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2014 Diesel Truck and Van Buyer’s Guide

New Fullsize Pickups and Vans with Diesel Power

Text By Trevor Reed, Photography by Courtesy Of The Manufacturers

This year, new truck buyers have the choice of the most powerful diesel engines ever offered—along with the most economical—in a fullsize pickup. For the first time, you’ll be able to buy a ½-ton pickup with a diesel under the hood. Plus, there are diesel vans being offered by six manufacturers, including two brand-new models never before sold in the U.S.

The Big Three automakers are each selling their own versions of ¾- and 1-ton trucks with incredibly powerful, clean, and efficient diesel engines. Ford, GM, and Ram all have their own different take on the heavy-duty diesel pickup. They manage to create more power and torque than ever before, along with having maximum tow ratings that range all the way up to 15 tons. These trucks are also offered in numerous configurations to suit your needs, whether you require a 1-ton regular cab with vinyl floors and manual windows or a shortbed crew cab that has the same features as a luxury sedan but can still pull a fifth-wheel trailer.

After four model years with two of the Big Three not involved in the diesel van game, the fullsize market in the U.S. is blowing up in 2014. This year, in addition to brand-new diesel models from Ford and Ram, there are major updates from Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner. This, along with a new version of the Duramax- powered vans by General Motors, means you’ll have plenty of choices for your next diesel passenger wagon or cargo van. Here’s a look at the fullsize diesels you can find on dealer lots this year.

Ford
The 2014 Ford Super Duty has a 6.7L Power Stroke engine that makes 400 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque and is backed by the TorqShift six-speed automatic transmission. The Super Duty offers a solid axle with coil springs up front on four-wheel-drive models, and a twin I-beam front suspension setup on the two-wheel drives. The maximum conventional tow rating has been increased to 18,500 pounds, while the maximum fifth-wheel tow rating is 24,700 pounds for the F-450. The maximum payload has been raised to 7,260 pounds, thanks to improvements that include a new parking brake. Also new for 2014 is a redesigned braking system with larger rotors, discs, and improved brake feel, thanks to a re-tuned brake booster, among other changes.

Ford is taking a European approach with the company’s all-new ’14 Transit fullsize van that’s based on the company’s overseas workhorse of the same name. The van uses a Power Stroke 3.2L inline-five engine. Power ratings for this engine have not yet been released, but the European configuration puts out 197 hp and 347 lb-ft of torque. The new Transit comes with a six-speed automatic, a MacPherson strut independent front suspension, and a leaf-sprung solid rear axle. The van is available in three lengths, two wheelbases, single or dual rear wheels, and three roof heights, including the high-roof model, which has 81 inches of interior cargo height. The Transit also has LED interior lighting, seats up to 15 people, and was designed to accept numerous types of shelves, bins, racks, and other upfit equipment.

Engine Specifications:
Engine: Ford Power Stroke
Displacement: 6.7L
Configuration: V-8
Power: 400 hp at 2,800 rpm
Torque: 800 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm
Turbocharging: Single two-compressor variable-geometry turbo
Bore x Stroke: 3.90 x 4.25 inches
Compression ratio: 16.2:1
Valvetrain: OHV 32 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Compacted graphite iron
Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Engine: Ford Power Stroke
Displacement: 3.2L
Configuration: I-5
Power: 197 hp at 3,000 rpm (European rating)
Torque: 347 lb-ft at 1,500 to 2,750 rpm (European rating)
Turbocharging: Single variable- geometry turbo
Bore x Stroke: 3.54 x 3.96 inches
Compression ratio: 15.7:1
Valvetrain: DOHC 20 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Cast iron
Transmission: Six-speed automatic

General Motors
The ’14 Chevrolet and GMC 2500HD and 3500HD trucks are powered by the 6.6L Duramax LML V-8 engine that’s rated at 397 hp and 765 lb-ft of torque, while power is routed through an Allison 1000 transmission with six gears. Unlike Ford and Ram, the GM trucks use a torsion bar independent front suspension on both two- and four-wheel-drive models. Even with this road-friendly setup, the 3500s achieve a maximum conventional tow rating of 18,000 pounds, a maximum fifth-wheel tow rating of 23,100 pounds, and a maximum payload of 7,222 pounds. The only new feature available for the ’14 diesels is a factory-installed, spray-in bedliner that covers the entire bed interior below the side rails. All-new Silverados and Sierras will debut later this year as ’15 models, as will new Colorado and Canyon trucks, which will be available with diesel power for the first time.

