DETROIT — If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Chevrolet has implicitly acknowledged the success of one of its competitors by putting a 2.8-liter turbo diesel into its Colorado midsize pickup truck.
Chevrolet reached into its global bag of engines and pulled out the 2.8-liter oil burner which makes 181 horsepower and a sizable 369 pound-feet of torque. Mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, our test vehicle was rated at 20 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg combined.
This engine had a forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods, an oiling circuit that included a dedicated feed for the turbocharger to provide increased pressure at the turbo and faster oil delivery, piston-cooling oil jets, a 16.5:1 compression ratio, common rail direct injection fuel system, ceramic glow plugs for shorter heat-up times and higher glow temperatures, a 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 and it had B20 bio-diesel capability.
Chevy said the 2.8-liter engine is the cleanest burning diesel truck that was every produced by General Motors. It had a cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system.
For a diesel, this engine was pretty quiet and because the Colorado was a midsize pickup truck, the Duramax turbo-diesel moved it swiftly. This Colorado rode smoothly. It had an independent coil-over-shock suspension in the front and a solid axle with semi-elliptic multi-leaf springs suspension in the rear. There was also a G80 automatic locking rear axle.
The electric power steering had a bit of feedback. But in a pickup truck the friction free steering provided by electric power steering was a good thing. Braking was provided by four-wheel discs with what Chevy called Duralife rotors.
Our tester had Chevy’s Z71 off road package. There was an electric two-speed transfer case, a fully automatic locking rear differential and hill descent control.
The Colorado was loaded with stuff. We had the crew cab which meant it could carry five adults with no problem. The second row seat back folded flat creating interior storage space. In two-wheel-drive mode, it could tow up to 7,700 lbs. and tote up to 1,508 lbs. Remember, this is a four cylinder diesel engine. There was a smart diesel exhaust brake system that reduced wear on steep grades.
The Colorado could switch between two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive and it had a four-wheel high/low selection for on road and off road driving. We stuck to two-wheel-drive since there was no snow or any of the muck that comes with it on the ground.
The diesel powered Colorado was equipped with an integrated trailer brake controller. And there was a standard corner step on the rear bumper that is on every Colorado. An EZ Lift and lower tailgate is standard on the Z71 Colorado. We opened the tailgate and let it fall and it just glided down. It was also pretty easy to close.
It had Apple CarPlay. Apple maps could be shown, messages could be sent and received using Siri, make phone calls, listen to messages, access music stored on the iPhone and it could support apps that you’ve downloaded onto your iPhone.
The Colorado had a rear-vision camera, remote vehicle start, heated front seats, satellite radio, voice controls, OnStar, USB and auxiliary jacks and it could establish its own 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. For $41,905, the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD diesel seemed like a pretty good buy.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.