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.
Rear-seat space is cramped, even in crew-cab models, and prices escalate quickly as features are added.
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. 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.
After its redesign for 2015, the Colorado gains an available 2.8-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder engine that puts out 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Inside, the Colorado’s MyLink infotainment system receives Apple CarPlay capability, and the Colorado gets an available multicolor driver information display.
Fuel-economy numbers for the new diesel engine were not available as of this writing. 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. In Consumer Guide testing, a 4WD Colorado Crew Cab short bed with the V6 engine and Z71 off-road package averaged 17.4 mpg in mostly city driving.
VALUE IN CLASS
The Colorado and Canyon now face strong competition from the redesigned-for-2016 Toyota Tacoma, but they still take top honors in our book because of their broad model lineup, the newly 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.
|BASE PRICE RANGE||$20,100 – $34,940|
|BODY STYLES||EXTENDED CAB AND CREW CAB|
|AVAILABLE ENGINES||200-hp, 2.5-liter 4-cyl.; 181-hp 2.8-liter turbodiesel 4-cyl.; 305-hp, 3.6-liter V6|
|DRIVE WHEELS||Rear or 4-Wheel Drive|
|EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE||17-31 MPG|
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