Diesel Value - Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon
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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-14-2016, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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Diesel Value

Lots of talk about when a diesel engine is worth it or not. I currently drive a Dodge Ram 2500 with a 5.9l CTD. Great truck, and I love driving it. My trailer load is usually fairly light, and the Cummins tows it like a dream. But, it's getting a bit long in the tooth, so I'm looking for something newer. It also gets about 18mpg on the highway; 16mpg when towing.

My previous truck was 2001 Dodge Dakota 4 door, with a 5.9l gas engine. Perfect size for most of what we did. The Colorado is about the same size, with maybe a slightly bigger interior. Just about the perfect size for what I need it for.

For most of my driving, the gas Colorado/Canyon would be just fine. Plenty of power, and good mileage; but I want good towing performance. Yes, I DO want it all ;) So I started comparing available trucks and engines.



The important number (in my mind) is the power to weight ratio. The Colorado is in the middle. The full sized diesel have a great ratio, but cost to own and operate are prohibitive for the little bit of towing I do. One of the big things here is the altitude. You lose 2-3% of your power per thousand feet with a normally aspirated engine; a turbo engine does not lose much at all. I live at 6,200' ASL. Pretty common to tow up to 7,400' ASL.

After looking at these numbers, I'm pretty confident the Colorado with a mini-duramax will do me fine. I hope it doesn't turn out to be a bomb like the other VM Motori engines. Time will tell.

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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-14-2016, 06:40 AM
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Smart move looking for a turbo when towing at altitude.

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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-14-2016, 10:55 AM
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You need to recognize where the engines make their torque. Below is a thread I started about a year ago that lays out some of the issues as I saw them. Open up the pdf at the bottom of the opening post.

Diesel Physics

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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-14-2016, 11:16 AM
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I towed my ~4500 lbs. loaded camper over an 11,350 ft. pass in Colorado. All I can say is that I was VERY impressed by the baby dmax. Even more impressive than climbing the grades was the exhaust brake when descending. What goes up, must come down.

You can read my towing report here... Diesel towing report
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-14-2016, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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You need to recognize where the engines make their torque. Below is a thread I started about a year ago that lays out some of the issues as I saw them. Open up the pdf at the bottom of the opening post.
Yup, read through that at one point. A diesel is not a speed demon or a racer. All that torque is great off the line, but it's still not a race truck. A diesel truck is made for hauling loads. They just happen to be great at cruising in the mountains, too. Pretty much anything with a turbo will do better in the mountains.

I also considered getting a V6 gas, and then adding a turbo or supercharger. For a variety of reasons, I decided against that.

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I towed my ~4500 lbs. loaded camper over an 11,350 ft. pass in Colorado. All I can say is that I was VERY impressed by the baby dmax. Even more impressive than climbing the grades was the exhaust brake when descending. What goes up, must come down.
Yup, read that one before as well. I'v read pretty much every towing or diesel thread on here for the last 6-8 months. Specs and data are good. But personal experiences and impressions are also important.

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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-14-2016, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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This is my usual towing load. Light weight trailer, with a light weight car. Bed load probably not more than 500-600 pounds. The Cummins doesn't even break a sweat.

A few years ago, I towed the same trailer with a slightly heavier car across WY, using a 2001 Dakota with a 5.9l gas engine. Unfortunately, there was a pretty heavy head wind, like 40mph. We were down to 50-55mph in 3rd gear most of the time, slower on some hills, engine screaming the entire time. We got 6 mpg on premium fuel! 6! I was worried about making it from one town to the next (if you've ever driven across WY, you know what I mean). That was when I finally decided to buy a diesel truck. That gas engine was a pig.
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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-14-2016, 12:29 PM
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You read my report about the wind I hit in Iowa then. My trailer is much worse for pushing wind than yours would be. It is 8' wide and 9 1/2' tall, plus A/C and vent covers sticking up. And the front has very little slope. I did the same trip about half of the way across Iowa a month later. The wind was much less that time and I was getting around 15.5 mph for most of it.

Nice car by the way. I think the Colorado Dmax would hardly break a sweat pulling that thing. I think you are on the right track, but I might be a bit biased.
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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 11:04 PM
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I get 14.5mpg towing my enclosed with the exo in it (5400# + wind drag) at 65mph, and 11mpg at 75mph. It will cruise at 75 through the steep KS hills no problem towing the enclosed. You shouldn't have an issue with the serpent express.
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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-21-2016, 11:20 PM
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This is my usual towing load. Light weight trailer, with a light weight car. Bed load probably not more than 500-600 pounds. The Cummins doesn't even break a sweat.

