2015 Chevrolet Colorado First Look
Chevy Breathes Life Into The Midsize Truck Segment
How long has it been since we have seen a new -- really new -- compact/midsize truck enter the market? Most of them haven't undergone huge changes since around 2004. In fact, the biggest change in the category is how small it has become.
Auto Show Floor Update: The Chevrolet press conference made it crystal clear what the Colorado is going up against. A video showed the new Colorado passing a Nissan Frontier, then a Toyota Tacoma. Other visuals in the video were more telling: there was a shot of a ram (the animal) and a ranger (the person), and as the Colorado passed by, the forest ranger's hat was left in the truck's dust. It makes sense for Chevrolet to position the Colorado as a competitor for non-turbo V-6-powered full-size trucks, as was strongly implied in the press conference. - Allyson Harwood
There were once 11 compact trucks sold in the U.S. As of 2014, that number is down to two. All the while, we have seen global pickups that we can't get in the U.S.: the Volkswagen Amarok, global Ford Ranger, and global Colorado being just a few of the standouts. However, that is soon going to change, as Chevrolet is bringing a version of its global Colorado to the United States and Canada for the 2015 model year, going on sale in fall 2014.
Instead of seeing this as a rehashed truck from another market, though, it's more accurate to look at it as a scaled-down Silverado, as few of the chassis components are shared with the global truck. The frame is about 40 percent lighter than the global Colorado's frame; the new unit is fully boxed and uses liberal amounts of high-strength steel. Comparing crew cab to crew cab, the Colorado is 900 pounds lighter, 5 inches narrower, 3 inches lower, and 16 inches shorter than the Silverado. The Colorado will use a coilover front and leaf-spring rear, and Duralife disc brakes with ABS. It will have EPS and an impressive 41-foot turning radius.
The truck will come as an extended cab or crew cab, with a 6-foot bed behind the extended cab and a choice of 5- or 6-foot bed behind the crew cab. And for people who lament the loss of the regular-cab model, we hear there will be a rear-seat delete option on the extended cab. Trim levels will be the WT, LT, and Z71, with RWD or 4WD with a rear locker. In the past, the Z71 had been a suspension package available on a variety of trims; for 2015, it will be its own model. As with the Silverado, the doors are inlaid and triple-sealed. Six airbags and a rearview camera will be standard, and forward collision alert will be available. Z71s will come with StabiliTrak, trailer sway control, hillstart assist, and hill descent control.
At launch, there will be two engines powering the Colorado -- a 2.5-liter I-4, with an estimated 193 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, and a 3.6-liter V-6, with an estimated 302 hp and 270 lb-ft. We have seen these engines in other GM products (Impala, Malibu, Equinox), but they have been re-tuned here for truck applications, with more bottom-end torque. Both have direct injection and variable valve timing, and both will be backed by a six-speed automatic. Chevrolet hasn't announced fuel economy estimates yet, but the truck will use active aero grille shutters, which will help improve mpg numbers.
There will be a third engine added to the options list for the 2016 model year: a 2.8-liter Duramax I-4. Chevrolet hasn't announced power numbers for this yet, but in the global truck, it produces 197 hp and 369 lb-ft. However, it's likely that the diesel's hp and torque will be slightly lower here, as emissions requirements are tougher in the U.S. than in the rest of the world and use of aftertreatment can reduce power. That torque number is only slightly lower than that of GM's new EcoTec3 5.3-liter V-8, while potentially offering significantly better fuel economy. The engineers at Chevrolet also told us that the American-market version of this engine will be much quieter than the global unit. It will use Diesel Exhaust Fluid, with its refill point behind the fuel door. Unless one of the other manufacturers pulls off a big surprise in the next year, the Colorado will be the first midsize truck sold in the U.S. with a diesel engine.
The interior is a huge step up from the previous Colorado, using many of the features that are a part of the new Silverado's cabin. There is a driver information screen within the gauge cluster, an 8-inch color touch screen in the center stack (optional on WT), plus OnStar, MyLink, and navigation will be offered. The shifter is floor-mounted. Seats will be stain-resistant cloth or leather.
As you can see here, the new midsize's appearance is much more global Colorado than it is little Silverado. But there were some changes, including a new front end and higher bedsides. And Chevrolet's capability goals, both lofty and reachable, would align it more with the Silverado. The idea is that this truck will have best-in-class hp, payload, and towing capacity. GM hasn't announced payload capacity, but it expects a 6700-lb towing capacity at launch (and higher with the diesel). It will also be the first in its segment to offer a trailer brake controller. The company's CornerStep rear bumper and 13 tiedown locations are standard, and the EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate and spray-in bedliner are options.
There are a few factors that will be key to the Colorado's success. The first is price. If the truck comes in at a price that is lower enough than the Silverado's, it should do well. The challenge will be the price of the diesel in the Colorado. However, if GM is correct in its bet that midsize trucks cater to a different buyer than full-size trucks, and that there is a bigger market for smaller trucks than is being served at the moment, the Colorado could bring people back to this segment. It could also mean buyers would be willing to pay more for a well-optioned Colorado than they would for an entry-level Silverado. Not everyone has the space to park a ½-ton truck or the desire to drive in the city in one. Those buyers will soon have a new option to consider, and this truck has a lot of potential. And who knows? If the Colorado sells well here, maybe Ford and Volkswagen will bring their trucks to the U.S. too.
|2015 Chevrolet Colorado|
|Vehicle layout||Front-engine, RWD/4WD, 4-5-pass, 4-door pickup|
|Engines||2.5L/193-hp*/184-lb-ft* DOHC 16-valve I-4; 2.8L/197-hp*/369-lb-ft* DOHC 16-valve turbodiesel I-4; 3.6L/302-hp*/270-lb-ft* DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|Curb weight||3950-4500 lb*|
|Length x width x height||208.2-224.1 x 74.3 x 70.5-70.6 in|
|EPA city/hwy fuel econ||Not yet rated|
|On sale in U.S.||Fall 2014|