The 2017 Chevrolet Colorado offers an all-new V6 engine and class-exclusive eight-speed automatic transmission that delivers more power.
It is the latest major update for Colorado, which, after entering the market for model year 2015, is now gearing up for more than 160,000 sales during its first 24 months on the market.
“Customers made the Colorado an overnight success and it remains one of the industry’s hottest-selling products,” said Anita Burke, Colorado chief engineer.
“That fast success has justified our continued investment in midsize pickups, introducing new features for our customers such as the class-exclusive diesel engine, advanced technologies like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and now a class-leading V6 and eight-speed automatic powertrain combination.”
The most significant update for the 2017 Colorado is an all-new V6 engine and eight-speed transmission, which in a press release Chevrolet reports is “a combination that’s unmatched in the midsize segment.”
According to Stan Ludlow, chief engineer for the 2017 Colorado, the engine and transmission were calibrated to emphasize performance and refinement while optimizing fuel economy.
“The Colorado is currently the most fuel-efficient pickup truck in America, with an EPA-estimated 31 mpg highway when equipped with the diesel engine,” Ludlow said.
“As such, for the new V6 and eight-speed combination we focused on improving everyday driving performance. Drivers will immediately notice that it pulls harder when accelerating from a stop or passing on the highway; it is more confident pulling a trailer up a steep grade and it is more refined cruising at a constant highway speed.”
This second generation of Chevrolet’s double-overhead-cam engine architecture retains the same 3.6-liter displacement as before, with an updated suite of advanced engine technologies. This includes improved variable valve timing for intake and exhaust, improved direct injection and for the first time, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation), which disables two cylinders under light throttle applications. Horsepower and torque increase to an SAE-certified 308hp (230 kW) at 6,800 rpm and 275 lb-ft (373 nM) at 4,000 rpm.
The engine is mated to the class-exclusive eight-speed automatic. The GM-developed Hydra-Matic 8L45 is roughly the same size and weight as the 6L80 six-speed automatic it replaces.
However, the eight-speed automatic offers a wider 7.0 overall gear ratio spread than the 6L80 transmission’s 6.0 ratio. This results in a numerically higher first gear ratio, helping drivers start off more confidently with a heavy load or when trailering, and numerically lower rear axle ratios that reduce engine rpm on the highway for improved efficiency.
Extensive use of aluminum and magnesium, combined with similar packaging to the outgoing 6L80 transmission, equates to no increase in overall weight for Colorado models equipped with the new 8L45 transmission.
The 2017 model year updates, including the new V6 and eight-speed combination, will arrive at dealerships in the fourth quarter of this year.
Colorado has been the most awarded midsize pickup over the past two years, including earning back-to-back Motor Trend Truck of the Year awards. Today, Colorado accounts for 23 percent of the midsize segment.