Top 6 Light-Duty Pickup Trucks with Diesel Engines (1500 Series & Mid-Size)

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

We will also discuss the pros and cons of diesel engines compared to gasoline engines. So, whether you are looking for a Ford F-150 or something a bit smaller like a GMC Canyon, diesel engine options are available!

If you are looking for a light-duty pickup truck, that is equipped with a Diesel engine, your best bet will be from Chevrolet with the Colorado and Silverado, GMC with the Silverado and Canyon, RAM with the 1500, and the Jeep with the Gladiator pickup trucks.

1. 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

The Silverado had a massive revamp a couple years ago, and in that revamp came controversial styling.

While we have all (theoretically) gotten used to that styling, we are however very thankful that Chevrolet decided to offer a Diesel engine in this pickup.

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

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

This torquey engine is equipped with a 10-speed automatic transmission and makes 277 horsepower and 460 lb ft of torque.

2. 2022 GMC Sierra 1500

If you like the 3.0L Duramax mentioned in the Silverado, but want it in a more refined package, you should take a look at the GMC Sierra 1500, which also 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 277 horsepower and 460 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 a ton of luxury features, an awesome Multi-Pro tailgate, and one of the best Diesel engines on the market today.

3. 2022 Chevrolet Colorado

The diesel engine options don’t stop at the full-size light-duty pickups. The Chevrolet Colorado diesel is a great choice for those looking for a midsize pickup truck with a diesel engine. It offers similar features to the Silverado and Sierra 1500, but in a more manageable size.

This pickup has an (also scaled down) Duramax 2.8L turbo-diesel engine that makes 308 horsepower, and 369 pound-feet of torque. You can buy this toned down Diesel engine when you opt for the more standard LT, Z71 (if you get the 4WD option) or the off-road oriented ZR2 trims.

4. 2022 GMC Canyon

Just like the Silverado, Colorado has a corporate twin with the GMC Canyon! This version also offers the same 2.8L turbo-diesel Duramax engine. This engine makes the same 308 horsepower as the Colorado diesel and the same 360 pound-feet of torque.

The Canyon may be very similar drivetrain wise, it is styled quite differently, so if you are looking something a little more refined, rather than sporty, the Canyon might be the better choice for you.

You are able to get the GMC Canyon if you opt for the Elevation, AT4, and Denali trims. Just make sure you get the 4WD and 4-door versions, as the diesel is only available with that configuration.

5. 2022 Jeep Gladiator

A Jeep Gladiator with a DECKED Drawer System [Image courtesy of DECKED]

If you are looking for some real off-road fun in your pickup truck, but want a Diesel engine, you might want to take a look at Jeep’s Gladiator pickup truck. Don’t call it a Wrangler with a bed though, as it was built from the ground up as a truck.

The diesel engine in the Jeep Gladiator is a bit different than what you will find in other light-duty pickups. It’s a 3.0L EcoDiesel, Turbo-Diesel, engine that includes auto-stop-start that makes 260 horsepower and 443 lb.-ft of torque.

This engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

You are able to purchase this engine in the really every trim level except for the base Sport trim level. As shown in the image above, I also really do like the Gladiator with a DECKED drawer system in the bed!

6. 2022 Ram 1500

[Image courtesy of Stellantis]

While this is technically the last truck on this list, it by no means is the least. Ram has been a big proponent of Diesel engines because of their performance and efficiency, and that is no different in their most recent revamp of their 1500 series pickup truck

Now, this engine is identical to the Jeep Gladiator engine we already talked about that.

Because of that, this diesel engine in the Ram 1500 is a EcoDiesel V-six that makes 260 horsepower, and 480 lb.-ft of torque.

This engine is connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

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

Diesel engines have a few advantages over gasoline engines. One big advantage is that diesel fuel contains more energy than gasoline, which means that diesel engines get better fuel economy.

Another big advantage is that diesel engines tend to last longer than gasoline engines. This is because diesel engines are built to handle the higher compression ratios that are necessary for diesel combustion.

Diesel engines also produce more torque than gasoline engines, which is beneficial for towing and hauling.

What are the downsides to a diesel engine?

One downside of diesel engines is that they typically cost more than gasoline engines. However, this may be offset by the longer lifespan and better fuel economy of a diesel engine.

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 do tend to be more expensive, this is because diesel engines cost more to manufacture. However, diesel trucks often have a longer lifespan and better fuel economy which can offset the initial higher price tag.

Do diesel pickup trucks require special maintenance?

Diesel engines require some 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 5000-7500 miles, as opposed to every 3000-5000 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 very recently, Ford offered the F-150 with the 3.0L Powerboost diesel engine. However in 2021 they announced and followed through with discontinuing that engine out of their lineup. In the 2022 year trucks, you are only able to 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 on a daily basis. That said, with a good Diesel engine, these pickups can prove to be an asset on the job site.


Pickup trucks with diesel engines are becoming more and more popular, as diesel engines offer better fuel economy and torque than gasoline engines. While diesel trucks may be more expensive to buy, they often have a longer lifespan and require less maintenance. Whether you’re looking for a 1500 series, midsize or compact pickup truck, there are plenty of great

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