Truck of the Year

Chevrolet Colorado: 2016 Motor Trend Truck of the Year Finalist

The Colorado Goes Diesel

The Colorado Goes Diesel

We Like: Efficient yet powerful diesel engine.

We Don’t Like: The diesel is currently only available on more expensive trims.

We have high expectations for the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado. Last year we fell in love with the Colorado for the renewed capability in the then-languishing midsize pickup truck segment, its overall refinement, and its value compared to rivals. We liked it so much we named it Truck of the Year over some pretty stiff competition from the Ford Transit and F-150. With an all-new Duramax diesel powertrain, the Colorado showed up in our garage with the hopes of being the second-ever truck to win back-to-back Truck of the Year awards.

Stay tuned to MotorTrend.com as the 2016 Motor Trend Truck of the Year finalists are revealed in advance of the official winner announcement on the evening of November 16. Learn about other Truck of the Year finalists at the links below. Check out the Truck of the Year introduction HERE, and discover how our Of The Year awards have evolved HERE.

Much of what we loved about the Colorado last year is only enhanced with the new diesel. Used extensively overseas, the Colorado’s Thai-built 2.8-liter, turbodiesel I-4 makes 181 hp and a plucky 369 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired solely with a six-speed automatic transmission and available in rear- and four-wheel drive. Our judges had lots of nice things to say about the Colorado Duramax. “It’s a sweetheart to drive,” Benson Kong said. “It doesn’t feel like its struggling, straining, or overexerting itself.” The diesel also helped improve drivability, eliminating the transmission gear hunting we observed with the V-6 model last year, and also improved fuel economy and towing performance. The Duramax Chevy easily lugged around its loaded 7,600-pound (3,447 kg) trailer during testing. “The torque of the diesel provides a lot of confidence when towing,” Ed Loh said. “Even when pulling the max trailer, the little red Colorado never felt under undue strain.”

Buyers pay for that capability, though. Currently only available on crew cab midlevel LT and upper-level Z71 trucks, the Duramax adds a $3,730 USD premium over the gas V-6, and buyers in the first year of Colorado Duramax production will be forced to get bundled packages with their diesel engines. On the Z71, the Trailering package is also required, boosting the premium to $3,980 USD, and on the LT model, you also need to add a locking rear diff and the Safety and Convenience packages, upping the premium to more than $5,000 USD. Given that a loaded Colorado Duramax easily approaches (and likely can surpass) $40,000 USD, a few judges noted that sticker shock could send them packing into a bigger half-ton pickup truck.

2016 Chevrolet Colorado LT Duramax Diesel Z71 Duramax Diesel (Trail Boss)
Base Price $35,080 $42,640
Price As Tested $36,895 $47,425
Vehicle Layout Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door truck Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door truck
Engine 2.8L/181-hp/369-lb-ft* turbodiesel DOHC 16-valve I-4 2.8L/181-hp/369-lb-ft* turbodiesel DOHC 16-valve I-4
Transmission 6-speed automatic 6-speed automatic
Length x Width x Height 212.7 x 74.3 x 70.7 212.7 x 74.3 x 70.7
Wheelbase 128.3 in 128.3 in
Curb Weight (F/R Dist) 4,568 lb (55/45%) 4,922 lb (56/44%)
Acceleration, 0-60 mph** 8.6; 15.0; 25.3 sec 9.5; 16.0; – sec
Quarter Mile 16.5 sec @ 82.1 mph 16.9 sec @ 78.9 mph
Quarter Mile (towing avg; max) 20.0 sec @ 68.0 mph; 23.4 sec @ 57.9 mph 20.3 sec @ 66.4 mph; 23.8 sec @ 56.9 mph
Davis Dam “Frustration”*** 8.3 sec, 749 ft 11.6 sec, 1,019 ft
Braking, 60-0 mph 122 ft 130 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.73 g (avg) 0.72 g (avg)
MT Figure Eight 29.0 sec @ 0.55 g (avg) 29.7 sec @ 0.53 g (avg)
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Not yet rated Not yet rated
Energy Consumption, City/Hwy Not yet rated Not yet rated
CO2 Emissions Not yet rated Not yet rated
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 23.2/31.4/26.3 25.5/29.3/27.1
*SAE Certified
**Unladen; towing 3,000-lb trailer; towing 7,600-lb trailer
***50-70-mph passing acceleration with 500 pounds of payload

2016 Truck of the Year Finalists: