tow as a light-duty customer.”
Indeed, the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Duramax and 2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Duramax are segment kings in terms of fuel economy with 30 miles per gallon on the highway or better. According to Barta, much of that impressive result can be contributed to the inline-six diesel, which has fewer rotating components than a comparable V6 does.