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Diesel engines have seen their ups and, mostly, downs in the last few years thanks in large part to questions about emissions that have eroded consumer confidence in diesel technology.
Despite that, diesels continue to thrive in the truck segment, where they remain a key part of the heavy-duty pickup marketplace and have enjoyed a recent surge in popularity in light-duty models.
In the heavy-duty segment, truck makers regularly one-up each other in the power department with engines that now make in excess of 1,000 lb-ft of torque. These engines are aimed at the most demanding pickup drivers, who prize diesel torque because it turns trucks into prime towing rigs.
Diesels have also become common in light-duty trucks, which is a more surprising trend given how the public has fallen out with the technology in other vehicle segments. All three domestic truck brands now have light-duty diesels that promise thriftier fuel economy than the gas engines that have traditionally driven the mainstream truck market.
Note that we don’t discuss fuel economy ratings for the heavy-duty models; that’s because the government classifies them as commercial vehicles and does not require their manufacturers to publish economy estimates.
With all this in mind, we thought it was time to take a closer look at the pickup segment and rank the best diesel trucks of 2021. Whether towing or fuel economy is at the top of your list, one of these trucks will probably do the trick.
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