• 2017 Chevy Colorado V6 8-Speed vs. GMC Canyon Diesel: Ike Gauntlet Towing Review [Video]


    2017 chevy colorado v6 8-speed gmc canyon diesel duramax towing review comparison
    2017 GMC Canyon diesel vs. 2017 Chevy Colorado 8-speed

    Which is the best midsize pickup truck on the Ike Gauntlet, world’s toughest towing test, gas or diesel? At first, the diesel seems like the obvious choice. Let’s not be so quick to discount the gas-powered truck. It’s the 2017 Chevy Colorado with the new 3.6L V6 and the 8-speed automatic transmission. The reworked V6 now produces 308 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. The 8-speed automatic transmission has a wider overall gear range. GM says the new V6-powered truck is a little quicker and a little more efficient. Although, the truck is rated at approximately the same 0-60 MPH time and MPG rating by the EPA.

    As promising as the V6 truck is, the 2.8L Duramax-powered GMC Canyon was last year’s Gold Hitch award winner in the midsize class for towing. It was also TFLtruck’s 2016 truck of the year. It is a really good towing truck and a tough one to beat. The “baby” Duramax still produces 181 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Although there are rumors of this engine being paired to an 8-speed automatic, the 6-speed is still there in this 2017 GMC Canyon diesel.

    Ike Gauntlet is an 8-mile stretch of I-70 between Dillon, CO and the Eisenhower/Johnson memorial tunnels at the Continental Divide. The maximum grade is 7% and the highway tops out at engine-suffocating 11,158 feet above sea level. At the top of the Ike Gauntlet, there is approximately 32% less air density. Engines of all kinds struggle for air and most require wide-open-throttle just to maintain speed when fully loaded.

    Here is the quick summary of the results.

    Both of these trucks are participating in the 2017 Gold Hitch awards for midsize trucks (along with the 2017 Nissan Frontier). Check out the video below for the Ike Gauntlet scores and all of the details.


    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.

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    60 thoughts on “2017 Chevy Colorado V6 8-Speed vs. GMC Canyon Diesel: Ike Gauntlet Towing Review [Video]

    1. Both trucks did well. The GMC is definitely better looking.

      The different weights should have different MPG standards. The midsize trucks will ALWAYS get the highest score, but it doesn’t seem that you guys use that score alone to determine the best truck overall, so that is good.

    2. Sure like these trucks, just don’t know if i can justify it as a need. Nice to see the effort that has gone into reinvigorating the midsize trucks.

    3. Guess GM did improve this truck with the new LGX engine and the 8 speed. This would be my engine of choice in a LT model.

    4. I’m not sure that the new v6 gas engine and its 8 speed is actually better than the old engine with its 6 speed. Check the 2015 ike qauntlet run with the gmc canyon run on this website.

      1. That’s what I’m seeing as well. I think the weights were the same but the 2015 model was a bit faster up the hill.

        It would have been nice to have had a commentary on the comparison from 2015 to 2017 gas, but there was a difference in that Andre, not Roman, was riding shotgun on the 2017 set of runs.

        1. The 2017 MPG was up though to 4.9 up the hill, as opposed to 3.6 MPG for the 2015.
          It would be interesting to see the 100 mile differenced in the two gassers (2015 and 2017) along with the diesel.

          1. Power is only up marginally over the 2016, 3hp and 6 ft-lbs. I wouldnt expect the 8 speed to make much of a difference at steady state, either transmission is going to get the engine where it needs to be in the RPMs.

            C&D did show a 1 second difference in the 0-60 time between the 2015 and 2017 v6 though which i think is all transmission.

      2. Unfortunately, we cannot compare the 2017 V6 vs. 2015 V6 Ike Gauntlet runs as apples to apples. The two trucks towed different trailers and different weights (6,100 lbs in 2017 vs. 5,600 lbs in 2015). Weather conditions were slightly different as well.

        Andre – TFLtruck.com

        1. I believe the 500 additional pounds the 2017 had to pull was more than offset by the taller and much wider trailer the 2015 was pulling (much greater wind resistance).

