Compact pickup truck; Built in USA
  • crew cab
  • ext. cab
  • reg. cab
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $3,800 – $23,000*

2005 Chevrolet Colorado

2006 Chevrolet Colorado

2004 Chevrolet Colorado

2005 Chevrolet Colorado

  • Cargo room (crew cab)
  • Instruments/controls
  • Acceleration (four-cylinder/auto.)
  • Rear-seat comfort (extended cab)

Colorado and its GMC Canyon counterpart focus on the light-duty daily user–assuming heavy haulers will move up to Silverado. That said, Colorado is a well-balanced, modern, and attractive small truck with plenty of appeal.


General Motors launched its new generation of small pickup trucks with the 2004 Chevrolet Colorado and its GMC Canyon companion. Billed as a “midsize” pickup, Colorado was slightly larger than the Chevy S-10 it was meant to replace, but not as big as the compact-class size-leading Dodge Dakota.

Available in regular, extended, and crew cab form, Colorado and Canyon differed in trim details but shared a platform and introduced two new GM truck engines. Replacing a 120-horsepower 2.2-liter as the base four-cylinder was a 175-horsepower 2.8-liter. A 220-horsepower 3.5-liter inline five-cylinder substituted for the previous 190-horsepower 4.3-liter V6. Both new engines had dual overhead cams versus overhead valves, and came with a manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Both were available with rear-wheel drive or with four-wheel drive that had low-range gearing, but must be disengaged on dry pavement.

The regular cab seated up to three; extended cabs came with dual rear-hinged back doors and seated up to five. The four-door Crew Cab seated up to six and had a 5-foot cargo box, while others had a 6-foot bed. Antilock braking was standard.

Available for the first time on a GM pickup were head-protecting curtain side airbags that covered all seating rows. All body styles, with 2WD or 4WD, could be equipped with a Z71 off-road suspension that offered elevated ground clearance. The ZQ8 sport-suspension option was a Chevrolet exclusive that included 17-inch wheels vs. 15s, and was offered only with 2WD. A locking rear differential was available on all Colorados. Traction control was a new option with 2WD. Also available were leather seats (crew cab only), OnStar assistance, and satellite radio.

Colorados competed against the Dodge Dakota, Ford Ranger, and Toyota Tacoma. Sold alongside Colorado for the 2004 model year were heldover S-10 crew cabs.

Yearly Updates

2005 Colorado
A new Xtreme appearance package included bodyside cladding, different front and rear styling, and special exterior graphics. Xtreme models included the ZQ8 suspension, but added 18-inch wheels.
2006 Colorado
A newly available Sun and Sound Package included a sunroof. Isuzu now sold I-280 and I-350 pickups that were equivalent to Colorados.
2007 Colorado
Chevrolet’s compact pickup got more power for 2007. Standard on most models was a 185-hp 2.9-liter 4-cyl engine; it replaced a 175-hp 2.8 liter. Standard on 4WD Crews and optional on other Colorados was a 242-hp 3.7-liter 5-cyl; it replaced a 220-hp 3.5 5-cyl.
2008 Colorado
The 2008 Chevrolet Colorado carried on with no major changes
2009 Colorado
A 300-hp 5.3-liter V8 was made optional on extended- and crew-cab models for 2009. Sixteen-inch wheels were now standard on Work Truck models, and LTs were now available with 16-, 17-, or 18-inch wheels. Satellite radio became standard on LT models.
2010 Colorado
The 2010 Chevrolet Colorado was largely unchanged.
2011 Colorado
The 2011 Chevrolet Colorado is largely unchanged.
2012 Colorado
There were no changes of note to the Chevrolet Colorado for 2012, which was its last model year in this form.


longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

Two engines and two transmissions are available in Colorados. Both the 175-horsepower 2.8-liter four-cylinder and the 220-horsepower 3.5-liter five-cylinder engine team with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. For 2007. standard on most models is a 185-hp 2.9-liter 4-cyl engine; it replaces a 175-hp 2.8. Standard on 4WD Crews and optional on other Colorados is a 242-hp 3.7-liter 5-cyl; it replaces a 220-hp 3.5 5-cyl.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.8/169
Engine HP 175
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 185
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.9/178
Engine HP 185
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 190
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
dohc I5
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/211
Engine HP 220
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 225
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
dohc I5
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.7/223
Engine HP 242
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 242
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic


