2019 Chevrolet Colorado Review

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz
December 10, 2018

The 2019 Chevrolet Colorado is a jack-of-all-trades: humble work truck, comfortable urban runabout, or off-road all-star.

The 2019 Chevrolet Colorado is the midsize pickup segment’s jack-of-all-trades: a smartly-sized truck with efficient and powerful engine choices, a comfortable daily driver, and even an off-road superstar.

The 2019 Colorado range spans a wide variety of needs, and that’s why we’ve rated it 6.0 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Colorado’s changes for 2019 are minimal, limited to a new 7.0-inch touchscreen for  infotainment in the base trim and a new 8.0-inch system for LT trims and up. The 2019 Colorado also gains rear USB ports, a 6-way power driver’s seat, an HD backup camera on some trims, and an available heated steering wheel. Finally, a few visual touches and off-road goodies like new wheels and skid plates are available, as well as three new colors, Crush, Pacific Blue Metallic, and Shadow Gray Metallic.

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The base and Work Truck trims are fairly spartan inside, though better equipped than you might expect, with standard air conditioning, power driver’s seat, and power windows. If you’re looking for active-safety technology like forward-collision warnings and lane-departure warnings however, they are only available on the LT trim and above.

The Colorado ZR2 is a serious off-road machine, with a raised suspension, wider stance, and 31-inch Goodyear all-terrain tires. Essentially, the ZR2 is a Ford Raptor on a bit of a diet, not to mention on a budget.

Across the range, the Colorado is available in extended or crew cab format with three different bed lengths depending on which cab you choose. It’s also available in either rear- or four-wheel drive, and with a 2.5-liter four cylinder as standard. Most Colorados will come equipped with the optional 3.6-liter V-6 from the factory, but a 2.8-liter turbodiesel inline-4 is also available, delivering immense torque and up to 30 mpg highway with rear-wheel drive. The Colorado shares its platform, body styles, powertrains, and more with the GMC Canyon, a slightly more business-like alternative for the midsize pickup buyer, though less versatile in configuration than the Colorado.

When it's equipped with the available turbodiesel engine, the 2019 Chevy Colorado can pull up to 7,700 pounds; the V-6 version can tow 7,000 pounds. Across the lineup, payload capacity checks in at a solid 1,500 pounds.

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2019 Chevrolet Colorado

Styling

The 2018 Chevrolet Colorado looks great in any getup, from blue collar to Baja basher.

Sporting muscular-yet-curvy good looks, the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado is one of the best-looking trucks out there, whether you’re hauling stuff or getting dirty off road.

We’ve awarded it extra points for both interior and exterior design, especially the awesomely aggressive ZR2. It’s a 7 out of 10 on our scale.(Read more about how we rate cars.)

Despite its Rocky Mountain high name, the Colorado is actually a global pickup for Chevy, and is designed accordingly. The swoopy styling is more European than the boxier Silverado that tops the Chevy truck lineup, but the Colorado wears the gold bowtie nicely, especially with wide headlights and a big grille. Massive taillights out back and a body line that slopes upwards towards the rear give it a sportier stance, and while the Base and Work Truck variants offer little in the way of glitz or ruggedness, the LT, Z71, and ZR2 trims each have a different level of visual intrigue.

The Colorado ZR2 sports a higher bumper to go with its raised suspension, helping increase the approach angle when off-roading. The wide track, fender flares, and massive knobby tires give this truck some serious presence to go with its serious capability.

Inside, the symmetrical dashboard places most controls high up and within reach, and an array of toggle switches accomplish a variety of secondary functions. Trim varies by model, but the LT receives the dressiest treatment with certain interiors equipped.

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2019 Chevrolet Colorado

Performance

From budget-friendly worker to trail hoss, the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado fulfills every need.

Thanks to its wide variety of powertrains, the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado seems to offer something for everyone, from efficiency and capability to outright power and torque.

We’ve given the Colorado lineup a point for its strong engine choices, yielding a 6 out of 10. We would add another for the off-road ability of the ZR2, except that it’s not a high-volume configuration. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

As far as pickup truck designs go, the Colorado keeps things simple, employing a body-on-frame design with an independent front suspension and a solid rear axle with leaf springs out back. Big tires on most models help to absorb road imperfections, but there can be some side-to-side shimmy on fairly rough terrain. While the Z71 and ZR2 are built for more intense roads, they can feel even bouncier thanks to their higher-sprung suspension.

Extended cab models of everything but the ZR2 come with a 2.5-liter inline-4 as standard, which makes 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque and is available with a 6-speed automatic or manual transmission. The 4-cylinder is adequate around town, but runs out of breath when asked to pass on the highway.

The V-6 is much more powerful, and is standard on all crew cab models. This strong choice makes 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque and is available only with a slick 8-speed automatic.

Finally, a 2.8-liter turbodiesel inline-4 is optional on all but the base trim, and makes only 181 hp but a massive 369 lb-ft of torque via a 6-speed automatic transmission. Though it chugs along with a telltale exhaust note, this engine is refined and strong.

Rear-wheel drive is standard on all but the ZR2, and four-wheel drive is optional. The basic four-wheel-drive system is a part-time transfer case not intended for use on dry pavement, but the optionalAutoTrac system with automatic mode allows for set-it-and-forget-it driving on any road surface.

Off-roading

With a slightly raised suspension, unique dampers, and a limited-slip rear differential, the Colorado Z71 should suit most buyers with off-road ambitions, while the ZR2 is best reserved for the serious trail-riding enthusiast. Standard front and rear locking differentials and knobby Goodyear Duratrac tires make this truck a seriously capable ride, not to mention its uprated suspension and wider track.

