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.