The latest mid-size truck models mark GM?s return to the segment following a lengthy hiatus and setting a game-changing new level for mid-size haulers. For the past nine years, the only light-duty, mid-size trucks in the marketplace have been the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma, which have both become somewhat long in the tooth. The new mid-size GM examples are larger than their forbears and they?re more sophisticated to boot. The General?s new offerings include the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups, which for many have more appeal than their related full size truck offerings, due to their unprecedented power and better fuel economy, along with their increase in towing and payload capacity in a practical, attractive and refined midsize package.
The all-new midsize Chevrolet Colorado pickup comes with a choice of two body styles or cab configurations: an extended cab; or a Crew Cab, and there are two box or bed lengths available: a 5?2? box for the Crew Cab; or a 6?2? box for both the Extended and Crew Cab models.
There are currently two engines available to power the new Chevrolet Colorado: a 2.5-liter DOHC, 16-valve inline four-cylinder that delivers 200 horsepower at 6,300 rpm while developing 191 pound feet of torque at 4,400 rpm; or a 3.6-liter DOHC, 24-valve V6 with VVT and Direct Injection that pumps out 305 horses at 6,800 rpm along with 269 pound feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. A 2.8-liter Duramax diesel is planned to bow for model year 2016. One may choose from two transmissions: an Eaton N8D 6-speed manual, available on select Extended Cab models; or a Hydra-Matic 6L50 6-speed automatic ? available for Extended Cab units and standard for all other models. The same basic choices apply to the GMC Canyon midsize truck lineup, but with an obviously different identity through varying styling cues.
Trim levels for the Chevrolet Colorado will consist of: a Base model WT (Work Truck) model; an LT trim; and a Z71 level. All models are available in either a two-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD) configuration.
As has often been stated ? ?Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder? and GM?s midsize truck offerings are no exception to this rule. Some will no doubt prefer the bolder, ?in your face? demeanor delivered by the GMC stable, while others will likely prefer the cleaner, simpler look that the Chevy Colorado camp serves up. My personal preference happens to be the Colorado for its attractive and uncluttered look. It displays a confident and sporty stance with taller bedsides for greater payloads, and the Crew Cab exhibits an upward raked belt line. The proportions are balanced from virtually every viewing angle.
The Chevy Colorado provides several innovative solutions for cargo hauling and access such as: a standard CornerStep rear bumper design that first appeared on the 2014 Chevy Silverado; an EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate that uses an internal torsion bar, making raising the tailgate easier with even one hand, and a damper for more-controlled lowering (it comes standard on Z71 models and is available on WT and LT models); a standard locking tailgate; standard two-tier loading that allows a platform to effectively split the bed into upper and lower sections, for more convenient hauling, storage and concealment of valuables such as tools; there are thirteen standard tie-down locations throughout the bed utilizing available, movable cargo tie-down rings; bed rail and tailgate protectors are standard; a factory-installed spray-in bed liner is available; Sixteen-inch steel wheels come standard on WT trucks, with 16-inch aluminum wheels optionally available; Seventeen-inch aluminum wheels are standard fare for LT models, with 18-inch aluminum wheels available; and seventeen-inch aluminum wheels come as standard on Z71 models.
The interior provides an ideal atmosphere for both work and recreation in everyday comfort. The cabin of the Colorado has been thoughtfully designed to deliver not only comfortable surroundings, but comes well equipped and provides modern connectivity. The instrument panel is bold and upright, with large controls and a center console with a floor-mounted shifter similar to those found in midsize cars and crossovers. There?s a sculpted headliner that enhances headroom, halo lighting on key controls for easier view and an open area at the front of the center console for easier phone charging. The Z71 model features exclusive color and trim details, including embossed seatbacks and contrast stitching.
Additional interior features include: an upper-instrument panel storage bin ? when not equipped with the up level audio system ? and a large volume glove box; a standard center console with room for tablet storage; a door-to-door rear under-seat storage is provided for additional concealed cabin cargo management. The Colorado?s seats utilize dual-firmness foam for greater comfort on long drives and high-wear, stain-resistant cloth seating trim, with leather-appointed seating available. Connectivity is provided by Chevrolet?s MyLink and OnStar 4G LTE as standard for LT and Z71 model Colorados, with text message support and Siri Eyes Free.
