GM considers small-displacement diesel engine for its pickups

Article by Anita Panait, on January 16, 2014

General Motors mulls adding a small-displacement diesel engine to its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups to improve their fuel economy. GM’s trucks currently lag behind the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and new Ford F-150 in terms of mpg numbers. The Ram EcoDiesel is expected to get an EPA-certified highway fuel economy number of around 28 mpg while the lightweight Ford F-150 is aimed at achieving 30 mpg.

According to Ford, the shift to aluminum cuts the curb weight of the 2015 F-150 from comparable 2014 models by between 550 and 700 lbs, depending on the trim level. On the other hand, GM’s most fuel-efficient truck bears an EPA highway rating of 24 mpg.

Steve Kiefer, GM's vice president of global powertrain, said at the Detroit auto show that all options are open, including possibly resurrecting a 4.5-liter V-8 diesel engine that was intended for GM trucks five years ago. GM was to build the engine at its Tonawanda engine plant in New York but had to cease the project after running into financial problems.

"We are looking closely at diesel entrees in that segment," Kiefer remarked, adding that the 4.5-liter V-8 diesel engine is certainly one of the options. GM redesigned its full-sized trucks in 2013 year, so it is next to impossible their bodies would be shifted to aluminum until the next redesign.

The new 2015 Canyon from GMC is a midsize truck that is seen to redefine the segment it belongs to and ensure that the brand is one of the sole three-truck ranges in the industry. Indeed, it manages to raise the level from refinement to horsepower and even to efficiency. This new model makes use of a proven global architecture and then engineered in order to be able to meet the highly unique needs and driving conditions of drivers in North America.

Fitted with the I-4 2.5-liter engine, the new Canyon can deliver an output of 200 hp (149 kW), the best in the segment. For those who want more, the 3.6-liter V6 engine allows for power at 305 hp (227 kW). In addition, when equipped properly, the available maximum trailering has been rated to be 7,000 pounds (3,175 kilograms). Aside from power, highway efficiency is the best in the segment.

For the 2WD models fitted with the 2.5-liter engine, the EPA-estimated rating is 27 mpg. For the 2WD models fitted with the 3.6-liter engine, the fuel efficiency rating is at 26 mpg. Duncan Aldred, Vice-President of Sales and Marketing at GMC, shared that the new Canyon is the first ever premium midsize truck to be part of the segment. The capabilities are class-leading and continues to have the refinement the brand is known for, he added.

The model is maneuverable and efficiently sized, he continued, and is geared for customers who want the trailering versatility and cargo-hauling capacity of a truck but do not have a size like that of a full-size pickup.

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