Chevrolet Colorado — Just the right size

By David Finkelstein

Built exclusively at GM's Wentzville assembly facility, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado is now being featured and showcased throughout the U.S. with the help of their 3,200 dealer network footprint. It's the ”sister product” of the GMC Canyon, which is built on the same manufacturing line.

Colorado is positioned in the midsize pickup truck category. Ford and Chrysler (Dodge) previously were players in this arena stateside but elected to pull out some years ago due to declining sales and other factors. Import nameplates such as Toyota and Nissan remained as a viable choice in this specialty truck market as well.

“Many people like the ‘can-do’ spirit of a truck, but they want a vehicle that is easier to maneuver in traffic and easier to park at work or at home,” said Tony Johnson, Colorado marketing manager. “For them, bigger is not necessarily better. Also, they don't want to give up the latest in convenience and safety features, which aren't available on current midsize pickups. For those customers, the new Chevrolet Colorado is the perfect choice.”

This truck is designed to meet many of the “wants & needs” of truck customers in North America. Colorado has distinctive outer design cues coupled with a quiet and comfortable interior that offers car like amenities. It also has innovative extras such as the Chevy MyLink system with text messaging and App based conveniences plus built-in/available wireless Wi-Fi (with a 3-month complementary data trial period).

MyLink is standard on LT and Z71 models. It combines with OnStar to bring connectivity technology to the driver and passengers. Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert is also offered on this new truck. A built-in rear camera is standard across the model line up. Getting down to specifics, it's available in a four-door extended or crew-cab body configuration. More precisely, the choices include the extended cab model with a 6’ 2”bed, a crew cab with a 5’ 2” cargo bed and a crew cab configuration with a 6’ 2” bed.

Standard with the rear cargo carrying bed is the lock-able tailgate and two-tier loading that allows a platform to effectively split the bed into upper and lower sections. This makes it easier to haul, store and conceal items such as tools. Furthermore, 13 cargo tie down rings are included with the bed rail plus tailgate protectors as well as their standard CornerStep rear bumper design for easy height access.

The truck's unique design telegraphs a confident stance overall with a sporty demeanor. The raised/taller rear cargo box nicely matches the aggressively raked belt line of the trucks cab. The vehicles distinctive proportion's help reinforces the truck’s athleticism.

Under Colorado's hood, there is a choice of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder rated at 200-horsepower or a 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 engine. With the heading of fuel efficiency, the latest EPA estimated numbers come out to be 27 mpg highway with the four-cylinder and 26 mpg with the V-6 (2-WD models). Under the umbrella of towing, it's trailer rated at 7,000 pounds with the optional V-6 engine and with their heavy-duty “factory installed” towing package. As expected, it's also offered with a four-wheel-drive underside set-up as well.

With a test drive you'll notice the quite interior, due in part to the truck's triple-sealed doors. A boldly designed instrument panel has large controls and a center console with a floor-mounted shifter. Attention is evident to detail and premium appointments.

Colorado’s seats are designed for long-haul comfort and wear. The vehicle also has active automatic hidden aero front grille shutters, designed to enhance aerodynamics seamlessly while at highway speeds. Models and trim levels include their work truck model plus their LT and Z71 versions from General Motors.

The off-road-inspired Z71 features a gunmetal front grille surround assembly, projector headlamps and 17-inch all-terrain tires fitted on special aluminum wheels. A Luxury Package is available on LT models. It includes four-way power front passenger seat adjuster, power driver lumbar control, power front passenger lumbar control, heated driver and front passenger seats, automatic climate control, projector-type headlamps, auto-dimming inside rear-view mirror, heated outside mirrors with chrome finish, chrome rear bumper and chrome door handles.

The four-wheel drive system employs an electronically controlled transfer case that allows the driver to shift from 2WD to 4WD. The driver can select from three modes, 2WD, 4WD HI or 4WD Lo. All models are matched with a six-speed automatic transmission however the extended cab 2WD models equipped with the 2.5L engine are also available with a six-speed manual gear box. Colorado is designed to help keep occupants safe on the road, employing a number of active and passive safety features.

At road test, the Z71 4WD, Crew Short Box V-6 version I drove had an MSRP of $36,710. That also included $875 shipping charges.