Words: Stephen Spyropoulos
Photography: Stephen Spyropoulos
Published: July 18, 2017
Whether because of stubbornness, a true belief in the technology, or the fact that automotive product plans can’t easily be unraveled, General Motors is standing behind the diesel engine despite its battered reputation of late. (Thanks again, VW.) Indeed, the Cruze offers a diesel, Cadillac is moving forward with development of its own diesel powerplants, and—most pertinent to this review—the General’s new mid-size pickup trucks each offer a 2.8-litre Duramax four-cylinder diesel.
We’ve previously evaluated the GMC Canyon Diesel and found it to be a satisfying entry in the recently reinvigorated mid-size pickup class, offering handy size, plenty of towing capacity—as much as 3,500 kg—and surprising refinement. All of that applies to this GMC Canyon, which is a mechanical twin to the Chevrolet Colorado.
The Thai-built 2.8-liter engine under the Canyon’s hood is rated for 181 horsepower and a meaty 369 lb-ft of torque, and is far more polished than you might expect a large-displacement, compression-ignition four-cylinder to be. In pretty much every other way, the diesel Canyon drove just like the gasoline powered version, with the biggest difference being the sound of the engine. While some automakers have worked to disguise their diesel engines – particularly in the area of engine noise – the new 2.8L Duramax has the distinct tone of a diesel engine at idle and when driving around town.
Once you are out on the highway, you cannot hear the engine over the wind and the sound of other vehicles on the road, but when you are driving around a small town at lower speeds, there is no question that this is a diesel. Mind you, it isn’t as loud as the bigger Duramax diesel engines in the GMC Sierra Heavy Duty, but it most certainly announces itself as a diesel engine in a quiet environment.
It should be noted that while the 2.8L Duramax in my Canyon test truck sounds like a proper diesel, it doesn’t spew soot or any kind of smoke – for those wondering if all diesel engines are like that. They’re not, and if not for the sound, most drivers would be hard pressed to recognize the differences between the 3.6L V6 and the 2.8L Duramax in normal driving conditions. And that is a good thing considering the negative reputation of diesel engines in trucks being all dirty; noise factories that you can hear and smell from a mile away.
Like all of my test sessions, my time with the 2016 GMC Canyon Diesel started off with regular daily driving. I cruised around my small town to get a feel for how the Duramax moved the small pickup on paved and unpaved roads.
I found that when launching the Canyon from a stop, the diesel doesn’t produce the same punch that you get from the 3.6L gasoline V6 that I previously tested in the closely related Chevy Colorado. Once you are moving and the Duramax is making peak power, the Canyon pulls very well through the mid-range and it will comfortably allow you to get up to speeds greater than any posted speed limit in Canada. If 0-60 times are a key concern, the Canyon’s gas V6 is going to be the better option, but in every other type of driving, the 4-cylinder Duramax diesel feels great.
Pricing is a bit more ambitious than we’d like, as you have to spec the $38,195 Crew Cab in mid-level SLE trim to unlock the diesel option, which itself costs $4,390 and also requires either the $525 Driver Alert package or the All Terrain Package, as well as the SLE Convenience package, an automatic locking rear differential, and the Trailering package. That means you’re in for 47 large to start. We’d like the diesel to be offered in the basic trim, or with the extended-cab body style but it’s restricted to the SLE, SLT, and, as of the 2017 model year, the recently confirmed Denali trims, and it’s likely that you’ll be able to shoot well past $50,000 once you’ve fully kitted out your rig.
Some interior bits do look cheap but the trimmings get nicer the further you climb up the ladder, and standard and available features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning, 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment, up to four USB ports, and a set of (quite comfortable) heated front seats. This Canyon did come with heated and front seats, a heated steering wheel, remote start, and a big infotainment screen.
In passenger cars, the primary selling point for diesel is big mileage, and that applies here with the 4WD version rated for an impressive 8.4 L/100km on the highway, but most pickup buyers are more interested in a diesel engine’s torque and towing abilities, and GM says it made the latter a priority for this Canyon. The maximum tow rating, as mentioned, is 3,500 kilograms for rear-wheel-drive models and 3,445 kilograms for all-wheel-drive versions. An exhaust brake and an integrated trailer-brake controller are included to help the cause.
Mechanically, the Canyon diesel is the same as the gas-powered versions excepting beefier front springs installed to handle the additional weight of the Duramax. (The diesel truck, GMC says, weighs about 110 kilograms more than a commensurate V-6 gas model). The steering is numb and the ride a bit firm, but the primary controls are cohesive in operation, outward visibility is good, and the handling is decent. While the Canyon isn’t exactly small—it’s basically the same size as full-size trucks of a generation or two ago—the slightly pinched width and trimmed length make it wieldier around town and on the highway compared to most of today’s half-ton pickups.
GM expects one in ten Canyon buyers to go Duramax. The other nine will be missing out—this satisfying truck affirms my own belief in the benefits of diesel power.
型号 Model: 2017 GMC Canyon SLE 4WD Crew Cab
顏色 Paint Type: Quicksilver Metallic
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $38,195
試車售價 Price as Tested: $45,460
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 3,258
引擎 Engine: 2.8L Duramax turbodiesel 4-cylinder
最大馬力 Horsepower: 181 hp @ 3,400 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 369 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, 4X4
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 12.1 / 8.4 / 10.4
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 10.3