New & Used Chevrolet Colorado: In Depth
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The Chevrolet Colorado is a family of mid-size pickup trucks, powered by four-cylinder and V-6 engines, and positioned as an alternative for those who don't want or need a truck quite as large as full-size models like the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, or Ram 1500.
Today the Colorado is closely related to the GMC Canyon and competes with the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma, but in the past it's been a rival to the Ford Ranger and Dodge Dakota, among others.
See our 2015 Chevrolet Colorado review pages for pricing with options, specifications, and gas mileage ratings.
The base engine on the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado lineup is a 2.5-liter in-line four-cylinder engine, with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, providing fuel economy ratings of up to 20 mpg city, 27 highway. Otherwise, you can opt for a 3.6-liter V-6 engine, making 305 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque and paired to a six-speed automatic. Both are aluminum engines with direct-injection technology. With newly engineered, body-on-frame underpinnings, payloads are impressive; V-6 models can tow up to 7,000 pounds, while even four-cylinder models can pull 3,500 pounds. And through most of the lineup there's a choice between rear-wheel drive or 4WD.
Inside, Extended Cab and Crew Cab versions both accommodate for back-seat passengers, although it's little more than a token effort in the latter. The Colorado is offered in Base, Work Truck, LT, and Z71 trims, with LT models comfort-oriented and well-trimmed inside and (V-6-only) Z71 models taking on more of an off-road flavor.
Cabin comforts are definitely improved versus the last versions of the Colorado, with good audio and smartphone connectivity, available navigation, and in top models, a seven-inch touch-screen infotainment system. There's also available OnStar 4G LTE data connectivity, which might help keep those who work out of their trucks.
Looking ahead to the 2016 model year, a 2.8-liter Duramax turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine will be available in the Colorado; it should provide even better towing ability than the V-6, with fuel economy numbers that rival or top those of the base four.
The Colorado was originally introduced by General Motors back in 2004 as a replacement for the Chevrolet S-10. This version was produced through the 2012 model year and was also sold by GMC as the Canyon mid-size pickup, which replaced the GMC Sonoma. To complicate matters further, the Chevy Colorado and Canyon were developed together with Isuzu, which also sold a version of the pickup truck called the i-series.
Underpinning all three vehicles was the GMT355 platform, a variation of which was used for the HUMMER H3 SUV. The platform offers standard, extended and four-door crew cab bodystyles for the Chevrolet Colorado as well as rear- and four-wheel-drive configurations. With a starting price in the teens, the Chevrolet mid-size pickup truck offered great value in this segment and was relatively unique in that a V-8 engine option is available. Its closest rivals, such as the Ford Ranger and Dodge Dakota, had been cancelled a model year or two before the Colorado was.
The 2004 model came with a 2.8-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 175 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque. For 2005 a new 3.5-liter five-cylinder engine with 220 horsepower and 225 pound-feet of torque was added to the lineup. The 2007 model saw the base 2.8-liter four-cylinder engine upgraded to a 2.9-liter unit and the 3.5-liter five-cylinder growing to a 3.7-liter unit. Power and torque levels increased accordingly, rising to 185 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque for the four-cylinder and 242 horsepower and 242 pound-feet of torque for the five-cylinder.
The biggest change came in the 2009 model year with the introduction of a new V-8 option and a minor facelift. The new Vortec V-8 engine displaced 5.3 liters and developed a peak output of 300 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. This model understandably offers the best performance, achieving a maximum towing capacity of 6,000 pounds and a sub-seven-second 0-60 mph acceleration time. At the other end of the spectrum, the four-cylinder variant offered the best fuel economy, returning an EPA-rated 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.
Those previous versions of the Chevrolet Colorado were built in Shreveport, Louisiana; however the current version is assembled at a plant in Missouri.