It’s A Great Time To Drive A Diesel - Final Gear
Chevy Colorado ZR2 Concept
To be fair, it’s always been a great time to own and drive a diesel vehicle, but with new models hitting showrooms and many more to come, the offerings have never been more plentiful. Even more importantly, diesel fuel prices have hit a low not seen in the past half-decade, with $3.07 being the current national average and still dropping. Taking it even further, the vehicles coming out are getting better fuel economy with more power than ever before.
We all know about the power and capability war that’s raging between Detroit’s Big Three, so there’s no need to beat that dead horse. What’s equally impressive is the fuel economy all three are getting. Though they carry no rating from the EPA, I’ve personally been able to knock down more than 17 mpg in both the Ram 2500 and Ford F-350. Even more impressive, though, my wife managed an astonishing 21.67 mpg while driving a GMC Sierra 2500HD crew cab four-wheel drive. These are all hand calculated, not indicated (never trust the indicated mileage).
In other big news, by the time you read this, you’ll be able to find all the gory details on the Cummins-powered ’16 Nissan Titan flowing from the spring of knowledge that we call the Internet. If I were to do some last-minute speculating (the announcement is exactly a week away as of this writing), I’d expect to see horsepower in the 330 range and torque topping 550 lb-ft. Tow ratings in excess of 13,000 pounds should be a minimum, and we won’t know fuel economy ratings until much later in the year. Again, just my last-minute, wild speculation. We’ll see how close I got soon.
While we’re speculating, let’s talk Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon diesel. Chevy unveiled the Colorado ZR2 concept at the Los Angeles International Auto Show back in November 2014. While the truck itself is an awesome specimen, Chevy’s PR folks also dropped quite the nugget of technical data on us diesel enthusiasts. What we already knew was that the ’16 model will feature a 2.8L Duramax diesel engine. What they let us know, quite nonchalantly, were the power figures for that engine. In U.S.-spec, the baby Duramax is set to produce 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Both figures are impressive, but what’s left to wonder about is fuel economy. I’d expect to see the EPA number released mid-year and would bet we’ll see 35 mpg highway and 25 mpg city. Am I wrong? We’ll know soon. Want to engage in a friendly wager on the matter? Drop me an email.
One last prediction for 2016: An updated Duramax will come out of seemingly nowhere and crush the competition in the heavy-duty segment. Rumors of this have been floating around for some time, and I’m betting this is the year we see it happen. GM has been on a refresh schedule that updates body and chassis first, and then drivetrain. With the ’15 seeing a major body refresh, I expect ’16 to give us a Duramax pumping out nearly 500 hp and 900 lb-ft of torque. Seem crazy? It probably is, but I’m sticking with that bet.
This next year is shaping up to be one of the best on record for the diesel enthusiast. Between record-low fuel prices, record-high power figures, and an increasingly large variety of oil burners, 2015 is going to be the year of the diesel. I’m definitely betting on it!