Over the last decade, manufacturers declared that small trucks no longer served a purpose; their customers only wanted full size pickups. They believed people who wanted a truck needed it to be able to haul more, tow more, and fit a small cadre of people in the back seats. Automakers thought they needed something that could tow a space shuttle or rip a tree straight out of the ground with more torque than a monster truck.
Besides the people that actually need to tow or haul hugely heavy things (and they will most likely get the diesel heavy duty models), does the everyday public need a full size pickup? Chevrolet believes it has the answer to that, and it’s a resounding NO.
We haven’t had a new small truck in the United States for years. Sure, Toyota has the Tacoma, and Nissan has the Frontier, but neither has been updated in the last decade. Thankfully, Chevy has decided to step up to the plate with the Colorado and it is almost a home run.
From the exterior, the Colorado looks muscular and mean, like it can take on any challenge. You can throw a couple dirt bikes into the bed, tow a jet ski, or do something else that involves danger — at least according to the commercials that Chevy have been running. It’s not at all ostentatious, which can’t be said about its bigger brother the Silverado, or Ford’s F-150. Those two have become more chrome and flashy, while the Colorado seems more willing to get dirty.
Between the knobby tires, the sprayed bed liner, the raised ride height, and the muscular stance given off by the flared fenders, the exterior of the Colorado is firing on all cylinders. Couple that with the fantastic 3.6-liter V6, the comfortable interior and the adequate 4WD system, and this is already miles better than any of its competitors. However, the 4WD in this truck isn’t up to the same standard of robustness as its full-size competitors.
When Chevy dropped off the Colorado, I was ecstatic that it had the Z71 Off-Road package. It meant that I’d get to have a bit of fun in a snowy corn field near my house where I test all 4×4 vehicles. Everything from a full size Range Rover to the small Jeep Compass has been able to run through my off-road test loop without any problem. Until the Colorado.
That night, I loaded up the truck with my wife and best friend and we set off to test the small truck. What we ended up doing was getting stuck maybe 15 feet in, and spending the next hour or so digging our way out.
Now here’s where I have to defend the little truck. The day before we went to the field, the snow had started to melt. Then, the weather snapped back to frigid, as weather does in Chicago. Thus making a weird conglomerate of wet and icy snow. The two combined to make the worst conditions possible to try and off-road this little truck. I was pretty disappointed with the Colorado – that is until it went through the most insane blizzard I’ve ever seen.
Imagine snowdrifts upon snowdrifts, piled higher than the front fenders. It was absolutely incredible, in the worst way possible. I’ve lived in the Midwest all my life, and been through some truly amazing storms. But this one took the cake, and after the whole cornfield debacle earlier in the week, I was terrified that we would end up stuck in some ditch or run off the road.Or just stuck in one of the massive snowdrifts that were encroaching all of the road.
However, wet and dry snow are two completely separate animals and the Colorado plowed through the blizzard like a champ. And through all this weather, no one was uncomfortable.
The interior of the Colorado is nice and plush. We all had heated seats that were nice and toasty, plenty of space to stretch our legs, and all the modern comforts you’ve come to expect. This includes things such as Bluetooth, and a very easy to use infotainment system. While the interior is definitely up to the task of hauling you around in comfort, there are still a few surfaces that have some hard plastics which aren’t nice to the touch. Although, I’d say those few parts are there to be more rugged than comfortable.
While I can’t give the new Colorado a full on A+ since it did get stuck, this small truck rightly gets an A due to it perfectly illustrating that a small truck is just as useful as a full-size one.
Although the Colorado might be able to get back to that A+ if Chevy goes ahead and actually builds the ZR2 Colorado Concept they’ve been showing off. I sincerely doubt that one would get stuck. The new Colorado can definitely run with the big boys and deserves to be taken as a serious contender against any full size pickup.
Engine: 3.6L V6
Towing Capacity: 6,000lbs
Price (as tested): $38,550
It’s a small truck, thus it can go pretty much anywhere
Interior quality is much better than anything in its class
Can take on blizzards with ease
Dual locking differentials instead of just the rear would be helpful in off-road situations
The 8-speed transmission from the Silverado would definitely help the Colorado’s overall fuel economy
Fully undefeatable traction control