The Chevy Colorado features a coil-over-type front suspension with low mass, high strength aluminum knuckles that contribute to a more responsive feel and efficiency. Colorado also features the segment?s first application of electric power steering, which enhances efficiency by avoiding the energy used by what conventionally is an engine-driven feature.
The Colorado has a short turning radius of 41.3 feet (12.6 meters), enabling easier turning in tight areas. Four-wheel disc brakes, with four-piston front calipers as standard, with Duralife? brake rotors that can offer up to double the service life, saving on maintenance.
Another Chevy truck feature offered on the Colorado is the G80 automatic locking rear differential, introduced by Chevy more than 40 years ago, and giving drivers a traction advantage when needed. It is standard on Z71 and available on WT and LT. 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.
During the national press introduction, I piloted a Crew Cab Colorado in Z71 trim in a 4WD configuration with a long bed. Power was provided by the 3.6-liter V6 with the 6-speed automatic gearbox. The midsize hauler sported a Red Hot exterior finish with a Jet Black interior. The base sticker was set at $34,415, which came to $35,540 after factoring in the Trailering Equipment Package and Destination charge. It was also outfitted with a special bike rack for demonstration purposes. Later, on my home turf, I spent time in the same trim and equipment level but with a Silver Ice metallic exterior and Jet Black interior. Its base sticker amounted to
$34,415 while extras such as the Premium Bose Audio System, Chevrolet MyLink audio system with an 8? diagonal color touch and Navigation, the Trailering Equipment Package and Destination Charge which bumped its final tally to $36,535.
SUMMARY: For consumers who don’t want or need a full size truck, this latest midsize Chevy Colorado Crew Cab offers an ideal alternative, that actually drives, handles and feels more like a family sedan, while providing added functionality and versatility.
The 3.6-liter V6 delivered more than adequate acceleration, while the handling characteristics were, as already mentioned, more car than truck like along with the ride comfort level. The transmission changes gears smoothly and efficiently and can easily handle towing up to 3,500 pounds.
There are a host of available accessories to tailor one?s Chevy Colorado to suit their personal needs and lifestyles. The Colorado GearOn? system is one such system designed to add hauling convenience and versatility. LT models offer a safety package that includes segment-first Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning, that utilizes camera-based technology to warn drivers of potential crash threats. Standard safety features include: six air bags, including head curtain side air bags; large rearview mirrors and standard rear-vision camera system for greater visibility and safety; StabiliTrak stability control system with rollover mitigation technology, trailer sway control, hill start assist and Hill Descent Control (Z71).
Bottom line, if you can only have one vehicle, the new Chevrolet Colorado is capable of satisfactorily fulfilling a variety of roles from fetching groceries to trailer towing, with work duties and recreation thrown in for good measure. It is good looking, fuel efficient, practical and affordable. All that?s needed is to pick your body style, powertrain, drive configuration, options and your favorite color.
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[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD Z71 CrewCab Long Box [/wptabtitle]
|Price as Tested:||$36,535.|
|Engine Type and Size:||3.6-liter, SIDI, DOHC, 24-valve, VVT V6 with Direct Injection.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||305 @ 6,800 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||269 @4,000 rpm|
|Transmission:||Hydra-Matic 6L5- six-speed automatic|
|Drive Train:||Longitudinally-mounted front engine / 4WD with 2-speed electric transfer case and fully automatic locking rear differential.|
|Suspension:||Front – Independent coil-over twin-tube shock absorbers.
Rear – Solid axle with semi-elliptic two-stage multi-leaf springs; twin-tube shocks; G80 automatic-locking axle.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes with Duralife? long-life brake rotors; standard ABS; hill descent
Tires: Goodyear Wrangler 255/65 R17 110T All Terrain Adventure mounted on 5-hole/spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 140.5 inches
Length Overall: 224.9 inches
Width: 70.5 inches
Height: 74.3 inches
Curb Weight: 4,450 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 21 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 17 mpg city / 24 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed.
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.