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Car & Driver: New V-6, 8-Speed Automatic Lead Changes for 2017 Chevrolet Colorado

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2017-Chevrolet-Colorado-PLACEMENT

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The status quo is constantly changing in the pickup-truck world, and the Chevrolet Colorado midsize truck is staying fresh for 2017 with a completely new powertrain. Replacing GM’s old 3.6-liter V-6, previously optional on the Colorado, is, um, GM’s new 3.6-liter V-6, now paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Don’t be fooled by the identical displacement: This really is an all-new V-6, similar to the engine already in use in several models including the Cadillac ATS and CTS, the Chevy Camaro, and the new Buick LaCrosse.

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Tuned for truck duty, the 3.6-liter makes a bit less power in the Colorado than it does in those sedans. And compared to the old V-6, the improvement in power and torque is not huge, with horsepower going up 3 hp to 308 hp, and torque rising 6 lb-ft to 275 lb-ft. Disappointingly, official fuel-economy numbers aren’t available yet, although a Chevrolet spokesperson said the improvements would be “incremental” over the current Colorado V-6’s 18/26 mpg city/highway with rear-drive and 17/24 mpg with four-wheel-drive. We’ll see soon enough if the new numbers, aided by the new V-6’s cylinder deactivation feature and the taller gearing of the eight-speed, can match the current champ among gas-powered midsize trucks, the 2017 Honda Ridgeline which achieves 19/26 mpg with front-drive and 18/25 with all-wheel drive.

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2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71

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No changes are in store for the Colorado’s base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, or for its 2.8-liter turbodiesel four that’s optional on certain models. But there are a few other minor tweaks for the 2017 Colorado. A four-wheel-drive selector knob with 2WD, Auto 4WD, 4Hi, and 4Lo modes is now standard on all 4WD-equipped models (it was previously only offered on the off-road-oriented Z71 trim level). Chevrolet’s Teen Driver mode, which is being propagated across the lineup, is now optional, and heated seats are no longer restricted to leather-equipped trucks.

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We’ll have to wait a bit longer for official pricing on the updated Colorado, along with those official EPA fuel economy numbers. As before, the V-6 should be optional on most extended-cab models (it cost $950–$1235 extra on the 2016 model) and standard on 4WD crew cab models and all crew cab long-box models. As for the Colorado’s slightly more upscale twin, the GMC Canyon, we expect that truck to add this new engine soon as well.

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2017-Chevrolet-Colorado-REEL

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