The 2016 Colorado adds a key feature to its option roster when it arrives in dealer showrooms this fall: a 2.8-liter/4-cylinder Duramax turbodiesel engine. The new powerplant  will be available in LT and Z71 Crew Cab models with rear- or all-wheel-drive configurations and command a $3,730 premium over a comparably equipped Colorado fitted with the available 3.6-liter gasoline V6. 

Greater towing capacity, better fuel economy

Developing 181 horsepower at 3,400 rpm, the new Duramax churns out 369 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm. In addition to offering exceptional fuel economy -- which Chevy projects will better both 4-cylinder and V6 Colorado alternatives -- the eagerly awaited Duramax also raises the Colorado's maximum tow rating from 7,000 pounds to 7,700 pounds on 2WD models and to 7,600 pounds on 4WD versions. To make best use of that added capability, checking the Duramax box also nets the Z82 Trailering Package, an automatic locking rear differential, 3.42:1 rear-axle ratio and an all-new and exclusive integrated trailer brake controller along with an electronically activated 2-speed transfer case on 4WD models.

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"A diesel engine was part of the Colorado's portfolio plan from the very beginning, meaning the chassis, suspension and other elements of its architecture were engineered to support its capability," said Scott Yackley, assistant chief engineer. 

Smoother, quieter and more confident

The Duramax engine employs a cooled exhaust gas recirculation system to help reduce emissions and works with a Centrifugal Pendulum Vibration Absorber (CPVA) in the torque converter of its 6-speed automatic transmission. Making its first appearance in the Colorado, the CPVA complements the engine's internal balance shaft and enhances overall smoothness by effectively canceling out torsional driveline shake. 

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Finally, the Duramax option brings a driver-selectable "smart" exhaust brake system that uses the additional engine compression to improve control and reduce brake pad wear. Based on the same setup found on the 2015 Silverado HD, this virtually transparent system works when the truck is in both cruise and non-cruise mode. In the former instance, it helps maintain a given speed even when the Colorado is running downhill. In the latter case, the exhaust brake interfaces with the transmission to optimize the amount of actual mechanical braking required regardless of load or grade. 

A Duramax turbodiesel option for the Colorado's twin, the 2016 GMC Canyon, is also expected. 

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