Light-duty diesel engines face a challenge their medium- and heavy-duty brethren almost never face -- satisfying both consumer and commercial grade customers with a single package.
Both sets demand horsepower, torque, and performance for the get-up-and-go necessary for merging big pickups on busy roadways while hauling maximum payload. Both also demand quieter engines so in-cab conversations don’t turn into yelling matches and drivers can think straight at the end of a long day.
Yet more so than the average consumer, commercial customers also place high value on longevity, durability, and ease of maintenance, largely due to longer ownerships cycles. Diesel-powered pickups serving the commercial venue are expected to work long and hard for many years in trying conditions, so they must have staying power as well as the muscle for completing daily tasks.
This is the perspective Fleet Owner brought to the “Best Engines Diesel Shootout” conducted with the editors from sister-publication Ward’s at the Robert Bosch LLC test track in Flat Rock, MI, about an hour south of Detroit on July 28 this year.
The competition matched a Cummins 6.7L I-6 powering a Ram Laramie 2500 HD, a Duramax 6.6L V-8 in a GMC Sierra Denali HD, and the new Power Stroke 6.7L V-8 in a Ford F-250 Super Duty Lariat in a variety of tests: zero to 60 mph acceleration tests, with the vehicle solo and while towing 10,000-lb. trailers; negotiating 20% grade towing 10,000 lbs.; and measuring engine noise at idle and during acceleration.
Editors from both magazines also took the three trucks (again towing 10,000 lbs.) on both short and long “real-world” runs, incorporating both highway and local roadway conditions.
At the end of the day, Ford’s Power Stroke V-8 won the day because it delivered the most complete package of the three -- good acceleration, plenty of torque, quietist operation, and fuel economy equal to the competition.
Even though as the accompanying stories document, its acceleration times and maintenance intervals weren’t the best of the three, Ford’s new Power Stroke gained the winner’s circle by putting together the most complete package. And for the commercial customer, that “completeness” should translate into an engine that delivers the best overall value for the money.