        2. Thank you for posting the pictures of the results. I can never view the videos at work from our firewall, but pics are bright as day. Please make this a standard thing on IKE and comparisons. Love it!

        3. Andre – Thanks for the info, I was incorrectly thinking the towed weights were the same. Not going to be in a hurry to trade my 15 in just for the 8 speed. It looks like any real-world improvements aren’t enough to justify the financial hit (for me at least).

    5. I still think too many points are awarded for braking based upon the truck’s grade-shifting software. In reality, if I was towing a heavy trailer down that gradient, I would simply choose manual shifting mode and select the best gear for coming down the hill. Really, these tests are about the brute engine and transmission capabilities coming up the hill more than anything, and how the truck feels; how it controls the trailer and how quiet it is. Yes, braking is important…but I’d far rather see how ultimately strong the exhaust brake can be, or how strong the engine braking can be, by manually selecting a gear as most users would…and finally, how strong the actual foot brakes are.

    6. 3800$ does not make a strong argument for buying it. They said if you towing alot, but how many people actually tow alot with this truck? Not very many times.

      Not sure why Mr Kent thought that DSL would be 1st up the top? On paper the DSL is giving up 125 HP but the gas is only giving up 94 lb TQ. With extra gears the gas had it can hold it own because of it.

      1. His mentality seems to be a bit off because he is used to the HD Diesels where they have a clear advantage over their gas counterparts. They have always had similar hp and far more torque. Now they have more HP and double the torque.

        These light duty diesels(RAM ED, Colorado Dmax) dont fit the same bill. They are economy motors first and foremost but have been marketed as THE tow motor. Think about it. The HP and Torque numbers of the HD diesel compared to the HD gassers is analogous to comparing the Colorado Dmax to the 2.5L 4 cylinder Colorado(200 hp/191 tq vs 180hp/369 tq), NOT the V6.

      2. Comparing the 2.8L Dmax to the V6 would be analogous to the 6.6L Dmax to a 650hp/650 ft-lb V8. I bet that 650 hp V8 would tow like an animal.

      3. The gas motor would further outperform the diesel at normal atmospheric elevations, as the diesel is turboed and loses less Hp and torque under these elevations, likely why Kent thought it had an advantage but it was still too underpowered to catch the gas motor.

        1. Yeah but he always picks the diesel. And plus, the last time around it wasn’t even close either. Nor to the Tacoma, nor to the frontier.

          1. I noticed they did not check the sound on the way down. In the Mr Truck video last year the diesel had a really loud annoying sound when coming down the hill? I give heavy weights, personally to passing power and acceleration so I am always going for the gas motor. More power the better. I can deal with the other stuff on a very low personal scale, for me anyways and the extra money for the diesel just doesn’t make financial sense.

    7. I agree that too many points are awarded for vehicles that use only a couple of brake applications over a 8 mile downhill run! I wish they still checked the brake temperatures at the bottom of the hill this not only told us that the brake controller was set correctly. But it also told you if the truck’s brakes were being over stressed. One or two brake application when your pulling the trucks maximum capacity is just overkill and unnecessary if the trucks brake temperature is at normal levels. Like you, I prefer to descend steep hills in manual mode so I’m in complete control.

    8. I’d buy the gas engine. The diesel doesn’t do anything to separate itself enough when you consider the intial investment and out of warranty expense in the future.

      1. And the fact that it doesnt get much better MPG so there is no gas savings. Oh and you can barely get a discount on a diesel, meanwhile V6’s are advertised for 5-6k off MSRP bring the total price difference to 9-10k. Congratulations and saving all that gas money.

        1. You also need to replace the timing chain in the diesel at 150,000 miles just when you might have got ahead your wallet gets hit again.

          1. Oh and it’s like $450 just in parts with the belt, tensioner, idler pulleys, gasket. I’ve heard quotes in the $2000+ range to have the dealer do it since you gotta pull the grille, CAC, radiator, fan and half the pulleys off the front of the motor before you can even get the timing cover off.

