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Chevrolet Finds a Sweet Spot with 2016 Colorado Duramax Diesel

Chevrolet Finds a Sweet Spot with 2016 Colorado Duramax Diesel

By Christian Wardlaw, July 29, 2015

When Chevrolet redesigned the Colorado midsize pickup truck for the 2015 model year, the automaker announced that it would offer a turbocharged diesel engine option for 2016. Now, details about that 2.8-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder are available, as well as the price of the option, which will be available in the fall of 2015.

Offered for the Colorado crew cab with LT or Z71 trim, and with either 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive (2WD or 4WD), the new Duramax turbodiesel will cost $3,730 more than an equivalent model equipped with a 3.6-liter V-6 engine.

That price includes more than just the engine. The Colorado’s Duramax package also adds a trailering package, trailer brake controller, automatic-locking rear differential, 3.42 rear axle ratio, and a diesel exhaust brake system. The 6-speed automatic transmission gains a Centrifugal Pendulum Vibration Absorber, and when paired with 4WD, a new electronic 2-speed transfer case is installed in the Colorado Diesel.

The engine makes 181 horsepower at 3,400 rpm and 369 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,000 rpm. It is also the cleanest diesel truck ever made by General Motors, and is designed to run on regular diesel or B20 bio-diesel.

As far as capability is concerned, Chevrolet says it will tow 7,700 lbs. of trailer with 2WD, and the Colorado Diesel’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) increases to 6,000 lbs. These figures represent increases of 700 lbs. and 200 lbs., respectively, compared to an equivalent Colorado V-6. A Colorado Diesel with 4WD tows 7,600 lbs. and has a 6,200-lb. GVWR.

Naturally, you might be wondering about the value proposition here, especially in comparison to the larger Chevrolet Silverado 1500. To match or exceed the Colorado Diesel’s passenger, towing, and GVWR ratings, you would need to buy a Silverado 1500 Double Cab short bed with 2WD, 5.3-liter V-8 engine, and a 3.42 rear axle ratio. This truck would tow 9,500 lbs. and boast a GVWR of 7,000 lbs.

Using 2015 pricing for both the Colorado and the Silverado, the minimum cost for the properly equipped Silverado would be $32,585, compared with a Colorado LT crew cab at $31,715 (diesel package price is included).

Remember, though, that because the Colorado has LT trim it will look less like something belonging at a work site and more like something you’d want to park in your driveway. It would also include more of the things that make everyday life more enjoyable: carpeting, cloth seats, MyLink infotainment system, stuff like that.

Also, though official EPA fuel-economy estimates for the Colorado Diesel are yet to be announced, Chevrolet says that it “takes midsize truck capability and efficiency to unprecedented levels.” Read between the lines and the new diesel will be more fuel-efficient than other Colorados, and the Silverado.

Thus, Chevrolet finds a genuine sweet spot in the truck market with the new 2016 Colorado Duramax Diesel. This new midsize pickup might not possess the same amount of interior room and cargo bed volume as a similarly capable Silverado, but it delivers competitive towing and hauling capabilities in a better-equipped, and less expensive, vehicle.

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