The ‘budda, budda, budda’ sound of a 2016 Chevrolet Colorado powered by the 2.8L Duramax turbo diesel engine, when first starting up and idling, will give you pause. It does not growl like most diesel engines in pickups. But, once in gear and rolling, the segment exclusive 2016 diesel powered Colorado not only growls appropriately but also reveals unique and exceptional value plus solid performance in from this mid-size pickup.
Before you ask, the answer is yes, we recommend it. It did sneak up on us the first time we turned the key and did a walk around.
The absence of a typical diesel truck rumble was a bit concerning, but in gear and heading up the high-tension powerline right-of-ways, we quickly learned to appreciate the power and performance that the Duramax turbo-diesel delivers in the Colorado – especially the Z71 4WD Crew.
Even before the resurgence of the mid-size truck segment began with the arrival of the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon – we predicted the reemergence of the segment from a (then) newly developing demand for fully functional pickup trucks that would price (delivered) under $40,000 and fit in a garage.
Full-size trucks were getting simply out of range in price and size of a very large group of consumers who wanted a full-featured pickup truck. The new mid-size trucks got those consumers back in the market.
When GM announced the addition of the 2.8L Durmax turbo-diesel engine option in their new mid-size trucks, we had some concern that a diesel power plant upcharge might turn some customers away. Not so as we found the significant additional torque produced by the Duramax turbo-diesel delivers palpable incremental power and performance with higher tow capacity that many mid-size pickup buyers were wanting but not finding in others.
As we discovered, a fully loaded up Colorado Z71 4WD Crew model – towing up to 7,600 pounds – prices (including the diesel engine upcharge of $3,905) just a tad over $40,000 and it fits in a garage which is why many consumers are marking it ‘sold’.
2.8L Duramax Turbo-Diesel
The 2.8L Duramax diesel engine in the Colorado is not a new power plant – but is a completely re-engineered version of an engine in production since 2011 and used in small pickup trucks sold in Asia and South America. For the Chevrolet Colorado, it is available on the 2016 LT and Z71 trim levels.
Though the 2.8L Duramax diesel engine has fewer horses (181) than the gasoline 2.5L four-cylinder (200) and the 3.6L V6 (305) Colorado engine options, it delivers the most torque at 369 lb-ft. (100 more than the V6) – which translates to a hefty trailering capacity of up to 7,700 pounds (2WD) or 10 percent more than the 3.6L V6 powertrain equipped Colorado,.
To handle that additional capacity, all diesel-equipped models come with the Trailering package, that includes a hitch receiver and seven-pin connector, as well as the segment-exclusive G80 automatic locking rear differential, Tow-Haul Mode, a 3.42 rear axle ratio and four-wheel disc brakes with long-wearing Duralife brake rotors.
An electronically controlled transfer case (with skid plate) provides three drive modes (2WD, 4WD HI and 4WD LO) that make the Z71 turbo-diesel model a right decent off-roader in addition to the substantial tow capacity.
The driver-selectable Duramax smart exhaust brake feature enhances driver control and reduces wear on the brake pads. When the exhaust brake is engaged in cruise mode, exhaust cruise grade braking helps the cruise control system maintain the desired downhill vehicle speed, keeping the driver from having to apply the brakes and exit cruise control to maintain speed. In non-cruise mode it continues to operate as a smart system that varies the amount of braking needed for the vehicle, load-size and grade.
2016 Colorado 4WD Z71 Crew with Duramax Diesel
We recently spent a week aggressively driving a brand new 2016 Colorado 4WD Z71 Crew with the Duramax Turbo-Diesel all over Central Texas including some wheel time along the rugged rural power cooperative right-of-way access roads up in Hill Country.
Our test Colorado Z71 was a short box and came in Cyber Gray Metallic with a Jet Black interior. The 17-inch Dark Argent Metallic Cast Aluminum Wheels, mounted with all-terrain tires, not only easily handled the off-road, but ran smooth and quiet on the highway as well.
It was equipped with the Duramax 2.8L Turbo Diesel with Smart Exhaust Brake powertrain including the 6-speed automatic transmission, Tow-Haul Mode, 2-speed electric transfer case, locking differential, Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control.
Our Z71 included a model specific off-road tuned suspension package that provided an 8.1-inch ground clearance with a 17.3-inch Approach Angle, 19.8-inch Breakover Angle and 22.1-inch Departure Angle.
Other key mechanical features included Remote Keyless Entry and Remote Start, StabiliTrak-Stability Control System with Traction Control and 4-wheel Antilock Disc Brakes with Duralife Rotors.
On the outside, our Colorado Z71 included Dual Power Adjustable (and folding) Outside Mirrors, Projector Headlamps, Fog Lights, Front Recovery Hooks, Locking Tailgate with EZ Lift and Lower and Rear Bumper Corner Steps.
Inside were front sport seats in sport cloth and leatherette trims, embossed with the Z71 logo and contrast stitching. The driver seat was 4-way power and the rear bench folded up for added cargo space. The console has plenty of storage including a slot for a tablet. It was carpeted with color match mats. Also included were automatic air conditioning, cruise control, tilt and telescopic leather wrapped steering wheel with controls and heated front seats.
Connectivity included the Chevrolet MyLInk Audio System with Apple CarPlay, USB ports on the instrument panel and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. It is also equipped with the 4G LTE Wi-Fi HotSpot and OnStar with available features like Automatic Crash Response and Navigation.
In addition to the upcharge for the Duramax Turbo-Diesel ($3,905), our Colorado Z71 also included Off-Road Side Assist Steps ($745), upgraded Premium Bose Audio ($5,00), Chevrolet MyLInk Multi-Media System with Navigation and 8-inch Color Touch Display ($495), Spray On Bedliner ($475) and the Trailering Equipment Package ($250).
With delivery, our test 2016 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD Z71 Crew with Duramax Turbo-Diesel was in our driveway for $41,905.
GearOn Accessory Program
Chevrolet has done a good job of developing a considerable array of recreational and functional accessories available at the dealer (as part of your purchase) from their new GearOn program.
Colorado’s GearOn system is designed to fit perfectly within the bed, for significant storage and hauling flexibility. It is upgradable, with modular cargo dividers and tiered storage to accommodate 4 x 8-foot sheets of plywood (or kayaks and canoes) above the cargo bay. It also uses the box’s four permanent and 13 tie-down provisions to allow for a variety of secure and convenient cargo stowage options – (see slide show pictures).
The 2016 Chevrolet Colorado mid-size pickup truck comes in four-door extended and crew cab models, two bed lengths, 2WD or 4WD and two gasoline engines in addition to the Duramax Turbo-Diesel. To build one for yourself, go to the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado web site and select the ‘Build & Price’ tab.