Road Test

The four-cylinder engine is undepowered for anything other than daily commuting. Adequate with 2WD and manual shift, it’s sluggish with 4WD and an automatic transmission. The five-cylinder is sprightly with 2WD and adequate with 4WD. Both engines are considerably smoother than the ones they replaced, and seem well-mated to the quick-shifting automatic transmission.

Four-cylinder engines are a bit easier on fuel. An extended-cab 2WD five-cylinder averaged 18.8 mpg in mostly highway driving. A Crew Cab 4WD pickup with that engine averaged 18.1 mpg under similar conditions. A manual-shift 2WD four-cylinder regular-cab model averaged 18.1 mpg in mostly city driving. Chevrolet recommends regular-grade fuel for both engines.

Jittery on rough or badly broken surfaces, Colorados are otherwise composed. Overall, they ride better than most other compact pickups. Still, abrupt vertical motions are felt over bumps and dips. The base suspension furnishes the best ride, while stiffer Z71 (off-road) and ZQ8 (sport) suspensions grow tiresome on long drives.

A Colorado corners with more security and poise than the old S-10, making it among the more agile compact pickups. Expect good straightline stability, but some testers claim it’s slow to react to steering inputs. Meaty steering has pronounced on-center feel. The turning radius is noticeably larger with 4WD than with 2WD. Brakes provide quick, even stops with precise pedal feel.

Colorados are quieter overall than most competitors, though extended cabs in particular may suffer some wind rush where the front and rear door meet. Five-cylinder engines are louder and coarser than rival V6s, but the four-cylinder is about on par for this class.

Gauges are easy to read, but some early digital readouts washed out in direct sunlight. Audio/climate controls are simple to use and clearly marked. Interior materials and fit-and-finish are above average for the class. Still, some early test models had a few squeaks and rattles from the dashboard area.

Front occupants get lots of leg and head room, on seats that are adequately comfortable for long drives. The middle seat is for occasional use only. Some testers have complained of hard, flat seatbacks in base models. The extended cab’s rear seat is for use by preteens only; adults lack leg room even if front seats are pushed well forward. Crew cabs are somewhat more spacious, but rear leg space is still no better than a compact sedan’s, and entry/exit is difficult through small door openings. All rear seats are hard and undersized.

Interior storage is limited on regular cabs, but good on extended and crew cabs with rear seats folded. A unique dual-position support cable allows the tailgate to be secured in a partially open position, permitting 4×8 sheets to be carried on top of the wheelwells, supported in back by the tailgate.


Model Tested: 2005 Chevrolet Colorado LS Z85 ext. cab. 2WD 5-cyl w/auto

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 6
Fuel Economy - 5
Ride Quality - 4
Steering/Handling - 4
Quietness - 4


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 4
Room/Comfort Rear - 1
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 6

Total: 43


crew cab
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
125.9 207.1 68.6 64.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1489 19.6 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.6 38.3 44.0 34.8
ext. cab
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
125.9 207.6 67.6 64.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1654 19.6 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.6 37.9 44.0 23.1
reg. cab
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
111.2 192.8 67.6 64.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1733 19.6 3
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.6 44.0
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2005 Colorado 2-door reg. cab


