2015 Colorado: Chevy’s versatile midsize pickup

Staff reports
Farm Forum

Chevrolet is re-entering the midsize-pickup market with confidence, bolstered by a vastly improved 2015 Colorado model. Featuring fresh design and engineering from bumper to bumper, Chevy’s mission for the Colorado is to add a new dimension to its truck lineup.

Billing the Colorado as the “most capable, most versatile, and most technologically advanced midsize truck,” Chevrolet believes it has the right stuff to lure a new generation of consumers into showrooms. Its key bragging points are macho styling, respectable fuel economy, excellent ride quality, and a reasonable price.

Colorados are available in two- and four-wheel drive, and in three body configurations: extended-cab long box, crew-cab short box, and crew-cab long box. Trim levels include base (extended-cab long box, only), WT, LT, and Z71. Starting prices are at $20,995, $25,205, and $26,725, respectively.

While smaller and easier to maneuver in a tight parking lot, and a better fit for a garage than the Silverado, the 2015 Colorado is a formidable-looking truck with a design influenced by its full-size sibling. Like the Silverado, it has an aerodynamic body with muscular fender flares and raised hood modeled after the sporty Camaro, and tailgate spoiler.

Loading the bed is made easier with a standard CornerStep rear bumper; EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate, standard on Z71 and available on WT and LT models; standard two-tier loading; and 13 standard tie-down locations. Colorado’s front-end design is less conservative and sportier than the Silverado. Its grille is black textured with a thick, chiseled horizontal center bar (black on Z71, chrome on others), flanked by exotic-looking headlamps.

Positioned behind the grille are Active Aero Shutters that reduce drag by closing at about 55 mph to direct air around the truck. Other measures taken to help Colorado cheat the wind and improve fuel economy are triple-sealed doors, box-to-cab seals, wheel spats, and improved hood-to-windshield closeouts.

The main ingredient on the list of fuel-saving measures is a gas-sipping powerplant, and the Colorado is offered with two fuel-efficient engines: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder (not available on crew-cab long-box models) and a 3.6-liter V-6.

The four-cylinder produces 200 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 191 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,400 rpm, and the six generates 305 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 269 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm.

Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, except for the WT extended-cab 2WD model that comes standard with a six-speed manual. The 2.5-liter and 3.6-liter engines are fueled with recommended regular-unleaded gasoline from a 21-gallon tank.

Estimated fuel-economy rating for the 2WD four-cylinder is 20 miles per gallon city, 27 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined, while the 4WD posts a 19/25/21 rating. The manual transmission gets the same combined rating, but loses 1 mpg in both city and highway to the smart computer-controlled automatic.

Colorados powered by the 3.6-liter post estimated fuel-economy numbers of 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined. Models with 4WD are rated at 17/24/20 mpg.

Trailering capacity is 3,500 pounds for four- and six-cylinder engines, with 2WD or 4WD. Maximum trailer towing is 7,000 pounds for a 3.6-liter with a Z82 trailering package.

Driving four- and -six-cylinder versions of the Colorado in town and on the highway, both engines provide respectable power for merging into fast-moving freeway traffic and passing. The most impressive aspect of the truck’s performance is ride quality and handling. Chevy engineers credit much of the pickup’s compliant ride and responsive feel to a coil-over-type front suspension featuring low-mass, high-strength aluminum knuckles.

Complementing the solid-feeling ride are supportive front buckets with dual-firmness foam that keeps the body comfortable on long drives. Headroom and legroom are good up front, as well as in the rear of crew-cab models. Legroom is tight in the rear of extended-cab models, which is best-suited for children, pets, and groceries.

The simple upright instrument panel features a clean gauge cluster and large center stack with color radio screen. A 4.2-inch color radio display is standard on WT models. An 8-inch color touch screen is standard on LT and Z71 models, which also are available with a navigation system. Chevrolet MyLink, which utilizes OnStar connectivity technology, is standard on LT and Z71 models.

With its sophisticated design and engineering, and 20-plus-combined-mpg fuel efficiency, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado leapfrogs the competition, giving consumers a reason to once again consider investing in midsize GM pickups.