Like the idea of a pickup but hate the ocean-liner maneuverability? Say hello to the new Chevrolet Colorado, a versatile midsize pickup with power, comfort and flexibility to spare.
The Colorado (along with the Canyon, its GMC sibling) is an all-new, all-American version of GM’s global hauler that’s been available in overseas markets since 2011. Its un-chunky look echoes the crisp sedan and SUV designs in Chevy’s lineup. And with a payload rating of 1,590 pounds — just 200 shy of Chevy’s full-size Silverado pickup — you can haul your bounty of autumnal gourds with confidence. Yet it’s 5 inches narrower, 3 inches lower and 900 pounds lighter than the muscular full-size Silverado.
Colorado customers have a choice of two engines: the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque, or a 3.6-liter V-6 with 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. Depending on the selection of two- or four-wheel drive and manual or six-speed automatic transmission, EPA estimates for mileage are 20/27 and 18/26 miles per gallon, respectively.
GM says the V-6 Colorado offers the segment’s highest available trailer rating: 7,000 pounds with the heavy-duty towing package. (Diesel fans must wait until 2016, when Chevy adds the burly 2.8-liter Duramax turbo to the lineup.) Configurations include an extended cab model with a 6-foot-2 bed, a crew cab with a 5-foot-2 bed and a crew cab with a 6-foot-2 bed.
Roominess abounds inside, thanks to a sculpted headliner and door panels. Seats are firm yet foamy, and the instrument panel features large, easy-to-scan controls and a carlike center console with a floor-mounted shifter. And since most pickup folks like to bring stuff along, there’s a massive rear under-seat storage compartment that runs door to door.
The base extended cab model starts at $20,100, well below the Silverado’s $26,760 base price. Trim levels include the base Work Truck (WT), the mid-level LT and the top-of-the-line, off-road-inspired Z71, featuring a gunmetal grille surround, projector headlamps, 17-inch aluminum wheels with all-terrain tires and optional embossed seatbacks and contrast stitching.
Connectivity and safety options include GM’s new 4G LTE connectivity with a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot, forward collision alert and lane departure warning.
Dealers already have ordered nearly 30,000 Colorados, far exceeding GM’s early expectations.Their eagerness makes sense: With class-leading power, refined handling, interior comfort, urban convenience and a host of appealing features, the Colorado is proof that good things really do come in small packages.