By on August 26, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71, Image: General Motors

Sales of midsize trucks are heating up, and General Motors doesn’t want its slice of the pie to grow stale.

Changes are coming to the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado by way a host of powertrain updates aimed at squeezing better performance and fuel economy out of its volume model.

A revised version of the 3.6-liter V6 gains 3 horsepower and 6 pounds-feet of torque, for an output of 308 hp and 275 lbs-ft. GM achieved this through improved variable valve timing for intake and exhaust and improved direct injection and for the first time. The engine also gains cylinder deactivation (Active Fuel Management, in GM-speak), turning the V6 into a four-cylinder under light loads.

Six-cylinder Colorados will receive an eight-speed automatic transmission for 2017, a class-exclusive feature. GM claims the transmission has a 7.0 overall gear ratio (compared to the previous transmission’s 6.0 ratio), and a higher first gear ratio for improved launches while towing.

“Drivers will immediately notice that it pulls harder when accelerating from a stop or passing on the highway,” said Stan Ludlow, chief engineer for the 2017 Colorado, in a statement. Drivers can expect the new model to feel “more confident pulling a trailer up a steep grade,” he added.

Thanks to generous use of aluminum and magnesium, GM says there’s no weight penalty to adding the eight-speed unit. The new transmission, coupled with cylinder deactivation, should see the 2017 model boost its highway mileage figures, though the automaker hasn’t released numbers.

2016 V6 models (equipped with a six-speed automatic) are rated at 21 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined.

It’s safe to assume that 2017 GMC Canyon V6 models will see the same upgrades as its corporate brother when they go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year, but GM hasn’t explicitly stated it yet.

[Image: General Motors]

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41 Comments on “2017 Chevrolet Colorado Gets V6 Engine Upgrade, Eight-Speed Transmission...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    (Never had this thought before but…)

    How awesome would a Trailbazer based on this chassis have been?

    But then there would likely be fewer Tahoes sold.

    • 0 avatar
      NN

      There is one…in Thailand:

      http://handi.tech/2017-chevrolet-trailblazer-facelift-specs-release-date-price/

      And it looks great.

      Wouldn’t be surprised if we saw it come back, after all, the Colorado continued on in Thailand also before coming back here again.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        I hope the success of the Bronco, whether it’s a rebadged Everest or a brand-new vehicle, will convince GM to bring over the Colorado-based TrailBlazer/GMC Envoy to compete with the 4Runner (and I hope for the Bronco to be successful anyway).

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Drzhivago138,
          The Everest would be too expensive for the US market, unless they rebadge them as a Lincoln.

          I hope that Brazilian Ford off roader is used as the basis for the Bronco.

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      https://www.holden.com.au/cars/colorado-7

      Hmmm…..Your wish is granted. Trailblazer

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Oberkanone,
        Izuzu has the MUX based on the same chassis. The Colorado and Dmax pickups were done in collaboration between GM and Izuzu.

        The Izuzu SUV has a different suspension tune, Izuzu diesel, Aisin tranny and different diff. It is supposed to be a better all round performer than the Colorado 7.

        http://www.caradvice.com.au/412220/2016-isuzu-mu-x-ls-m-4×2-review/

        Here is a midsize SUV test from Australia. It doesn’t include the Grand Cherokee, Prado, etc, which is a pity. It seems Jeep rarely has a Grand Cherokee out for comparison testing of late.

        http://www.4x4australia.com.au/drive/road-tests/1603/4×4-wagons-comparison-test/

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Big Al that Isuzu is a really sweet rig. I built a pretty basic 4wd model with a stick shift on the online configurator and it came out to $50,900 AUD, so basically $38k. Are Isuzus typically discounted much from MSRP? Because that’s 4Runner Trail Premium territory here in the states, a truck with a ton of equipment and 4wd hardware. Still, the option of ANY other BOF midsize SUV would be welcome at this point.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    The 8 speed would have to be an improvement – at least over the 6 speed mated to the 4 cylinder. It is, by a wide margin, the worst transmission I have experienced.
    It is constantly searching for a gear and down shifting one speed at a time when decelerating.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Is this the same 3.6 you get in premium Cadillac vehicles?

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    *clicks article title*

    They’re finally gonna put the 4.3 in there as an upgrade?!

    *reads article*

    Nope…

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      This, GM is focusing too much time on fuel economy and not on reliability, drivability what encompasses those issues.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Heaven forbid a truck have a truck engine.

        • 0 avatar
          frozenman

          ^So much this^, the 4.3 with cyl deactivation would make sense here. Also needs a 5.3 v8 option as well, would be a money maker for them imho.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The 5.3 would kill the fuel economy, which is the entire point of the mid-size modern truck implement!