          2. You are right on the mileage, however, it is a belt.

            I recently asked a GM service writer the time and amount to change the belt.

            He started telling me that diesels use chains (the GM HDS do) and telling me how long they last.

            If I am going to drop the money for a diesel, I would plan on owning it for well over 200,000 miles.

            At one major reason I have no desire to own the 2.8 diesel.

            It also lacks on power when compared to the 3.0 Ram diesel, When comparing inch per inch.

            Both are VM Motoris.

      2. People buy the diesel because “its a diesel.” I just don’t think it makes much sense in this application. However, if the 8-speed is being tested with this engine in the Chevy Express van, you can bet it will make its way into this small truck. The 8-speed could improve both performance and economy enough to tip the scales…

        1. It’s a luxury item. It offers better daily driveability and OK towing characteristics. The way people talk about it you wonder how anyone ever survived before mid-sized and half ton diesels.

    9. Plenty of good grades here on our highways, if I was interested in a Manual I would buy one. So brake applications are very important. If you tow frequently and heavy loads most of the money goes to pads or shoes. Either on the truck or trailer. The whole Ike is cool but, we don’t lose to much power down here. Our issues is big grades and traffic.

    10. I drove the new V6 Colorado with the 8 speed and the new combination is a lot better than the old.

      Nobody mentions how uncomfortable the seats are in the Colorado, which I was surprised at, as they are a deal breaker for us; they were so bad. The back rest but especially the seat does not hold you, I was sliding all over the place and you sit on the plastic on the sides, made for the power controls. The side lumbar on the seat in my 2015 Tacoma holds my ass in place around corners and keeps it warm. In the Colorado the side of my ass was getting cold and would slide off the seat, same for my partner who is 5′-1″ and 120-Lbs. She hated it so much, that when we got back into our Tacoma seats, she said “AHHH so much better, don’t ever bring me back here” (to the GM dealer) and the seats were hard and when you get out your thigh drags on the sharp plastic moulding.

      The throttle tip in was decent and much better than the new Tacoma but not as nice as our 2015 for throttle response when you want get up and go to get out of an intersection. The Colorado was nice in that it had a bit more power that was noticeable and the Colorado V6 has a nicer sound over the new Tacoma IMO.

      The Colorado had no grab handle for the driver and the step in was just as high as the Tacoma. The plastic bumper above the airdam was so meak that if you went off road and scraped it a little your bumper would easily break even with the air dam removed, another deal breaker.

      The bed height in the Colorado is higher which is nice for storage but harder to see over and the Tacoma has the composite bed so you don’t have to deal with the BS of a spray in boxliner.

      My partner is short so her foot has a hard time reaching the gas pedals in the Colorado as the powered seat sits too high from the low floor and there is less room for your foot which makes it awkward on the gas pedal. She also had a hard time seeing over the trucks hood in the low position. In the Tacoma you sit higher and the floor is higher which makes the pedals accessible for short people and visibility is much better being up high and the seats hold you firmly in place.

      The suspension in the Colorado was very similar to our 2015 Tacoma Sport but it skated sideways more and didn’t feel as tight. The Tacoma is quiet and tight over washboard bumps and the Colorado is the same but a bit rattily and skates to the side a little making the seats that much worse.

      The salesman was very bitter the moment we walked in, stating the Tacoma was ancient and that the Colorado is the best midsize pickup which is false via sales data by majority buyers. I told him I was only interested in the ZR2 so his argument that the Colorado pulls more fell flat on its face so he complained that the frame was complete sht on the Tacoma, basically kept telling us we drive garbage and said the high resale on the Tacoma doesn’t exist despite the facts that the Tacoma holds a better resale over the Colorado and despite how happy we were when we got back into our Tacoma.

      We then went to the Ram dealer to try a 2017 Power Wagon in which they were sold out, but have more coming in, but that salesman would not stop complimenting our Tacoma and how great it is for resale and that he himself wants one. He was surprised I wanted a Power Wagon because of the size difference but I told him anything off road with a cool factor was on the table, and he laughed. He said I would love it but still stated the Tacoma was an awesome machine. A real difference in a sales pitch that wants me going back to the Ram dealer and staying far away from the bitter GM dealer.

