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It is commonly accepted that while driving a mammoth size truck is a gas-guzzling venture, it is also a necessary one depending on the task at hand. From hauling heavy work equipment to towing trailers loaded down with sports paraphernalia for a weekend of outdoor adventures, the flexibility that driving a truck affords you is unparalleled.

The good news is that you can have advantages of truck ownership while making a more modest investment in a mid-size truck. And the news is even better in the mid-size truck arena as diesel engines are no longer solely the possession of full-size trucks and are a recent development for light-duty trucks. The Chevrolet Colorado is the only compact truck that comes in diesel making it a very interesting pick for most fuel-efficient diesel truck you can buy in 2019.

2019 Chevrolet Colorado specs

Edmunds rates this mid-size as being “one of the best in its class” for its strong V6 and decent ride. Brag worthy honorable mentions include best-in-class maximum 308 horsepower, best-in-class maximum towing up to 7,700 lbs, and Popular Mechanics off-road truck of the year for ZR2 Bison.

Serious about safety, the 2019 model has standard rear vision camera, reinforced steel cage, high strength steel frame, dual-stage front airbags, side-impact airbags, and head-curtain airbags for outboard seating positions. Towing capacity varies from 3,500 lbs (2.5L inline- four) to 7,700 lbs (2,8L inline-four).

Horsepower ranges from 181-308. The three engine options to choose from are 2.5L 4-cylinder, 3.6L DOHC V6, and the Duramax 2.8L Turbo-Diesel. The base model starts at $21,300 up to the LT for $47,495 for the ZR2 off-roader.

How fuel-efficient is this truck?

Chevy has the market on fuel economy with its GM-exclusive Duramax 2,8L Turbo-Diesel engine. It boasts 20 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, numbers once unheard of for heavy vehicles but now a reality.

Chevy claims that the Duramax diesel engine makes the Colorado the most fuel-efficient mid-size truck on the road to date. The numbers don’t lie about the fuel-economy of both the diesel and its gas-powered counterpart with the gas-powered four-cylinder achieving 20 mpg/city and 26 mpg/highway for automatic and 19 mpg/city and 26 mpg/highway for the six-speed manual.

Diesel still wins out in fuel-efficiency as Car and Driver explains that the “EPA rates the rear-wheel-drive diesel as the segment’s most efficient powertrain with 22/30 mpg city/highway.”

Diesel versus gasoline trucks

While testing both diesel and the gasoline V6, Car and Driver found that both serve drivers well, although the diesel does lag behind in speed. The diesel timed 9.1 seconds to reach 60 mph versus 6.1 seconds for the LT powered by a V6 and 8-speed automatic transmission.

Although slower, the true winning points for the diesel are its maximum towing capacity and fuel economy. The Fast Lane Truck put the question to the test and found that the diesel does make more torque at 369 lb-ft compared to 275 lb-ft for the gasoline-powered V6, although the gas engine does have more horsepower, 308 compared to 186.

So while one wins out in brute force, the other takes the lead for pep. Another comparison might make it or break it for those rev happy buyers. The diesel reaches peak hp at 3400 rpm and peak torque at 2000 rpm, whereas the gas reaches peak hp at 6800 rpm and peak torque at 4000 rpm making gas-powered more optimal for those searching for high revving vehicles while the diesel offers low revving and high torque.