Small but mighty, that’s one way to describe my tester this week. To be fair, the Chevrolet Colorado may be considered a compact pickup truck.
The smaller truck segment is on the upswing, with more entrants entering this segment. The Colorado returned to this segment in the last four years as it is. So as this vehicle niche grows, so too does the Colorado.
The truck’s evolution follows along the line with American consumer demands. They want trucks not just as a daily drivers, but as capable weekend warriors. And in this segment, there’s a Colorado that leads the way in towing.
From my first time in the “new” Colorado a couple years ago, I was shocked to learn it was smaller the Silverado. It looks stout and feels big inside. This is not like some annoying micro-crossover that’s so common. No, the Colorado is very much a truck and will be attractive to truck enthusiasts.
My tester was the ZR2 Crew with the short box. The bed length made it look less “big” and seemed just right to someone who doesn’t like oversized vehicles. The Colorado’s looks are attractive. The front end is more understated, less bulky and prominent compared to the Silverado. The side profile is sexy, with an indent on both doors that leads onto the bed near the back wheel well. It gives a consistent styling look. Step indents near the tailgate help with getting in and out of the bed. The taillights have a plain Jane appearance with a skinny rectangular shape.
The Colorado has three different engine options, which will appeal to a wide array of truck enthusiasts. The base 2.5-liter four-cylinder seems underpowered and better suits a daily driver.
The 2.8-liter turb diesel has a Duramax engine that cranks out torque and is the best option for towing.
My tester had a 3.6-liter V6 engine that slung a lot of power around. Mated with an 8-speed automatic transmission, this felt like a modern version of a tried and true V6 where there was plenty of power. The smaller size gave the impression that there was even more power; I have to say, the Colorado was quite fun to drive. I’ve also driven the turbodiesel; it’s fun to drive but feels more like truck-like, whereas the V6 has almost a performance edge to it. The 308-horsepower engine can tow up to 7,000 pounds, while the diesel can tow 7,600 pounds.
Differentiating between the Colorado and the GMC Canyon really comes down to the interior. Colorado’s is nice, but not as luxurious as the Canyon’s. It will resonate with truck enthusiasts who don’t mind a few hard plastic materials. The overall cabin space is great for a truck that’s smaller than the Silverado. The seats are supportive, and the rear legroom and headroom are outstanding.
Some critics have mentioned the MyLink Infotainment system as being clunky. I found it intuitive and simple to use. It doesn’t wow you with bells and whistles, but it does everything you need. It has connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a subscription-based WiFi hot spot.
Trims and options are abundant for the Colorado, and there are two different bed sizes, too. Base trucks and work trucks start right at about $20,000. Other trims like my tester, the ZR2 Crew with the Short Box, had a base price of $42,000.
My tester had options like the premium interior package, all-weather floor mats (which were annoying and seemed to interfere with getting in and out of the truck), illumination package and advanced audio system. As such, my tester had a final MSRP of $48,300.
For maximum fuel economy the turbodiesel engine should be considered. The V6 Colorado has the worst fuel economy of the three engine options. My tester had an EPA rating of 16 mpg/city and 18 mpg/highway. In a week’s worth of heavy-footed driving, I averaged only 17 mpg. For a “small” truck, that seemed on the low side.
It’s great to see the small truck segment heating up. There will be more competition getting into this arena. GM has two excellent entrants already, and the Colorado is the more affordable of the two.
2018 CHEVROLET COLORADO ZR2 CREW SHORT BOX
- Price/As-tested price………………………………………… $42,000/$48,300
- Mileage…………………………………… 16 mpg/city; 18 mpg/hwy
- Engine……………………………………… 3.6-liter V6
- Horsepower…………………………… 308 hp/275 lbs.-ft.
- Transmission…………………………… 8-speed automatic
- Drive wheels……………. All-wheel drive
- Final assembly point……………. Wentzville, Missouri
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