A few years ago, I towed the same trailer with a slightly heavier car across WY, using a 2001 Dakota with a 5.9l gas engine. Unfortunately, there was a pretty heavy head wind, like 40mph. We were down to 50-55mph in 3rd gear most of the time, slower on some hills, engine screaming the entire time. We got 6 mpg on premium fuel! 6! I was worried about making it from one town to the next (if you've ever driven across WY, you know what I mean). That was when I finally decided to buy a diesel truck. That gas engine was a pig.
I bought an Avalanche(1500) when they first came out in '01, and I loved that thing. Then we bought a 26' Bayliner, and it of course wouldn't tow it so I bought a gas 2500HD.
Couple months after I bought it, I loaded up a 14' enclosed trailer full of MX bikes and took some buddies up to a track in Ridgecrest(3.5hr away). That thing had a 6L in it, yet was literally SCREAMING between 4-5krpm going over the whoops on 395(anybody in Socal who's ever gone to Mammoth knows what I'm talking about). Totally freaking ridiculous, so I put it up for sale-magically sold it within a week, and bought a 2500HD DURAMAX. That was the LB7 motor, then I bought an LLY-which I didn't like the trans tuning on- then the famed LBZ(2007 'Classic) in a 3500HD dually. I kick myself every time I think back when I sold that thing. Here in Kalifornistan, you can still get close to $40k for those things provided they have reasonably low miles and are in good shape. Best diesel motor I've ever owned, or even DRIVEN. Later that year GM of course went to the LMM when the new emissions standards kicked in(the same time Dodge increased their displacement to 6.7L and Ford-pronounced 'TURD'- went to 6.4L), both just so they'd keep the same HP as their previous non-neutered smaller motors. Diesels were junk for the next 4 years(IMO), and I stayed away 'til now.
I'd like to find a nice unmolested '94+ 12v Cummins(like everybody else with a pulse), have the pump done, and spray for insects

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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 07:28 AM
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What are the power to weight ratios on the other two Colorado/Canyon engines? More curiosity than anything else. I have the 4 cylinder gas engine. I do very little towing and was more interested in having a truck that got decent gas mileage. I considered the diesel long and hard because of the potential saving of the diesel engine when it came to MPG. But, in the end I decided I could live with the 4 banger for my needs and buy a lot of regular unleaded for the added cost of the diesel option. Also, I needed a long bed that would fit in my garage, so the only option was the ext cab, so diesel was pretty much eliminated at that point. It would still be interesting to see how the two gas engine configurations measure up to the rest in your chart. Interesting stuff, thank you for sharing this.

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post #11 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 10:22 AM
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@Red Rock I think you made the right choice. You would likely never see the payback on the diesel unless it holds the additional premium at resale time. We won't know that for several years.
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post #12 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 02:46 PM
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@Red Rock I think you made the right choice. You would likely never see the payback on the diesel unless it holds the additional premium at resale time. We won't know that for several years.
There's never been a [modern] diesel truck that hasn't.
GM is so convinced that they give it a 72% residual on a 36mo lease. That's a couple points more than a fricken Jeep Wrangler, which C&D via JD Power says holds 75% of its value AFTER 5 YEARS.
I went through the same thing when I bought my first Duramax. It was said that you'd need 7-10 years to recoup the extra $ you paid through the better mileage, but a lot of us didn't buy it simply because of mileage. In any event, I paid $42k for my 'fully' loaded '07 CLassic 3500HD, and last I checked, a good one is still going for around $40k.
Of course our truck isn't an HD, and it hasn't been around long enough for us to know what its resale value is gonna be, so it's all speculation.
It WILL be worth more than the V6, but the question is will it be worth the extra amount we all paid
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post #13 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 03:56 PM
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There's never been a [modern] diesel truck that hasn't.
GM is so convinced that they give it a 72% residual on a 36mo lease. That's a couple points more than a fricken Jeep Wrangler, which C&D via JD Power says holds 75% of its value AFTER 5 YEARS.
I went through the same thing when I bought my first Duramax. It was said that you'd need 7-10 years to recoup the extra $ you paid through the better mileage, but a lot of us didn't buy it simply because of mileage. In any event, I paid $42k for my 'fully' loaded '07 CLassic 3500HD, and last I checked, a good one is still going for around $40k.
Of course our truck isn't an HD, and it hasn't been around long enough for us to know what its resale value is gonna be, so it's all speculation.
It WILL be worth more than the V6, but the question is will it be worth the extra amount we all paid
I some cases, those dang Jeep Wranglers hold more than 75% of their value! I paid $23K for a pretty base Wrangler (6 speed manual tranny and power nothing) in 2012, and got $21K for it on trade for my Colorado! If I had been patient and sold it myself, I probably could have gotten $24K for it in a private sale. It was still pretty stock when I traded it also. I did pick up a set of factory 17" aluminum wheels and tires off Craig's List for $400, then turned around and sold the 16" steel wheels and tires for $300! It's crazy how they hold their value! I doubt my Colorado will do as well when the time come to replace her!

