Chevy Colorado ZR2 Concept Packs A Diesel Punch

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Diesel engines and smaller trucks are making a comeback in America, and GM has combined both trends in the Chevy Colorado ZR2 concept debuting at the LA Auto Show. Though buyers still have a year or more to wait to get their own diesel-powered Chevy pickup, this tantalizing vision of what may be in store has rekindled my excitement for GM’s midsize pickup.

GM has revived the ZR2 moniker for the Chevy Colorado, giving the mid-size pickup a four-inch wider stance for better stability and a two-inch lift meant to provide additional ground clearance. The front and rear fascia has also been replaced so the Colorado has even more ground clearance, and engineers added skid plates and new shocks to improve ride quality over rough terrain.

The real showstopper here though is the inclusion of the 2.8 liter Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel. This will be the top-of-the-line engine for the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon when production begins in late 2015, offering just 181 horsepower by a stump-pulling 369 lb-ft of torque at just 2,000 RPM. That’s as much torque as V8 engines twice the size of the Duramax, and will enable the Colorado to handle rock crawling and heavy hauling with equal aplomb.

““This new Duramax diesel engine will take efficient capability to an entirely new plateau for the midsize truck segment,” said Tony Johnson, marketing manager for the Colorado. “Its broad torque band makes it very powerful at low rpm, while the turbocharged performance provides a confident feeling of immediate and smooth power on demand – attributes customers will appreciate when trailering.”

Pricing for the diesel-powered Colorado hasn’t been set yet, and fuel economy figures are still anybody’s guess. But if GM can get the Colorado over the 30 MPG market, that might just be the magic number to make this mid-size pickup even more of a certifiable sales hit.

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Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.