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2020 GMC Sierra 3.0L Duramax Diesel towing 8k pounds

Towing 8k pounds with the Sierra 3.0L Duramax Diesel. (Photo by Tim Esterdahl)

When publisher Tim Esterdahl starts his video review with “Holy Bleep,” you know you’re in for an enthusiastic review of the 2020 GMC Sierra 3.0-liter Duramax Diesel. Check out the video below, and ride along with us as Esterdahl and John Barta, assistant chief engineer for the GMC Sierra, talk about what makes this truck so special.

A truck designed for the engine

The inline-6-cylinder engine is longer and takes up more space, but it is quieter and offers a smoother ride than the traditional V-6. The challenge is packaging it to fit in a truck. But the 2020 GMC Sierra 3.0-liter Duramax Diesel was designed, from day 1, to use this engine. And that is where the awesome starts.

Barta explains how much of the fuel economy improvements seen with this engine have to do with cooling. A cool engine runs more efficiently and uses less diesel. The 10-speed transmission and the different shift patterns in tow-haul mode help with that, too.

The truck does not have a manual exhaust brake. Instead, the exhaust brake is automatically enabled in tow/haul mode; just one more small thing that adds up to great efficiency.

GM worked hard to cut down on the combustion noise so that the ride in this truck is a lot quieter than you’d expect. Esterdahl compares it to a gasoline truck. Even at take-off, while pulling 9k pounds, this truck is quiet enough for normal conversation in the cab.

2020 GMC Sierra 3.0L Duramax Diesel towing mpg

After driving almost 17 miles at 6-10% grades, both uphill and down, Esterdahl was blown away by the computer’s fuel economy numbers. 15.2 MPG while towing? Holy bleep is right! And Esterdahl wasn’t driving like a grandma. He was averaging 60 MPH the whole drive.

Customers are noticing just how clean and powerful the launches are thanks to the low-end torque of the diesel engine. Esterdahl thinks this is the best half-ton diesel on the market. He ranks it smoothest, quietest and fastest of them all.

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Erica Mueller

Erica Mueller is a Texan, which means she believes that trucks are family vehicles and giant SUVs make good second cars. As part-time auto journalist for almost a decade, Erica enjoys driving all kinds of vehicles and sharing her experiences with others. Erica is the secretary of the board for the Texas Auto Writers Association as well as a contributor at A Girls Guide to Cars.

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