Chevrolet, GMC Midsize Pickups Best 30 MPG

Chevy Colorado Duramax 1 II

It's official: The 2016 GMC Canyons and Chevrolet Colorados equipped with the all-new Duramax 2.8-liter inline four-cylinder turbo-diesel will have the best EPA-rated fuel economy of any pickup truck sold in the U.S., breaking the 30 mpg ceiling.

The crew-cab 4x2 GM twins with the diesel engine option — which adds $3,730 to a similarly equipped gas V-6 model — get an EPA rating of 22/31/25 mpg city/highway/combined. Colorado and Canyon diesel 4x4 models are rated at 20/29/23 mpg city/highway/combined.

The addition of the four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine gives the midsize pair better towing capacity than some half-ton V-6 models (Ford and Ram) as well as some half-ton V-8s (Nissan and select Ram models). The engine is rated at 181 horsepower and 369 pounds-feet of torque, and includes includes a Class III hitch, integrated trailer brake controller, a locking rear differential, an exhaust brake switch and a unique vibration damper on the torque converter.

The new EPA ratings make the Colorado and Canyon the clear mpg leaders in the midsize segment, as neither of the other two competitors have a diesel option yet. There are grumblings, however, that Nissan and Toyota are looking at new powertrain options for future models.

Manufacturer images


GMC Canyon Duramax 1 II



This is only the beginning! Nissan will use the 4cyl cummins. And jeep will probably have a diesel plus ford might bring back a ranger.... surely with a diesel option. Fun times are coming ! Save your pennies !

I wonder why they wouldn't put the 2.8L Duramax in the Silverado or Sierra? Ram offers a 3.0L and it works just fine. I doubt the weight difference between the mid/full size trucks is that substantial. No doubt this Duramax could work...

One more thing, the EPA mileage is disappointing. Just a couple MPG's more than the Ram makes you wonder if it would be worth the cost. Maybe they could squeeze the new 8 speed in these trucks to get another MPG? 2018 model year I guess.

FYI...GM upgrade cost is almost $4k and only available at the moment in the upper trims. Ram upgrade cost is less than $3k and you can order one in a lowly work truck.

So this truck gets the same mileage combined (23) that people were getting 10 years ago with diesel powered 4x4s in the U.S. such as the Jeep Liberty.

Not impressed.

The Nissan will kill it because it'll have a Cummins with reliabilty, and the Jeep will kill it because it'll have the V-6 with 400+ lb/ft of torque.

This is an impressive package. It'll be interesting to see how it tows in the Rockies....

It would be more interesting to see if they can actually tow, and how many people like 1/2 ton owners think they can now tow the world, and end up mad at the brand because it didnt perform like the dealer said.

Rather have the ecodiesel and get a full size truck with almost the same mpg.

Kudos to GM for small diesel option . I would take V6 diesel over inline 4 anytime, because of much cultivated running , no dampers needed. I hope those new special dual mass damper springs will last more than one year. RAM V6 diesel with basic options looks better than this overpriced midsize in my point of view. V6 Engine will last more as well.

Kudos to GM for small diesel option . I would take V6 diesel over inline 4 anytime, because of much cultivated running , no dampers needed. I hope those new special dual mass damper springs will last more than one year. RAM V6 diesel with basic options looks better than this overpriced midsize in my point of view. V6 Engine will last more as well.


The EPA test were a lot different 10 years ago than they are now. And EPA was especially tough on this truck due to the VW mess according to another article I read.


It's only a matter of time before these giant midsized vehicles will be as big as the larger pickups. Give me a small Ranger any day.

Next move for GM will be a 8 speed for the mid size pickups. Better towing then some full size pickups, better payload then the Ram ECOdiesel. Less cost then a comparable equipped half ton. And EPA numbers are always conservative so you could see in the mid thirties under the right conditions. Try to catch up Ford and Ram, but you better start running because you are being left behind in a big way.

Thanfully Isuzu is around to supply GM with compression ignition
motors. Shudder at the thought of a GM designed diesel.

GM's 'bragging rights' remind me of Dodge's 28 mpg/best towing ability claims. All like water in an open bottomed bucket. Anyone can make "CLAIMS", but NO one can actually deliver. My 5.7L Tundra 4X4 does 17-21 on the highway...just like the brochure states...all with NO "babying" the throttle.
Each of the big 3 claim best mpg/towing...all propaganda. The problem is that NO one holds them to their claims, so why should they make truthful claims???

