Chevrolet's Colorado diesel nabs pickup fuel-efficiency crown

The mid-size truck captured top fuel-sipping honors away from Ram's full-size EcoDiesel.

Perhaps this will spur Ram to finally build a mid-size pickup.

Chevrolet

The diesel version of the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado has snagged bragging rights as most fuel-efficient pickup truck sold in the US.

Chevrolet said Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the 2016 Colorado with the Duramax diesel engine gets 31 miles per gallon in highway driving, making it the country's least-thirsty pickup.

Equipped with the truck's 21-gallon gas tank, you could theoretically stretch a single tank out over 651 miles, which is great news for long-haul drivers. If you're more of a city slicker, the Duramax-powered pickup will achieve 22 mpg in urban environs.

Of course, that's provided you opt for the two-wheel-drive variant. If you want four driven wheels, and you do, if you ever take your truck off the beaten path, those fuel-economy estimates drop to 29 mpg highway and 20 mpg city.

The engine that gave Chevrolet its crown is a 2.8-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine. It puts out 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, and it's mated to a six-speed automatic. The motor is also B20 biodiesel compatible, in the event you like to home brew yourself some fuel. (B20 is 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent traditional petroleum diesel.)

Chevrolet snagged these honors away from Ram's 1500 EcoDiesel, a full-size pickup that used a 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel engine to achieve 29 mpg highway. It was a close fight, but the Colorado's svelte proportions likely gave it the edge over the larger Ram.

The Colorado diesel arrives in showrooms this fall, in crew-cab configuration only. Available in two trim levels with 2WD or 4WD, the diesel option will run buyers $3,730 more than the same truck with a six-cylinder gasoline engine, which has a manufacturer's suggest starting price of $20,100.

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