I don’t think that even General Motors expected the Colorado and Canyon midsize pickups to be as hot as they ended up being. Well, they are, and GM is embracing their popularity by making significant powertrain changes to the Colorado (and presumably the Canyon) after just two model years.
For the 2017 model year, Chevrolet will add a new optional powertrain to the Colorado lineup. This update will include a new 3.6-liter V-6 powerplant—the same displacement as the model’s previous V-6—with improved variable valve timing, a new direct-injection system, and an all-new Active Fuel Management system that disables two of the six cylinders when they are not needed.
With these improvements, the new 3.6-liter V-6 puts out 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, which are improvements of 3 horsepower and 6 pound-feet.
Also new is the transmission that pairs with this engine. For 2017, the V-6-powered Colorado will come with a new eight-speed auto transmission in place of the outgoing six-speed unit. This transmission will offer a higher-range first gear for more powerful takeoff and lower-range top gears to help keep revs low at higher speeds. What’s more, despite having two additional gears, this transmission will be roughly the same size and weight as the six-speed it replaces.
One bit of info that isn’t available yet is fuel economy. In 2016, the Colorado with the V-6 engine was rated as high as 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined. I would anticipate at least the highway rating increasing 1 to 2 mpg with these changes.
GMC has yet to announce these changes for its Canyon, but I assume the new powertrain will be a part of its 2017 lineup as well.
The 2017 Colorado will hit showrooms in the fourth quarter of 2016. Stay tuned for additional details.