2004 Colorado New Car Test Drive
Colorado is Chevrolet's new moniker for its midsize pickup, replacing the S10. It's more, however, than just substituting an outdoorsy name for a nondescript alpha-numeric designation. The Colorado is new from the tire print up, so to christen it anew is apropos.
The new Chevrolet Colorado is slightly larger than the S10 it replaces. It gains in passenger space and loses a minor amount of cargo space. It comes with a completely new five-cylinder engine option instead of a V6 and its towing rating decreases. The new Colorado is designed to offer favor comfort over towing and hauling capability that is seldom tested by most mid-size truck owners. In other words, buyers who want to pull heavy trailers and haul big loads should be shopping full-size pickups such as the Chevy Silverado. The Chevy Colorado is designed for the owner who wants the utility of a pickup at hand, but doesn't regularly tow or haul heavy loads. Roominess and comfort are more important to the Colorado driver.
Chevrolet defines models in the Colorado line by drivetrain and cab configuration. Therefore, the Colorado comes in six basic variations, a regular cab, an extended cab and a crew cab, each with the choice of either four-wheel or two wheel drive.
Base Work Truck models come with hose-it-out vinyl floor mats and base cloth seating, ideal for muddy boot applications. Air conditioning, and AM/FM stereo, 15-inch steel wheels and split-bench folding seats are standard; a rear seat for base extended models comes only as an option.
Civilian users will be happier with the LS trim level, which adds color-keyed carpets, a floor console and armrest, tilt wheel, cruise control, CD player, bright interior accents, aluminum wheels, plus a rear seat for extended cab models.
The Z71 High Stance off-road suspension is available on base and LS models, four-wheel or two-wheel drive, and includes larger wheel flares and, on 4x4 models, skid plates. Ground clearance at the rear differential is 8.4 inches.
The Colorado is also available with the ZQ8 sport suspension. Riding about two inches lower than the standard suspension, these sport trucks also have a monochromatic paint scheme, fog lamps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel. It's available only with two-wheel drive and comes standard with 17-inch wheels. It carries a base price of $17,545.
Major Colorado options include power windows, locks and mirrors ($500); traction control for 2WD models ($295); locking rear differential ($270); side curtain airbags ($195); leather-trimmed heated power-adjustable bucket seats ($1,495).
The Chevrolet Colorado is mechanically identical to the GMC Canyon. Trim and packaging of features differ, however, and some equipment, such as Chevy's ZQ8 sport suspension, is not available on the GMC.