Chevrolet Reveals Pricing, Performance for Colorado Duramax
Towing Capacity Increases by 700 Pounds for Torque-Rich Clean Diesel
Chevrolet is trickling out more information on the upcoming diesel-powered Colorado Duramax, with numbers that look to improve on the gas-powered Colorado in all respects. The 369 lb-ft of torque in the Duramax translates to a maximum trailering capacity of 7,700 pounds, which is 700 more than the max number for a Colorado running a 3.6L V-6. Maximum towing for the 4WD-equipped pickups is 7,600 pounds, which is still 700 pounds higher than a comparable gasser.
That extra capacity comes at a cost of $3,730 more than a similarly equipped V-6 Colorado. The Duramax will be available as a crew cab in LT and Z71 trim levels, in either 2WD or 4WD. That means a bottom-dollar rear-driven Colorado Duramax LT should cost $31,715, as long as there aren’t any additional “optional” features that come mandatory on the diesel. A 4WD LT diesel should cost $34,310.
Additionally, gross vehicle weight ratings increase for the Colorado Duramax, to 6,000 pounds on 2WD trucks or 6,200 pounds on 4WD trucks. That higher weight rating may only exist to account for the heavier diesel engine, but we’ve got our fingers crossed it will include a higher payload capacity than the gasser’s 1,590-pound max.
The Thailand-built 2.8L turbocharged diesel I-4 produces 181 horses at 3,400 rpm, and its 369 lb-ft come on at just 2,000 rpm. An iron block, a forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods, piston-cooling oil jets, and an oil circuit that feeds the turbocharger will help aid reliability, while an aluminum dual overhead cam cylinder head, common-rail direct injection, a balance-shaft–driven oil pump, and a rigid oil pan should give the Duramax good performance, lower weight, and greater refinement. The engine is also B20-ready.
Cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) diverts some of the spent exhaust into the engine’s intake stream, ensuring complete combustion and lowering intake temperature, which reduces the formation of harmful nitrogen emissions. GM claims it’s the cleanest diesel the company has ever produced.
Combatting the inherent roughness of a large-displacement diesel four-banger is the aforementioned balance shaft and a novel torque converter that includes a “centrifugal pendulum vibration absorber,” which cancels out the engine’s torsional vibrations to isolate unwanted harshness from passengers. We’re very interested to learn more about this interesting solution, which is the first such application in a GM vehicle or in a midsize pickup.
The last gee-whiz feature on the Colorado Duramax is an integrated, driver-selectable diesel exhaust brake. Regardless of vehicle load, the exhaust brake meters out compression drag to slow the vehicle, thereby reducing wear and stress on the Colorado’s service brakes. It can be operated with cruise control, helping the Colorado maintain its preset speed even on steep downhill grades, or it can be used as a brake-assist feature. Chevrolet claims its operation is smooth and quiet, enhancing driver control and confidence. We’re eager to try it out as soon as possible.
Although official numbers have yet to be cited, Chevrolet told us to expect fuel efficiency that enhances the Colorado’s already–segment-best numbers. That means greater than 27 mpg highway, which we’d certainly expect from a lighter, smaller-displacement oil-burner than the 29-mpg Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. We’d love to see EPA ratings hit 34 mpg on the highway, with 25 mpg in the city coming along for the ride, but we’ll see whether that will pan out.
Either way, we’re excited for the Duramax-powered Colorado. We’ll bring you more (including driving impressions) as soon as we can.