      I tested the new tranny and engine combo to see if I would like the powertrain in the ZR2 coming in April and I do, I like it a lot better than the new Tacoma and the bumper is fixed on that model and hopefully the seats are better and the suspension should be better but it really lacks on payload and towing compared to the Tacoma Pro

      1. Well, I’m surprised you were able to say a few good things about the Colorado despite your love for the Tacoma. They each have their strengths and weaknesses for sure. Not sure what you mean by “the BS of a spray boxliner.” There’s no BS; it looks better than the bare paint bed, and it keeps your cargo from sliding around. Its also nice when you’re up in the bed standing on a gritty bedliner surface compared to slippery plastic or metal. What’s up with “partner?” Around here, you say that and it makes you gay. Its either wife or girlfriend. Canadian thing?
        A sales person insulting the potential customer’s vehicle is an idiot and should be fired immediately, even if it were all true. Always try to make the customer feel good about themselves and their vehicle without being patronizing.
        Glad to hear the RAM dealer was a bit more courteous and friendly.

        1. I say partner because we are separated but still get along really well, so she is not a girlfriend or a wife.

          The spray in bedliner whenever I have got it done and my family who got it done always gets overspray on the vehicles paint and is an additional cost. The composite is a bit slippery but it is really nice for dragging and sliding stuff into the bed or out of the bed and you never worry about it peeling or scratching as the composite is the same color throughout and it doesn’t dent or crack. As for anything that I don’t want to slide I just quickly throw a ratchet strap over it. And there is the rubber bed mat option if you don’t want slippery.

            1. NP, its better this way and a lot cheaper. I like her viewpoint, so I know it is not just me thinking a certain way, and she catches on to a few items I don’t notice myself. This is why TFL needs a sweetheart as well. Big burly guys don’t catch on to a lot of stuff in these reviews for the lady viewers. Losing half of the available customers for this site.

        2. Troverman I was not going to touch “partner” bit. Lol

          Rambro good reporting and insight on the two trucks.
          You can tell by a poor salesman that you no more than he does on the truck you are buying. That is sad.

          1. I don’t know what is wrong with the salesman around here. Everywhere I go they don’t know their vehicles. I complained to the Toyota guy about the lull and lag in the new Tacoma vs old and found out from Moondog that the transmission will learn and adapt and get rid of that problem. Like that was one of my biggest complaints to him and he doesn’t know about the AI transmission. ???

      2. Welcome back to the Tacoma, Rambro! The Colorado does have more power but, as I said before, the Toyota has enough and it only gets better and more responsive as you drive it. Don’t get your hopes up for better seats in the ZR2. GM is just too cost conscious to put a great seat in the ZR2. I still think GM and Toyota both missed it by at least not giving them ZR2 and TRD Pro a few more hp to set their top trucks apart and maybe make them midsize Raptor competitors.

        You either like or don’t like the seating height of the Tacoma and I get that but it’s good to finally see someone mention the awful seats in the Colorado. I didn’t like them at all but somehow no one very mentioned them yet it is a hot topic for Tacoma reviews.

        1. I guess with all the valid complaints about not having power seats in the Tacoma set my standards high when I tried the Colorado seats, but then it fell flat on it’s face. The Colorado seats are hard and when you corner your ass slides around on the seats and the plastic digs into your thighs. I couldn’t believe how bad they were. The power delivery is similar but I have to give the power plant to GM, they have a slight edge, had Tacoma kept the 4.0 motor I would still prefer that over the new GM motor.

        2. Do you have any literature or websites that show the Tacoma motor adapting to the user. I don’t see that anywhere on the Toyota website.

