If you are in the market for a light-duty pickup truck, you may wonder if diesel engines are available. In this article, we will talk about the diesel engines available in 1500 series, midsize, and compact pickups (all of which fall under the light-duty classification).

If you are searching for a light-duty pickup truck with a diesel engine, hurry, as most brands have discontinued this option. Only the Chevy Silverado 1500 and the GMC Sierra 1500 offer diesel variants.

1. Chevy Silverado 1500

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  • Towing Capacity: 13,300 pounds (up to)
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The Silverado had a massive revamp a couple of years ago, and controversial styling came in that. While we have all (theoretically) gotten used to that styling, we are thankful that Chevrolet continues to offer a diesel engine in this pickup.

This diesel engine option for the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 series is GM’s inline-six turbo-diesel called the Duramax 3.0L Turbo-Diesel.

This forced induction diesel engine is available in two and four-wheel-drive versions of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and can be purchased with the trim levels LT, RST, LTZ, ZR2, and High Country.

This torquey engine has a 10-speed automatic transmission, making 305 horsepower and 495 lb-ft of torque.

2. GMC Sierra 1500

  • Towing Capacity: 13,300 pounds (up to)
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. [Image courtesy of GMC]

Ife you like the 3.0L Duramax mentioned in the Silverado but want it in a more refined package. You should look at the GMC Sierra 1500, which utilizes the same engine as its corporate twin. The Sierra 1500 diesel offers the same great features as the Silverado but with a more upscale look and feel.

This truck also offers the same 305 horsepower and 495 lb-ft of torque that the Silverado has and can be purchased with the trim levels SLE, Elevation, and the Limited Denali trim.

This truck offers many luxury features, a fantastic Multi-Pro tailgate, and one of the best Diesel engines on the market today.

What brands recently discontinued diesel engines in their light-duty trucks?

Unfortunately, the diesel engine is rapidly becoming a dying breed, which means brands have discontinued their less-option diesel engines. Below are some recent vehicles that have lost this diesel variant!

Image courtesy of Stellantis
  • Ram 1500 – Until 2024, RAM offered a 3.0L diesel engine in their 1500 series (1/2 ton) pickup truck. However, because this engine was generally discontinued, and no other engine was produced to replace it, the RAM 1500 lost this option.
  • Jeep Gladiator – The 3.0L diesel found in the RAM 1500 above was also found in the Jeep Gladiator. Unfortunately, the same discontinuation of that engine resulted in the Gladiator losing its only diesel powerplant.
  • GMC Canyon – With the complete (and needed) revamp of the GMC Canyon, the only real downside was the loss of its Duramax 2.8L turbo-diesel engine variant.
  • Chevy Colorado – Just like the GMC Canyon above, Colorado lost its diesel engine as the 2.8L diesel engine was no longer long for this world.

What are the benefits of a diesel engine in a light-duty pickup?

  1. Diesel engines have a few advantages over gasoline engines. One significant advantage is that diesel fuel contains more energy than gasoline, meaning diesel engines have a better fuel economy.
  2. Another significant advantage is that diesel engines last longer than gasoline engines. This is because diesel engines are built to handle the higher compression ratios necessary for diesel combustion.
  3. Diesel engines also produce more torque than gasoline engines, which is beneficial for towing and hauling.

What are the downsides to a diesel engine?

  1. One downside of diesel engines is that they typically cost more than gasoline. However, this may be offset by a diesel engine’s longer lifespan and better fuel economy.
  2. Another downside is that diesel engines can be noisier than gasoline engines. This is because diesel engines operate at higher compression ratios, which can cause more noise.

Is it more expensive to buy a pickup with a diesel engine?

Diesel engine versions of pickup trucks are more expensive because diesel engines cost more to produce. However, diesel trucks often have a longer lifespan and better fuel economy (as mentioned above), which can offset the initial higher price tag.

Do diesel pickup trucks require special maintenance?

Diesel engines require different maintenance than gasoline engines, but nothing too difficult or expensive. For example, diesel engines need to have their oil changed more often than gasoline engines (every 5,000-7,500 miles, as opposed to every 3,000-5,000 miles for gasoline engines).

Diesel engines also require diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) to function. DEF is a mixture of urea and deionized water that helps reduce NOx emissions from diesel engines.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the F-150 have a Diesel engine?

Until recently, Ford offered the F-150 with the 3.0L Powerboost diesel engine. However, in 2021, they announced and discontinued that engine from their lineup. In the current model year trucks, you can only purchase a gas engine.

What makes a pickup light-duty?

Generally, a light-duty pickup truck is a pickup that is a 1500 series truck or below in size. These are more for transportation and less for hard work daily. These pickups with a good diesel engine can be an asset on the job site.


Pickup trucks with diesel engines are becoming increasingly less popular, while diesel engines offer better fuel economy and torque than gasoline engines, they do push out more emissions, which is the topic of the day nowadays. While diesel trucks may be more expensive, they often have a longer lifespan and require less maintenance, which begs the question as to why we don’t have more.