GM’s full-size commercials vans have not receive an update in some time. This will change in early 2017 when both the Chevy Express and the GMC Savana vans receive a brand-new powertrain option. GM is looking to boost the fuel efficiency of the van wth the 2.8L Duramax I4 turbo-diesel engine which is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission.
You will recognize the 2.8L Duramax as it is also used in the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon. However, it’s paired to a 6-speed automatic in the midsize trucks. The big vans are getting the 8-speed. The exact power output has not yet been announced, but commercial van customers care more about operating costs, maintenance costs and payload capability than outright engine power. The engine’s power should be close to 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. It will be interesting to see what payload and towing ratings the new diesel powertrain will be capable of.
It’s not that long ago that the GM vans were using a 6.6L Duramax V8, but small engines are getting more powerful and more efficient. This help bring down the total cost of ownership and operation. The Express and Savana with the small displacement turbo-diesel will compete directly against the Ford Transit with the 3.2L Power Stroke I5 (185 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque) and the Ram ProMaster with the 3.0L EcoDiesel I4 (174 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque).
The 2.8L Duramax I4 will be available in all GM van confirmations: 2500 or 3500, short or long wheelbase, cargo or passenger. This option will be available in the first quarter of 2017. The GM vans will also offer the 4.8L and 6.0L Vortec V8 gasoline engines.
Here is our first drive review of the Chevy Colorado with the 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel.