It might have never crossed your mind, but if you’ve been thinking about shopping for a used pickup, it may be in your best interest to pursue a model that offers a diesel engine. There are several advantages to pursuing this type of unit. Diesel engines obviously offer better fuel economy, with all of the systems mentioned below delivering at least a 40 mile per gallon efficiency. They also have improved power, as these engines usually offer better horsepower and torque. Diesel engine’s longevity and reliability are perhaps the most two important aspects, especially when you’re pursuing a used model. You can expect a diesel engine to last at least 300,000 miles, meaning you shouldn’t run into any issues with a diesel motor. The engines also need less maintenance than a gasoline engine, as the improved technology accounts for any potential problems. Considering all of the advantages that accompany a diesel engine, it shouldn’t be a surprise that these vehicles typically run for more money than their gasoline counterparts. However, since you’re pursuing a used model, you should still be able to grab a truck for an affordable price. Some of these may be a little difficult to find, but don’t worry, they’re worth it and choosing a used diesel truck over another option can pay off for years to come.
By the way, these are in no particular order – what is best for you will depend on exactly what you need, so check out each of these and see what they have to offer. Also, keep in mind there are way more than five good models out there to choose from but you don’t want to see the version of this that lists 15 different models. Seriously, at a certain point I went cross-eyed trying to keep track of all of them.
The 2010 GMC Sierra HD
Although in many ways identical to the Chevy Silverado, the GMC Sierra series is typically a bit more “upscale” for lack of a better word. That means it tends to have more features and more available upgrades, which can be important when you’re looking at used models, so that’s a good thing. Since you can’t pick your own options like you can with a new model, a used diesel truck that had a good selection of options when it was first available is more likely to have great features after the fact. The 2010 GMC Sierra HD trucks had an available 6.6L Turbodiesel V8 engine that provided up to 365hp and 660 lb.-ft. of torque.
The 2010 GMC Sierra 2500HD and 3500HD are both terrific used trucks and the right choice for you really just depends on exactly what you need and are looking for. In general, the 3500HD is going to be stronger than the 2500HD and have higher towing and payload capacities. Some of that will depend on the configuration of the truck and the engine that it has – but since only one diesel engine was offered for the Sierra HD trucks, that shouldn’t be different between the 2500 and 3500. Really, it will come down to towing and payload capacity – with the 3500HD having greater values.
When you look at different 2010 GMC Sierra HD models, keep an eye out for certain trim levels and features. The SLE level included keyless entry, rear tinted windows, and a CD player. If you find a 2010 GMC Sierra HD SLT model, then you’re more likely to get the heavy trailering package available at that time, leather upholstery, and remote engine start. The SLT also had Bluetooth connectivity and Bose speakers.
The 2014 Ram 1500
This was a very popular full-size pickup just a few years ago, so you can find a decent number of them out there. Now, finding an owner willing to part with it might be a bit more difficult, but if you do some looking you’ll find them. Keep in mind this was available with either a V6 standard gas engine or diesel engine, so make sure you find one with the diesel engine.
The Ram 1500 in 2014 was available with a regular cab, extended cab, or a crew cab and had two different bed sizes. There were quite a few different trim levels available for the 2014 Ram 1500 so keep your eyes open and make sure you look at the different features in any used model you consider. The standard Tradesman level had a locking tailgate, sprayed-in bedliner, and vinyl upholstery.
By contrast to this, the Longhorn trim level featured a larger fuel tank, remote ignition, and front/rear parking sensors. It also had a Navigation system, and available features like keyless entry, leather upholstery, and a leather and wood steering wheel. A lot can change from one trim level to another, so keep that in mind. As long as you get the 2014 Ram 1500 with the 3L Turbocharged diesel V6 engine, however, you should get up to 240hp and 420 lb.-ft. of torque.
The 2012 Chevy Silverado 2500HD
2012 was a good year for the Chevy Silverado 2500HD, which makes it one of the better used diesel trucks you will find on the market. Like many other trucks, this model had a standard gasoline engine with a diesel engine available, so make sure you know what you’re getting before you make any purchase. The available 6.6L Turbodiesel V8 engine could provide up to 397hp and 765 lb.-ft. of torque for incredible overall performance and power.
There were quite a few configurations available for the 2012 Chevy Silverado 2500HD, including regular and crew cab body styles, long and standard beds, and either two-wheel or four-wheel drive. Plus there were three different trim levels available, with the LTZ being the nicest overall.
The standard, or WT, trim level included vinyl seats and basic AM/FM radio. With an upgrade to the LT trim level, the 2012 Chevy Silverado 2500HD included cloth seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and cruise control plus a CD/MP3 player. Finally, at the LTZ trim level, this pickup had larger wheels, a heavy-duty trailering package, dual-zone climate control, and Bluetooth connectivity.
The 2012 Ford F-250 Super Duty
If you thought you were going to get through this list without seeing a Ford, then you were mistaken. Just as 2012 was a solid year for the Chevy Silverado HD, it was also a great year for heavy duty Fords, particularly the F-250 Super Duty. The F250 Super Duty in 2012 had a standard gasoline engine, but there was also an available 6.7L Turbodiesel V8 engine that provided 400hp and up to 800 lb.-ft. of torque. So yeah, it’s an impressive truck.
There were different cab and box sizes available and the 2012 F-250 Super Duty could come with either two-wheel or four-wheel drive, so keep that in mind as you look at different models out there. There were four trim levels, starting with the XL, then XLT, Lariat, and finally the King Ranch for the most high-scale experience. The XL included 17-inch wheels, basic air conditioning, and vinyl upholstery.
By contrast, the Lariat and King Ranch had 18-inch wheels, with options for 20-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, and leather upholstery. The King Ranch included power-folding and telescoping tow mirrors, unique badge details inside and out, and remote start. The King Ranch also included a rearview camera, which was not required at that time like it is now.
The 2007 GMC Sierra 3500HD
Although 2007 might seem like a lifetime ago in the auto industry, in reality there are excellent used diesel trucks from that time, and even much earlier. The 2007 GMC Sierra 3500HD had a lot of great improvements over previous years and marked a year of a redesign for the series. That included an available Duramax 6.6L Turbodiesel V8 engine that provided up to 365hp and 660 lb.-ft. of torque for great overall towing and payload capacity.
When released, there were three different cab sizes available for the 2007 GMC Sierra 3500HD, but they always came with a long bed and many configurations had dual rear-wheels available. The standard WT trim level in the Sierra 3500HD included air conditioning, vinyl seating, and a tilting steering wheel. The upgraded SLE trim levels could include features like cloth seating, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, and dual-zone climate control. Finally, the SLT trim level featured leather seats, a Bose audio system, keyless entry and start, and heated front seats.
And the Rest…
As you can see, there are great used diesel trucks available from many different years and manufacturers. That extends well into the past as well – if you find a used diesel truck from the 80s or 90s in good shape, and you don’t need modern luxuries like Bluetooth support or USB ports, then go for it. Only you know what is right for you so take a look at the options out there and find just the right truck for what you need.