Posted by: Bob | Nov 12, 2015 10:38:48 AM

What are you talking about? This article isn't about GM making claims of having the best MPG truck. This article is about the EPA confirming they have the best MPG truck. In the first reviews, virtually all testers got better than what the EPA is rating these trucks. I am sure GM will certainly capitalize on being the best MPG truck in the USA from a marketing perspective but this article has nothing to do with "claims".


Keep in mind that a full size RAM with the 3.0 diesel in some configurations has a bed load capacity of 300lbs. The colorado with the 2.8 liter diesel maintains their 1450lbs capability with the diesel.

The 3.0 diesel in the RAM is a combo for fuel economy. Everything else is a downgrade from the HEMI.

On the colorado, the only downgrade is 0-60 times. Everything else, capability wise,is a upgrade.

great points mackintire!

Good job GM. It's about time one of the major manufacturers pulled the proverbial head from the sand. But making it was only part of the question. Will it sell sufficiently to warrant competition especially given our current low fuel prices?

@ Mackintire

I am not sure where you are getting the 300lb payload figure from. According to, if I plug in a crew cab 1500, with the 3.0L 4x4 with the 5'7" bed my payload is 1127. Ram even states this weight is what I can load in the bed of the truck. Add the 300 lbs for two front passengers and a full tank of fuel and the Ram is actually really close to the GM twins. The shocker is the sticker price for GMs new Duramax. they would benefit more if they offered it on all models, but we all know they will just keep it on the upper trims and as time goes on they will open it up to lower trims. Look at what they did on their new 8 speed. Keep in mind the Ram has coils for a softer, more refined ride. Ram understands if people really want to haul those huge numbers they are better purchasing a HD.

Oh and by the way, who really cars about 0-60 times in the truck world? If I want a fast vehicle, I am certainly not going to buy a truck. Some trucks are fast I get it, but me personally, I am not worried about how fast I can go.

mackintire - I agree. The Colorado in many respects is much more capable than the Ecodiesel.

The only real problem I have with it is back seat room and cost.
My local dealer lists a full bling every option diesel Canyon for 49k. The have had a year end sale where full sized trucks have up to 14k off. That means I can get a LTZ Chevy 6.5 box crew with 6.2/8 speed with 7600 gvw and max tow for 3k more. They also have a 2015 Duramax 3500 one trime level below the Chevy 1/2 I cited for 52k as well.

If you aren't fixated on size then it makes it real tough to pull the trigger on a diesel Colorado/Canyon.

For a truck that weighs 4310 lbs, i'd expect it to have done better.

The diesel engine in the Colorado/Canyon is not an Izuzu engine. This engine started life with VM when VM was owned by GM and Fiat.

Izuzu actually do manufacture the Dmax using the Colorado platform with a 3 litre diesel and a Aisin gearbox that is obtaining be FE figures.

If you require the capability you speak of yes, I agree with your comment.

But most do not require this.

As for the cost of the Colorado/Canyon diesels they are cheaper than a 1/2 ton similarly equipped.

The diesel 10 years ago didn't have the same torque and power.

The Jeep also didn't weigh the same.

The engine in the Ram ecodiesel is also a VM Motori engine but was designed when owned by GM and was slated as a Cadillac option.

@Frank - weight is a relevant factor in stop and go driving. A lighter vehicle should have better in town mpg. Highway speeds becomes more related to aerodynamics. That big open box on the back coupled with higher ground clearance expected in a pickup is going to hurt highway mpg much more than weight.

Big Al from Oz - a 7600 gvw full sized Chevy has a 1800 lb cargo rating. The Colorado around 1500.

We've talked about this before. People do not buy based on what they need, they buy based on what they want.

In my case I probably will never tow more than what a Colorado can but I will carry more gear than what a Colorado is rated to carry plus the interior room of the Colorado does not cut it for a family of 4 and a couple of dogs. Most people will be more inclined to go full sized especially at the prices I have posted.

People buy small trucks because that is what they want. The DiM's of the world paint an unrealistic picture when they talk about cheapskates and fleets. I've pointed out time and time again that full sized trucks can be purchased for similar prices. If you have someone like myself that isn't constrained by pickup size class, a small truck becomes a tough sell on price alone.

Want, is exactly what my comment alludes to.

You are the one continually using load and tow as the answer to all. Now you are stating differently?

I have always stated most don't buy to load and tow.

So, you've finally come around?

When this engine was designed, it was done by VM. This is when VM was owned 50/50 between GM and Fiat.

