- A real compact truck
- Variety of body styles
- Fuel-saving four-cylinder option
- Lack of V-6 or V-8 engines
- Interior quality
- Six-foot bed is longest available
The 2008 Chevrolet Colorado fits the bill as a compact work truck with a smaller appetite for fuel, but its engines are noisy and the rear seats on four-door models are a letdown.
There are plenty of good reasons to own a compact pickup truck like a 2008 Chevrolet Colorado. For tradesmen needing better fuel economy, there's nothing to substitute for a vehicle with a bed. Still the Chevy Colorado isn't that satisfying a vehicle to drive, and its meager four- and five-cylinder engines, combined with a short pickup bed, limit both its entertainment value and its utility.
High gas prices have given the Chevy Colorado a new appeal. Base models are powered by a 2.9-liter four-cylinder engine offering 185 horsepower, while the optional inline five-cylinder engine measures in at 3.9 liters and delivers 242 horsepower. Drivers can see as much as 18/24 mpg with the four-cylinder, and can even manage 15/20 mpg with the five-cylinder engine and automatic transmission. Neither combination is very enjoyable to pilot or to listen to; they're noisy engines that sound unrefined next to the silkier sounds coming from a four-cylinder Toyota Tacoma. A smoother V-6 would be a good option, but none is available.
Variety is one of the Colorado's chief draws. It's available in either rear- or four-wheel drive, in short-wheelbase regular-cab and long-wheelbase extended- and four-door crew-cab versions, and can seat up to six passengers in crew-cab mode. The backseat stands uncomfortably upright on four-door versions, though, and there's no option to fold the seats under the floor, which would make the rear area much more useful. The six-foot "long" bed won't carry the 4x8 sheet of plywood, and four-door Colorados have only a 5-foot, 1-inch bed anyway.
The 2008 Chevrolet Colorado looks more like a full-size truck than its compact size would indicate—but inside, it’s awash in inexpensive plastics and cheap-feeling switches.
Three different suspension packages are offered, along with a long list of options that allows for maximum customization. In most versions, the 2008 Chevrolet Colorado has better-than-average ride and handling.
Standard equipment includes air conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, cruise control, and folding exterior mirrors. Options include traction control, XM, fog lamps, leather seats, a sunroof, a six-CD changer, and a sliding rear window. OnStar is offered, but there is no navigation system--a real need in work trucks.
Front-impact safety performance is good--the four-door Chevrolet Colorado gets five-star crash scores, while other versions get four stars--but side curtain airbags are optional, but the Colorado gets a "poor" rating for side-impact safety from the IIHS.