Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2012 Diesel Truck Comparison

U.S. diesel truck owners take pride in the truck they drive and believe it to be the best diesel truck available. Furthermore, most diesel truck owners seek out the same brand year after year. In all truck purchasing, brand loyalty has been and remains paramount. Even still, for truck owners who just love trucks, a comparison must be made year after year to compare the year's new models. With that in mind, the following is a side by side comparison of the 2012 models of America's diesel pickup trucks.

With many truck buyers power is king, be it in how much they can pull, carry or how fast they can get up to speed. Others look more for comfortability, handling stability, or new innovation. Are you wandering who has the best diesel truck this year? Are you thinking your truck has the strongest engine? Whatever your taste, whether you are looking only for new Chevy trucks, Dodge diesel trucks or just a big strong truck, I have for you a true comparison of the specs, what the experts say, and, because I can, what I like and dislike about each make.

For those of you who read my 2011 Diesel Truck Comparison, this one is definitely similar. Be assured that with every bit of news released about the coming 2012 models and the changes and upgrades that this page will be updated to reflect the new model year.

Many of today's truck buyers want to know how much a truck can pull. Many diesel owners either use their truck for work and have to haul trailers full of equipment or material and even those who don't use it for work have large boats or campers to pull. So who can pull the world? I'm sure that everyone has seen the videos of one truck carrying another, all while pulling a third truck up a mountain of rock. Manufacturers definitely tend go overboard in advertising claims, but these trucks can definitely move mountains. With that said, often it is less about how much your springs and bed can hold and more about what you can pull. Trailering or tow capacity is one of the most important factors for many work truck owners and with that in mind, here are the best at pulling.

Chevy comes in as the best trailering capacity at 17,800 lbs. With the added engine strength and a newly bulked up frame and suspension, Chevy has upped the ante. The 2010 2500HD had a maximum towing capacity of 13,000 lbs, 4,800 lbs less than the 2011 upgrade. No longer can the other two diesel truck makers ignore Chevy as serious diesel truck competition.

The Ford came in second in 2011 at 16,500 lbs, up 200 lbs from 2010. With the upgrade to the 6.7L diesel and some modifications to the computer, Ford has further raised the bar. Ford is now claiming that the top end for towing for the F250 is now 17,500 lbs, just 300 lbs off of the Chevy number.

The Dodge, although they are third, has beefed up their towing capacity from 13,400 lbs of towing power in 2011 to 15,450 lbs in 2012. Dodge may be third with this number in its Ram 2500, but they are much closer this year with a number that is likely to keep most of their faithful Ram drivers buying Dodge in the near term.

For a large portion of diesel truck buyers, engine strength is as far as they go. They want to know how many horsepower the engine can muster and how much torque the truck can apply to the driving surface. For years Dodge pounded the competition with Cummins strength, then Ford and Powerstroke became king of power. Who has the strongest diesel truck now?

Well, the diesel engine packages have not changed much for 2012 from 2011. In 2011, both Ford and Chevy brought out many changes, from a new powerplant for Ford to changes in cooling and other areas to Chevy's Duramax. Although their may be some tweaks to transmission gear ratios or shift settings to bring more low end torque, these trucks remain largely the same.

Begining with last years 2011 F-250, Ford currently has the most powerful truck. The 2012 Ford diesel engine, still a Powerstroke Diesel, has 400 horsepower and 800 lb-ft torque. The huge 2012 powerplant, the same as 2011, is the 6.7 L, twin turbo V8 diesel engine. Most of the Ford drivers are glad to say that the 6.4L is gone due to the many problems this powerplant experienced.

No longer is Ford the far and away leader of HD trucks, however. With an upgraded engine, Chevrolet has established itself as a true competitor. After revamping their HD line for 2011, and subsequently getting multiple awards, the 2012 Chevy 2500 HD currently boasts a 6.6L Turbo Diesel V8. The 2012 engine can put out 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque. Most people would say that this powerplant is equal to the Ford's; really, what's 3 horses between friends?

