2017 Chevrolet Colorado Review

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The Car Connection
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz
June 5, 2017

Don't quite need a full-size truck? The Chevrolet Colorado makes a compelling case for the way most of us truly use our pickups.

Entering its third model year, the Chevrolet Colorado has proven to be a formidable effort in the mid-size pickup segment. For the new year, the truck, which is a near-twin of the GMC Canyon, gains a new 3.6-liter V-6 engine that's the same size as last year's model but promises to be more fuel efficient and refined. 

The Colorado is available in WT, LT, and Z71 configurations, and we think it has the right combination of comfort, style, and capability to score a respectable 6.3 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Colorado went from an also-ran to a serious rival to the Toyota Tacoma that has long dominated this segment when it was redesigned for 2015, outclassing its nearest rival on a variety of fronts, whether it's packaging and interior space, clever new connectivity and bed features, V-6 gas mileage, or simple things like driving position.

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It's available in a wide range of options, including three engines and several body and bed sizes. 

Chevrolet Colorado styling and performance

New for 2017 is a 308-horsepower V-6 that's sized like last year's, but features some fuel-saving tricks like cylinder displacement that lets it run as a V-4 under low-load situations. The V-6 comes mated exclusively to an also-new 8-speed automatic transmission. A trailer brake controller is also optional for 2017.

But don't count out the Colorado's base 2.5-liter inline-4, which is rated at 200 hp and offers a choice of 6-speed manual and automatic gearboxes. For many light duty users, this 4-cylinder will prove to be more than sufficient. 

For even more grunt that'll satisfy those who plan to tow heavy loads long distances, there's a 2.8-liter turbodiesel inline-4 that arrived last year, making 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Its fuel economy ratings top 30 mpg on the highway, while its tow ratings extend upward to 7,700 pounds in some configurations. The diesel is a pricey add-on, but it suits this truck very well.

The Colorado rides on a fully boxed frame with a coil front suspension and leaf springs at the rear. Electric power steering is standard across the lineup. Four-wheel drive is an option, naturally, and four-wheel disc brakes with long-life rotors are standard. With either powertrain, the Colorado's ride and handling are by far superior to the Tacoma and Frontier. Electric power steering is weighted well, and the suspension setup makes the most out of its relatively simple design.

For 2017, higher trim level Colorados with the V-6 also gain a transfer case with an automatic four-wheel drive mode suitable for use even on dry pavement.

Chevrolet Colorado comfort, safety, and features

Between its three body styles and trio of trims, the Colorado caters to just about everyone. There's a four-door crew cab with either a 5- or 6-foot bed for those who use their trucks like family vehicles. Solo drivers with more functional demands may be able to make due with the extended cab Colorado and its 6-foot bed. And there's even a bed delete for commercial users. 

No matter which cab you pick, the Colorado offers an excellent interior and room for the front passengers, with better materials and a more natural driving position than its rivals. In back, it's either a pair of child-safety-sized seats or cramped accommodations for adults, with bolt-upright seat backs and a marked lack of knee room, however.

But it's the bed that's a bigger pickup selling point, and while it's shy on length against full-sizers, its available bed extenders allow an 8-foot object to be hauled home with minimal fuss. Thoughtful touches include a corner bumper step and easy-lowering tailgate on all versions, as well as some 17 tie-down spots inside the bed. It can be fitted with either a spray-in bedliner or a drop-in one; cargo dividers; a system of racks and carriers dubbed GearOn; cargo nets and tonneau covers; a drop-in toolbox; and of course, trailer hitches and harnesses.

The Colorado's lineup looks simple at first glance, but there are many options for the WT work trucks, the nicely-outfitted LT, and the off-road-oriented Z71 with its own styling and all-terrain tires. New for 2017, all the way at the top is a ZR2 off-road package that deletes the air dam for better approach angles, and a trick suspension system that works wonders.

All versions have six airbags, stability control with trailer-sway control, and hill start assist; Z71 models also get hill descent control. Forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning systems are available, and a rearview camera is standard.

On the connectivity front, all Colorados come with a USB port and touchscreen-controlled audio. Bluetooth is available, as is an 8.0-inch touchscreen (on LT and Z71 Colorados) and multiple USB ports for charging and music storage. Navigation is an option, as is GM's OnStar service and 4G LTE data connectivity. The Colorado's MyLink interface now incorporates Apple CarPlay, which uses the truck's touchscreen as a mirror display for some iPhone functions like messaging, mapping, and streaming audio.

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2017 Chevrolet Colorado Pricing Insights

  • 2018 Colorado arriving; 2017 supplies looking good
  • New $1,750 rebate on 2017 Z71 models
  • Lease a 2017 4x4 Crew from $279 for 36 months
  • New 0% APR for 72 months on Z71
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