Horsepower and torque ratings announced this morning by General Motors will make its 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups the most powerful in the midsized truck segment, the company claims.
The trucks are larger and roomier than current models, and product planners included commercial uses during the design process.
The Colorado and Canyon's gasoline engines will include the standard 2.5-liter inline-4, rated at 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet, and the optional 3.6-liter V-6, with 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet. The announcement did not mention a diesel that will be available later.
With trailering packages and the V-6, the Colorado and Canyon will have towing capacities of up to 7,000 pounds, also the most in the midsize segment, GM's announcement said. Main competitors are the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma, which also use I-4 and V-6 engines.
The GM engines feature direct fuel injection, dual-overhead camshafts with variable valve timing, and jet-spray piston cooling. They have lightweight aluminum blocks and strong forged-steel crankshafts, said Anita Burke, vehicle chief engineer for midsize trucks.
Both are based on engines used throughout the General Motors car family, but are optimized for the demands of truck use, she said. This includes torque at lower RPMs for better towing power and a more confident feeling while pulling a trailer.
Both engines are matched to a six-speed automatic transmission; a six-speed manual is available on certain extended-cab 2WD models. The six-speed automatic is tuned specifically for the truck engines, offering features like auto grade braking and tow/haul mode.
"Not everyone needs the size or the capability of a full-sized pickup," Burke said in explaining why GM chose to stay in the segment while Ford dropped its Ranger pickup. "Now customers have a viable option in a smaller package."
"We had a real pull from the market," Mike Jones, GM's truck product manager, said earlier this year. "They (customers) really liked it. If you don't need towing but still need the versatility of a pickup, and want maneuverability and fuel economy, why not?"
Jones thinks the new Colorado/Canyon should do well as a commercial truck, including for foremen and supervisors who haul themselves more than boards, bags and boxes of supplies and tools, and services like pest control, where companies are already using current compact and midsize trucks.
Quiet cabs and a big, roomy console can make the Colorado/Canyon into a rolling office. A bed-delete option will be available so specialized bodies can be mounted without having to pay for and discard the pickup bed.
The Colorado and Canyon will be assembled at GM's Wentzville, Mo., plant, with production beginning this fall.
By Tom Berg