General Motors' redesigned Duramax 6.6L turbo-diesel offers a number of advantages to fleets including increased horsepower and torque. The redesigned Duramax features an air intake system, which can be seen on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD as a new hood inlet, that keeps the engine operating at cooler temperatures to ensure that it maintains power and vehicle speed while trailering in steep grades and tough conditions.
While the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado HD equipped with the Duramax 6.6L turbo-diesel isn’t available yet, fleets are already showing interest in the pickup and, in particular, the engine, said John Schwegman, U.S. director of commercial product and medium duty at General Motors Fleet.
Capability has been the biggest selling point. The Duramax’s 910 lb.-ft. of torque is a 19% increase over the previous version of the engine. In testing, a Silverado equipped with the redesigned Duramax was able to tow 23,000 pounds up the Davis Dam grade (a steep grade used by several OEMs for testing) in 110-degree Fahrenheit ambient temperature. The test vehicle climbed the grade 40 seconds faster than the previous model.
Fleets that have shown interest in the Duramax-equipped Silverado include construction and other trade fleets that regularly tow trailers with heavy equipment.
“Historically, fleets that typically drive lots of miles in heavy, stop-and-go traffic often favor diesels and keep their trucks longer,” said Schwegman.
The redesigned Duramax 6.6.L turbo-diesel will be available in the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado Work Truck trim level, Schwegman added.
In addition to being more efficient running under load, the Duramax is also designed to operate under extreme conditions.
“We have customers that use our vehicles in all sorts of extreme conditions, so we’ve made sure that our improvements focus on durability, performance and refinement,” said Schwegman. “This includes improved cooling, enhanced reliability — for cold weather mornings — and the new functional hood air inlet that provides 60% of the air to the engine. Cooler air helps the engine run better under load, especially in conditions where engine and transmission temperatures can rise quickly. Running cooler allows the Duramax diesel to maintain full power and vehicle speed for capable trailering in even the toughest conditions.”
While it delivers capability and durability, the diesel option is more expensive on the front end of the truck’s life. According to Schwegman, the diesel engine option is $8,995 MSRP (the company has not announced fleet pricing for the 2017 Duramax-equipped Chevrolet Silverado as of press time). However, when they are remarketed, diesel-equipped vehicles tend to recoup this up-front cost and then some.
Some fleets prefer diesels because of the high returns at auction, according to Schwegman.
“Our data shows that the 2015 Silverado 2500HD diesels, for instance, are selling for $10,000 more than gas, while MSRP is $7,000 higher on diesels. But when you adjust for mileage and age, diesel retention is roughly four percent better than gas, which comes out to approximately $2,800,” said Schwegman.
The redesigned 6.6L Duramax turbo-diesel will have one feature in common with the previous model, the warranty will continue at five years or 100,000 miles of powertrain coverage.