The truck wars are hotter than ever!

Following a preview in December 2018, Chevrolet introduced the all-new Silverado HD truck at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show,bragging about its new gasoline engine, 10-speed transmission for the diesel mill, and segment-leading towing capability. But Ford joined in with a revised version of the F-Series Super Duty and crashed GM’s party.

Bringing New Engines to the Party

How Ford Crashed Chevy's Heavy Duty Truck Party in Chicago
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Ford kicked the doors down with a new 7.3-liter gasoline V-8

One of the biggest news coming from Chevy is that the Silverado HD has a new gasoline engine. Replacing the old 6.0-liter V-8, the new 6.6.-liter V-8 features direct injection, a forged steel crankshaft, forged powder-metal connecting rods and other high-strength components. The result is a power and torque increase of 11 and 22 percent over the old unit, respectively. All told, the new V-8 cranks out 401 horsepower and 464 pound-feet of torque.

While that’s probably a bit more than Ford’s 6.2-liter V-8, FoMoCo kicked the doors down with a new 7.3-liter V-8. It doesn’t replace the 6.2-liter unit, but joins it, meaning it should have well in excess of 400 horsepower. I’m saying "it should" because Ford did not release performance specs yet, but claims it’s "the most powerful gasoline V-8 in its class." And given that Ford’s old 6.2-liter V-8 delivers 385 horsepower, this massive unit should trump Chevy’s 6.6-liter V-8 by a notable margin.

Making things that much more painful for Chevy, Ford’s old 6.7-liter turbodiesel V-8 generates an extra five horsepower and 25 pound-feet over the Silverado’s new Cummins engine, rated at 445 horses and 910 pound-feet. With Ford having already announced an update for the oil burner, it will offer even more power compared to Chevy’s.

10-Speed Transmission

How Ford Crashed Chevy's Heavy Duty Truck Party in Chicago
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Ford's 10-speed gearbox can be had with both the 6.7-liter turbodiesel and the new 7.3-liter gasoline V-8

Chevrolet unleashed the Silverado HD while bragging that it brings a number of competitive advantages over Ford and Ram trucks, including superior cargo box volume and standard side steps. It also mentioned a number of optional features that you can’t get from the competition, like an automatic two-speed transfer case, 120-volt outlet in the bed, and a head-up display. Likewise, it bragged about the Silverado HD being the only truck with a 10-speed automatic transmission, while the competition offered six-speed gearboxes only.

Well, Ford fought back and brought its own 10-speed transmission to the market. It fits in the same space as the old six-speed and features selectable driving modes, including Tow/Haul, Slippery, Deep Sand, and Snow. And unlike Chevy’s, which is restricted to the diesel engine, Ford’s can be had with both the 6.7-liter turbodiesel and the new 7.3-liter gasoline V-8. Oops!

The Towing Wars

How Ford Crashed Chevy's Heavy Duty Truck Party in Chicago
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With the 6.7-liter diesel upgraded to deliver more than 935 pound-feet, the F-Series will likely cancel the Silverado HD's 1,500-pound advantage

Chevy’s upgraded 6.6-liter Cummins diesel, revised chassis components, and the new 10-speed automatic transmission enable the Silverado HD to tow up to 35,500 pounds in certain configurations. This figure places the Silverado 1,500 pounds above the outgoing Ford F-350 Super Duty and 400 pounds above the Ram 3500 Heavy Duty, which translates into class-leading capability.

But this statement may be a thing of the past.

Although Ford didn't release towing figures in Chicago, it did say that the upgraded F-Series Super Duty will offer "its highest-ever towing and payload ratings."

Granted, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it will tow more than 35,500 pounds, but with the F-Series behind both its competitors, Ford probably made notable improvements in this area. And with the 6.7-liter diesel upgraded to deliver more than 935 pound-feet and connected to a brand-new 10-speed transmission, there’s a big chance that the F-Series will cancel the Silverado HD’s 1,500-pound advantage.

How Ford Crashed Chevy's Heavy Duty Truck Party in Chicago
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And even if it doesn’t happen, Ford already managed to cancel some of Chevy’s new features and left the Silverado HD without many of its bragging rights when it matter most: at its public debut in Chicago.

The good news is that these horsepower and towing wars will benefit you, the customer, as both automakers launch a couple of very capable work trucks!

Further reading

How Ford Crashed Chevy's Heavy Duty Truck Party in Chicago
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2020 F-Series Super Duty Promises to Offer Highest Towing and Payload Ratings

Chevrolet Silverado HD
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2020 Chevy Silverado HD Debuts with New Engine, Massive Towing Rating

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