Thus far General Motors has avoided slotting a diesel engine into its half-ton pickups, but that is likely to change soon. Spy photographers have yet again spotted test mules of the new pickups–dubbed the T1XX trucks–with what appear to be suggestions of a diesel engine under the hood.
The spy photographers claim the test trucks shows signs of having a diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) tank and diesel particle filter, both prerequisites for a modern-day diesel engine. Several months ago different spy shots showed GM filling up test mules from a diesel fuel pump during testing.
What isn’t clear at this time is which diesel engine GM will slot into its half-tons. Many years ago the company was working on a baby Duramax diesel to launch in 2010, allegedly a 4.5-liter V-8 for its half-ton pickups with about 310 horsepower. However, this engine dates back to GM’s bankruptcy days and was subsequently shelved to cut costs. The last word from insiders was that the engineering into this diesel was too old not to dust off and put back to use. Perhaps an updated version is still plausible?
A diesel in the half-ton Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra is slightly overdue. FCA’s Ram 1500 has offered a diesel V-6 for several years now, and Ford is rolling out a diesel F-150 in a few months. This leaves the GM twins as the only primary half-tons on the market to not offer an oil-burner option.
GM is also expected to offer a turbocharged V-6 engine in the new half-tons, while most models will upgrade to GM’s new 10-speed automatic transmission.
Regardless of powertrain, the T1XX trucks are expected to join Ford by transitioning to mostly-aluminum construction. In the last year GM has procured contracts for large amounts of aluminum from suppliers, with lead times coinciding with that of the launch of these new pickups. Unlike Ford, GM is not expected to use aluminum for the bed; rather GM will likely use a composite material similar to the Honda Ridgeline.
GM is expected to reveal the new trucks early next year with an on-sale date of later in 2018.