Coming in last, not a viewpoint they are accustomed too, is the Dodge Ram 2500. The Dodge engine is the 6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel I6, an engine that Dodge has used for a while. The output from this engine is well shy of the other two trucks with 350 Hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. Even the Dodge Hemi V8 can match the Cummins, but comes up short with a torque value of only 400 lb-ft of torque. Although Dodge has definitely fallen from the top, many of their dedicated buyers say that you cannot beat Cummins reliability.

As said before, many things have changed in truck design from years ago. In the '80s you could walk up to any pickup and reach into the bed and grab whatever you needed. Not so today. Huge beds, high sides, and massive suspension have totally changed the look of the bed of most trucks. The trucks of 2012 are worlds away from where they were 10-15 years ago. Although most of us like some things about the older models of these trucks, current models have improved on many areas.

The heaviest load in 2012 can be placed squarely in the bed of the F250 Super Duty. The highest payload capacity for Ford is in their single cab F250 at 4,290 lbs. That is 2 tons. Ridiculous. The frame under the Ford F 250 is definitely an equal match for the power of the 6.7L diesel engine.

The Chevy payload comes in at just under the Ford mark with 4,192 lbs. Sure, the Ford can handle one more bag of concrete mix, but most people would find the payload capacity plenty.

Dodge falls just behind the other two with a payload capacity of 3,120 lbs. However, with Dodge's new side boxes and Ford's tailgait step, not only will the payloads get greater in the future, but they will also become more accessible.

All three of the 2012 American diesel trucks have their strongsuits, and which one a buyer chooses is still largely up to personal preference. The reason for this is that most diesel owners will not max out their truck on a daily basis so towing limits and horsepower above 350 is rarely tested. So to help you decide, here goes.

The Ford: Although it has lost its lead in power and now is second in towing and payload, it remains king in space. The roominess inside the F250 is second to none, even older F-250's. The 2012 F-250 has all that Ford has to offer, including the Sync System, new step assists in the tailgate, and a new clean, open look to the interior. For a large person, especially guys over 6' 2" or so, the Ford definitely offers the best cab.

The F-250 also is considered by many to still have the best ride while under load, which is somewhat debatable now with the changes to the Chevy frame. However, the handling definitely still has the Ford feel to it which will keep the Ford-lovers happy.

The Dodge: Although it has fallen behind in the Hp, Towing and Payload areas, Dodge has made great strides in comfort-ability. This Dodge no longer has as stiff a feel as the old Dodges due to a re-worked interior and softer suspension. Don't get me wrong, it still feels much more stiff than the Ford and Chevy, but it is catching up. With additions of side boxes built into the bed and the new larger cab available, some work has definitely been done. Now in the 2012 the extra side boxes are supposedly going to be standard.

The Chevrolet: Yes the truck is stronger and pulls better than it has before, but did they give up on comfort? No! Actually the truck is more comfortable. With additions in the past 2 years to room in the front seat and head room, and the added weight and frame and suspension upgrades, the truck feels bigger and stronger without becoming stiff and bouncy. With the better comfort and the higher MPG from the other trucks, Chevy has a great HD.


  1. Great informative comparison. It really help me a lot as I am planing to purchase some new trucks for my business.

  2. I need a small 4 door pickup truck like the colorado, canyon, frontier or tacoma and don't realy need a big truck but I'm cosidering a diesel truck like the f250 , how would you compare fuel efficincy in the long run? Please advise.

  3. You would be looking at about $100 more in fuel/month. However, if you have to haul much weight or pull a trailer, your fuel costs would be closer. If you plan on putting high mileage (over 200,000) on the truck, a diesel may be a good investment, but either will take a good maintenance effort.

  4. Thanks for sharing diesel truck engine 2012 comparisons. I was looking for it. It really helped me.

  5. Hats off. Blogs like this are helpful in research about truck comparisons and understanding of engine and fuel.

  6. The one thing u have to remember is that Cummins builds motors! Period! I drive all three american brands on a regular basis with all the new motors from 250's to 4500's and i just bought a 2012 crew cab big horn cummins powered ram 2500. Im telling u, the other motors do not compare to the cummins engine. It is bulletproof! The new dodge interiors are the best as well. Simply put, the cord and chevy interiors are cheap. Like i said, i work for a major transportation company on the east coast.