The first thing you notice inside the diesel Chevy Colorado is that it's quiet. Almost too quiet. A lot has been done to quell noise and vibration with this new powertrain, and it shows – or rather, doesn't. There's some characteristic diesel clatter at idle, but even then it's distant and practically disappears as you start moving down the road. At full throttle, when the engine is at its noisiest, the sound isn't particularly diesel-like, just a pleasant intake breath. The accompanying smoothness is almost eerie. When we ask where all the noise went, Chevy's engineers, marketing guys, and PR reps all explain that this refinement is what Americans want. We're still not sure. This is a truck, after all, and the diesel pickup customer is different from the guy buying a diesel Cruze for his highway commute. Chevy contends that they're also not the same as the buyer of a Silverado HD. Although this 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder has been in service elsewhere around the globe, its first US application is in the Colorado and its GMC Canyon twin. The engine puts out 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, and it does so unobtrusively as a result of a lot of modifications for our market. To keep normal diesel sensations out of the cabin, the intake and oil pan both get acoustic treatments. A new, thicker material is used for firewall sound deadening. Redesigned balance shafts have tighter tolerances to increase smoothness. The diesel powertrain is smoother than the Colorado's gasoline V6. One of the more interesting and certainly unexpected vibration-reduction changes is a special torque converter from German supplier LuK equipped with a centrifugal pendulum absorber. This pendulum spreads from the center of the torque converter as engine speed increases and is tuned to absorb the four-cylinder's second-order vibrations, not just those in a narrow frequency band. It does an admirable job, especially considering the engine's biggish, 0.7-liter cylinders, which lead to bigger vibrations. The result is a powertrain that's smoother than GM's (not particularly smooth) corporate V6, which is available in the standard Colorado. It's quieter than a Cruze diesel and even out-softens some gas direct-injection engines on the market. Paradoxically, it may be the most refined of all of the Colorados. No vibration comes through the steering wheel, pedals, floorboards, or even the rearview mirror. But you can tell it's a diesel when you hit the throttle. This truck is quick, but not blisteringly so. There's a broad band of usable torque and a standard 3.42 rear axle to help maximize it. The turbo does its spooling in short order from a stop – its compressor wheel is resized to improve off-the-line response and high-altitude performance – but you never hear it, not even on overrun. The six-speed auto is just as nice here as it is with the other Colorado engines, ready with a downshift when needed; there's also a manual mode and an up-down toggle on the side of the shifter when you want …
Hide Full Review
Smart Buy Price
|MPG||19 City / 26 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd man w/OD|
|Power||200 @ 6300 rpm|
Savings without having to haggle for it.
Switch to State Farm and save an average of $536* on your car insurance.