GM is now offering a diesel engine option for its 2006 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans (8–12 passengers).
The latest version of the 6.6-liter V-8 Duramax turbodiesel delivers 250 horsepower (186 kw) and a robust 460 lb-ft (624 Nm) of torque. It is mated with GM’s Hydra-Matic 4L85-E electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission, which is specially tuned for diesel-engine compatibility.
Preliminary testing shows combined EPA fuel economy of 20.2 mpg US (11.6 l/100km)—a 35% improvement over the 15 mpg of the gasoline-fueled 5.3-liter versions. GM also explicitly notes that the Duramax is compatible with biodiesel.
The 2006 version of the Duramax engine features a strengthened iron cylinder block and revised piston design which reduces the compression ratio (to 16.8:1 from 17.5:1). The lower compression reduces the “clattering” sound of the engine at idle, while also helping to improve overall smoothness during driving. The lower compression also helps reduce NOx emissions.
A revised variable-geometry turbocharger also enhances performance and emissions control.
A new, 32-bit engine controller monitors and adjusts the engine’s operation. Designed exclusively for the Duramax diesel engine, the controller helps the injectors precisely meter fuel to the cylinders and can compensate for the variability of the injectors and fuel flow. The more powerful controller also can support up to five injections per cylinder and eliminates the need for an engine-mounted drive unit to fire the fuel injectors.
And yes, this is available for the US.