Speaking of the suspension, the race-derived Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve dampers by Multimatic are unique to this truck. Spawned from Baja and Formula One racing alike, these dampers are shockingly (pun intended) quick to react to suspension movement, and are employed similarly on the Camaro ZL1, though with a much different intention.

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5

2019 Chevrolet Colorado

Comfort & Quality

The 2019 Chevrolet Colorado is comfortable up front, but rear seat passengers will find a more upright ride than desirable.

The 2019 Chevrolet Colorado is firmly average inside, with comfortable front seats and a back seat that feels upright and somewhat tight, even on crew cab variants.

For these reasons, we’ve rated it a 5 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Like most modern trucks, there’s only the choice of twin bucket seats and a center console up front. Sorry, front bench seat lovers. The seats are firm and offer a wide range of adjustment and can be had in vinyl upholstery on the Base and Work Truck trims, with cloth as an option. Leather is available on LT, Z71 and ZR2 trims, as are heated front seats.

Rear seat room is tight on extended cab models, but crew cabs have an additional 7 inches of legroom, though that number even feels slightly conservative.

Every version of the Colorado feels well-built with nice materials, though soft-touch plastics and felt-lined bins are harder to find, something that would be welcome on higher spec trucks. Extended cab Colorados all get a 6-foot-2 bed, while the Crew Cab can be had with the same bed as optional, or a standard 5-foot-1 bed.

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2019 Chevrolet Colorado

Safety

While a solid truck in many respects, crash safety is not the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado’s strong point.

The 2019 Chevrolet Colorado hasn’t yet been rated for crash safety but based on last year’s scores and the minimal changes to safety equipment, there’s still lots of room for improvement.

One of the big drawbacks of the Colorado’s safety record is its lack of advanced collision-avoidance technology, which warrants a 2 out of 10 rating on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

All versions of the Colorado come standard with six airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, and a backup camera now with HD resolution. Only the LT trim and above get high-tech safety features like forward collision and lane-departure warnings, and the Colorado can’t be had with automatic emergency braking or rear cross-traffic alerts, both of which would be welcome on a pickup like this.

While there are no scores yet for 2019, we expect the Colorado to perform the same as last year, which means a 4-star rating overall from the NHTSA and disparities in the IIHS’s ratings, including an “Acceptable” small front overlap rating and side-impact scores for the extended cab models, while crew cabs received “Good” scores all around minus the headlights and collision warning systems, which received “Poor” and “Basic” scores, respectively.

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2019 Chevrolet Colorado

Features

The 2019 Chevrolet Colorado can be a spartan work truck or serious off-road rig and everything in between.

Five trim levels, three body configurations, three engines, three transmissions, two drivetrains, and a litany of options make the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado one of the most well-rounded trucks out there.

We’ve granted 8 out of 10 points to the Colorado for its stellar customization and great infotainment system, as well as the “killer app” ZR2 model. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

On the base Colorado, you won’t find much decadence, but you will find power windows and locks, a four-way power driver’s seat, air conditioning, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The base Colorado only comes in extended cab format with a long bed and rear-wheel drive, so it’s meant mostly for fleet buyers.

The Work Truck spec is the real base model for most Colorado buyers, and dealers often refer to it as WT. Similar to the base model, the WT trim comes with carpet instead of vinyl flooring, and can be had in both body styles with either drivetrain and any of the three engines, though the 2.5-liter inline-4 is standard. The options list is sparse but includes visual cues like painted bumpers and alloy wheels. One interesting feature is that the WT’s bed can be deleted in certain configurations for buyers who want to add their own compartment out back, such as a refrigerated box or utility setup.

The LT adds an 8.0-inch touchscreen and optional navigation, an additional USB port and two out back, as well as cruise control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Some more options include heated leather seats, Bose audio, a moonroof, and more.

The Z71 trim is ideal for more casual off-roaders and adds some styling flair to the LT trim along with tougher suspension and a limited-slip rear differential. For the most hardcore adventurers, the ZR2 package is the most capable, bringing a big suspension lift and wider track, chunky off-road tires, and styling cues like a chopped front bumper and built-in light bar.

It should be noted that the Colorado is still light on advanced safety tech, with forward-collision warning available on the LT trim but no automatic systems to be found.

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2019 Chevrolet Colorado

Fuel Economy

The 2019 Chevrolet Colorado can be quite thrifty with the right options.

The 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ranges from not to very efficient across its wide range of engine options.

We’ve given the lineup 5 out of 10 for the four-wheel drive model with the gas V-6 engine, which manages 17 mpg city, 24 highway, and 19 combined. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Opting for rear-wheel drive improves things a bit to 18/25/20 mpg with the V-6, which isn’t bad considering that’s close to the bottom of the Colorado’s average fuel economy across the range.

The thirstiest of the bunch is the ZR2, which suffers a penalty for its big tires, tall stance, and four-wheel drive, managing only 16/18/17 mpg. With the turbodiesel equipped, those numbers improve to 19/22/20 mpg.

Base Colorados come with a 2.5-liter inline-4 that makes a respectable 20/26/22 mpg regardless of whether you choose the manual or automatic transmission.

The turbodiesel represents the priciest option, but with rear-wheel drive, it’s sufficiently thrifty at 22/30/25 mpg. Four-wheel drive drops those figures to 20/28/23 mpg.

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$20,500
MSRP based on 2WD Ext Cab 128.3" Base
 
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5.3
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 5
Safety 2
Features 8
Fuel Economy 4
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  • 2019 Colorado arriving; 2018s still on sale
  • Employee Discount + cash rebate on both mode years
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