Although it won't be available for the first year of production (which starts in several months), the baby Duramax turbo-diesel option for the 2016 midsize GM pickups (the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon) has been caught doing both high-altitude and hot-weather testing. No word on pricing for the powertrain option yet, but you can expect it to be packaged with the top trim package; eventually it should be available as a stand-alone option for cost- and durability-minded fleet owners. Here's what our photographers shared with us:
"GM is testing prototypes for its diesel-powered Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon alongside Volkswagen's Amarok pickup truck on the streets of Milford, Mich.
"The revived Colorado and Canyon will use GM's 2.8-liter Duramax turbo-diesel, which should give GM's new pickups a strong standing in the midsize truck market. These latest prototypes give us our best look at the Colorado diesel's venturi exhaust tip, which is likely to be the final production exhaust specification.
"The presence of the Amarok testing with GM's new, U.S.-spec midsize pickups is interesting. Such testing will help GM see how they will compare with the Amarok for global markets, but we've heard VW is also discussing the possibility of entering the U.S. truck market in the future. It's highly unlikely that the current Amarok will see U.S. showrooms — as some have deemed it too small for the North American market. VW's entry into the U.S. truck market will likely come with the next-generation, upsized Amarok model — which is expected to be a better fit for the U.S. market."
We should know more about the two gas engines later this summer when we get our first chance to drive the duo. As to what kind of competition GM's fraternal twins will have, much of that will depend on how long the U.S. pickup truck segment is protected by the "chicken tax."
(This story has been modified from original posting to correct the model year.)
KGP Photography images