Chevrolet’s future is electric, but the blue-collar brand isn’t giving up on combustion power quite yet. As part of the introduction of the 2023 Silverado ZR2 Bison, Chevy buried an update about the Silverado’s excellent diesel powerplant.
Starting with the 2023 model year, the 3.0-liter turbodiesel straight-six packs 305 horsepower and 495 pound-feet of torque, up from 277 hp and 460 lb-ft in the current truck. Chevy made the improvements with all the nitty-gritty, oil-covered elements that make ICE engines go. There’s a retuned turbocharger, upgraded fuel injectors, and new steel pistons with an updated combustion bowl. Chevy hasn’t announced any changes in fuel economy yet – the current truck returns 22 miles per gallon city, 26 highway, and 24 combined with four-wheel drive.
As with the current diesel-powered trucks, a 10-speed automatic is the lone transmission choice. The revised diesel is available on the Custom Trail Boss, LT, RST, LT Trail Boss, LTZ, or High Country trim, but not the Silverado ZR2 or ZR2 Bison. That’s both disappointing (because the Colorado ZR2 carried an optional Duramax) and weird (because Chevy paired this announcement while introducing the more potent Silverado ZR2 variant).
While the Motor1.com team hasn’t sampled Chevy’s Duramax straight-six in a few years, it was a highlight in our reviews of both the Silverado and Tahoe, as well as the GMC Sierra. Strong and punchy from a standstill, the engine speed climbs in a smooth and predictable way, with little letup in the performance. The throttle is excellent, with a pleasant weight that makes modulation a cinch. And the 10-speed is, as with the 6.2-liter, a fantastic partner for the engine. The turbodiesel is also whisper quiet at cruising speed.
While Chevy is only focusing on the Silverado, presumably the updated version of this popular engine will make its way to the Tahoe/Suburban, as well as to the GMC Sierra and Yukon and potentially the Cadillac Escalade. Bowtie loyalists will be able to purchase a Silverado with the updated engine later this year, when it starts rolling out of GM’s Flint, Michigan engine plant.