Don’t count the Colorado out just because it’s smaller. It’s still a capable truck.
– Detroit, Michigan
It may be the little brother to the incredibly popular Silverado 1500, but that doesn’t mean the Chevrolet Colorado is any less worthy for your truck-buying consideration. Able to tow, haul, and four-wheel-drive through rough terrain, it provides all the benefits of a pickup in a slightly more compact and more affordable package – albeit with the usual trucky downsides.
Capability. This particular model, an LT Crew Cab with four-wheel drive, can tow 7,000 pounds and manage a 1,548-pound payload in its bed. Those aren’t figures that will scare the Silverado 1500 and F-150s of the world, but they go to show that even a downsized truck can provide a useful amount of working capability. Add in 8.2 inches of ground clearance and four-wheel drive, and this Colorado can get plenty done.
Improved powertrain. This year, the Colorado packs a new V6 and an eight-speed automatic transmission. As I found when driving that combo in the GMC Canyon, the new powertrain improves the truck’s liveliness and smoothness. On the engine side, you get an additional 3 horsepower and 6 pound-feet of torque (for totals of 308 hp and 275 lb-ft), while the transmission’s two extra gears help improve low-end acceleration.
Looks respectably trucky. If you’re a traditionalist who’s turned off by the soft, almost crossover-like looks of the Honda Ridgeline, the Colorado is your answer. In-your-face design, with a brash grille and functional recovery hooks up front, plus strong lines all around, make it clear the Chevy can work as hard as it can play.
Simple-yet-powerful infotainment. Once again, Chevy’s eight-inch MyLink touchscreen curries favor for its simplicity and functionality. All the built-in functions just work without any real learning curve; I especially like using Android Auto while connected to the truck’s 4G wi-fi hotspot to save on data charges.
Cheap interior. The assorted plastics and switches in the Colorado’s cabin do little to inspire excitement. Plain designs and textures look dated and cheap to my eye; that aforementioned Ridgeline has a much prettier interior. That leaves room, I suppose, for improvements when you move up to a model like the GMC Canyon Denali.
Uncomfy seats. No matter what I do, I have never been able to get fully comfortable in a Colorado. The stiff seats don’t support my lower back, and no amount of adjustment stops me fidgeting. Speaking of adjustment, it’s always frustrating when a seat has power fore-aft-up-down controls but manual recline.
Short-box configuration. It’s a personal choice, of course, to get the short box you see on this truck (5 feet, 2 inches long) versus the available long box (6 feet, 2 inches). But if you’re buying a truck, you likely want the versatility of being able to put lots of stuff in the bed, so why not pick the longer option? Even a Crew Cab long box Colorado is still relatively small in modern truck terms. This truck as configured will cramp how much stuff (i.e. how many friends’ couches) can you easily transport.
Photos: Jake Holmes / Motor1.com