We spent a week with the all-new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 crew cab long bed pickup truck to see what it’s like to live with and if it challenges competitors. What did we find?
To start off with the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado isn’t exactly 100%, as a version of it has been sold around the world in other markets. But when GM brought it here, the Colorado got unique styling in its fenders, front face and with the cargo box.
Like its GMC Canyon brother, the Colorado is built in Kansas City, MO and designed with America’s eye for brand style. It has squared off and flared wheel arches, a fist in the wind front silhouette, and a healthy dose of chrome for the grille.
The Colorado is available in two cab configurations at current, an extended cab and crew cab. While a standard cab can be had in other continents, GM has not yet chosen to offer the smaller variation here in North America.
Like the full size Chevrolet Silverado, the Colorado offers the brand’s step bumper which makes getting up into the box nice and easy. I’ll point out that the crew cab Colorado Z71 offers both a standard and long box option, something some top off-road trims in mid-size trucks don’t.
North America also gets its own unique interior which is much more upscale than the global variants. Our Z71 featured 4 way power heated seats for both the driver and front passenger, and the larger 8” touch screen infotainment system with MyLink.
The center stack is high with simple placement of HVAC, infotainment and auxiliary controls. There are four USB ports in the cab, not just one but four. While there are a number of modern tech touches here, there is no start button.
The seating position has a good balance of height for commanding view but you don’t feel perched on top of the truck. Rear seat passengers get plenty of leg room and a high enough seating position for comfort on long rides.
The rear seat can fold in two different ways to allow the area be used for cargo. You can fold the backs down flat for a carpeted platform in a 60/40 split. Conversely you can lift up the lower cushions as well for loading of taller items also with that split.
Overall they’ve done a nice job with the interior with good fit and finish, excellent ergonomics. The leatherette and cloth seating combination I like and feel is somewhat daring for an American brand. Mostly it has been the Germans who offer vinyl theses days.
Under the hood of our Colorado is the largest available 3.6 liter DOHC V6 with 305 horsepower and 269 lb ft of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. You can get a smaller 2.5 liter four-cylinder engine in smaller configurations which offers up 200 horsepower.
Under power the 3.6 liter engine offers more than adequate grunt despite this being a rather heavy truck. The engine can be a bit thrashy at high RPM but is par for the course in trucks. The smaller four-cylinder isn’t likely to be smoother.
Handling on the paved mountain roads outside of Phoenix brought to the surface the obvious, that this truck is smaller and less bulky than a full sized one. It’s smaller size translated to better maneuverability and confidence up here.
The chassis is still a body on frame affair with slower steering than a sedan. It corners tightly though and there was little jittery behavior associated with the stiff suspension and solid rear axle.
On our desert wash-board road test the chassis exhibited solid attributes with no kickback through the steering, rattling in the bushings or odd chassis noises. The body structure and interior fittiments remained quiet and without excessive shudder.
Now I know this isn’t a true test of the Colorado Z-71’s off-road capabilities here on this wash-board road, but let’s have a look at some footage we shot last fall in San Antonio, Texas with a nearly identical Colorado playing a little rougher.
At the Knibbe Ranch we took the Colorado Z-71 through a few challenges ranging from water and mud which put its traction control program to the test. As expected it did well as this wasn’t all that hard core.
The rock hill on the other hand was more a test of the Colorado’s all-wheel drive which here was set in Four Low. The suspension and traction programs did well to keep the truck going in a straight line up the steep rock path without interruption – what you want a truck like this for.
Back to the present, the EPA rates our version of the Chevrolet Colorado at 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. In our week with the truck we achieved 21 mpg combined with not too much effort, just a slight bit more than promised.
In the end the big takeaway is its size, which translates to a more livable pickup truck than some full size models. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up with full size trucks and love them but this is just easier all around.
It’s price tag as equipped was pushing full-size territory however at $36,535 but keep in mind you would pay $7,000 – 8,000 more for a comparably equipped Silverado. In the end, I like it. Therefore it goes on the TestDrivenTV “I’d Buy It” list for 2014.