The 2014 Chevy Express and GMC Savanna fullsize vans are powered by the Duramax LGH with 260 hp and 525 lb-ft of torque and are backed by a Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic transmission. The vans have a maximum tow rating of 10,000 pounds, a maximum payload of 4,145 pounds, and an optional limited-slip rear differential. For 2014, there are new paint colors, standard power door locks and windows for the passenger van, and an all-new “Crew Van” model that has a three-passenger bench seat in the second row, with a bulkhead behind the seats to separate the cargo area from the passengers. This new configuration combines multiple features of a cargo van and a passenger wagon by offering standard head and side curtain airbags, optional full body-length windows, a full-length rubber floor covering, a swing-out side door, and rear air conditioning and lighting on the extended-length vans.

Engine Specifications:
Engine: Chevrolet/GMC Duramax
Displacement: 6.6L
Configuration: V-8
Power: 397 hp at 3,000 rpm (LML – pickups)
Torque: 765 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm (LML – pickups)
Power: 260 hp at 3,100 rpm (LGH – vans)
Torque: 525 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm (LGH – vans)
Turbocharging: Single variable-geometry turbo
Bore x Stroke: 4.05 x 3.89 inches
Compression ratio: 16.8:1
Valvetrain: OHV 32 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Cast iron
Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Ram
The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is the first ½-ton pickup with a modern clean-diesel engine. It utilizes a 3.0L VM Motori V-6 engine that’s rated at 240 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. The EcoDiesel is also the first diesel pickup to be sold with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and it’s capable of towing up to 9,200 pounds. Fuel economy figures for the diesel haven’t yet been released, but Ram is confident the EcoDiesel will produce the best fuel economy in the light-duty pickup class, which means the number will be better than the 25-mpg rating of the Ram’s gasoline V-6. The diesel engine and eight-speed combination is available on trim levels ranging from the Tradesman work truck all the way up to the luxury Laramie Longhorn models. All Ram 1500 pickups have a five-link rear suspension, and some models can be ordered from the factory with an active air suspension.

The ’14 Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups use the 6.7L Cummins engine that’s rated at up to 385 hp and 850 lb-ft of torque, depending on which transmission is ordered. The Ram is the only fullsize pickup still being sold with a manual transmission, and when the G56 is ordered, the engine is tuned to make 350 hp and 660 lb-ft of torque. There are two different six-speed automatic transmissions to choose from, with a Chrysler 68RFE that distributes 370 hp and 800 lb-ft of torque, or an Aisin AS69RC, which handles the highest-output version of the Cummins for the 1-ton models. The multi-link coil rear suspension on the 2500 is unlike the traditional leaf spring setups on the 3500, GM, and Ford trucks, and an active air suspension is available from the factory. Air is also available on the Ram 3500, in the form of rear self-leveling load-assist bags. The High Output Cummins and chassis setup on the 3500 provide a maximum fifth-wheel tow rating of 30,010 pounds and a maximum payload rating of 7,320 pounds. New features for 2014 include two new paint colors, a dual alternator system that creates 440 amps, 18-inch and 20-inch wheel options, a factory gooseneck, and fifth-wheel setup for the 2500.

The all-new ’14 Ram ProMaster is the first fullsize diesel van sold by Chrysler since the Dodge version of the Sprinter was retired in 2010. This new diesel is based on the Fiat Ducato, which has been sold in Europe for 30 years and features a combination unibody/ladder frame design and front-wheel-drive setup, unlike any of the other diesel vans sold in the U.S. The four-cylinder, 3.0L EcoDiesel engine makes 174 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque and is hooked to a unique M40 automated manual that maximizes efficiency since there is no torque converter to slip. The transmission can be shifted like a manual or put into automatic mode and has features such as grade sensing and curve sensing, which will hold a gear until after a turn is complete. This drivetrain allows a payload rating of 5,145 pounds and a tow rating of 5,100 pounds. The ProMaster is available in two roof heights (90 or 101 inches), three wheelbases, and four body lengths. The ProMaster will debut with best-in-class fuel economy.

The all-new ’14 Ram ProMaster is the first fullsize diesel van sold by Chrysler since the Dodge version of the Sprinter was retired in 2010. This new diesel is based on the Fiat Ducato, which has been sold in Europe for 30 years and features a combination unibody/ladder frame design and front-wheel-drive setup, unlike any of the other diesel vans sold in the U.S. The four-cylinder, 3.0L EcoDiesel engine makes 174 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque and is hooked to a unique M40 automated manual that maximizes efficiency since there is no torque converter to slip. The transmission can be shifted like a manual or put into automatic mode and has features such as grade sensing and curve sensing, which will hold a gear until after a turn is complete. This drivetrain allows a payload rating of 5,145 pounds and a tow rating of 5,100 pounds. The ProMaster is available in two roof heights (90 or 101 inches), three wheelbases, and four body lengths. The ProMaster will debut with best-in-class fuel economy.