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post #14 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 05:54 PM
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One thing you never factored in was the cost of your payments and regular maintenance. Sure, in 10,000 miles the diesel may be cheaper if all you account for is fuel, but when you consider that you need to tack almost 5k onto your loan over the same gas truck(not including the discounts on V6 Colorado's), then suddenly your loan payment is, what, 12% higher? Maybe you will get that back when you resell, maybe you wont. What about the fact that you could probably get a similarly equipped half ton for less with the huge deals it seems GM has right now? When you consider you are going to be paying $40-45k for a colorado/canyon diesel, and paying $700 a month for a loan, then are you really worried about the $30 a month you might save on gas? That's a few beers at the bar or a coffee a week you could cut out of your life and get the same savings.

I also dont agree with the fact that all you account for is torque. HP is what will move you up the mountains, torque is just a means of getting to that hp. The dmax only makes 180 hp no mater how you look at it. GM's new direct injected 6.2L will make more torque and FAR more hp than the duramax even at altitude. I believe they claim that that 6.2 makes 90% of its torque at 2000 rpm so again, even at low RPM the 6.2 is at least as good. In fact, any half ton V8 will outpull the dmax up a hill with relative easy I would say. You also don't know that the tuning doesn't back down the boost and fueling on the dmax so don't assume you will have peak power at altitude. I can tell you that on my Jeep liberty, with nearly the same 2.8L diesel, both are cut significantly by 6500'.

Why no ecoboost F150? Have you ever driven one? I think that motor will really impress if you are looking for diesel torque. Its got the low end torque of a diesel, the top end of a V8 and turbos to help at altitude.

If you want a diesel, get a diesel. Don't try to justify it with gas savings. It's not really there in any meaningful way compared to the total cost of owning and operating the truck. You cannot pay $40,000+ for a truck and then pretend your saving all this money on gas. If your really worried about money you better be buying a base model otherwise the argument is stupid.

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post #15 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 08:17 PM
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@yokev I don't think we can say that it WILL be worth more than a V6. If major issues develop with it they could be worth less since people won't want the trouble.
@mass-hole I have driven several eco-boosts and I am not as impressed as you. I also will not own another current ford after my experience with the one I traded in for the Colorado. I also question some of their engineering but won't go there.

I do disagree with your comments about getting up the mountain. I HAVE towed a 4500# travel trailer (aka 8'x11' parachute) up and over 11,315 ft. I also had a load in the truck and was near GVWR. There was a 9(?) mile long 6% grade on that trip. I was passing all of the heavy trucks and topped the hill at 60 mph. That was faster than the 55mph I started at the bottom with due to the curve coming in and traffic. Boost pressure seemed to run the same at altitude as it is here @700' ASL. I was watching it on the trip to see if it changed at altitude and how much. I was also watching barometric pressure to calculate my altitude. For being near the rated limits of the truck, I was pleased. Could the eco-boost do the same? Probably, or better but I don't know where the heck I would park it and like I said, I'm done with fords. If ford puts the 3.5 eco-boost in the upcoming ranger, GM better step up their game. I highly doubt that we will see it there though.

I also disagree that any half ton with a V8 will outdo it. I have pulled the same trailer with my dad's older 5.3L extended cab, short box 1500. The 2.8L tows that trailer much more comfortably than the V8 and at altitude I would have been in the slow lane with his truck. The 4.8L in a crew cab will not likely tow as well as the diesel twin. Look at the power and torque curve on it compared to that older 5.3L and it is the loser for towing. That 1500 crew cab weighs more than my Colorado crew as well. Now, will the 6.2L outdo the 2.8L... It better! It has over twice the displacement and will rev twice as high. Just like the 3.5L EB you won't find anyone putting that engine in a midsize with a factory warranty anytime soon though

I know that the 2.8L in your Liberty shares the same heritage of this engine but there are significant differences and having driven my MIL's liberty when she had it I can confidently say that they behave quite differently. This makes sense too as almost everything on it has been changed in some way compared to the engine in your Liberty. Even the block itself has some considerable changes. The head has been redesigned, different fuel system, different turbo, completely different control module and programming, different EGR system, different oil pump and drive layout, and very different emissions systems.

I am in complete agreement with you that justifying the diesel by hoping to save money is wishful thinking and foolishness. Doing so in the other direction if gassers were at a premium is also ill advised. None of us know what will happen with diesel and gasoline prices in the future.

I agree that people tend to overlook the extra financing charges if they borrow more for the more expensive truck. Insurance usually costs more on a more expensive vehicle. They also tend to overlook the cost of DEF, fuel filters, etc. Also, no one seems to consider that today's dollars will be worth less 5 years down the road than tomorrow's dollars.

