Question: Can GM Be North America’s Post-Volkswagen Diesel Answer?

We drove in and around the city in a 2017 GMC Canyon Duramax Diesel for 120 miles, then took a 180-mile journey to Prince Edward Island, and have since driven around that island 120 miles.

The result: 30.2 miles per gallon on the U.S. scale, a miserly 7.8 liters per 100 kilometers. It doesn’t hurt that, around these parts at the moment, diesel costs roughly $0.25 USD less per gallon versus regular.

The 2.8-liter four-cylinder under the hood of this GMC Canyon, with a paltry 181 horsepower but a stump-pulling 369 lb-ft of torque at just 2,000 rpm, is one of a handful of diesels General Motors has installed in U.S. market vehicles. The 6.6-liter Duramax V8 in heavy-duty pickup trucks is the one you hear rumble most often. But GM is also inserting the Cruze’s 240-lb-ft 1.6-liter turbodiesel into the third-gen Chevrolet Equinox and second-gen GMC Terrain.

With diesel engine offerings in two pickup truck lines, a compact car, and a pair of small SUVs, can General Motors — not Mazda, not Mercedes-Benz, not Skoda — be the North American diesel lovers answer now that Volkswagen committed its unclean diesel transgressions?

No, at least not in the sense that GM, like Volkswagen, will garner one-fifth of its U.S. sales volume — 50,000 vehicles per month — from its diesel-engined lineup.

No, at least not in the sense that GM will ignite a recognizably mainstream TDI-like brand, or rather two, with the established Duramax brand and subtle TD badging on non-Duramax diesels.

No, at least not in the sense that diesel engines will be pervasive across the lineup. Volkswagen didn’t offer North Americans a diesel option in the CC, Eos, and Tiguan, but diesel availability spread across a wide variety of trims in the majority of Volkswagen vehicles.

But can General Motors be the natural replacement location for buyers who’ve sold back their TDI-engined Volkswagens to Volkswagen?

Can General Motors, five years from now, be perceived as the place for America’s diesel lovers?

Can General Motors, the GM of ancient Oldsmobile V8 diesel infamy, now become the natural landing place for addicts of bladder-bursting cruising range?

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