Engine Specifications:
Engine: Ram Cummins
Displacement: 6.7L
Configuration: I-6
Power: 385 hp at 2,800 rpm (AS69RC auto transmission)
Torque: 850 lb-ft at 1,700 rpm (AS69RC auto transmission)
Power: 370 hp at 2,800 rpm (68RFE auto transmission)
Torque: 800 lb-ft at 1,600 rpm (68RFE auto transmission)
Power: 350 hp at 2,800 rpm (G56 manual transmission)
Torque: 660 lb-ft at 1,500 rpm (G56 manual transmission)
Turbocharging: Single variable-geometry turbo
Bore x Stroke: 4.21 x 4.88 inches
Compression ratio: 17.3:1
Valvetrain: OHV 24 valves
Head Material: Cast iron
Block Material: Cast iron
Transmission: Six-speed G56 manual, 68RFE or AS69RC automatics

Engine: EcoDiesel V-6
Displacement: 3.0L
Configuration: V-6
Power: 240 hp at 3,600 rpm
Torque: 420 lb-ft at 2,000 rpm
Turbocharging: Single variable-geometry turbo
Bore x Stroke: 3.27 x 3.60 inches
Compression ratio: 15.5:1
Valvetrain: DOHC 24 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Compacted graphite iron
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Engine: EcoDiesel I-4
Displacement: 3.0L
Configuration: I-4
Power: 174 hp at 3,600 rpm
Torque: 295 lb-ft at 1,400 rpm
Turbocharging: Single variable-geometry turbo
Bore x Stroke: 3.78 x 4.09 inches
Compression ratio: 17.5:1
Valvetrain: DOHC 16 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Cast Iron
Transmission: Six-speed automated-manual

Mercedes-Benz/Freightliner
The ’14 Sprinter by Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner has been redesigned inside and out. It now comes standard with a drivetrain that mates a two-turbo 2.1L four-cylinder engine with 161 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque to the first seven-speed automatic transmission offered in class, and a steering pump that’s only activated when power assistance is needed. The redesigned exterior includes changes to the hood, grille, and bumpers, and the new interior includes upgrades such as new radios and navigation systems, a thicker steering wheel, a new shifter, and new upholstery. Four safety systems, Collision Prevention Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, and Highbeam Assist, have been added to help prevent accidents, and they work alongside the rollover protection, automatic brake disc drying, and other standard advanced safety features.

Engine Specifications:
Engine: Mercedes-Benz OM642
Displacement: 3.0L
Configuration: V-6
Power: 188 hp at 3,800 rpm
Torque: 325 lb-ft at 1,400 to 2,400 rpm
Turbocharging: Single variable-geometry turbo
Bore x Stroke: 3.27 x 3.62 inches
Compression ratio: 18.0:1
Valvetrain: DOHC 24 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Aluminum alloy/compacted graphite iron sleeves
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Engine: Mercedes-Benz OM651
Displacement: 2.1L
Configuration: I-4
Power: 161 hp at 3,800 rpm
Torque: 265 lb-ft at 1,400 to 2,400 rpm
Turbocharging: Two sequential turbos
Bore x Stroke: 3.27 x 3.90 inches
Compression ratio: 16.2:1
Valvetrain: DOHC 16 valves
Head Material: Aluminum alloy
Block Material: Cast iron
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic

Coming Soon
Nissan will be the next manufacturer to offer a ½-ton pickup with a diesel engine. The company has announced the next generation of Titan will be sold with a new Cummins 5.0L V-8 engine. It’s possible this engine, once slated for the Ram 1500, could also end up in the company’s line of NV vans, or even rival Toyota’s Tundra line of ½-ton trucks.

