The compact/midsize truck battles have cooled significantly since the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon achieved its highest sales total in 2005. The segment enjoyed fresh invigoration that year with the then-new generation Dodge Dakota, Nissan Frontier, and Toyota Tacoma, but the two GM trucks together posted 163,204 sales for a solid second behind the still-leading Tacoma. Unfortunately, the buyers have not arrived en masse since and, in 2010, the Colorado and Canyon march on with few notable changes except the need for a new manufacturing site.
The 2010 Colorado and Canyon are assembled in Shreveport, Louisiana, on the GMT355 platform formerly shared with the discontinued Isuzu i-Series. The welded ladder H-frame is built from electro-galvanized steel and supported by independent A-arm front and live semi-floating axle rear suspension. Front torsion bars suspend all 4x4 and V-8-equipped rear-wheel-drive models with Z71 off-road and Z85 heavy-duty suspension packages; front coil springs are fitted to the remaining rear-wheel-drive trucks. Two-stage steel leaf springs are installed out back.
Like most pickup trucks in the U.S., the GMT355 twins are available in a regular, extended, or crew cab. Unlike the rest of the segment, GM is the only manufacturer to offer a five-cylinder engine in the form of a 3.7-liter straight-five with 242 horsepower and 242 pound-feet of torque. A 2.9-liter inline-four (185 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque) and 5.3-liter V-8 (300 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque) sandwich the inline-five on the engine order page, while transmissions are limited to a four-speed automatic and five-speed manual. The standard transmission can only be mated to the four-cylinder engine.
Driveline configurations are rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. For 2010, a single-speed transfer case now comes standard on four-wheel-drive Colorados and Canyons. A two-speed transfer case is an option if you need the low range.
Sitting on the polar opposite of the Z71 off-road suspension and two-speed transfer case is the ZQ8 sport suspension package, now available for a greater number of equipment groups and extended and crew cab models with rear-wheel drive. The tarmac-oriented package requires the V-8 engine and adds 18-inch wheels, special front bucket seats, and a taller 3.42 rear axle.