@ Montands,

I am not sure where you are getting the 300lb payload figure from. According to, if I plug in a crew cab 1500, with the 3.0L 4x4 with the 5'7" bed my payload is 1127.

You hit the nail on the head, never go buy plugging in a truck and assuming what the payload is based on the manufacture site, they are wrong, go ahead and buy that truck and weigh it, then let us know what it actually is

@ Big Al from Oz - on the subject of sounding DiM - you just went down that path my friend.

I have always said that one needs to be aware that when one fulfills one's "wants" then one needs to know if what they have purchased is capable of meeting the realities of those "wants".

Virtually all but a few Ram 1500 crew 4x4's can actually carry a load and passengers at the same time. The picture is better at GM and best at Ford. The whole point about capacity is looking at what one does with the truck.

Most say they carry 1,000 lbs max. Do the math, if that is true and you have a family of 4 then that means you need a 1500-1600 lb cargo rating.

I don't really care about towing since I did not buy a truck to tow, I purchased it to haul stuff in the bed. I keep mentioning towing not because I am NOT fixated on max tow numbers but because I am focused upon tongue weight and GCW.
We have seen in several of PUTC's stories lately that stated tow ratings mean too much tongue weight and therefore the truck can't really tow what they are rated for.

I'll repeat again, max tow isn't an issue for me but maxing out cargo or GCWR is. The only real way for most to avoid doing so is to buy a 1/2 ton with max cargo and/or tow capacity so you don't exceed GVW or GCW.

The other option is to go with a HD. That is where Ram PR has focused. You kep saying time and time again that we buy trucks that we don't really need. If that it the case it makes much more sense to get a max GVW/tow 1/2 ton for those few times a year one does need it as opposed to a HD. I know a few guys that have done just that. They are much happier day to day with a max capacity crew 1/2 ton then a 1 ton HD crew.

Nitro - one of the very 1st PUTC tests on the Ram Ecodiesel showed a real world cargo capacity of 660 lbs.

The recent Ram Rebel test showed a real world rating of 900 lbs.

Ram must of upgraded their ratings because if you look up Ecodiesel ratings of a few years ago the Laramie and Limited trims are under 1,000 lb for cargo ratings.

@ Nitro

I just looked at my sicker on the door. It reads 6950lbs. I know my truck weighs in close to 5800lbs. Should I just listen to BS comments on the site or the manufacture's suggested capacity? I know one thing, if I overload it and break something you are not paying for repairs, but Ram will.

The first truck ever to cross the 30mpg barrier, kudos to GM!

While the weight on the crew cab 4 wheel drive trucks gets pretty heavy when you talk Laramie Longhorn with every option, and heavy 33 inch tires, and Ram boxes, (that adds 150 pounds to the trucks weight right there). The air suspension adds 100 pounds. Get a quad cab, it'seems 45 pounds or lighter, maybe 65 in some configurations, because a Chevy Colorado crew cab isn't hardly any bigger than a quad cab RAM anyway. Maybe 1.5" more legroom? The crew Ram has NO COMPARISON from a Colorado. You can be about 1400 Tradesman weight., about 1500 payload 4x2.

I do agree they should make every truck have atleast 1400 or 1500 payload, minimum.

This site always seems to test a Laramie Longhorn, but you won't see them test a Tradesman or an SLT

Of course, this site said the Colorado was a challenged when towing with a 3.6. So what'should it gonna be like towing 6,000 pounds?

I guess they need to do a tow off between the two, at maybe 60% of their rated max.

Heck, in the gas v-6s, the Rams 8 speed makes up for the extra weight and gives equal zero to 60. Not that that's all I care about, but a lot of people, that's how they mark their acceleration.

It will also make up for it in real world driving too.

EPA testing standards changed for M.Y. 2008, so it's not really a very good comparison to a 2006 Jeep.

As far as the mileage of the Ram, Bob, Motor Trend and Diesel Power have tested the Ecodiesel, as well as this site. It gets what it'says rated at, it'seems no overrated Ford 2.7 Ecoboost.

For the Canadians out there using Canadian figures, here is how much you might save:

Fuel Economy numbers as per above link for Chevy Coloradio/GMC Canyon:
181 HP, 369 ft-lbs torque - 6 speed auto
22 city/31 hwy/25 combined for 4x2's,
20 city/29 hwy/23 combined for 4x4's (Miles per US GALLON).

That is 3-7 MPG better than the competition on average.