As for trim packages, for me the only additional cost was the diesel itself, as everything else that you are forced to take with it I would have wanted anyway with the exception of leather interior. I would have had to take the leather though to get the safety features I wanted. I paid the extra because I had a use for the engine. I do admit though that it is fun to watch people's eyes bug out when you tell them that you get over 30 mpg with it though and then show them the DIC when they don't believe you.

I think that people that pull the 'as expensive as a full size' card underestimate the desire to NOT have a full size truck. I would have gladly paid the same amount for my Colorado as a 1500 with the same capabilities and features. Heck, I would have paid a bit of a premium. The reason why is that a full size has a lot of negatives for me due to its size. I am not the only one that this is true for. I didn't get 'less truck' for the price in my opinion because to me the 1500 would be less truck as it wouldn't meet my needs as well.

To me, the value of a vehicle isn't what some book says it is. It is what kind of value it can bring to you, the buyer and user. Sometimes that value is as a tool, sometimes emotional, sometimes both. Unfortunately we have to pick from what is available to us and in our price range. If my dad wanted to buy a Colorado, I would tell him to get the V6. He rarely tows more than a utility trailer.
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post #16 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 08:37 PM
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to me only buy what you want. heck I almost bought a new 16 Wrangler with 4 in lift and mts and black custom wheels this weekend. I am still temped to buy it to just run around and play in it. It is so sweet. It is Hypergreen in color and it is just awesome. It is a rubicon also. Only thing is it list for$56k and some change with lift tires and steps ext. they have exact truck stock and it msrps for $47k. I just keep telling myself they ride rough and as cool as it is I wouldn't use it enough to justify. Wish they would hurry and sell that thing I keep driving by it and man I love it. Nice toy to have to run around town
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post #17 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 08:59 PM
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to me only buy what you want. heck I almost bought a new 16 Wrangler with 4 in lift and mts and black custom wheels this weekend. I am still temped to buy it to just run around and play in it. It is so sweet. It is Hypergreen in color and it is just awesome. It is a rubicon also. Only thing is it list for$56k and some change with lift tires and steps ext. they have exact truck stock and it msrps for $47k. I just keep telling myself they ride rough and as cool as it is I wouldn't use it enough to justify. Wish they would hurry and sell that thing I keep driving by it and man I love it. Nice toy to have to run around town
I'm betting that Wrangler, at $56K won't retain 75% of it's value when you go to sell it!

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post #18 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 09:05 PM
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I also dont agree with the fact that all you account for is torque. HP is what will move you up the mountains, torque is just a means of getting to that hp.
I think you have that backwards. Torque is what gets you going, pulls trailers and climbs hills. To understand this, all you need to do is look at the towing capabilities of the V6 vs. diesel with this very truck. As you pointed out, the diesel 'only' has 180hp, compared to the V6's 305(?). Despite having 125 LESS hp, it can tow more weight. Roughly, what....100ft-lbs more torque is what does it.
Does it mean the diesel is better than the gas Colorado? Obviously, no. It is for me and some other people, but not for you and others like you. I like the [better] mileage, the ability to tune in more power, and in the back of my mind I've always felt better about owning a diesel when/if OPEC either shits all over us(again), ISIS takes over the middle east, or some other cause for gasoline becoming scarce and horribly expensive. I can drive 1.5hr north and fill up at a buddy's ebay-sourced biodiesel 'refinery'. He's been running a 24v Cummins 5.9 on 100% BD for I wanna say 10 years now, and hasn't had a problem. I remember when he brewed his first batch, filled up his tank and drove down to my shop. I was surprised as heck he made it all the way down, and was sure he was gonna go **** up in the middle of LA on his way back up, but didn't, and still hasn't. It'd be a great excuse to rip off the exhaust/DEF B.S., and staight pipe these things
Heck, there's HUGE supplies of JP8 all over the country.
But I digress...
It's a [mostly] free country. You buy what works for you, and I buy what works for me.

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post #19 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 09:42 PM
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I'm betting that Wrangler, at $56K won't retain 75% of it's value when you go to sell it!


no chance in my opinion. I agree. I can get it for $47k and I bet in 3 yrs and say 45k miles on it bet it might fetch $33k. I don't have clue but that is my guess.
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post #20 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 11:33 PM
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Probsbly not my thread, but I didn't get the Diesel for Value, I had the v6 and I felt that while it was good, It was underpowered, -specially with bigger tires, my MPG's went from 26 to 20's with 275's alone.


I love the way the Diesel pulls, the MPG's are nice. I don't care about "recouping" the 5k, it drives better. for me, having a better engine, drive experience and the Diesel fair....way worth it.


Try and argue with a sports car owner about the resale value of their 80k car that can only go fast from stoplight to stop light....People get what they want, because they want.

Kind of a rant, but I keep seeing these threads "is the diesel worth it, in different forms. - arms up smiley, i cant find it
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