After a brief hiatus, the midsize Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck is back for the 2015 model year. This redesigned and vastly improved 2015 Colorado is designed to take on the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. The Colorado is available in four trim levels, with three body styles and two engine choices.
Chevrolet is back in the midsize pickup truck market with its all-new 2015 Colorado. This pickup truck has the personality of the larger Silverado and the efficiencies of a small truck. Sold in rear- and four-wheel drive configurations, the Colorado and its twin GMC Canyon provide a fresh perspective in a competitive segment.
Chevrolet’s designers could have constructed the Colorado as a three-quarter version of the Silverado, but happily they did not. There are a lot of similarities between the two pickup trucks, but the proportions of the Colorado are sensible and complement its frame without trying to be something that it isn’t. The current look is contemporary, distinctive and pleasing without the toy-like look of the earliest small Chevrolet pickup trucks.
The Colorado’s muscular persona is amplified by its bold grille and signature bow-tie logo. Its front lighting assembly matches the face without dominating its appearance. Available fog lamps and a skid plate raise the Colorado’s burly credentials.
The side profile is marked by flared wheel wells, as well as black belt line or available chrome belt line molding. Color-keyed side mirrors, available alloy wheels and a slash groove at the base of the side body panel add flair. Oversized taillights punctuate the rear with chrome or color-coordinated bumpers, which are accented by side steps for ease of truck bed access. The redesigned Colorado is available in extended or crew cab configurations with short or long box options.
Both the Colorado crew cab and extended cab offer seating for five. The back doors on the extended cab are rear hinged to provide ease of ingress and egress. Nevertheless, the roomier interior belongs to the crew cab, which seats four adults comfortably and a fifth in a pinch.
Up front, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado features supportive bucket seats, offering ample head, shoulder, hip and legroom. The base model features vinyl-trimmed seats and flooring, with cloth seats and carpeting standard elsewhere. Simulated leather and leather seats are also available. A four-way power driver’s seat is standard across the model line; a four-way power front passenger seat is also available.
The Colorado’s instrument panel features a four-gauge analog display with tachometer, speedometer, gas and oil pressure gauges present. A digital driver’s information center is also found there and controlled by switches located on the face of the steering wheel.
From top to bottom in the center stack, the Colorado is outfitted with an available color display screen, switches and knobs to control infotainment and climate control systems, and additional switches for seat heating and cooling. Two 12-volt outlets and an open storage area are found at the bottom of the stack. Between the front seats is the transmission shifter, two cup holders and a deep, covered storage compartment that also serves as an arm rest.
Two more cup holders can be found in the rear. In-door bottle holders and storage compartments are also included. Higher end models also bring in additional USB ports, an auxiliary jack, an overhead console, cruise control, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel column, a rear window defogger, carpeted floor mats and illuminated vanity mirrors. Available upgrades introduce a Bose audio system, a remote vehicle starter system, projector-type headlamps, heated side mirrors and chrome embellishments.
A 2.5-liter, in-line four-cylinder engine making 200 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 191 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm is standard across the Colorado line. This direct-injected engine has a dual overhead camshaft design and employs variable valve timing to maximize performance and efficiency.
Also available in all models except for the base edition is a 3.6-liter V6 engine making 305 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 269 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Each engine delivers an identical 3,500-pound towing capacity. However, the larger engine — when equipped with a Z82 trailering package — doubles trailering competency to 7,000 pounds.
As equipped, the Colorado Z71 4×4 came with the larger engine. That model has excellent off-the-line acceleration and provides smooth shifting and ample passing power on the highway. Steering is satisfactory and handling sufficient despite being shod with all-terrain tires. Off-road, this model tackles the toughest terrain with ease. Put the truck in 4-low mode and extra torque is applied to assist you when the pavement ends.
Shoppers should carefully consider their engine choices when evaluating the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado. The base engine may deliver superior fuel economy and ample towing capacity, but this truck still weighs two tons, and that is a lot of weight to pull with just four cylinders at the ready. The V6 is thirsty, but built to handle the toughest assignments. Choose the Z71 edition and Chevrolet adds an automatic locking rear differential, front recovery hooks, hill descent control and an off-road suspension to the equation.
Beyond the base and the work truck versions, Chevrolet’s best technologies appear in the LT and Z71 editions. The star of these two model lines is the audio system package featuring Chevrolet MyLink, which brings in an 8-inch color touch-screen display, satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming, voice-activated technology for phone and radio, and smartphone app integration.
MyLink is one of the better systems on the market, with a commonsensical design. The only difficulty was the occasional misunderstood voice command, a problem inherent to nearly all such systems.
The Colorado also comes OnStar-equipped, which brings in turn-by-turn navigation, remote operator connectivity, automatic crash response, remote diagnostics and roadside assistance. New for 2015 is OnStar with 4G LTE, which provides a Wi-Fi hotspot to connect to the Internet. This feature is available with the work truck and is standard with LT and Z71 editions.
Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to put the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado through their respective crash test sequences. Likely, those tests will come later in the year.
Chevrolet equips the Colorado with an abundant amount of standard safety equipment, which includes front, front side and side curtain airbags, as well as daytime running lights, a rearview camera, stability control, traction control and a tire pressure monitoring system. Select models can also be outfitted with lane departure warning and forward collision alert.
Pricing for the base Chevrolet Colorado begins at $20,120. As tested, the top-of-the-line Colorado Crew Cab Z71 4×4 edition retails from $34,115. Model line pricing varies widely depending on the body style, trim level and wheel drive type.
To enjoy both its off-road capabilities and power, most versions will cost at least $30,000. Technology and trim level upgrades can add several thousand dollars to the price of any truck.
Small truck fans will find that the redesigned 2015 Chevrolet Colorado is nothing like the earlier version, and that is an entirely acceptable result. The new Colorado is closer to the Silverado in style and performance, but its price point span is a wide one from the base to a fully-optioned truck.
The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado outperforms older and dated models from Toyota and Nissan. If you want a diesel option, then wait until 2016 when the segment’s first turbodiesel Colorado goes on sale.