SOURCES
Ford Motor Company
P.O. Box 685
Dearborn
MI  48126
800-392-3673
www.ford.com
Ram Trucks
P.O. Box 21-8007
Aubum Hills
MI  48321
800-726-4636
http://www.ramtrucks.com
Mercedes-Benz
3 Mercedes Drive
Montvale
NJ  07645
800-367-6372
www.mbusa.com
GMC
888-988-7267
www.gmc.com
Chevrolet
P.O. Box 33170
Detroit
MI  48323
www.chevrolet.com
Freightliner Sprinter
877-762-8267
http://www.freightlinersprinteru
sa.com
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By Trevor Reed
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130 comments
Karl Barnesjr
Karl Barnesjr

@ Robert Mc Isaac, great point, when Ford came out with the 6.7 it was down on power numbers compared to the G.M., it originally made 390 hrs. 735 tq., they immediately recalled every 6.7 in for a p.m.c. reflash to make their motors produce 400 hrs. and 800 tq, (can you say factory tune), and it did come up short, Ford has put themselves in a peculiar situation, this new for 2015 p.s.d. better be the winner they claim because now Ford can't blame International, big numbers mean nothing, power to the ground does, don't get me wrong I drive a 2009 6.4 p.s.d. and so far it takes a good pounding, I can't wait to tune and delete thing to see what it really can do.

Cory Tuggle
Cory Tuggle

too bad all new RAM trucks are getting ford motors hahaha

Robert Mc Isaac
Robert Mc Isaac

A Duramax/Allison GM pickup will outpull both Ford and Dodge Ram, not only did it prove so in the King of the Hill challenge but its real world proven. HP/TQ numbers have been overrated by Ford and they refused to answer why a Duramax with less HP/TQ out pulled the Powergrenade! As far as vans go, again GM is the leader with the best powertrain, accurate HP/TQ numbers and their vans will double the payload of the new euro vans on the market.

Larry Lee
Larry Lee

Most all these comment's I agree with. I own a business and we have all three brands of Diesels. This is my experience. The Dodge's had Front end problems "Ball Joints" @ 56000 miles No snow blades concrete driving pulling things only. No driveline problems. Ford many engine problems 6.0 and 6.4 same usage pulling . 3500.00 fix on 6.0 @ 70,000 miles and 2400.00 on 6.4 @ 42,000 miles. No other problems. Chevy dmax lift pump @ 180,000 miles. 3000.00. No other problems. Just bought 2013 Chevy HD. They all are good truck's. My decisions are made only of the cost while I own the truck not by Brand.

John Learmonth
John Learmonth

Dmax built in ohio but yet replacement parts come from japan. Give me a break

Larry Lee
Larry Lee

Dmax is built in Ohio @ Chevy plant .That they own and the name Duramax. Also look up who owns Isuzu. ....GM. I'd call that owning and building in house Diesel and Transmission. If Dodge ever looses Cummins maybe Fiat will build them a Diesel. O and that Automatic behind the 6.7 Cummins comes from Japan. Ford the only good Diesel they ever had was the 7.3 unfortunately International Harvester designed and built that one. Resale Value= GM.

Larry Lee
Larry Lee

Look it up GM owns Alison. Alison is a subsidiary company of GM. I wonder why Dodge and Ford have a way lower resale value then a Chevy.............

Jason Puzio
Jason Puzio

Lol know kidding Alison is dam good but then again GM doesn't make it is why it's good:)

Jason Puzio
Jason Puzio

Gm is the biggest POS ever made lmfao they really thought they had truck of the year for 2014 haha they sure got shot down there by of course the ram 2 years in a row now face it GM is so far behind they may need another bail out hahaha Dodge may not own Cummins but at least its American made I cant say that about the Duramax I dont even own a dodge I drive a bad ass ford but I do haft to say Dodge is doing big things

Willy Conard
Willy Conard

the only good thing GM has is a transmission. if some one buys out Alison. GM is screwed period.

Larry Lee
Larry Lee

Dmax Rules: GM dont keep changing motors. Un like Ford. Or reprint hp and torque ratings like Dodge when they made no change to the 6.7 cummins. Why change when your the King

Fabián Ortiz Nazario Brunno
Fabián Ortiz Nazario Brunno

Allison is bullet-proof. 6 in line Cummins pulling power Ford F-550 looks good So there you have it. FORD F-550 + CUMMINS 6 in line diesel + Allison Automatic = Problem Solved

Rick Stacey
Rick Stacey

Cummins pulls the world every day, no other comparison, from tractors to ships and Santa's sleigh! !

Joe DeNisco
Joe DeNisco

I have a 2013 Denali and I think my next is going to be the ford unless chevy does something engine wise or tranny wise in 2016

Perry Ward
Perry Ward

If u put a 700 horsepower Cat with 2000 ft lbs. Of torque with a 18 speed eaton fuller tranny, Dana rearend in a Ram that gets 27 mpg the Ram would still lose.its the 60 year classic Chevy vs.Ford battle. Thats the way it is.But ill still take the Ram

James Spanier
James Spanier

Cummins. Ford. International. They are great... But they can't keep up with the duramax.

Karl Barnesjr
Karl Barnesjr

I can't wait to see this new test of power between the Detroit 3 big diesels, if it's good enough I might buy a new truck, go Ford!

