2018 Colorado New Car Test Drive
When the Chevrolet Colorado was redesigned for 2015, it became a contender for the midsize pickup crown, an impressive new challenger to the Toyota Tacoma. We've found the Colorado outclasses the Tacoma in ride, handling, packaging, fit and finish, interior space and materials, connectivity, driving position, and bed features.
The 2017 Chevy Colorado introduces a new V6 engine that's the same 3.6 liters as before, but it has direct fuel injection and makes a bit more horsepower, 308 hp, and can run on four cylinders when there's no need for power. The new 3.6-liter V6 is mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission.
The base engine is an eminently usable 2.5-liter four cylinder making 200 horsepower with a 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission.
Also available is a 2.8-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder that makes 369 pound-feet of torque (and 181 horsepower). It's the best choice for towing, rated to pull up to 7700 pounds. The diesel is rated by the EPA at 30 miles per gallon highway with two-wheel drive. But it's not cheap, so if it's lower fuel expense you're after, do a lot of number-crunching. You'll be looking at years and years before it pays off, unless the price of diesel drops relative to regular gas.
The Colorado makes the most of a standard boxed frame with coil front suspension and leaf springs at the rear. The electric power steering is weighted well. Its ride and handling is far better than the Nissan Frontier, as well as the Tacoma. Four-wheel disc brakes with long-life rotors are standard. (Much of what can be said of the Chevrolet Colorado holds for the similar GMC Canyon.)
Buyers can choose from different cab and bed configurations, including the standard extended cab with a two small rear doors, a very small bench seat, and six-foot bed; or the four-door crew cab with either a five- or six-foot bed (or no bed at all, for commercial sales). There's no regular cab Colorado, any more.
A crew cab Colorado works well as a second family car.
Four-wheel drive is available. On Colorado LT and Z71 models four-wheel drive can be activated manually. Autotrac activates the front wheels electronically, like all-wheel drive, for better grip and control on the road. Four-wheel-drive drops fuel economy by about two miles per gallon compared with rear-wheel drive. On the base WT model, the part-time four-wheel-drive system is simpler, intended more for mud, sand or snow.
Fuel economy for the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission is an EPA-rated 20/26 mpg City/Highway, or 22 mpg Combined. The turbodiesel is rated 22/30 mpg City/Highway, or 25 mpg Combined. Colorado 4WD 3.6-liter V6 is rated 17/24 mpg City/Highway, 19 mpg Combined on Regular gasoline.
Colorado gets four stars overall from the NHTSA in crash testing, with five stars for side impact. Colorado earned the top Good rating for the demanding small overlap front test from the IIHS, a score that few vehicles achieve, let alone pickup trucks.
The 2017 Chevrolet Colorado comes in WT, LT, and Z71 models in many configurations.
They range in cost from $23,080 for the two-wheel drive WT with four-cylinder engine and manual transmission, to $35,630 for the 4WD Z71. However there's a very stripped down base model for $20,055, intended as a hard-core work truck. (All prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
Standard equipment on all models except the base includes six airbags, stability control, trailer sway control, hill start assist, rearview camera, easy-lowering tailgate, touchscreen audio, and USB port.
The Z71 is the offroad version, so it gets hill descent control.
Options include forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning, Bluetooth, navigation, OnStar, 4G LTE data connectivity, and a larger touchscreen with Apple CarPlay.