With the whole Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal only worsening, a dark shadow has been cast on the use of diesel. That’s why news of the diesel-powered GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado models achieving an EPA-estimated 31 mpg on the highway is a nice counterpoint. That figure surpasses the Ram EcoDiesel, which is rated at 29 mpg highway, making the GM twins the most fuel-efficient pickups in America.
For now, Ford trails behind its competitors with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine for the F-150, which gets an estimated 26 mpg highway.
According to the EPA, the Canyon and Colorado also achieve an estimated 22 mpg city and 25 combined.
This also means the diesel versions of the Colorado and Canyon are ahead of the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma when it comes to fuel economy. That’s a fairer comparison, considering those are also midsize pickups.
General Motors has plans to soldier on with diesel versions of several models, showing no signs of backing away from the fuel. For example, the next iteration of the Chevy Cruze diesel will come with the 2017 model year.
The real question is whether or not General Motors can help preserve the image of diesel as a viable alternative fuel in the United States. Volkswagen has done considerable damage, and the “rolling coal” crowd hasn’t exactly helped, either. According to the U.S. auto giant, the EPA provided a certificate of conformity for the Colorado and Canyon, allaying fears that the regulatory agency would find too high of emissions levels, putting GM in hot water. Instead, it appears that Volkswagen might be alone in its deceptive practices.
Going with either diesel-powered pickup truck does mean a price premium. The 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine does cost about $3,700 more than the gasoline-powered V-6s for both models.