IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:

The redesigned Chevrolet Colorado (along with its upmarket cousin, the GMC Canyon) offers up-to-date technology features and all-around refinement that its long-in-the-tooth 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 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.

WHAT’S NEW?

Pretty much everything. After taking the 2013 and 2014 model years off, The Colorado is redesigned for 2015, with fresh styling, new interior designs, added features, and new engines. 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. Meanwhile, 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.

FUEL ECONOMY

EPA estimates with the 4-cylinder are 20 city/27 highway with rear-wheel drive and 19/25 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 18/26 with rear-wheel drive and 17/24 with 4-wheel drive.

VALUE IN CLASS

The Colorado and Canyon take top honors in their class almost by default. As fresh designs, they naturally trump the aged Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma (which were last redesigned for 1998 and 2005, respectively). With their competitive feature sets and sensible-yet-functional exterior dimensions, these new GM pickups make a strong case against many full-size pickups as well.

BASE PRICE RANGE $20,120 – $34,415
BODY STYLES extended cab and Crew cab
AVAILABLE ENGINES 200-hp, 2.5-liter 4-CYL.; 305-hp, 3.6-liter V6
DRIVE WHEELS Rear or 4-Wheel Drive
BUILT IN USA
EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE 17-27 MPG

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