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:

Exclusive to the Chevrolet Colorado lineup is a ZR2 model equipped for extreme off-roading; it includes a lifted heavy-duty suspension, 31-inch off-road tires, electronic locking differentials, and high-tech adaptive Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) shock absorbers.

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, GM’s OnStar assistance system and Teen Driver monitoring 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, and text-message alerts.

WHAT’S NEW?

A 7.2-inch infotainment screen replaces the previous 4.2-inch screen as standard equipment, and the off-road-oriented ZR2 model gets an Active Tow assist feature and heated exterior mirrors.

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. 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. The ZR2 model is rated at 19/22 with the 4-cylinder and 16/18 with the V6. In Consumer Guide® testing, a 4WD Crew Cab short bed with the V6 engine and Z71 off-road package averaged 17.4 mpg in 75-percent city driving, and a diesel-powered Z71 Crew Cab averaged 22.0 mpg in 75-percent city driving.

VALUE IN CLASS

The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon face strong competition from the Toyota Tacoma and 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 Colorado ZR2 should satisfy hardcore off-road enthusiasts as a compelling rival to the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.

BASE PRICE RANGE $20,200 – $41,985
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 16-30 MPG

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