|Base||2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas||6-Speed Manual||Rear Wheel Drive||$20,099||$20,200|
|Work Truck (WT)||2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas, 3.6-liter V6 Gas||6-Speed Manual, 6-Speed Automatic, 8-Speed Automatic||Rear Wheel Drive, Four Wheel Drive||$22,752||$23,700|
|LT||2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas, 3.6-liter Inline-4 Gas, 3.6-liter V6 Gas||6-Speed Automatic, 8-Speed Automatic||Rear Wheel Drive, Four Wheel Drive||$25,745||$27,100|
|Z71||2.5-liter Inline-4 Gas, 3.6-liter V6 Gas||6-Speed Automatic, 8-Speed Automatic||Rear Wheel Drive, Four Wheel Drive||$28,215||$29,700|
|ZR2||3.6-liter V6 Gas||8-Speed Automatic||Four Wheel Drive||$38,380||$40,400|
by Roger Biermann
As one half of the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins, the Colorado may be the one that offers a better budget proposition – with a base price undercutting the GMC by $885. Though erring on the smaller side of pickups, the three cab styles (regular, double, or crew), and the option of rear- or all-wheel drive makes it a versatile model that questions the need for larger breeds of pickup. The choice of 3 engines, including a new 3.6-liter V6 and a potent new 2.8-liter Duramax diesel in addition to the 2.5-liter gasoline engine of old give potential buyers a wide range of choice.
The interior of the Colorado offers a well-rounded package. Perhaps one of the most car-like interiors in the segment, the Colorado’s styling is uncluttered, well organized, and importantly spacious. There’s a broad range to the Colorado’s interior though, with base spec models relatively scant on kit, and higher end models like the Z71 absolutely loaded with the finest Chevrolet has to offer from an infotainment point of view with items such as a Bose sound system and 8-inch MyLink touch screen infotainment setup.
Seating for 5 is plentiful and comfortable with a car-like seating position and the option of leather on higher specified models. Lower rung ones make do with cloth or vinyl for more utilitarian purposes. So which to choose? The LT 2WD CrewCab offers 2 USB ports, the 8-inch MyLink system, a rear view camera, and a choice of upholstery – and it’s a shade under the $30 000 price mark.
This is where the Colorado rally makes its mark. The car like seating position and levels of comfort are matched with an equally car-like comfort on just about any roads. Being smaller than the Silverado, it’s easier to place on the road. The multi-leaf rear suspension is a bit firm when not loaded, but takes a 1500lb payload comfortably and actually improves comfort levels with the additional weighting.
Body roll is kept to a minimum, and the Colorado really shrinks around the driver, both on the open road and in tighter surroundings. The hydraulic steering is particularly responsible, as its light enough to make the Colorado comfortable to wield, but direct and responsive enough to give you real confidence behind the wheel. The Colorado is the perfect compromise between large pickup and crossover SUV when it comes to dealing with everyday living.
Three engines are on offer, with just as many transmissions to choose from. The 2.5-liter gasoline 4-cylinder carries over from last year, with outputs at 200 horsepower and 191lb-ft of torque. Default drive is through a 6-speed manual gearbox, but the option of a 6- or 8-speed automatic is available. The top-dog 3.6-liter gasoline V6, with 308hp and 275lb-ft and an 8-speed auto is strong, but it’s the middle-ground option, and only diesel in its class, 2.8-liter Duramax that impresses most. With 181hp and 369lb-ft, it easily boasts a tow capacity of 7700lbs – but make sure to opt for the 8-speed auto, as the 6-speed is somewhat sluggish. The 2.8 is also the lightest on fuel with a 22/30 MPG rating.
In base spec, equipment and safety kit is rather limited to airbags, a rear-view camera, traction control, ABS and stability control, with tire pressure monitor and teen driver mode. Pile on the price, and a range of kit can be added, ranging from OnStar to forward collision alert and lane departure warning in LT models. The Colorado boasts and overall NHTSA safety rating of 4 stars, and scored Good in the moderate front overlap test, though the headlights are rated poor and front crash prevention as basic.
Boasting the only diesel engine in segment, the Chevrolet Colorado has a big advantage over its rivals. The pairing of towing capacity and lack of thirst, mixed with the option of AWD and the choice of short or long box configurations makes it incredibly versatile. The car-like drive seals the deal in making the Colorado one of the best mid-size pickups for your money.