The launch of the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado
is a classic good news, bad news story. The good news is that a manufacturer is finally taking a gamble with an all-new product in the midsize truck space. The bad news? Well, read on...
The last time the small and medium truck markets had an all-new product was in the mid-2000s with the launch of the Nissan Frontier
and Toyota Tacoma
. Since then, nameplates have left the market with regularity normally reserved for the mailman. Surveying the landscape today reminds us that once-popular products like the Ford Ranger
, Dodge Dakota
, Mitsubishi Mighty Max
, and even the last-generation Colorado and Canyon, among others, are no longer offered on dealer lots.
| 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Interior
Sensing the market was right for a compelling midsize truck and that not every customer was a fit for the ever-growing ½-ton segment, the Chevy team put a plan in place that called for the most capable, versatile, and fuel-efficient midsize truck ever made. The addition of the Colorado completes Chevrolet’s three-truck brand strategy, allowing it to completely cover the truck market.
Based loosely on the global pickup chassis, the Colorado has been tailored specifically for the U.S. market, starting with a U.S.-specific frame. Looking much like a four-fifths-scale Silverado frame, the high-strength-steel Colorado frame is fully boxed and weighs 40 percent less than the frame on the global truck. Available in either an extended-cab/6-foot box or crew cab/5-foot box configuration, the Colorado comes in at about 900 pounds less than the ½-ton Silverado.
| 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Rear View
In addition to the weight savings and more manageable size, the big news for the next-gen Colorado is the availability of the 2.8L Duramax I-4 DOHC engine. The baby Duramax, which started out as a VM Motori design and is built in Thailand, has been reworked by GM and uses a cast-iron block with aluminum heads and cast-aluminum pistons. The crank and rods are forged for strength, while the camshafts are beltdriven. The Colorado diesel will use an intercooler and a water-cooled turbo and will be able to run fuel blends of up to B20 through its 29,000-psi common-rail system equippied with solenoid-style injectors. The engine also features a cooled EGR, DPF, and SCR. The only transmission available with the diesel will be a six-speed automatic. While final power and fuel economy numbers aren’t yet available, we expect the North American version of the 2.8L to come to market with about 200 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Even at this power level, the truck should easily surpass 30 mpg on the highway.
Wrapped around the chassis is a body that has been styled specifically to North American truck buyer tastes. A completely different front fascia and higher bedsides give the truck a tougher, more traditional look. The bed has also gained functionality with a standard CornerStep rear bumper and 13 tie-down locations, while an EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate and spray-in bedliner are standard.
In the cab, the sad parts bin interior of the last Colorado has been replaced with one that is completely modern and logically laid out. Reminiscent of the Silverado, the center stack houses an 8-inch touchscreen display and a suite of Chevrolet technology, including OnStar, MyLink, and navigation. Even an integrated trailer brake controller will be offered. Chevy engineers spent a lot of time on NVH and worked hard to make the cabin as quiet as possible. Each outboard seating position has plenty of room, and the rear seatback folds down to increase storage.
| 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Towing
Chevy says the Wentzville, Missouri-built Colorado will have a tow rating in excess of 6,700 pounds with the diesel option, which is more than some configurations of the Ram 1500
EcoDiesel pickup. With this level of capability, the Colorado could actually be an alternative to the bigger Ram for those who need capability but don’t want a large size.
By the looks of it, the first midsized pickup of the clean-diesel era is going to be a great new option for diesel pickup buyers. So what’s the bad news? Well, the diesel engine won’t be available until 2016, a full model year behind the gas models. After seeing the Colorado firsthand, we can say it’s going to be worth the year-long wait and we can only hope Chevy’s gamble will spur a resurgence in the midsize market. We’d love to see a day when the Colorado competes against the Ranger again, and maybe even VW’s Amarok. But for now, this is a truck that might just make some Ram executives a little nervous.
| 2015 GMC Canyon Front Side View
2015 GMC Canyon
The Colorado won’t be the only midsize truck to launch in 2015, as sister brand GMC will also have a new Canyon hitting the market. Just like the Colorado, the Canyon’s diesel option won’t bow until the 2016 model year.
| 2016 Chevy Colorado Crew Cab Diesel Z71 4x4 |
|Base price: ||$38,000 (est.)|
|Engine type:|| 2.8L Duramax I-4|
|Valvetrain: ||DOHC, four valves per cylinder|
|Mfg. hp:|| 200 hp (est.)|
|Mfg. torque: ||350 lb-ft (est.)|
|Transmission:|| Six-speed automatic|
|Suspension (f/r): ||Two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive: independent coil-over-shock; twin-tube shocks/solid axle with semi-elliptic two-stage multi-leaf springs; twin-tube shocks|
|Steering:|| Electrically assisted power rack-and-pinion steering with variable assist|
|Brakes:|| Four-wheel disc brakes, ABS|
|Wheels/Tires: ||17x8-inch aluminum/LT255/65R17|
|Curb weight:|| 4,400 pounds (est.)|
|Max payload capacity:|| 1,000 pounds (est.)|
|Max towing capacity:|| 7,000 pounds (est.)|