When the all-new 2022 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon arrive in 2021 they won’t have a diesel option. This news comes about because Chevy is quitting operations in Thailand at the end of 2020. That includes manufacturing as well. The turbodiesel 2.8-liter four-cylinder LWN Duramax engine was also produced in Rayong, Thailand. Once GM no longer manufactures in Thailand it will probably end production of the 2.8-liter diesel. According to GM Authority, it is highly unlikely GM would move production to another plant.
Colorado and Canyon were the only midsize diesel pickups available in the US
One of the big selling points if you wanted a midsize pickup with a diesel engine was that the Colorado and Canyon were the only ones available in the US. The Duramax four-cylinder diesel only makes 181 hp, but it has a stump-pulling 369 lb-ft of torque. The Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, and Nissan Frontier only have gasoline engines. Jeep’s Gladiator is supposed to have a diesel option sometime this year but as of now, it is only available with the gas engine as well.
As diesel engines in full-size pickups are so popular it is unusual that diesel engines are not available with mid-size pickups. Because the nature of diesel power is for torque and mileage it may mean that midsize pickups are only used for light hauling or none at all. That is obviously the conclusion that Ford, Toyota, and Nissan have come to.
Diesel engines have always been a hard sell in the US
Another problem with diesel engines, in general, is they are not looked upon as favorably here as they are in Europe and other countries. Especially since the VW “Dieselgate” swindle. That was where VW had the emissions system programmed to engage when it detected being tested. Otherwise, it was shut off. This gave the lower emissions reading during the testing but allowed the engine to function uncompromised during normal use.
This put a black mark on diesel engines in the US to an already skeptical consumer. Full-size pickups see 13% diesel sales overall in the US. That’s compared to only 3% of diesel engines found in cars. Though it may not be a trend we have seen that Nissan stopped production of its full-size pickup Titan with a diesel engine after last year.
All US manufacturers need diesel engines for heavy-duty applications
Though Titan sales are the smallest of all manufacturers it was a bit of a surprise to see the diesel pulled. We know that plans for the all-new Toyota Tacoma in 2022 include a diesel engine option. And the US truck manufacturers all need diesel engines for heavy-duty trucks so making it available in half-ton pickups is not a big stretch for them. In fact, virtually all trucks above a medium-duty pickup come with diesel engines exclusively.
Until electric trucks start appearing diesel engines are preferred in heavy-duty applications and gasoline engines for light-duty usage. The standard engine in the Colorado and Canyon is the 2.5-liter I-4. Also available is the 3.6-liter V6 as well as the GM-exclusive Duramax® 2.8L Turbo-Diesel.