IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:

The Chevrolet Colorado (along with its upmarket cousin, the GMC Canyon) offers up-to-date technology features and excellent all-around refinement, along with some options that its competitors can’t match.

BUT…

Rear-seat space is cramped, even in crew-cab models, and prices escalate quickly as features are added.

WORTH NOTING:

Colorado and Canyon are notably bigger than their first-generation predecessors—and their Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma rivals—but are about a foot-and-a-half shorter, six inches narrower, and three inches lower than the full-size Silverado and Sierra. They also differ from each other more than in the past.

WHAT IS IT?

The Colorado is Chevrolet’s “compact” pickup, though it’s really more midsize than compact. Extended-cab and crew-cab body styles are offered, but a regular cab is not. The Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon share the same basic platform, though the Colorado is the “mainstream” offering and the Canyon has a more premium feel. Compared to the Canyon, the Colorado has slightly less-formal exterior styling, a less fancy interior, and a less-advanced part-time 4-wheel drive system in place of the GMC’s exclusive “Auto” full-time 4-wheel drive system that allows 4WD to be left engaged on dry pavement. On the safety side, a rearview camera and GM’s OnStar assistance system are standard, and options include forward collision warning and lane departure warning. Available comfort and convenience features include remote start, power lumbar adjustment for both driver and front passenger, leather upholstery, automatic climate control, and heated seats. Available connectivity items include an 8-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, navigation system, voice recognition, Siri Eyes Free (for those with iPhones), and text-message alerts.

WHAT’S NEW?

A ZR2 model designed for serious off-roading joins the Colorado lineup for 2017; it includes a lifted suspension, front and rear electronic locking differentials, altered bodywork for improved ground clearance, and high-tech Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) dampers with a range of on/off-road performance settings. The Colorado’s 3.6-liter V6 is a new design; it utilizes cylinder deactivation and exchanges the previous 6-speed automatic transmission for an 8-speed automatic. GM’s Teen Driver monitoring is a new standard feature.

FUEL ECONOMY

EPA estimates for the 4-cylinder are 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway with rear-wheel drive and 19/24 with 4-wheel drive. The 4-cylinder with the 6-speed manual (which is available only with rear-wheel drive) is rated at 19/26. Numbers for the V6 are 18/25 with rear-wheel drive and 17/24 with 4-wheel drive. The diesel is rated at 22/30 with 2WD and 20/28 with 4WD. In Consumer Guide® testing, a diesel-powered Colorado Z71 Crew Cab averaged 22.0 mpg in 75-percent city driving.

VALUE IN CLASS

The Colorado and Canyon face strong competition from the Toyota Tacoma and new Honda Ridgeline, but they continue to achieve Best Buy status because of their broad model lineup, the available diesel engine, and the availability of a full-time 4WD system on the GMC Canyon. With their competitive feature sets and sensible-yet-functional exterior dimensions, these GM pickups make a strong case against many full-size pickups as well. The new-for-2017 ZR2 should attract hardcore off-road enthusiasts as a compelling rival to the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.

BASE PRICE RANGE $20,055 – $35,930
BODY STYLES Extended Cab And Crew Cab
AVAILABLE ENGINES 200-hp, 2.5-liter 4-cyl.; 181-hp 2.8-liter turbodiesel 4-cyl.; 308-hp, 3.6-liter V6
DRIVE WHEELS Rear Or 4-Wheel Drive
BUILT IN USA
EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE 17-30 MPG

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