2015 Chevrolet Colorado
Chevy is back in the small pickup truck game
Date Posted: March 27, 2015
By Zack Spencer
After being out of the small-to-mid-sized truck market, GM is charging back with a strong effort from Chevrolet
In the full-size pickup truck space the domestic manufacturers have a lock on sales, dominating the import manufacturers. In the mid-size market the opposite is true, with the Toyota Tacoma the clear market leader, outselling the competition two-to-one. It would be easy to assume that the Tacoma is a superior product, resulting in the clear market dominance, but that’s not the case. The real story is that the domestic manufacturers abandoned the small and mid-sized truck space over the past few years leaving only Toyota, Nissan and Honda to fill the void. Now, General Motors is back with two great new products, the GMC Canyon and this Chevrolet Colorado. Yes, Toyota has a very well earned lead in sales but this new truck has already won the Motor Trend Truck of the Year award and for good reason.
Mid-size trucks make a lot of sense for people who only occasionally need a truck or work in an urban setting where space is an issue. A big section of buyers don’t use a truck for work at all, saving the capabilities for the weekend, towing a trailer, or loading the bed with dirt bikes, ATVs or snow machines; the classic weekend warrior. The Colorado is sold with an extended cab or crew cab. The extended cab is only available with 188cm (6.2ft) bed and the four-door crew cab is sold with the same bed or the shorter 158cm (5.2ft) bed. Chevrolet claims that the longer bed, with the tailgate lowered can hold items up to 243cm (8ft). The beauty of the new tailgate is that it is fully lockable and has a soft open feature, preventing it from slamming down. The Colorado is sold in three trim levels, from the base model to the LT and top Z71 off-road ready model seen here. The Z71 gets carbon coloured trim instead of chrome and is fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels and all-terrain tires.
The Colorado was introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show in the fall of 2013 and I had a chance to chat with the Canadian chief engineer, Jeff Luke. I asked if there are similarities between the larger Silverado and this smaller truck. He said, “You see a lot of the same execution, in this Colorado, as you do in Silverado. He went on to say “The quietness in the cabin will be every bit as much as the Silverado, it starts with making sure you manage the wind around the cabin, reducing wind noise. The acoustics inside the cabin to block out engine noise, you will see that this truck is every bit as quiet as the Silverado.” This is done with triple door seals, acoustic wheel liners and engine sound insulation. It all comes together to make a very comfortable cabin. The dash is bit more utility driven over the opulent cabin in the larger truck but there is plenty of seating for four adults or five in a pinch. The base radio readout is 10.6cm but the middle LT and Z71 get a bigger 20cm screen. Navigation is only available on the LT and Z71 trucks.
Under the hood is either a 2.5L 4-cylinder with 200hp or a 3.6L V6 with 305hp. The V6 will most likely be the volume seller due to the 3175kg (7000lbs) towing capacity; making this truck an alternative to V6 equipped full-size trucks. All the refinement that went into the sound insulation pays dividends. It is amazing to see how far trucks have come, from basic work machines to vehicles that are a pleasure to drive every day. This Colorado is certainly comfortable enough as a daily commuter and wouldn’t fatigue the driver after a long highway run either. The most interesting fact about the Colorado is what is still to come, a diesel engine. Later this year or early next year, a 2.8L turbo 4-cylinder Duramax engine will be available, producing 369lb-ft of torque. If Chevrolet can keep the cabin as refined and quiet as it does with this gasoline version, the diesel will be very tempting.
It is good news that GM has ramped up the competition in the mid-size truck space; nothing produces better results than competition. This new Colorado has a functional design that looks modern and aerodynamic. The V6 engine is powerful enough to get the job done-- be it on the work site of weekend adventures. Small things like the step built into the bumper and a 4G LTE hotspot make life easier. There is one feature I’d pass on, the tubular side step isn’t helpful, climbing in and out of the Colorado is easy enough, with the step in place makes climbing out awkward. Other than this small, and optional, irritation, I think Chevrolet has a winner. It will be very interesting to try the diesel version when it arrives within the year.
Power: 2.5L 200hp 4-cylinder or 3.6L V6 with 305hp
Fill-up: 9.2L/13.0L/100km (city/highway)
Sticker price: $19,900-$37,745
This new Colorado has a functional design that looks modern and aerodynamic