Chevy Colorado Review
In the south, you don’t have to look very hard to hear an opinion on pickup trucks; they’re everywhere. We’re obsessed with trucks in our culture, which is why this segment is one of the most competitive in the market. Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Toyota, and Nissan all have full size trucks competing for the biggest sliver of the sales pie, and Chevy, Toyota, and Nissan all have mid-size, light-duty pickups competing in a similar category. Of those three, the Chevy Colorado is arguably the best.
The Colorado nameplate first emerged in 2004 as a replacement for the Chevy S-10 pickup, and at the time it was still a compact body, designed to compete with the Ford Ranger or Nissan Frontier, both of which were relatively small trucks at the time. However, the market was rapidly evolving; Toyota was already building a bigger Tacoma, and other brands were following suit with more “mid-size” variants of their pickup line.
So, for the 2015 model year, Chevrolet introduced its newer, bigger, more refined Colorado, and in its current three-year run, there haven’t been many changes to the platform. The truck maintains the modern design language that we see in the current GM truck lineup. If you’ve driven a Silverado at all in the last few years, you’ll notice that it pretty much has the same interior as its big brother, wrapped up in a smaller package.
As the crowd-pleasers that they are, GM offers a variety of Colorado models with three different engine choices. There is a base 2.5L I-4, mostly for the work truck and LT trims, which offers a reasonable amount of power for reasonable gas mileage. There is the power-house 3.6L V6, which has 308 horsepower and is very quick off the line. And, finally, there is the 2.8L diesel, which brings the torque necessary for hauling up to 7,000 lbs, and at the same time gets about 27mpg highway.
I’ve driven each of these engine variants, and I’m happy to say there isn’t a bad one out there. Even the base 4-cyl gets up and goes without a problem, meaning that even in the base W/T trim (Work Truck), there will still be plenty of power to get the job done. More recently, at the Atlanta Auto Show, I drove the Z71 with the diesel, and I was impressed with how relatively quiet it was compared to most diesels. There was a reasonable, if not considerable amount of turbo-lag consistent with a typical turbo-diesel, but the truck manages to get out of its own way pretty quick after the motor kicks into high gear.
Having driven each, however, my favorite is still the 3.6L V6. If I had one word to describe the current Colorado model with the V6, it would be “agile.” The truck moves confidently through city traffic, and I even drove it through a road construction zone with ease. The suspension soaked up the ruts in the road without a problem, and that V6 got me around the slower traffic without breaking a sweat. As its smaller truck, Chevy provided plenty of power to compliment a lighter body, and I would personally drive this over a Silverado any day.
So, which Colorado is right for you? That depends on your budget. A base 2-wheel-drive W/T with the 4-cyl starts at about $20k, but that’s a stripped-down work truck with virtually no options, and a six-speed manual transmission. A well-equipped Z71 with the V6 will run you anywhere between $33-37k, depending on whether or not you want 4-wheel-drive. If you want the diesel, the upgrade is $3,700, making it the most premium engine. And, finally, if you just have to have the topo-of-the-line, rugged, Raptor-challenging ZR2, you could be spending into the high 40s (roughly $47k on average). That being said, a low $30k asking price for the LT with leather is a pretty fair deal, considering you can still get most of the tech features and, if it really needs to be said, Chevy’s long-standing reputation of durability.
For your money, the Colorado is probably the best mid-size truck you can buy. The market is, however, becoming more and more competitive as Ford is about to introduce its new Ranger, Nissan is rumored to be coming out with a revised Frontier, and Toyota is fighting to remain at the top. It’s looking like a good time to be in the market; we’re about to have plenty of new, fresh options. Can Chevy rise to the challenge? I certainly think so.