The 2004 to 2012 Chevrolet
Colorado, along with its sister,
the GMC Canyon, represents
one complete generation of this
compact pickup truck. For buyers who need
their pickup to perform only the occasional
light task, the Colorado/Canyon might work
well enough. That’s faint praise, but justifiably
so, as the following will reveal.
Coming into the world by virtue of a joint
effort between General Motors in North
America and Brazil, plus input from Isuzu, the
Coloranyon is available in regular, extended,
and crew cab versions. The first two have beds
that are 6 feet long; the crew has a 5-foot bed.
Trim levels, in ascending order of plushness,
started out as Work, LS, and LT. LT versions
received a face-lift in 2007, while the LS
retained the old look. LS morphed into VL for
the 2009 model year and disappeared for 2010.
Another minor tweak took place in 2009,
bringing the option of a 5.3-liter V-8 endowed
with 300 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque.
The Canyolorado originally came with
a 2.8-liter four-cylinder making 175 hp and
185 lb-ft of torque or a 3.5-liter inline-five
developing 220 hp and 225 lb-ft. Once the 2007
face-lift kicked in, these were superseded by a
2.9-liter four-cylinder with 185 hp and 190 lb-ft
and a 3.7-liter inline-five with 242 hp and 242
lb-ft. The entry-level four-potter was linked to
either a five-speed manual transmission or a
four-speed automatic. The larger engines got
the auto transmission, er, automatically. Most
examples will probably have the manual.
Drive is sent to the rear wheels or all four. The
latter’s setup includes a low/high transfer case
that complements the Z71 off-road package.
Other options include the Z85 heavy-duty
package and the ZQ8 street pack with lowered,
stiffened suspension, plus 18-inch wheels.
The Colorado/Canyon twins are not considered
the best in their class. That accolade
goes to the Toyota Tacoma, with the Nissan
Frontier getting an honorable mention.
Even if this first-gen ColoCan was a major
contender initially, it was never improved
significantly to better face the competition.
Low-rent interiors, low levels of refinement,
and so-so towing capability result in a merely
average reputation. But that could be a good
thing if you’re looking to buy, since competitors
demand higher prices. Compare a 2008
Chevrolet Colorado LS with the 2.9-liter fourcylinder
engine, rear drive, 6-foot bed, and
auto transmission in good condition valued at
$8711 with a 2008 Ford Ranger XLT regular cab
(rear drive, 6-foot bed, 3.0-liter V-6, auto, good
condition) fetching $10,707. A comparable
2008 Toyota Tacoma is Blue Booked at $10,633.
Recalls issued by the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration focus on child
restraints and exterior lighting for the early
years -- then wheels (2007); fuel system (2009);
locks, latches, and linkages (2010/2011);
powertrains with the 2.9 and 3.7 engines,
wipers, suspension (2011); and seatbelts (2012).
Checking various owner forums brings a
depressing amount of issues that touch on
many different areas: chip-prone paintwork,
a quarter-full gas gauge that suddenly reads
empty when reverse gear is engaged, electrical
glitches, braking system problems, engine
and drivetrain hiccups, squeaky leaf springs,
lopsided beds, wiper woes, plus various other
rattles and whines.
Potential buyers must be extra-extra careful
when checking out a possible purchase. Go
over it from bumper to bumper, check for
uneven tire wear, play in the steering, rough
idling, evidence of head gaskets failing. Don’t
take anything for granted.
2004-2012 Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon|
|Body type ||2-door/4-door pickup|
|Drivetrain ||Front engine, RWD/4WD|
|Airbags|| Dual front|
|Engines|| 2.8L/175-hp DOHC I-4; 3.5L/220-hp DOHC I-5 (2004-2006); 2.9L/185-hp DOHC I-4; 3.7L/242-hp DOHC I-5 (2007-2012); 5.3L/300-hp OHV V-8 (2009 on)|
|Bra kes, f/r|| Disc/drum, ABS|
|Price range , whlsl/retail|| (KBB)$3400/$4800 (2004 RWD Work RC 2.5L I-4),$21,375/$23,265 (2012 4WD LT CC 5.3L V-8)|
|Recalls|| Too many to list; see motortrend.com|
|NHTSA frontal impact rating , driver/fr|| pass 4 stars/4 stars (reg/ext cabs); 5 stars/5 stars (crew cab); 2011/2012 not rated