Just for comparison

2016 Toyota Tacoma 3.5 Gas V6 Atkinson/Otto cycle
278 HP/265 ft-lbs torque - 6 speed auto
19 city/24 hwy/21 combined for 4x2
18 city/23 hwy/20 combined for 4x4

Lets say we take the combined mileages for comparison to do a cost estimate of fuel only. Most in here would probably get a 4x4 so lets use that.

20 MPG vs 23 MPG

3 MPG difference. Assuming equal price at the pump (diesel may be slightly more expensive, or less expensive, depending on where you go.

20,000 km's driven which is 12,430 miles

12,430/20 = 621.5 US Gallons of Fuel

12,430/23 = 540 US Gallons of Fuel

81.5 US Gallons saved per 20,000 km's driving.

81.5 x 3.78 liters/US Gallon = 308.07 liters x $1.30/liter gas cost say = $400.49 in gas saved by going with the Diesel per year.

When you add up the cost premium for the Diesel ($3700 USD), the potential for extra maintenance cost required often times for Diesel engines (often times a bit more oil here and there, very expensive parts, etc.), the cost of the UREA treatment fluid for the diesel exhaust system, it makes $400 a year savings kinda pointless.

Scott - good points. I think that buying a diesel is no different than buying any truck. You buy it because you like the characteristics, look and feel. MPG alone is a weak metric unless there is a huge price difference.

As I pointed out earlier...............

For 3k more I can get a 6.2 Chevy crew LTZ or a Duramax LT with leather interior.

I don't need the capabilities of a Duramax nor do I really need a 400hp V8 but if I were in the market right now I'd be more serios about those 2 trucks.

In some respects I'd be more inclined to buy the Duramax HD since Consumer Reports stated that the 2015 Chevy are not reliable enough for them to recommend.

here is the exact quote:

"Sharp-eyed readers may notice that there’s no Top Pick in the pickup-truck category. That is because the 2015 Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Colorado are too new to have reliability and testing data, and the Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra and Ram 1500 are not reliable enough. With such a thin field, we decided to pass until next year’s Ratings are in."

Let's give GM and their partners some credit for being bold.

While Ford and RAM were getting completely out of the North American market for midsize trucks, GM went all in with a clean-sheet design that has succeeded in making buyers forget the dreadful first generation Canyon/Colorado trucks.

The fact that they did not go down the hybrid path, and went with diesel instead was very smart.

When I first heard about their plans I was hoping they'd choose a six cylinder diesel but turns out, their 4 cylinder seems peppy enough and gets FE that no one would have imagined fifteen years ago.

The jury is still out on durability and build quality, but the buyers are lining up. I see them a lot around here.

I do believe if what you state is true most would buy a NA V6 in their pickups.

You'll find most who do buy a diesel buy because the fact it is a diesel and will be cheaper to run on fuel.

You guys who continually use EPA figures aren't not in touch with reality.

Like I've mentioned previously a V6 Pentastar Ram is averaging 16-18mpg. The EcoBoost guys are returning even less.

EPA figures are only good if you drive really slowly.

If you do that then why have the power? Just in case?

Diesels also don't seem to have the dramatic increase in fuel usage when you use your right foot as well.

So, on average I'd expect the Colorado/Canyon diesels to return between 30 and 40% better FE than any 1/2 gas powered pickup.

That is something to look at in cost savings.

So, your figures are tainted just by the use of EPA numbers.

The real world is much different than your knowledge based on magazine articles.

Go out and buy a pickup then come and talk.

Tell the guys who buy HD diesels that.

Diesels are bought because they are perceived as better engines for work and more durable.

I'd rather have a diesel pickup any day over a gasoline powered pickup and I've owned both.

The FE figure in this article are almost identical to the ones I have commented on at PUTC since year dot.

It's roughly what I'm getting.

The diesel is a fantastic off road engine, they use approximately half the fuel of a V8 and have the same levels of torque.

The EcoBoost line of engines are not as flexible as even the turbo diesel down low.

The Colorado will be best in a SWB, 4x4, then modify the suspension yourself.

LAMO, aka DenverMike,
It was a cut and paste you have filed on me, along with all of those other comments you filed on me;)

So, DiM, what is your response the negative impact the aluminium F-150 has had on Ford?

It seems towards the end of each month the Ford marketing spinners put out an article for some reason or another on why the aluminium F-150 is in Ram territory in numbers sold.