          1. The new tranny has AI in it and I have noticed a huge difference after not quite 500 miles. I just gave it a nice washing today in this 75 degree weather! The first time I drove the new Tacoma I wanted my old one back and swore something had to be wrong with the one I drove. Now, I would never go back. Check out some of the forums from Tacomaworld although there are times where I wonder why I read anything there (they love the Tacoma yet complain nonstop). You won’t find this in any literature but many of the new transmissions adjust to your driving habits by using AI. The GM dealer told me this about our first Yukon (AKA lemon) and I thought he was crazy but it was true – the vehicle adapted to our driving habits and the throttle response got so much better. The third gen Tacoma has it too. Just search the Tacomaworld forums and you will find it. I have learned a ton about the new Tacomas on that forum but read much more than I talk because they not as cordial as we are here on TFL so I had just as soon read and learn and use my time commenting on this website where I can also read and learn and enjoy some good conversations.

            1. Thanks Moondog, I will have to dig into that, about the AI. One other thing to be fair to GM is the Auto 4 setting allows you to drive on dry pavement and hit sandy and wet intersection that kick the 4×4 on. I liked that feature. Wish the Tacoma would do an AWD version like the Ridgeline to have that advantage. Very useful in the spring up North here.

            2. Ok so I just read an article on adaptive transmissions. Can’t believe I never knew that. No wonder you have been screaming and yelling about it. They say the new vehicles are really sluggish coming off the lots

              However, I wonder if EPA is going to shut this down or sue manufacturers for this. The mpg that the EPA does on the vehicle that goes on the white sticker in the window is going to change within a few thousand miles. Take your Tacoma now on the same test the EPA did before you bought it and the fuel economy will change because the shift points have changed

              I wonder what ramifications are going to happen out of this. Although it sounds great and solves a big issue I had with the new Tacoma. That is good news for sure.

        3. The Tacoma is a little lighter as well so the lbs/hp equals out a little closer. I know the manual Tacoma would be the fastest midsize in a 0-60 run and has better gear ratios but they are all very close.

      3. Why did you even stop seems like you knew that you disliked it before you ever stopped what a waste of time

    11. I own a 2016 Colorado diesel that has 25k on it already and has a overall fuel economy of 29.5 mpg. Which includes pulling a tractor for a couple thousand miles and a couple of different cars for a thousand miles. Interstate speeds(plus 7 mph) is the normal daily travels. Granted a diesel is not for everybody, but, for me it was worth the extra money. Just wish it had a heated steering wheel and the eight speed transmission would be nice too.

    12. It’s too bad the Ridgeline can’t pull 6100-lbs. it got 6.4mpg pulling 5000-lbs which was really impressive for a gas motor

    13. Rambro, I have been telling you this forever! It is true and it does work. My Tacoma is like a different truck. Before I took delivery I confirmed this with a Master Technician or else I was seriously considering not pulling the trigger. The truck drives great and the power is only getting better every day. It is obvious I prefer the Tacoma and I cannot and will not hide that, but I also have owned virtually a little bit of everything over the years and have high standards for all of my vehicles no matter what badge is on them. This truck has been great and it keeps getting better. Do I wish it had more power? Heck, I wish everything had more power! But, this is enough for me with this truck. The GM has more but not a lot once the Taco loosens up a bit. Even my Yukon has improved greatly now that it has been broken in. I never noticed this much with my German cars. Finally, I also wonder if this initial Eco mode is something that may be shut down in the future because I have to wonder if this is somehow designed for economy first with some added juice later.

    14. Looks like the Colorado 4×4 v-6 crew cab long bed could be my next new truck, although that might be in 3 years.

      Since I don’t tow at that elevation at all, the power is sufficient.

      Now if Chevy can put some slightly bigger mirrors on it, with puddle lamps on them, and of course make them all self dimming, would suit me just fine.

      I would probably get the LT package because I don’t need most of the stuff on the Z71, like leave off-road tires, which are so so, and so-called special shocks.

      I would just buy it with the LT tires on it and put on my own better A/T tires.

      Of course I don’t need their running boards either.

    15. I’ve seen TFLT videos regarding the Colorado/Canyon Duramax Diesel tests. I like to see how well they perform next to their gasoline powered twin. I hope the 2.8 litre Duramax diesel remains on the market for a while to come. It’d give potential small/medium-sized truck buyers the option of either gas or diesel.

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