General Motors today announced midsized sibling trucks with the cleanest diesel truck engine it’s yet installed.

The 2016 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon with 2.8-liter Duramax diesel engine will go on sale ths fall, and join 2.5-liter four, and 3.6-liter six-cylinder versions.

Exactly how clean the new diesel is has not been announced, nor has the mpg, but the vehicles are expected to beat EPA ratings for the gas versions. The 2.5-liter gas-powered 2015 Chevy Canyon is rated 20 mpg city, 27 highway, 22 combined, but Chevrolet is unwilling to hint how much better the diesel’s mpg will be.


News today is the truck will not be underpowered, even if it is economical and cleaner. The new 2.8-liter Duramax diesel is SAE-certified at 181 horsepower (135 kw) and 369 pounds-feet of torque (500 Nm).

Towing capacity will be a class-leading 7,700 pounds (3,492 kg) on 2WD models. The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating has also been increased to 6,000 pounds on two-wheel drive and 6,200 pounds for four-wheel drive.

Vehicles it’s expected to go up against include the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. Neither have diesel versions and in the midsized truck segment, these GM pickups for now are unique.

“Simply put, there’s no other midsize truck that can do what Colorado can with its all-new Duramax diesel,” said Sandor Piszar, director of Chevrolet Truck Marketing. “Along with greater capability and efficiency, it expands the Colorado lineup to give customers more choices and the capability of exploring more possibilities on and off the road.”

A similar quote was made for the essentially identical GMC Canyon.

GM says the new trucks meet “some of the toughest U.S. emissions standards” and credit in part a cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system. This EGR system diverts some of the engine-out exhaust gas and mixes it back into the fresh intake air stream, which is drawn into the cylinder head for combustion.

In turn, this lowers combustion temperatures and rates, improving emissions performance by reducing the formation of NOx.


The trucks also feature a “smart exhaust brake” as introduced on full-size GM trucks. 
This uses the compression of the Duramax engine to improve vehicle control and reduce brake pad wear.

When engaged in cruise mode, exhaust cruise grade braking helps the cruise control system maintain the desired downhill vehicle speed, keeping the driver from having to apply the brakes and exit cruise control to maintain speed.

“A diesel engine was part of the Colorado’s portfolio plan from the very beginning, meaning the chassis, suspension and other elements of its architecture were engineered to support its capability,” said Scott Yackley, assistant chief engineer. “That means there are no compromises with the Colorado diesel. It offers exceptional capability delivered with a confident feeling of control.”

Additional engine features:
• Iron cylinder block and aluminum DOHC cylinder head
• Forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods
• Oiling circuit that includes a dedicated feed for the turbocharger to provide increased pressure at the turbo and faster oil delivery
• Piston-cooling oil jets
• 16.5:1 compression ratio
• Common rail direct injection fuel system
• Ceramic glow plugs for shorter heat-up times and higher glow temperatures
• Balance shaft that contributes to smoothness and drives the oil pump
• Laminated steel oil pan with upper aluminum section that contributes to engine rigidity and quietness
• B20 bio-diesel capability.

The new Duramax diesel is offered on SLE and SLT Crew Cab models in GMC guise, and as the Chevy Canyon, on LT and Z71 Crew Cab models.

In both cases, it comes in 2WD or 4WD and is priced $3,730 more than a comparably equipped V6 model.

It is unlikely sales will be broken out for these trucks for reporting apart from the gas lineup. If we can get these numbers we will post monthly to our Dashboard.