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The 5.3 V8 would get about 1 less, if not the same mpg. That’s unless you use the thing like a truck. Then it would get better mpg than the V6. The crew cab 4X4 requires a smallish V8 if you ask me. Except the green weenies would crap their panties.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            CoreyDL – I don’t think that mpg is a huge factor for small truck buyers. There isn’t much of a mpg difference between a gasser small truck and a 1/2 ton. People buy small trucks because they want the smaller size. Even price is close. I’d like to see the 5.3 or even 6.2 in a Colorado as part of a performance package.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            Lou_BC, maybe that’s why more people don’t buy small trucks. If they were built for much better economy, markedly lower price, while providing just enough utility for weekend warriors, they would carve out their own niche instead of simply being a full-capacity truck on a smaller footprint.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          NoGoYo,
          A gasoline engine a truck engine? WTF?

          A diesel is a truck engine. Gasoline is for cars, SUVs, CUVs. I haven’t seen to many semis with gasoline engines. Or for that matter any heavy equipment.

          Gasoline went out of fashion in trucks in the 50s.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          @NoGoyo

          Stop making sense.

          @CoreyDL

          Doubtful, the LSx would likely have similar fuel economy while offering more power and reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Just buy the diesel if you want to tow a large load. It’ll tow as well as a V8 and give you really good FE.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Big Al from Oz – I have yet to see a Colorado or Canyon with a diesel. ” tow a large load” is a relative statement. I rarely ever see a trailer behind a small truck. 3-4k seems to be the average.

    • 0 avatar
      ericb91

      Exactly what I thought.

      • 0 avatar
        frozenman

        I believe that the 5.3 with cylinder deactivation would run more often in 4cyl mode than its 3.6 counterpart, and the increased torque would get the truck moving off the lights with less throttle input. Then there is towing mileage under load as well, to say it would “kill” mileage is a disingenuous comment at best.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      NoGoYo,
      The 3.6 works quite well and is most likely cheaper to build. Even the 2.5 inline four gets the Colorado up to 60 from a standstill in the nine second bracket.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Pickups are going to eventually price themselves so only the well heeled can afford them.

    It would be nice just to keep things as simple as possible and still offer a modern vehicle.

    Does cylinder deactivation and more gears really make for a better product? Does the additional cost outweigh the advantages?

    I really think some of the engineering in resolving FE issues is not the best.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Basic mid-trim pickups are still a very good all-around value proposition. Even before massive rebates/incentives. No one is forcing the super luxo, cowboy fetish, pickups.

      The profitability of some pickups allows for bleeding edge, fuel saving “tech”. And with the volume of pickup sales, even small gains have a huge impact across the fleet average.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “Pickups are going to eventually price themselves so only the well heeled can afford them.”

      That applies to all automobiles. If it wasn’t for leasing and long amortization periods a large number of vehicles would not sell. Trucks are no exception.
      We saw what happened in 2008. “Lifestyle” buyers left the pickup truck market. Any time things get tough, luxuries are the first to go.

      There will always be cheep fleet spec trucks for sale.

      High end trim trucks are the domain of the “well healed” or “Fort Mac” heavy industry types.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I saw two, new identical white Colorados outside of the local Advance Auto store yesterday. One of the staff was loading parts into one of them. So I guess that store upgraded its delivery fleet recently as they were both trucks looked like they were just put in service.
    These were the first Colorados that I saw up close. I thought they were very honest base model trucks – two doors with black door handles and black trim with a bench seat. They seemed larger than mid sized to me, but full sized PUs are unnecessarily huge and tall these days.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      My nieces boyfriend/partner works for the municipal country water and sewrage.

      He told me last year that they were off loading the Dakotas they had and are replacing them with diesel Space Cab Colorados. These will make for good work trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      They’re midsized. In some dimensions, they’re actually the same as the previous compact Colorado.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Fuel economy numbers were released.

    20/27 with 2WD
    18/26 with 4WD

    Source LLN.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Drop the the 4.3 in this SOB already. Considering the MSRP of these things still wondering why they look so cheap on the inside, even in the top level trims, compared to the 1/2 tons. The ex bought a Colorado in Z71 trim and it is pretty disappointing when you open the door IMHO.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Nice truck. I myself would get an extended cab Base or WT model with the 6 speed manual which only comes in a 4 cylinder. I prefer the manual but I realize that eventually they will disappear. I agree that the interiors need to be nicer and I would like a choice of a light gray or tan interior, but I do like the Colorado/Canyon.

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