Chevrolet Colorado Diesel Promises Best-in-Class Towing, Torque


GM is pushing its North American midsize trucks into uncharted territory with the addition of a new 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel that the company says will help its truck twins claim a number of best-in-class stats.

Both the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon will get the new engine, which has been in development for more than eight years. The engine is built in Thailand and is currently available in global versions of the trucks. GM estimates that the U.S. versions of the small four-cylinder diesel will make around 181 HP and 369 lb-ft of torque.

That means the diesel puts out more twist than the 269 lb-ft available from the 3.6-liter V6, and is nearly equivalent to the 383 lb-ft found in the 5.3-liter V8 available in the Silverado and Sierra. More importantly, GM promises that these diesel-powered small trucks will claim best-in-class fuel economy. Something north of 30 mpg is a safe assumption for combined fuel economy.

SEE ALSO: 2015 GMC Canyon Long-Term Review

Towing is clearly a focus for these trucks, as every single diesel-equipped Colorado and Canyon will come with an integrated trailer brake controller and a hitch receiver, a combination that GM promises will be able to provide best-in-class towing numbers.

Many of the engine parts used in the international versions of the truck, such as the the cast iron block, pistons, cylinder heads, and connecting rods are identical, though the two versions aren’t exactly the same. Extreme heat and cold weather conditions were both taken into account for North America, which resulted in a larger cooling fan and ceramic glow plugs. Better operation at high altitude is taken care of by a new variable geometry turbo.


Reducing noise, vibration and harshness was also a priority for the North American market. A new centrifugal pendulum absorber was added to the six-speed automatic transmission to help managed torque fluctuations, keeping power flow smooth.

The last part of the equation is cost. GM says that the diesel will be available on mid-trim crew cab trucks, though a base Work Truck version with a diesel is being considered, mainly for fleet customers. Take rate on the diesel is estimated to be roughly 10 percent of all sales.

The introduction of the Colorado and Canyon seems to have invigorated the entire midsize truck segment, which has grown by 51 percent year-to-date compared to last year. The Toyota Tacoma still leads the segment with a total of 73,000 units sold through May of this year, but GM is not too far behind with 48,000 sold in the same time frame.

Because the models we drove at this preview event were development mules, we aren’t permitted to talk about driving impressions, but stay tuned for our full review coming soon.

Discuss this story at our Chevy Colorado Forum


Karen says:

Earn 90 dollars each day for working on-line from your home for couple of hours every day… Get paid regularly on a weekly basis… Everything you need is a pc, internet access, and also a little sparetime…

Bug S Bunny says:

“Best in class towing”. Well, considering that in the U.S. the Colorado will be the only diesel in the class, and the class has only three vehicles, that’s not really a tall statement.

Used to be Chevy Fan says:

You got that right!

Ryan Wilson says:

Nissan is releasing the Titan with a 5.0 Cummins and has a prototype Frontier with a 2.8 liter Cummins. I don’t think that these GM twins will be the only small diesel for long. Toyota has announced that they will not be putting a diesel in the Tacoma, but I have a feeling that they will forget that statement in the next few years.

Rocket says:

“Something north of 30 mpg is a safe assumption for combined fuel economy.”

Combined? That’s gotta be a typo, right? If not, color me skeptical. Very, VERY skeptical. The highway rating of the 2wd model might be in the low 30’s, but the city number will drag it down considerably. EPA ratings of 23/32 would be great. That said, real world results should be stellar.

narg says:

I’m estimating 25/39 myself, maybe higher. From what I see on MPG overseas…. Very achievable. What I’m worried about is the smog control crap they have to do for the US. It’s made real problems for most other small engine diesels on the market today.

Rocket says:

39? Sorry, but not a chance. This is not a small pickup. Those overseas numbers you referenced based on 20% larger imperial gallons?

Brett Petracek says:

by the looks of it GM is sticking with those HORRIBLE projector bulb headlights, looks like nobody will be towing at night.

narg says:

You can put better in if you want. I don’t understand why people don’t thing that way any more these days. Too spoiled now I guess….

Craig says:

When you pay over 30k for a vehicle new, expecting all the factory components to work well isn’t being spoiled, it being realistic.

Brett Petracek says:

Out dealership gave us new bulbs, and tried a set from a parts store…no luck. Dumb thing is that some of our other vehicles, tractors and tractor trailers have projector bulbs and they better, still not as bright as the normal style headlights. We figure that this is a design flaw in the headlight housing thats not properly reflecting the light. Hopefully GM comes out with a redesign, i mean it only took 10 years to replace an ignition switch, so this shouldn’t take long?.

narg says:

The trim offering is STUPID! They did this with the Cruz diesel too. Only mid level?!?! It needs to be available on ALL TRIM LEVELS! I like GM when they are smart, but when they are dumb it just astounds me. To much marketing team control over features I think. Marketing needs to be an “add” not a “control”