2017 Chevrolet Colorado WT: A Case for the Midsize Truck that’s Enough, But Not Too Much
Moderate Midsize in the Age of Supersized Trucks
With fullsize trucks growing taller and wider these days, the physical differences offered by midsize pickups have never been more apparent. Driving across Illinois in a ’17 Chevrolet Colorado in the base Work Truck (WT) trim gave us the opportunity to experience a few of these differences firsthand. With its smaller stature—which makes it easier to drive and park—and the benefit of improved fuel economy from the 3.6L V-6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission, the Colorado WT may indeed be ideal for many fleet and small business owners.
The reality these days is that automakers would prefer to sell fleet owners fullsize pickups. Ford, the top dog in the fleet game, has been pushing fullsize trucks for years. And it’s no surprise, since it doesn’t yet offer a midsize of its own, and profit margins on F-Series trucks are quite healthy. Yet the size of these fullsize trucks doesn’t always meet fleet owners’ needs, and not all owners are able (or want) to switch to the smaller and more agile van products on the market. For example, companies working in landscaping, farming, and pest control don’t necessarily need the size and expense of a fullsize.
We found the Colorado’s cabin size to be rather appropriate, falling into that not-too-large but not-too-small space. We often found ourselves reaching for items on the passenger seat and out of our bag on the floor, similar to what a solo contractor might do during his day. Carrying a full cabin of five passengers would be tough to do comfortably in this truck, despite it coming equipped with the appropriate number of seatbelts. We found this truck to be ideal for one or two passengers, and the rear-seat delete option for the extended cab is a smart choice. Speaking of seats, even after spending a full day behind the wheel, the cloth seats were surprisingly comfortable, and we weren’t cringing at the thought of getting back in the saddle the next morning.
Under the hood lives the second-generation 3.6L V-6 mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. We found this combination to be well balanced for the size of the truck. The Colorado’s V-6 delivers 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque and carries an EPA fuel economy rating of 17 mpg in the city, 24 highway, and 19 combined. The eight-speed is set up for highway driving and delivers power smoothly to the ground without much hunting for gears. While it’s not the most fuel-efficient combination offered, we found the additional power of the V-6 compared to the four-cylinder’s 200 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque very beneficial for accelerating and passing, along with the added benefit of higher payload and towing ratings.
Even though the WT is considered a base model, it can still be optioned with some handy features. For example, the truck’s rearview camera, four-way power driver seat, power windows, air conditioning, and 4.2-inch audio system with a USB port were all standard equipment, giving us a base price of just $30,820. The model we tested also had the WT Convenience Package, which included remote keyless entry, cruise control, an easy lift and lower tailgate, and a theft deterrent system. It was also optioned with Chevy’s 7-inch MyLink infotainment system, an automatic locking rear differential, bed lighting kit, and all-weather floor mats. This brought our Crew Cab four-wheel-drive tester up to a grand total of just $33,715—a fair price in today’s market.
If purchasing a fleet truck that costs more than $30,000 seems too high, Chevrolet offers a much more basic extended-cab two-wheel-drive version with a its 2.5L four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission for around $20,000, equipped with power windows and power door locks.
In the end, our time spent driving the Colorado WT proved enlightening in many ways. The smaller size really grew on us, the maneuverability was impressive time and time again, and the interior cabin space turned out to be just right size for our needs. Plus, the Colorado doesn’t look like anything else in the GM truck lineup, which is perfect for those who want a distinct Chevrolet instead of a “little brother” of the Silverado. For those in the market, the ’17 Chevrolet Colorado WT is on dealer lots now and also available for custom ordering through Chevrolet’s fleet buying program.
Colorado WT 4WD, Crew Cab, ShortboxMSRP: $31,965
Engine: 3.6L V-6 DI DOHC VVT
Transmission: Hydra-Matic 8L45 eight-speed automatic
Hp/Torque: 308 hp at 6,800 lb-ft/275 hp at 4,000 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 17 city/24 highway mpg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 21 gallons
Overall Length: 212.7 inches
Overall Width Without Mirrors: 74.30 inches
Overall Height: 70.60 inches
Wheelbase: 128.3 inches
Ground to Top of Load Floor: 34.5 inches
Step-in Height: 22.6 inches
Cargo Box Length at Floor: 61.7 inches
Cargo Box Width at Wheelhousings: 44.4 inches
Cargo Volume: 41.3 cubic feet
Box Opening Width: 55.5 inches
Inside Height: 20.9 inches
Front Leg Room: 45 inches
Rear Leg Room: 35.8 inches
Turning Circle: 41.3 inches
Base Curb weight: 4,419 pounds
Max Payload: 1,548 pounds
Max Conventional Trailering: 7,000 pounds *With Trailering Package
Silverado WT 4WD, Crew Cab, ShortboxMSRP: $40,680
Engine: 4.3L EcoTec3 V-6
Transmission: Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic
Hp/Torque: 285 hp at 5,300 lb-ft/305 hp at 3,900 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 17 city/22 highway mpg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 26 gallons
Overall Length: 230 inches
Overall Width Without Mirrors: 80 inches
Overall Height: 74 inches
Wheelbase: 143.5 inches
Ground to Top of Load Floor: 34.3 inches
Step-in Height: 22.2 inches
Cargo Box Length at Floor: 69.3 inches
Cargo Box Width at Wheelhousings: 51 inches
Cargo Volume: 53.4 cubic feet
Box Opening Width: 62.2 inches
Inside Height: 21.1 inches
Front Leg Room: 45.3 inches
Rear Leg Room: 40.9 inches
Turning Circle: 47.2 feet
Base Curb Weight: 5,302 pounds
Max Payload: 1,770 pounds
Max Conventional Trailering: 7,000 pounds