Last month it was seat frames. I do recall the chassis shortage of July. That only lasted a few weeks, then all of sudden there are enough chassis.

The chassis factory will have to go down in history as the quickest retool and refit of a manufacturing plant in history.

Now Ford are having a fire sale. I do hope GM and FCA come to the party. Then all can profit from the aluminium F-150 poorer than expected sales performance.

But........................I saw this coming a couple of years ago. I even stated that Ford would create reason for poor performance like we currently witness.

I predict the Titan will bit into a few thousand F-250 per month.

Then the super conservative HD crowd will move more towards Ram and the GM HDs when the aluminium SuperDuty arrives.

Ford needs to do more than a fire sale.

One thing for sure, this truck is selling fast and without GM pushing the small diesel no other maker would think about it. The fatalities in other trucks are already showing up. Ram sales are dropping, Ford is far back behind GM again in yearly sales totals. Nisson made a good move with its Cummins and no one but a blithering idiot would buy a Tundra that gets 13mph city and 15mph on the highway. Toyota sales are dropping like a rock!

In 2002 I bought a 2.3 cyl Ford Ranger

13 years and 200,000 miles later and I still get 30 mpg on the highway and 25 around town... 5 speed and I drive slow :)

All new trucks are heavy pieces of crap and you can get 30 mpg if you buy a $30k chevy with a diesel in 2016

And diesel fuel is more expensive ...

And its a Chevrolet ( I bought a NEW chevy truck one time and I will never buy another GM product if I live to be 150!)

Also... all the new "small " trucks are crew cab only ...

FTW .. I am keeping my RANGER ....


It coulda, woulda, shoulda, happened LONG ago one would have thought... With aluminum bodies, 6,8,10 speed trannys, DOHC, Vari Timing, turbo/non turbo, gas/diesel V6s, direct injection, grill shutters, cylinder deactivation, pretend trucks, real trucks. All the tricks, and modern tech FINALLY trickling its way into trucks much of it decades behind cars. And it happens while gas is cheap (not that It will stay that way so its still a good move), and the car buying public (and pretend trucks are for the "car buying public") has an all time low opinion on diesel (thanks to VW). It will be interesting to see how many of these sell. They wont be bought by folks who care about towing. And traditionally the small truck crowd doesn't care enough about its money to save on fuel. I cant imagine it being as much fun to drive as a V6 version when blazing from stop light to stop light. I can imagine a retarded tuner group finding ways to demonstrate stupidity with stacks and "rolling coal"... Time will tell. In the mean time I'll have to thanks Government Motors for finally breaking that barrier.

@BIGAL, you mean tell me that? I bought my diesel, because of the 2 truck problems with poor MPG towing and so on, I would not look back after owning a diesel, half ton or not, diesel is what I would go for. I can speak real world, since you will not know what MPG you get until you have owned one, my F250 is hand calc'd at 18.1 mpg empty driving 34 miles a day (both ways) to and from work, I came from a 1/2 ton ram 5.7l hemi and that was mid grade fuel, so price difference not much at all, so the ram got 14.5 driving the same to work and back, towing is a different story, I got 8 in the ram with a 7k trailer, now I get 11 with a 11k trailer(travel trailer, not 5er) so dont think gas i always cheaper, I also bought my diesel used with 30k miles on it for the same price as a new 1/2 ton loaded up, so no real difference there either.

Why would anyone pay $3700 more to get a truck that will cost 20% more every time the fill it with diesel (compared to gas)? There is no return on investment. No better towing than most average trucks. I guess the benefit is that you can park it in a small garage. Yippee, look at me, I own a diesel truck! Ha ha

31 mpg! I hate to brage, but SEE I TOLD YOU SO!

Yep, I was right. And it is a beatiful CHEVY Truck that got over 30 mpg first! It kicks the tar out of the F-150 in fuel economy enventhough the F-150 has TWO TURBOS!

The bottom line is this website has nothing but Ford GIRLY MEN pimping Ford and bashing GM! The site would be A LOT better of if Ford just went bankrupt and kept their GIRLY MAN STEP to themselves!

I have spoken and the truth is what I speak.

Hahahah Look at Feminine Bobbi, you back from your manicure.


What's Ford MPG numbers again? 27 oh boring! Ford has the cheesiest, cheapest, light beer can trucks now, and still can't beat GM or Ram in MPGs LMFAO!!!!!!!

@papa jim - agreed. Kudos to GM for taking a risk on a small truck especially since the market for them looked like it was imploding.

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