A year after launching its new midsize Colorado pickup, Chevrolet is back with a new diesel-powered version of the truck.
The new 2.8-liter Duramax diesel will be offered in the near-twin GMC Canyon, as well, making the pair the only diesels offered in the rebounding midsize pickup market. While no hard figures for the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado Diesel were released, it has been widely anticipated that highway mileage will top 30 mpg when the truck goes on sale this fall.
“Along with greater capability and efficiency, it expands the Colorado lineup to give customers more choices and the capability of exploring more possibilities on and off the road, said Sandor Piszar, director of Chevrolet Truck Marketing.
(Chevrolet teases new 2016 Silverado. Click Here for a first look.)
Chevy is billing the Duramax package as the “cleanest diesel truck engine ever produced by General Motors.” GM has been slowly exploring demand for diesels, both in the truck and passenger car segments. So-called oil-burners have been gaining ground in the U.S. market in recent years, though European makers like Volkswagen, Audi and Mercedes-Benz largely dominate.
Analysts believe truck buyers will be particularly receptive to diesels because they not only deliver better mileage but also have significant advantages over gasoline powertrains when it comes to torque and towing capacity.
While horsepower might seem modest at just 181 hp, the 2.8-liter diesel will churn out 369 pound-feet of torque, enough to deliver 7,700 pounds of towing capacity on the two-wheel-drive Colorado, and 7,600 pounds with the optional four-wheel-drive package.
As for mileage, Chevy is only saying for now that, it is, “projected to top the already segment-leading efficiency of the gas models.” With the 2.5-liter gas option, the Chevrolet Colorado gets as much as 27 mpg on the highway, that package rated to tow up to 7,000 pounds.
The turbocharged, four-cylinder engine features an iron block and common rail direct injection. It will be mated to a 6-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. The Duramax package will feature an exhaust brake system to help reduce brake wear on steep grades.
Chevy says the package will be capable of running on B20 biodiesel, a blend of 20% renewable fuel stocks.
“A diesel engine was part of the Colorado’s portfolio plan from the very beginning, meaning the chassis, suspension and other elements of its architecture were engineered to support its capability,” said Scott Yackley, assistant chief engineer.
The beefed-up suspension has been paired with Chevy’s Z82 trailering package, including both hitch and 7-pin electrical connector.
(Ford pushes the price limits with new F-150 Limited model. Click Here to check it out.)
To reduce noise and vibration, Chevy engineers added a Centrifugal Pendulum Vibration Absorber, a damping system that, the maker explains, “vibrate(s) in the opposite direction of the torsional vibrations of the engine, balancing out undesirable torsional vibrations.” It’s the first time that system has been used on a GM diesel powertrain.
The Duramax diesel will be offered for both the Colorado LT and Z71 Crew Cab models and will carry a $3,730 premium over the current 3.6-liter V-6 engine.
As for the GMC Canyon diesel, it gets several additional features, including an integrated trailer brake controller, as well as an electronically controlled two-speed transfer case on 4WD models. Power and towing figures are identical to those of the Chevy diesel truck.
Chevy (like GMC) briefly exited the midsize pickup truck segment, in line with a number of other one-time players like Ford and FCA’s Ram and Dodge brands. But since relaunching the Colorado in all-new form last year, demand has surged, leading many analysts to upgrade their forecasts for a long-declining market segment.
While Ford and FCA continue to insist they aren’t going back into the midsize pickup segment, Toyota is getting ready to launch a new version of its Tacoma, and Honda is prepping an all-new Ridgeline truck. Nissan is expected to show off a new Frontier next year.
(FCA will buy back – then resell — Dodge and Ram diesels as part of new recall consent order. Click Here for the story.)