The Colorado is Chevrolet’s entrant in the midsize-pickup segment. Smaller and more manageable than the bow-tie brand’s half-ton Silverado, this product squares off with rivals like the Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger.
New for 2021: The Colorado gets a facelift for 2021. All trims see a new front-end treatment, with updated grilles and skid plates. The tailgate swaps out the Bow Tie for an embossed “Chevrolet” wordmark. The hardcore ZR2 off-roading trim continues on, with its own unique front-end look, complete with aggressive, blacked-out grille.
When it’s time to spec out a Colorado, you might be surprised to learn it offers quite a bit of choice, in some areas much more than competing models. Two body styles, bed lengths and transmissions are available; three engines are on the menu, as are, depending on how you count, five trim levels.
This truck can be had in a wide array of variants. Value-minded drivers can get an entry-level Base model with a four-cylinder engine. Mainstream customers are able to build one with a peppy V6 and crew-cab body. Even hard-core off-road enthusiasts are well taken care of by the rough-and-ready ZR2 Bison model.
Chevy’s Colorado is maneuverable thanks to its trim dimensions. If you have trouble parking a full-size pickup, consider this midsizer. It’s also quite refined. Even the available diesel engine is silky and nearly silent in its operation, a rarity for compression ignition. While the Colorado’s cabin won’t win any awards, being constructed mostly of hard plastic, this truck’s interior is at least well built and rich enough for this relatively rough-and-tumble class of vehicle.
Speaking of diesel, properly equipped trucks with that powerplant can return a segment-best 30 miles per gallon on the highway, an impressive figure to be certain. But nothing stops the unending march of progress, and Chevrolet’s brand-new diesel-powered Silverado does even better than that, up to 33 mpg on interstate drives, a ground-breaking figure for a full-size truck.
Not only does the compression-ignition Colorado offer incredible efficiency, it’s also impressively capable. Again, diesel-powered examples can tow up to 7,700 pounds, another best-in-class figure.
The Chevrolet Colorado and its corporate twin, the GMC Canyon, are bolted together in General Motors’ Wentzville Assembly plant located northwest of St. Louis in the U.S. state of Missouri.
Pros/ Handsome styling / Solid dynamics / Efficient diesel
Cons/ Lacks driver-assistance tech / Hard and flat front seats / Gritty-feeling V6
Bottom Line/ Not the segment's freshest offering, the Chevrolet Colorado is still absolutely worth your consideration.
Table of contents
- Chevrolet Colorado Specs
- Chevrolet Colorado Fuel Economy
- Chevrolet Colorado Safety
- Chevrolet Colorado Features
- Chevrolet Colorado Pricing
- Chevrolet Colorado Warranty
- Chevrolet Colorado Competitors
- Chevrolet Colorado Future Plans
- 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Review
- Detailed Specs
- Editor's Verdict
Chevrolet Colorado Specs
Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder with direct injection
Torque: 191 pound-feet
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Engine: 3.6-liter V6 with direct injection
Torque: 275 pound-feet
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Engine: 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel
Torque: 369 pound-feet
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Drivetrain: Standard rear-wheel drive, optional four-wheel drive
Transmission: Six-speed automatic (2.5- and 2.8-liter engines), eight-speed automatic (V6)
Seating Capacity: Up to 5
Cab and Bed Configurations: Extended cab with 6-foot-2-inch bed, crew cab with 5-foot-1-inch bed or crew cab with 6-foot-2-inch bed
Maximum Towing Capacity: 7,700 pounds (WT trim, extended-cab body, 2.8-liter engine, rear- or four-wheel drive)
Maximum Payload Capacity: 1,574 pounds (WT trim, crew-cab body, V6, rear-wheel drive)
Chevrolet Colorado Fuel Economy
As for efficiency, a rear-wheel-drive Colorado fitted with the base four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission is rated at 20 miles per gallon in the city, 26 on highway drives and 22 mpg combined. A four-wheel-drive version with the V6 and eight-ratio gearbox should return 17 around town and 24 on interstate trips, figures that result in a claimed average of 19 mpg.
All versions of the Colorado are reasonably efficient, but if you really want to avoid refueling stops you’re going to want to get a rear-drive example with the available diesel engine. They return 20 miles per gallon around town and a whopping 30 mpg on the highway! Combined, they should average 23 miles to a gallon of diesel.
