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Auto blogMon, 22 Sep 2014 10:16:00 EST
Before even officially going on sale to customers, the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup twins are already proving to be a success with dealer orders exceeding original projections. Now, there is even more good news for these siblings, with the fuel economy for their four-cylinder engines netting class-leading numbers and the 3.6-liter V6 getting segment-best payload ratings.
The 2.5-liter four-cylinder in the two trucks makes 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque, and in rear-wheel drive and six-speed manual trim it has an EPA rating of 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. Opting for a two-wheel drive configuration with the six-speed automatic bumps those figures slightly to 20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. Finally, a four-wheel drive model with the automatic 'box carries a 19/25/21 rating. Those numbers are a tick better here and there compared to what's offered by the optional V6.
The twins' major four-cylinder, midsize pickup rivals are the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, but they're both getting somewhat long in the tooth. To compare fuel economy and power, a two-wheel drive Tacoma with its 2.7-liter four-cylinder is rated at 159 hp and 180 lb-ft, and achieves 21/25/22 mpg. The Frontier with its 2.5-liter four-cylinder is good for 152 hp and 171 lb-ft, and carries 19/23/21 mpg figures.
Fans of truck-based, light-duty vans can officially pour one out for the Chevrolet Express 1500 and GMC Savana 1500, as General Motors has officially put its long-serving big/little rigs out to pasture. Things aren't quite as sad as they sound, though. The heavier-duty 2500 and 3500 vans will soldier on, in order to duke it out with the largest members of Ram ProMaster, Ford Transit and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter families.
The move does seem to make a lot of sense. According to GM, customers only purchase the 1500-spec Chevrolet 23 percent of the time, while the GMC captures a mere 7 percent of the Savana family's sales. With numbers like that, it's no shock that GM thinks it can shift some of its buyers into its van family's more capable variants. "We knew we could move a lot of our 1500 customers into 2500-series territory," said GM's Joe Langhauser, the product manager for the company's full-size vans.
It's not just simple sales figures dictating the move, though. The 1500 line is taking up some valuable factory space that will be better spent on an eagerly anticipated new product.
The invitation to come out and sample product at the General Motors Proving Grounds in Milford, MI is rarely dull, and after spending this morning driving preproduction versions of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon all we can say is... under strict embargo. Sorry, America, we were as excited as many of you are to learn more about GM's new midsize truck range and take note of how they go down the road, but it's going to be September before we're allowed to share that with all of you. Here's to sweet suspense.
While we might not be able to talk about refinement or handling yet, we did find some of the product positioning and marketing statements from GMC and Chevy officials on hand at the program to be pretty interesting.
Of course, we all know that the literal competitive set for Canyon and Colorado is comprised of two comparatively ancient Japanese midsize trucks: the Toyota Tacoma (which currently owns this segment) and the Nissan Frontier. The Frontier's bones are as old as the 2005 model year, with 2009 marking the last time the truck was updated. The Taco was also launched in 2005, though it did see a freshening for 2012. The point remains that, in every facet from powertrain to dash plastics, the GM midsize truck twins are going to look positively space age by comparison when they hit the market for MY 2015.