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New 2015 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon V6 MPG better than Tacoma's 4-cylinder

GM's fuel economy announcement makes it official. The Toyota Tacoma has fallen behind in the compact truck market's new battleground.

General Motors released official EPA estimated fuel economy numbers for the new 2015 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon today. Specifically, the automaker published the fuel economy of its 3.6-liter, V6 engine. This engine makes a respectable 305 horsepower in the trucks. The fuel economy of this new smaller-than-full-size truck is better than the 4-cylinder Toyota Tacoma.

V6 Colorado MPG vs. 4-Cylinder Tacoma MPG
The new 2015 Colorado and Canyon will have a city, combined, highway fuel economy estimate of 17/20/24MPG when configured in 4WD, as most will be. In two-wheel drive mode that bumps up a bit to 18/21/26. The 4WD 4-cylinder 2015 Toyota Tacoma rates just 18/19/21 MPG. The 2WD version is barely any better.

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New 2015 Colorado and Canyon Overview
The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon brings GM back in to the North American “compact” truck market. There is really nothing small or compact about the trucks, that term is strictly a remnant of by-gone days. These are trucks that a family could make their main vehicle. The smallest cabin is the extended cab, and most of these new trucks will be delivered to customers as roomy 4-doors with 4-wheel-drive. In that configuration, the Colorado and Canyon will be priced at about $31,000 before options are added. That number is roughly the same as an AWD compact crossover or AWD sedan might be priced at. Chevy will have 4WD, V6 trucks priced from about $27K, but they will be as rare as baby pigeons on dealer lots.

Toyota Tacoma Sales Slide
Toyota’s truck business is actually quite healthy. The world’s largest automaker, and the US’ largest retail automaker has maxed-out its truck facilities in Texas and nearby locations. We recently wondered in an opinion story if Toyota was letting the Tacoma die on the vine in order to make room on the production line it shares with the larger and more profitable Tundra pickup. Time will tell, but we have seen exactly this from other automakers in the past.

The Tacoma is in the midst of a multi-year sales decrease. The Nissan Frontier is responsible for much of that decline. We analyzed the Tacoma’s sales decrease through the first 7 months of 2014 and found that the number of trucks Toyota is down this year is almost exactly the same as the number of trucks the Frontier is up. Now Toyota’s Tacoma will have to compete with a new GM truck that blows it out of the water in terms of fuel cost per mile.

Can the Tacoma survive the 2015 Chevy Colorado and 2016 Nissan Frontier?

Will Toyota Update the Tacoma?
It will be interesting to see what Toyota does to respond to the shifting market. One thing that is almost certain to change is the transmission in Toyota’s 2.7-liter, 4-cylinder truck. That truck uses a 4-speed automatic. Almost no vehicle made today uses so few gears. A manual truck is available, but it gets even worse fuel economy. We expect that the next Tacoma we see will have a 6-speed.

2015 Ford F-150 Could Rain on GM's Parade?
Although this story is about the new Colorado and Canyon topping the other small trucks in the marketplace with a much more powerful engine, the real story to watch will be the upcoming full-size Ford F-150 with its new smaller V6 EcoBoost engine in the new aluminum body. It may actually match these Colorado numbers.

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2016 GMC Canyon, Chevrolet Colorado to Pack Duramax Diesel Power
Toyota Tacoma's two-step plan to match Chevy's 2015 Colorado


J (not verified)    September 13, 2014 - 8:48AM

It would be nice if GM were dedicated to the CO / CA in a way that didn't show them afraid to step on the toes of the full-size line.

The last CO / CA with 5.3 V8 got a 4L65E and a featureless engine (no VVT, AFM) while the full size line got the 6 speed and many got engines with 1 of those features. And you couldn't get the V8 CO / CA in many body / bed configurations either.

dan (not verified)    May 1, 2015 - 3:45PM

How are you comparing this to a 4WD 4cyl 2015 Tacoma, when the 4WD Tacoma is only available in a V6? You're using the V6 specs of 18/20.

John Goreham    May 1, 2015 - 6:54PM

In reply to by dan (not verified)

The Tacoma is available with a 4-cylinder engine and 4x4. Use the Toyota configurator and you will see it can be. Then click "Find inventory" and those trucks near you will show up. I did it today and vehicles were available from dealer stock. Perhaps in your zip code it is not a configuration stocked by dealers. Here is the 4 cylinder, 4WD fuel economy from I took a close look at the numbers in the story and made some clarifications, but the premise is correct. Thanks for the comment:
I'm sorry you will have to cut and paste the link.