Best Diesel Trucks for 2014

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Automotive Editor

Armaan Almeida is the Editor-in-Chief of the New Car Pricing Insider blog and publishes daily incentives on new cars in addition to newsworthy articles pertaining to the auto industry.

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, Automotive Editor - January 20, 2014

Big heavy-duty trucks, especially when fitted with big, heavy-duty diesel engines, are all about capability. Automakers outdo each other year after year to come up with the greatest towing and hauling numbers, along with new features to make life on the job site easier. With the exception of some buyers who simply love a huge, in-your-face vehicle, most buyers pick up an HD truck because they need one. These workhorses are expected to be reliable and powerful, but increasingly these days, luxurious too, with special trims like Ford’s King Ranch and GMC’s Denali. Here’s our top choices for diesel-powered trucks, including one smaller, more-efficient option that comes as a big surprise in the truck world.

Ford F-450
Best Diesel Truck on the Market
Ford F-450

Coming later in 2014, the big-dog Ford Super Duty F-450 sees a number of exclusive upgrades not found on its smaller siblings, the F-250 and F-350. There’s new “commercial grade” 19.5-inch wheels along with a revamped suspension and driveline with new U-joints, leaf springs and roll bars, plus stronger steering linkages. Exhaust braking, along with horsepower and torque, have been improved through a new turbocharger design for the mammoth 6.7-liter, in-house-designed diesel. And the big Ford is still available as a luxury truck in one of several exclusive trims, including the updated and outdoors-themed King Ranch model.

EPA-rated fuel economy: Up to - city/- highway

RAM 1500 EcoDiesel
Well-Rounded Overall Package
RAM 1500 EcoDiesel

RAM bucks the trend among truck makers by offering diesel power on its standard full-size “standard duty” pickup, the RAM 1500. The EcoDiesel engine in question is actually an Italian-sourced 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel, the same “rightsized” powerplant you’ll find in the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV. In the RAM, it makes a sturdy 420 lb-ft. of torque and allows truly great fuel efficiency numbers of 21 city and 28 highway mpg. Worried about towing? All that torque still means a generous 9,200 towing capacity despite the engine’s small displacement.

EPA-rated fuel economy: Up to - city/- highway

GMC Sierra 2500HD
Solid Value with Bevy of Cab and Bed Options
GMC Sierra 2500HD

Along with GM’s standard-duty pickups, HD models have been given a complete redesign. The 2500HD’s Dugmcax 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 is essentially carried over, making 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft. of torque and allowing for a 4,300-lb. payload and a 14,500-lb. standard trailering capacity. Inside and out, the truck is completely redesigned, benefitting from the same vastly improved interior as standard-duty GMC trucks. The luxurious HD Denali trim, based on the Sierra 2500HD, will make a reappearance as well and has proved popular with buyers.

EPA-rated fuel economy: Up to - city/- highway

Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD
Very Affordable with Solid Value
Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD

In building its new-generation HD trucks, Chevy can once again make the boast of “best-in-class payload and conventional towing”, with ratings of 7,374 lbs. of payload and an insane 19,600 lbs. of trailer-hitch towing. The Chevy only falls to RAM’s HD trucks in the area of 5th-wheel towing. Using the same Duramax 6.6-liter as the Sierra, the Silverado line comes with new premium features like an optional integrated trailer-brake control, and forward-collision and lane departure warning systems. Fans of the standard-duty Silverado 1500 will love the 3500HD’s big, upright, in-your-face stance, too.

EPA-rated fuel economy: Up to - city/- highway

Ford F-250
Comfortable Cabin and In-Car Tech that's Easy to Use
Ford F-250

While you’ll need to wait a few months for Ford’s updated Super Duty pickups, the F-250 available now is still a great workhorse sure to serve you well when it’s time to get seriously muddy. Power comes from the 6.7-liter diesel, and towing capacity comes in at up to 14,000 lbs. for conventional trailers and 16,800 lbs. for 5th-wheel trailers. The F-250 is a solid truck, but for our dollars we recommend waiting until later in 2014, when the 2015 models make their debut with a host of new features. Or opting for that nice, new Sierra Denali.

EPA-rated fuel economy: Up to - city/- highway

, Automotive Editor

Armaan Almeida is the Editor-in-Chief of the New Car Pricing Insider blog and publishes daily incentives on new cars in addition to newsworthy articles pertaining to the auto industry.

Follow On: Google+ | Website

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