Chevrolet Colorado Safety
How safe is the Chevrolet Colorado? The answer? It depends. In rigorous Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) testing the crew-cab version of this midsize rig earned mostly “Good” scores, the highest handed out by this organization. It was rated “Good” in the small-overlap driver-side, moderate-overlap, side and roof-strength tests as well as in the head restraints and seats category. In the small-overlap passenger-side crash it only earned a “Marginal” score, the second-worst one available. The Colorado’s LATCH ease of use was also rated “Marginal.” According to the IIHS, this truck’s headlights are “Poor,” the worst score offered. Its optional crash-prevention technology is also rated “Basic.”
As for the extended-cab model, it’s a different story. It was rated “Acceptable,” the IIHS’s second-best score in the small-overlap driver-side and side-impact tests, and “Good” in the moderate overlap front, roof-strength, and head restraints and seats categories.
Chevrolet Colorado Features
The Chevrolet Colorado is starting to show its age in some areas. This truck’s lack of driver-assistance technology is a major sore spot. Unlike some rivals, you cannot get push-button start, adaptive cruise control or lane-departure assist. At least forward-collision and lane-departure warning and bundled in the optional safety package.
Offsetting this deficit, GM offers some other helpful amenities. Higher-end models can be fitted with a 4G LTE in-vehicle modem for on-the-go internet connectivity, which can be a godsend in certain situations. Two USB data ports as well as an SD card reader and auxiliary input jack are available on the center console. A Bose seven-speaker premium sound system is also optional.
An available infotainment system with an 8.0-inch touchscreen and integrated navigation is on the options list, ditto for a lower-cost unit with a 7.0-inch display and no navigation. A six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat is standard on LT, Z71 and ZR2 models. Rear parking assist, which sounds an audible alarm as you get closer to an obstacle, is included in the available safety package.
For drivers that didn’t mind rowing their own, Colorados fitted with the base four-cylinder engine could be had, yes, past tense, with a six-speed manual gearbox, but GM recently discontinued this transmission due to low demand, an unfortunate but inevitable loss.
One of this truck’s most interesting “features” is the available Bison package, an upgrade to the already off-road-ready ZR2 model. This options group makes the truck even more capable in the dirt, gracing it with unique wheel moldings; 17-inch AEV wheels; skid plates for the transfer case, fuel tank, front end and rear differential; a special rear bumper; contoured floor liners both front and rear; and more, all for an rather modest upcharge of $5,750.
Chevrolet Colorado Pricing
How much does a new Chevrolet Colorado cost? Well, how much have you got? A stripped-down Base model (yes, Base is what they call the most entry-level version) starts at roughly $22,395, a figure that includes $1,095 in destination charges. That gets you the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, an extended-cab body and a 6-foot-2-inch bed.
If you want more features and performance, you can always step up to a midrange Z71 model. With the larger crew-cab body, V6 engine, upgraded paint, premium interior package and a few other options will set you back around $39,740. Again, that figure includes delivery fees.
Grab a crew-cab, diesel-powered, ZR2 example with the off road-focused Bison package and you can pretty easily push the Colorado past the $53,000 mark, a healthy chunk of change for a midsize pickup.
Chevrolet Colorado Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain: 5 years or 60,000 miles
Courtesy transportation: 5 years or 60,000 miles
24-hour roadside assistance: 5 years or 60,000 miles
Rust-through: 6 years or 100,000 miles
Chevrolet Colorado Competitors
Given its dimensions and powertrain offerings, it’s no surprise the Chevrolet Colorado competes with other midsize trucks. This field has been getting more crowded in recent years. Not only does this bow-tie rig have to contend with the esteemed Toyota Tacoma and antiquated Nissan Frontier, but Ford’s reborn Ranger as well. Dearborn brought this venerable nameplate back to the North American market after a multi-year hiatus. Other tangential rivals include the car-based Honda Ridgeline and off road-ready Jeep Gladiator. Of course, GMC’s Canyon, the Colorado’s fraternal twin, is another prime contender, though Chevrolet dealers and sales-folks would probably prefer you didn’t know it existed if you’re seriously considering a Colorado!
Chevrolet Colorado Future Plans
Today’s Chevrolet Colorado dates back to about the 2015 model year, meaning this rig is roughly in the middle of its lifecycle. No, it’s not the freshest midsize truck around, but neither is it the most geriatric. Despite being a few years old, the Colorado is still plenty competitive, more than able to hold its own against both domestic and foreign rivals. As it has been for years, this Chevy is still a smart buy.
