2015 Chevrolet Colorado LT 4WD Extended Cab

2015 Chevrolet Colorado LT 4WD Extended Cab

Chevrolet’s resurrected Colorado makes perfect sense.

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I find it puzzling when I see people running errands or simply commuting in a full size truck. Fine, you need the towing capacity and payload area here and there, but what about the vast majority of the time? Seems kind of silly to have all that capability wasting away. Never mind that these are the folks who typically slow to a crawl to go over a speed bump with their increased ground clearance and off-road conquering componentry. Hopefully the days of purchasing a truck that are clearly overkill can be put behind us. As this optimistic new era dawns, enter Chevrolet’s reborn Colorado.

Or re-enter, as it were. The Colorado (and corporate twin, the GMC Canyon) have been resurrected from their embarrassing past of anemic 5 cylinder engines, (a V8 was hastily offered for a few years) a cockpit saturated with industrial grade plastics and relatively diminutive payloads. They join the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier as the only choices in the “real-world” sized pickup segment. The Dodge Dakota and Ford Ranger used to play in this sandbox until they were called home for dinner by product planners, citing lack of buyer interest. It stands to reason they did this to focus on their full size truck programs which were enjoying explosive growth, while sales dwindled for these more manageably sized players. In typical cyclic fashion, the mid-size pickup sector is hot once again, even if the Tacoma/Frontier are so aged that their basic formulas go back to the days when the Colorado was a first weak-kneed effort from GM. Until their replacements arrive, the Colorado/Canyon are the most bleeding edge, state-of-the-art small(er) pickups you can buy.

PROS: Perfectly sized, healthy dose of refinement, impressive capabilities.

CONS: Sized almost too big, massive turning circle, V6 gets thrashy as the revs climb.

THE VERDICT: An excellent effort from Chevrolet and an appropriately sized truck for the real world.

The defining trait of the Colorado is usability. If you live in an urban setting, this is a truck that you could honestly drive every day and not feel guilty about it. It actually fit in my driveway, and wasn’t a complete chore to traipse across narrow streets and tight parking garages. Its nimble nature doesn’t mean the Colorado will shy away when there’s work to be done- with a payload of 689 kilos, you’ll be able to help even the most ardent pack rat move; and with its 3,175 kilogram towing capacity, you’ll never have to leave anything behind like a boat or jet ski when the cottage beckons on a long weekend. Our tester was equipped with GM’s ubiquitous 3.6 litre V6 which gave it the confidence to do all those chores without any perceived effort. A four cylinder is available, but only very light duty users will want to select it on the order sheet. Trust us- go with the V6. We were able to coax 12.4L/100km of efficiency out of it, which really isn’t too bad for a pickup that can muster the kinds of grunt Colorado owners will expect.

Chevy designers didn’t forget about the interior the way they did the last time the Colorado was in production. Our LT trimmed tester gave us stuff like leather seats, snappy MyLink infotainment with navigation and even a Bose stereo. It was the kind of place you wouldn’t mind spending hours behind the wheel in, which is a good thing because it’s so comfortable, allowing drivers to easily put on serious mileage where long trips are concerned. Actually, refinement might be the defining trait of the Colorado experience; it goes down the road so well that it’s hard to believe this is a body-on-frame vehicle meant to perform serious work.

In a complete about-face from the original version we thankfully stopped getting in 2012, there isn’t much to complain about Colorado 2.0. The V6 engine doesn’t like it too much when the tach swings closer to the redline, where it begins to speak in aggravated, gravelly tones. This isn’t too big a deal because if you’re using the Colorado as it is intended you won’t notice. Plus, let’s not forget this is a truck- a little roughness around the edges is to be expected. The other area of concern is the Colorado’s size; our tester was just right, but if you order yours with the bigger cab you’ll have a mid-size truck with a wheelbase that is within spitting distance of the full-size Silverado (in regular cab/long box trim) of 119 millimetres. Speaking of which, if a Colorado is on your shopping list you’d better make haste to your local Chevy store- they are selling these things as fast as they can build them.

So yes, the mid-size truck segment is hot again. And, if rumors are true, Chevy will offer a diesel engine which should stoke demand even more. If that does come to pass, there should be a large number of folks waiting to swap their full size beasts for something a little more manageable.

2015 Chevrolet Colorado LT 4WD Extended Cab

  • Price as tested: $39,740
  • Body Type: 4 door, 4-passenger pickup truck
  • Powertrain Layout: Front engine/four-wheel drive
  • Engine:  3.6 litre V6, DOHC, 24 valves
  • Horsepower: 305 @ 6,800 rpm
  • Torque (lb-ft.): 269 @ 4,000 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic
  • Curb weight: 2,676 kg (5,900 lbs.)
  • Observed combined fuel economy: 12.4L/100 km (19 mpg)