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2015 Chevrolet Colorado Review By Steve Purdy

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2015 Chevrolet Colorado

2015 Chevrolet Colorado Base Extended Cab 4-Cylinder Review
By Steve Purdy
The Auto Channel
Michigan Bureau

GM is back with all-new versions of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon. We had a chance to experience both new mid-size pickups last fall for an afternoon in northern Illinois but this will be our first full review. We might guess these new trucks are considerably advanced from the last generation in just about every way, from aerodynamics, to powertrains, to styling, to capability – and we would be mostly right.

First, lets talk about style and design.

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The Colorado gets fresh styling but it is mildly evolutionary breaking little new ground and showing some resemblance to big brother Silverado. It pays more homage to the last generation Colorado, though it looks and feels bigger. Wrap-around headlights more body creasing, new grille and other details make it look fresh. Our tester is a flashy red, Base model with extended cab. We’ll call it a 2+2since the rear jump seats are about as useful as those in old sports cars with that designation; that is, the rear seat is good for very small children or pets only.

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Inside, this truck gets nicer and more upscale in both materials and design than the old one along with much improved insulation for a quieter cabin. This bottom-of-the-line truck feels rather utilitarian with plain, lower-end materials and simple controls. The standard 4.2-inch touch screen accommodates the rear-view camera image and a variety of other functions. We have a 4-way power seat with manual recline for the driver and manual passenger seat. AC, tilt steering wheel, power windows, six-speaker AM/FM audio, USB and audio input are standard. Power mirrors are not.

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The seats in this one are an unattractive fabric and reasonably comfortable. The rear seat bottoms flip up for access to a small storage bin but flipping them up or flipping them back down is a two-hand job for want of a couple of 10-cent springs. I’ve often wondered why, in so many vehicles, that simplest of ergonomic niceties is overlooked.

The 2.5-liter, 200-horsepower 4-cylinder engine in this truck makes for tepid acceleration, to put it gently, in spite of decent torque of 191 pound-feet. We have the standard 6-speed manual transmission and if we push it hard through the rpm range in 1st and 2nd gears it feels decent, but on normal driving it feels anemic. The optional 3.6-liter, 305-hp V6 is recommended if you want a more spirited driving experience or more robust towing. The EPA estimates the 4-cylinder with manual transmission is good for 19 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway. We managed right around 24-mpg this week in a variety of driving conditions.

The Colorado weighs just about 4,000 pounds with 2-wheel drive and lists a payload of 1,450 pounds and a trailering capability of 3,500 pounds. With the V6 and other special equipment you can tow around 7,000 pounds.

At the launch event last fall we were promised a 2.8-liter Duramax turbo diesel engine by next year (2016) that should make for better fuel efficiency and towing capacity. We’ve heard nothing more and we’re skeptical about that possibility, though would love to see it.

Nearly all GM trucks and cars, including the Colorado, now come with WiFi hotspot 4G LTE capability. You can purchase the service through GM’s OnStar.

This base Colorado 4-cylinder, extended cab shows a starting price of $21,775. For that price you get a pretty decent, well-equipped truck with 16-inch wheels, the features referenced above, 6’2” box, bumper step, steel wheels (rather tawdry-looking if you ask me) and plenty of other standard content. Our test truck has the Convenience Package that includes remote keyless entry, cruise control, theft alarm and a nicely damped tailgate for $490, and MyLink audio for another $275. Bottom line on the sticker is $23,415.

With the use of lots of high-strength steel they’ve made both the body and the fully boxed frame on the new Colorado both lighter and more rigid, and that makes it feel tight and under control on our increasingly rough Michigan roads. Conventional suspension design, similar to the full-size pickup, features an independent, coil-over shock up front, live rear axle and two-stage leaf springs in the rear. Steering feel and other driving dynamics are unremarkable but the manual floor shifter has the loosy-goosy feel of an older era. Clutch take-up felt a bit chunky. The overall feel with these dynamics and the lack of power is quite nostalgic.

GM’s warranty covers the truck for 3 years or 36,000 miles and the powertrain for 5 years or 100,000 miles. Two years of scheduled maintenance come at no extra charge as well.

Upon honest reflection I think this lower-end Colorado is a good value considering its content, capability and design compared to its price. For those who want to do some hauling, towing or other work in style, or for those who just like the style and image of a pickup truck, this is probably the most economical way to get into a new one.

©Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved