2015 Chevrolet Colorado is the 2015 Motor Trend Truck of the Year

Colorado Trumps Texas

By Scott Burgess | Photos By Jessica Walker | February, 2015
What was good for Texas was good for pickups. So full-size pickups got bigger, and midsize trucks began to vanish. Gone were the Ford Ranger, the Dodge Dakota, and, most recently, the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado. But three years after disappearing, the Colorado returns, completely redone in more manageable bite-sized proportions compared to those full-sized Texan trucks. The Colorado may not be the biggest pickup in contention for the 2015 Motor Trend Truck of the Year, but it turns out to be the best in more of our judging categories than anything else. "The Colorado to me is the perfect-size truck again," Reynolds said. "Its simplicity and purity are what a truck ought to be about." Indeed, for many, a midsize pickup appeals to a more modest sense of size. The segment has been shrinking due to neglect. So when the Colorado reappeared, it trounced the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier in a comparison test, clearly marking itself as a segment leader. No other vehicle tested stands out as much."This is a really good, honest little truck," Evans said. "I can see it being very popular with small businesses that have been running old Rangers and the like."
The Colorado also provides a considerable value for consumers looking at that segment, another criteria Motor Trend judges weighed. Our two test vehicles, an extended cab work truck with a sticker price of $23,300 and a crew cab Z71 pickup at $36,210, were the least expensive of the TOTY contestants. You could buy three Colorado work trucks for less than the $74,665 F-450 we tested. Granted, those are short-bed to long-bed comparisons, but the Colorado represents solid value in its segment, comparably priced against the (less impressive) Tacoma and Frontier.

The Colorado to me is the perfect-size truck again. -- Kim Reynolds

The lower price never left editors wanting for more. "For a very basic offering, it doesn't feel that cheap," Loh said of the work truck. "There are almost no button blanks or other obvious signs of cost cutting, aside from the wide bezel on the tiny screen." Good things do come in small packages. There are currently two engines to choose from: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and 3.6-liter V-6. Next year, Chevrolet will introduce a 2.8-liter turbodiesel I-4, slightly modified from the overseas market. All the engines are mated to a Hydramatic six-speed automatic transmission or, on lower trim levels of the 2.5-liter, an Eaton six-speed manual. Our two testers came with the automatic, which received the one consistent gripe from editors. While the transmission provided good acceleration and never lurched, it did seem to want to get to sixth gear in a hurry, sometimes causing the Colorado to lag. But stomp on the accelerator, and it would drop a gear or two, and the truck was off and running. The Colorado is rated to tow 7,000 pounds with a V-6 and towing package, which we did not sample. The 2.5-liter is rated for 3,500 pounds, but Chevy doesn't sell a hitch on 2.5-liter models, so we put one on and towed a 3,000-pound trailer. Acceleration to 60 mph slowed from 9.3 to 17.4 seconds -- slowing just slightly more as a percentage than its GMC sibling Canyon 3.6 V-6 did with the same trailer (7.7-13.3 seconds). Our Z71 model did not include a hitch. Editors noted that either empty or loaded, the Colorado provided a solid, smooth ride. Its size became a noticeable asset instead of a mark against it. "I had been concerned that these midsize trucks were too close in size to the full-size ones," Markus said, "but this seems enough smaller to feel nimble." Added Lieberman, "The Colorado has the best steering I've ever experienced on any truck, full stop."
With the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine creating 200 hp and the 3.6-liter V-6 generating 305, both trucks had more than enough muscle. Colorados weigh between 3,900 pounds and 4,450 pounds depending on configuration. The truck was also the most efficient in its segment. The EPA estimates 20/27/22 mpg and 17/24/20 mpg for the four-cylinder and six-cylinder models, respectively. Our Real MPG testing confirmed similar mileage; the four-banger reached 16.8/23.6/19.3 mpg, and the more powerful Colorado with the V-6 hit 17.7/22.2/19.5 mpg. "I, like many others, was critical of the Colorado initially because of its size and pricing," Seabaugh said, "but it really looks, feels, and drives significantly smaller than the full-size Silverado."
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7 comments
Ketyi Jon
Ketyi Jon

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AutoFinanceOptions.com
AutoFinanceOptions.com

Clearly, downsizing is a good thing if you're able to do it with styling, power, storage space, inspiring look, and a nimble ride.  


Many people have been driving the old Rangers and waiting for a good midsize truck to re-emerge.  This option would be a good one for a vast segment of the population which doesn't need quite the capacity of a larger model.