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 5

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Description: The airbag warning light may no go off due to a faulty seat belt tension sensor in the right front seat belt retractor assembly. (2006-07)
Description: The rear brakes may grab or drag after the vehicle sets for a while (overnight) due to a problem with the automatic adjusters star wheels. (2005-08)
Fuel gauge
Description: The engine may not start or may stall because the tank is empty yet the gauge shows fuel remaining, or the fuel gauge will not show full after refilling due to sulfur corrosion of the fuel level sender and if after treating with Fuel System Cleaner PLUS the problem remains, the sender may need to be replaced. (2004-06)
Fuel gauge
Description: The fuel gauge may not move on trucks with the 4-cylineder or 5-cylinder engine, and all California models, requiring recalibration of the PCM. (2004)
Keyless entry
Description: The keyless remote transmitter may not work, but function may be restored if reprogrammed only to quit working again due to water leaking into the body control module from a leak in the cowl. (2005)
Description: The engine may run at lower power and the check engine light may illuminate if the engine was started with a weak battery. (2004-07)
Description: Pickup box must be reinforced with available kit before installing a tool box, cap, etc. to prevent collapse. (2004-06)
Electrical problem
Description: If the OnStar system quits or won’t come on (no power), but comes back to life if the fuse is removed for five minutes, the vehicle communications interface module must be replaced or else the problem will recur. (2005-06)
Electrical problem
Description: The DVD monitors in the front seat headrests may quit working because the video feed cable comes loose requiring installation of cable clamps. (2006-08)
Electrical problem
Description: When using a portable music player (e.g. iPod) there may be noise in the car’s speakers whenever the vehicle’s power adapter is used and a ground loop isolator (from Radio Shack) is required between the device and the power outlet to prevent the noise. (2004-07)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light may come on accompanied by an engine misfire due to weak exhaust valve springs which must be replaced. (2004-05)

Recall History

2004-09 Colorado
Description: Brake lamps may fail to function, or may illuminate at all times; also, cruise control could become inoperative.
2004-2011 Colorado regular cab vehicles and extended cab vehicles without a rear seat and equipped with a front 60/40 split bench seat.
Description: The top tether anchor for the front center seat is not accessible and the owner manual does not include instructions regarding how to use the top tether. Lack of access to the top tether anchor and a lack of instructions as to how to use it, may result in improper installation of a child restraint which can result in a reduction in the restraint’s performance in the event of a crash and an increased risk of injury or death to the child seated in the restraint. Dealers will cut a hole into the back panel trim cover to allow access to the top tether anchor for the front center seat position and will provide supplemental information as to use in the owner’s manual.
2006 Colorado
Description: Tire and loading information label may list inaccurate vehicle capacity weight.
2009 Colorado
Description: The fuel system control modules may have a faulty seal, possibly allowing water to seep into the module. This could cause a short, illumination of the service engine soon lamp, setting of diagnostic trouble codes, or the engine may be hard to start. Dealers will install a new fuel system control module free of charge.
2010-2012 Colorado
Description: Hood may be missing the secondary hood latch and could open unexpectedly during vehicle operation.
2011 Colorado passenger vehicles equipped with a 2.9 or 3.7 liter engine and a 4-speed automatic transmission
Description: The rear axle cross pins were not properly heat treated and could fracture and become displaced within the rear axle. Should the pin shift out of position, it could create an interference condition and cause the rear axle to lock. The driver may not be able to maintain directional control of the vehicle and a crash could occur without warning. Dealers will install a new rear axle cross pin free of charge.
2011 Colorado
Description: Some of these vehicles have the condition in which the windshield wiper motor crank arm nut may not be tightened to specification. When the wipers are operated with a build-up of snow or ice, or if the wipers are operated on a dry windshield, the nut could loosen. If there is sufficient loosening of the nut, the wipers could become inoperative. Driver visibility could be reduced increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will secure the wiper motor crank arm nut free of charge.
2011 Colorado
Description: These vehicles may have been built with an automatic transmission adjustment clip that may not retain the shift cable in the correct position. If the shift cable is not in the correct position, the PRNDL shift lever may not accurately reflect the position of the transmission gear. The driver could move the shifter to “park” and remove the ignition key, but the transmission gear may not be in “park.” The driver may not be able to restart the vehicle, and the vehicle could roll away as the driver or other occupants exit the vehicle or have exited, resulting in the possibility of the vehicle striking them or someone around the vehicle, or could result in a crash without prior warning. GM dealers will install a new automatic transmission adjustment clip free of charge.
2012 Colorado
Description: “Seatbelt unbuckled” light may not work, as the result of a defective electrical connection in the belt buckle.

Equipment Lists

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