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The Program’s Chief Engineer Explains The Decision To Drop The V6 And The Duramax Diesel

2023 GMC Canyon AT4X Edition 1 Denali L3B Engines Nick Katcherian
Image copyright Steven Pham, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

Automakers have to face many obstacles that need to be overcome to build their vehicles, from federal regulations to supply constraints. One challenge comes as a difficult decision, as there’s only a limited amount of space under the roof of an assembly plant such as the GM Wentzville, Missouri Assembly Plant. As a result, some sacrifices must be made to make room for newer products. For example, with the arrival of the new 2023 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, GM has opted to omit some previous features, such as body styles and engines, in place of new ones that are more technology focused. This article explains why that decision was made.

2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Desert Boss 2022 Detroit Auto Show NAIAS
Image copyright Mattheus Pach, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

2023 Chevrolet Colorado And GMC Canyon: One New Engine

One example is the engine available for the next-generation midsize trucks from General Motors, where the 2.8L Duramax diesel engine is no longer an option. Instead, the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon only have a gasoline option, dropping the torquey but sluggish diesel.

“It really has to deal with the fact that this powertrain has all the torque that you need,” Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon Chief Engineer Nick Katcherian told MC&T. “You get it faster, and so when you look at the advantages that the diesel offered in the past, and you compare it against this engine, this engine does a much better job at all of that,” Katcherian said.

The 2.7L turbocharged L3B four-cylinder engine, first found in the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, will come in three different configurations. A base output (L2R) with 237 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque, the standard L3B with 310 horsepower  and 390 lb-ft of torque, and a high-output L3B with 310 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque. The 2023 GMC Canyon gets the high-output L3B across the lineup, as well as a standard widebody style.

2023 Chevrolet Colorado Trail Boss

“On the Chevy, there’s actually three engine combinations. Two of them are the same from a hardware perspective, so the turbo plus and the high output. Those are the same, and it’s just a cal-flash. So you get a cal-flash, and that’s how you get the extra torque,” Katcherian stated. “The L2R, which is the engine that’s an entry on the truck. That engine is actually detuned, so there is some componentry that’s a little different and a little less to kind of bring the mass of that engine down. That’s why you get a little bit less power. You couldn’t flash an L2R engine to an L3B because of the internals. But when you look at it from an overall perspective, they’re the same family of engines.”

This helps the Wentzville Assembly plant streamline the building process and reduce the number of parts that need to be installed.

“When you look at underhood packaging and all the stuff we house around it. We can do a lot of the same configurations, so if you look at our engine line at the plant, that part that builds off the harness and stuff before it gets dropped into the truck. That allows us to have a very similar build process for both engines.” Katcherian told us.

By streamlining the engine lineup for the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado and 2023 GMC Canyon, GM has opened up more space in the factory for other components, primarily on the technology side for the interior. Perhaps the biggest leap between the outgoing generation of midsize GM trucks to the new ones is how elevated the cabin has become.


Image copyright Steven Pham, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

Written by Zac Quinn

Zac's love for cars started at a young age, after seeing the popular Eleanor from Gone In 60 Seconds. From there, fascination and enthusiasm blossomed and to this day the Ford Mustang remains a favorite. His first job started out detailing cars, but also provided the opportunity to work on restoration including an 1968 Ford Mustang, Pontiac Firebird, and a C3 Corvette, though he left that job before further work and experience could be had. From there, he was a detailer at a car dealership before quitting that job to try and finish college.

Much of his free time while studying was spent watching YouTube videos regarding new cars, or off-roading. 4WD247 is a personal favorite channel which rekindled a dying flame in car enthusiasm, now tailored towards trucks and SUVs and the fun that can be had building up an overlanding rig, and going on adventures, though, that chapter remains unwritten for the time being.

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