Today's midsize truck market is for all intents and purposes a party of two in the U.S. market, both Japanese brands. The Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier are the lone holdouts in a market segment that's been abandoned by nearly every other manufacturer. The market niche is about to grow by two with the addition of the 2014 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.
Confirmation of the 2014 Colorado's existence is nothing new, with GM confirming its plans, and even specifying U.S. production at its Wentzville, Missouri, plant. But the latest news reported by Motor Trend adds a unique wrinkle to the Colorado story, one that could give it a decisive edge over its competitors. The U.S.-spec Colorado could be offered from launch, or shortly thereafter, with a diesel engine option. In our conversations with GM product planners, they have said a key differentiator between the Silverado and Colorado will be fuel economy, as the Colorado's growth over its predecessor, puts it within a few inches of the Silverado in many key dimensions.
Likely to offer direct-injected four-cylinder and V-6 gas engine options, the U.S.-spec Colorado could also see the installation of either the 2.5 or 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder diesels offered in the global-market Colorado. Our money would be on the larger of the two, especially with the prospect of GM touting the engine's "class-leading torque" which is a substantial 324 lb-ft with a manual transmission, and a Vortec V-8-rivaling 347 lb-ft with an automatic. Equipped with a diesel four-pot, the Colorado could even conceivably top 30 mpg highway, a major accomplishment for a midsize pickup.
For the time being, it looks like Ram has the market on diesel half-tons cornered with the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, but a diesel-powered Colorado could appeal to buyers that need the versatility of a pickup occasionally, but don't want to have to deal with their traditionally high fuel consumption the rest of the time. Even with a $3000+ option, the diesel could hold a lot of appeal for midsize buyers. Would you consider a Colorado diesel?