But what does the future hold? That’s a tough question to answer. It’s reported GM was developing an updated architecture to underpin the next-generation Colorado and Canyon pickup trucks, but rumor has it this work has since been shelved due to a reshuffling of resources and other factors. It’s highly unlikely an all-new Colorado will be introduced anytime soon, but a heavily updated version of the current model could hit the market in a couple years. Should this prevent you from buying one right now? No, the current model is still plenty competitive.
2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Review
By Chad Kirchner
Midsize truck sales are booming, and pre-accessorized trucks sell faster and with more margin than their regular counterparts. Chevrolet knows this, which is why you can now get its Colorado ZR2 off-road truck upgraded with parts from American Expedition Vehicles.
Called the Bison, the hopped-up ZR2 features some serious kit to help you on the trails. Boron steel skid plates that are stronger than the standard units help protect your undercarriage from even the sharpest of boulders.
Steel bumpers, with the front being winch ready, help protect the truck from obstacles you might run into. Rock rails protect the sides and truck bed. You can even spec a snorkel, so your truck can get the cleanest air possible.
AEV-specific wheels and off-road tires round out what is already a capable off-roader. Remember that standard ZR2s have front and rear lockers, plus a trick DSSV spool valve suspension setup from Multimatic.
On paper, the truck is a recipe for success. But does it all work? We hit up some trails outside of Phoenix to find out.
On the road, the Multimatic suspension shines. Like most pickup trucks, the Bison has a leaf spring rear suspension setup. But the DSSV shocks smooth out the ride. That’s the beauty of the tech; it can handle the rigors of off-road without sacrificing any on-road capability.
See Also: Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Review
The dirt and gravel trails leading to the off-road area of our journey were no match for Bison or the suspension. What is smooth on the highway is also smooth across the bumps. The shocks react quickly to the changes in the terrain so your teeth and falling out.
Steering is also responsive with enough feel that you can tell what type of pavement you’re on. Chevy trucks always have had some of the better steering feel of modern systems, and the Bison is no exception.
But none of this is Bison-specific. In fact, the DSSV suspension is standard on a regular ZR2. So what really makes the Bison worth it?
Protection. While I made every effort to not scrape the underside of the truck when rock crawling, the fact of the matter is that it happens. The skid plates are there for a reason and in really complicated terrain, they’re worth their weight in gold.
The rock rails also help prevent damage, and while I did find myself off the regular path in a field of boulders, there was very little noticeable scraping on steel bumper for when I got hung up without a spotter.
A wider track with 31-inch Goodyear Duratrac off-road tires also finds grip where you wouldn’t expect to have grip.
If you plan on actually off-roading your midsize pickup truck, the ZR2 Bison is the way to go.
The model I drove also was outfitted with a sports bar, LED lighting, and a tonneau cover. It definitely looked the business of off-roading, and is designed to show you what some of the upgrades you could make to the truck.
At the time of this publication, this is the off-road midsize truck to buy. Bar none.
Starting next year, there’s competition for the Bison. Chevrolet during its presentation talked about how the Bison competes with the Wrangler. Well, now there’s an elephant in the room. Or rather, there’s a Gladiator.
Jeep’s Gladiator pickup is more than a Wrangler with a truck bed. It tows 7,000 pounds in Rubicon trim – 2,000 more than ZR2 – and has similar off-road hardware. While we don’t know pricing yet, expect it to be competitive with the Colorado ZR2 when it goes on sale.
As for pricing of the Bison, it starts at $48,045 U.S. for the extended cab model or $49,645 U.S. for the crew cab. Both pricing includes the $995 U.S. destination charge.
The truck goes on sale in January.
|Price Range (USD) /||$26,395 – $47,895|
|Engine /||2.5L I4 / 3.6L V6 / 2.8L I4 Diesel|
|Horsepower (hp) /||200 / 308 / 181|
|Torque (hp) /||191 / 275 / 369|
|Fuel Economy (mpg) /||19/25/22 (I4 RWD) / 19/24/21 (I4 AWD) / 18/25/21 (V6 RWD) / 17/24/19 (V6 AWD) / 16/18/17 (ZR2 V6) / 20/30/23 (Diesel RWD) / 19/28/22 (Diesel AWD)|
|Drivetrain /||6AT/8AT, RWD/AWD|
Our Final Verdict
The Chevrolet Colorado isn’t the freshest midsize truck, but it remains a competitive option, thanks to affordable pricing and the widest range of engine choices in the class. If today’s full-size trucks are too much girth for you, but you still want something suitably rugged, check out the Colorado.3.1
|Space and Comfort||6.0|