John Forbes
John Forbes

DP, you are aware the Dodge is NOT the first to offer a diesel in a 1/2 ton. Aren't you?

Charles Bartlett
Charles Bartlett

Patrick Howe at least our engine s made in house where as dodge isn't smart enough to do their own so they have to use another company to make them look good

Charles Bartlett
Charles Bartlett

Love passing all the new trucks with my 7.3 and getting better fuel mileage. 02 crew passing all others when I go moose hunting loaded with 4 men all gear two quads and normally two moose.......

John Goriak
John Goriak

Hahaha dude. The gm only won in 2011. And that was due to many things. Fords traction control detuned power when tires start to slip, doesn't just apply brakes, the tune for the turbo psi was not good enough at high altitudes and has since been changed. Re look at all the tests. Dodge comes in dead last at every test and gm is alway behind ford, unless the test is done by a gm company.

William Farrar
William Farrar

wanna bet? GM beat ford and dodge last year and in 2011 for the uphill towing and passing a semi loaded. its sad when the ram was rated for 22k but could only handle 16,500. at least GM doesnt have to keep chanigng things on their diesels like ford and cummins do

Kashata Wallace
Kashata Wallace

There's nothing out there will outlast a Cummins with a 6-speed manual !

Loren Jones
Loren Jones

Motown...ORANGE.... :-)...wish I was gettin 123456689 NOW... :-)

Tanner Buck
Tanner Buck

The 7.3 is a heavy hitter, I can tell you that much.

John Goriak
John Goriak

Gm still far behind. And dodge claims highest tow numbers. But when these guys did the test with the new ram and new ford, with 24000 lbs the ford walked away up the hills and straight line towing. The only thing the dodge won at was braking due to jake brake. The gm can't even compete so they left it out.

Patrick Rowe
Patrick Rowe

I'll agree that for racing and HP, you cannot beat either V8. It's a known fact. But I use my truck, as a truck lol. Enough said.

Steven Seeley
Steven Seeley

Depends if towing I'll agree but you want to race 6.4 all the way

Brett Urban
Brett Urban

Part all three trucks down to nothing. Throw the cummins in with the allison attached to fords frame. Then we have the ultimate truck.

Steven Seeley
Steven Seeley

Really cause Ford has back to back power challenge wins enough said

Patrick Rowe
Patrick Rowe

Well. Since Ram has the largest tow capacity by a long stretch, I think it is really obvious. I'm sure Ford is really trying hard to catch up by producing junk engines and stabbing them into the same frame dressed in the same sheet metal since 1999. Ohhhh. Soooo of advanced!!!

Harley David Matson
Harley David Matson

this a picture i like to see my favorite tractor and favorite truck the picture couldnt be any better in my eyes i am a ford chevy and dodge guy even toyota if that makes ya feel better!!!!! a truck is a truck in my eyes i dont see why yall act like gang bangers bout what kind of truck someone else drives grow up we aint in highschool let me ask you this what kind of truck to do own? - ok good now drive the living hell outta it and have fun as far as im concered there is no best truck this world is made up of opinions im only 21 but haha didnt take a senior citizen to figure out the world is made up of opinions dont be so immature on what anyone else drives it aint yours drive what u got!!!!

Trever Adamo
Trever Adamo

I'v always been a Ford person but you are correct the new Ram trucks are super nice! As well if I was looking at getting a new truck I would deffently consider one and even more so if I was after a HD truck

Erik Johnson
Erik Johnson

Anyone can spout off about their brand loyalty. But I think most could agree that if ford had the Cummins engine and allison trans, there wouldn't be many other brands to argue about.

Karl Barnesjr
Karl Barnesjr

....as far as transmissions, the last I remembered Ford's transmissions require the least amount of work when adding more horsepower to your motor, once you go over 50 horses the Allison will slip and go into limp home mode, the Ram 47RE, 48RE, 68RFE definitely needs up grading when adding horsepower, as for the new Aisin for the H.O. Cummins.........that remains to be seen, me personally I love the diesels by the Detroit 3, I just wish they were truly made in America.

Karl Barnesjr
Karl Barnesjr

Ford once owned I believe 10% stock in Cummins, that was a long time ago, not any more and G.M. makes the Duramax, at least for the most part, Isuzu originally designed it and G.M. makes it, I'm sure someone on here knows the exact details and will give us the correct information.

Aaron Benko
Aaron Benko

Pretty sure my 2000 cummins will outperform these in fuel economy…I hit 26mpg on the highway today at 67mph.