Chevrolet takes Colorado to new heights with Duramax Diesel

The 2016 Chevy Colorado Duramax Diesel seemed right at home cruising the horse country of Santa Ynez, CA. Copyright Ron Moorhead

The 2016 Chevy Colorado Duramax Diesel seemed right at home cruising the horse country of Santa Ynez, CA. Copyright Ron Moorhead

Chevrolet shook the mid-sized pickup truck market when it introduced the Colorado mid-sized pickup a mere few months ago. Now Chevy is shaking things up by adding their Duramax Diesel engine to the Colorado lineup.

The Chevy Colorado received a huge nod from us because this truck reached beyond capable. In fact, the Colorado not only filled a void it stuffed it full of capabilities. Some features were not even thought of until Chevy included them in their trucks.

However, this test drive isn’t about that Colorado. No, this is about the new Duramax diesel engine sitting under the hood of this capable truck and the features that make this a fabulous package.

Drive the 2016 Colorado Duramax and you will be more than amazed that this is a 4-cylinder packing 369 lb-ft. of torque. Copyright Ron Moorhead

Drive the 2016 Colorado Duramax and you will be more than amazed that this is a 4-cylinder packing 369 lb-ft. of torque. Copyright Ron Moorhead

With the recent controversy over another vehicle manufacture’s diesel engines and their emission control standards, the question of emissions had to come up with a new diesel introduction. This is particularly true when Chevy folks state “this is the cleanest diesel truck engine ever produced by General Motors.” With no reluctance they were adamant and proud to make that statement.

We have no doubt that this diesel engine in the Colorado is an impressive power train. During our testing we took the truck down freeways, along city streets, across ranch land and over off-road trails and we could not find much to fault. In fact, the Colorado in any configuration is a truck we find little to fault.

To say the diesel engine in the Colorado goes against current beliefs would be an understatement. This is one of three diesel engines built in General Motors’ plant located in Thailand, however it is the only one destined for the United States.

Hold on to your hats cowboys because this capable diesel is a four banger. Yep, in diesel parlance, a measly, little, tiny four cylinder engine. But, surprise it has the grunt and heart of a big truck diesel.

With multiple configurations, from LT to Trailboss, the Colorado Duramax is sure to fit your lifestyle. copyright Ron Moorhead

With multiple configurations, from LT to Trailboss, the Colorado Duramax is sure to fit your lifestyle.
copyright Ron Moorhead

Now for a short lesson in engine numbers and their importance when considering Colorado capabilities. This 2.8-liter Duramax turbocharged diesel engine produces 181 horsepower (hold your sly comments to the end please) and 369 lb-ft. of torque. Torque is the power we feel taking off from a stop, that feeling of being pushed back in the seat and the rush of what is misplaced on horsepower is actually torque. Horsepower is good, don’t get us wrong, but torque is what we all love.

Torque is important because that is what gives the truck its pulling, hauling truck-like personality. Torque is what makes a truck a real truck, and the Colorado Duramax turbo-diesel does the job. In our book it does it exceedingly well.

Give the 2016 Colorado Duramax a little mud and it as happy as, well a truck in mud.

Give the 2016 Colorado Duramax a little mud and it as happy as, well a truck in mud.

During our initial testing Chevy had a number of different packages to show how the Colorado performs. We jumped in a four-wheel drive Trailboss first to see how the four-wheel drive performed on the streets and freeways. The two vehicles allowed on the off-road course were being utilized or we would have been in one of those first.

Unless you were standing outside the Colorado you would not have known this is a diesel engine. Actually most will not even know it if they were standing next to the hood. It is a quite diesel. The interior of the Colorado is quite and comfortable not just from engine noise but from outside noise in general. The Colorado is a comfortable vehicle.

Along city streets the Colorado is nimble and its small foot print is easy to maneuver through tight spots. Plus, the Duramax diesel is not obnoxiously loud while waiting for the lights to change along Main Street. That’s all fine and good but what got us to sit up and take notice was when we began merging onto the freeway and saw a big Peterbilt grille in our rear view mirror. It is a decision many of us have faced; do we slowdown and create a really dangerous situation or do we have the capability to accelerate and get out of his way? We had the room and a wide open freeway ahead so I stomped on the throttle and nearly yelled out yee haw as the Duramax turbo kicked in and launched us out in front and onto the freeway. Now, we would never suggest anyone put themselves in this situation on purpose; however it sure was comforting to feel the power this diesel has to offer.

Towing is a snap with up to 7700 pounds of towing capacity the 2016 Colorado Duramax has to offer.

Towing is a snap with up to 7700 pounds of towing capacity the 2016 Colorado Duramax has to offer.

This kind of performance is also what gives the Colorado Duramax diesel its hauling and towing capabilities. That was our next test with a horse trailer tagging along behind. The trailer didn’t come up to the Colorado’s max towing limit of 7,700 pounds but it gave me a good idea of how well the truck can handle loads, particularly on long steep grades. One issue folks who tow things have is not so much the climb but the descent. Chevy has that handled with the Duramax in the form of a standard integrated exhaust brake system. This switchable system allows the driver to use more of the engine to maintain speed while descending steep grades. Set the cruise control and the Colorado maintains that speed.

To say we are impressed with the new Duramax Diesel equipped Colorado would be spot on. We think the Colorado in nearly any configuration is a good bet if it fits your needs. We particularly like the manner with which Chevy has gone about fitting a diesel into the mix. Pick the Duramax over the 3.6-liter V-6 gasoline engine and the price is just $3,700 more. That price includes a heck of a lot more than just the diesel engine. The Colorado Duramax Diesel is impressive on so many levels it is difficult to pick just one to highlight.

Back country California offers a myriad of wildlife including these Tarantulas that seemed to want to get up close to the Colorado Duramax. Yes those are men's full-sized sunglasses next to this curious not so little bugger. Copyright Ron Moorhead

Back country California offers a myriad of wildlife including these Tarantulas that seemed to want to get up close to the Colorado Duramax. Yes those are men’s full-sized sunglasses next to this curious not so little bugger. Copyright Ron Moorhead

2016 Chevrolet Colorado Duramax Specifications next page.