• Base 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine
  • Available 305-hp V6 engine
  • Optional diesel engine planned for later release

When the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup arrives later this year, buyers can choose a base 4-cylinder engine or a more powerful V6 motor that's capable of developing 305 horsepower, enough to bump the Colorado's towing rating up to 7,000 pounds. The Canyon, GMC's version of the truck, will offer the same engine choices.

The base engine, a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder rated at 200 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque, can be paired with a 6-speed manual transmission in one version of the pickup: the extended-cab, 2-wheel-drive Work Truck. Other versions use a 6-speed automatic. It includes a tow/haul mode for V6 models and automatic grade braking, features that help improve the truck's performance when carrying or pulling heavy loads.

The Colorado and Canyon will be offered in two body styles -- extended cab and crew cab -- and will also offer both 2- and 4-wheel drive. Because towing capabilities vary depending on how trucks are equipped, not all models will achieve the 7,000-lb towing rating. We expect the extended-cab, 2-wheel-drive version with the V6 engine to offer the greatest towing capacity.

Chevrolet counts midsize pickups, such as the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, among competitors to the Colorado. With an optional V6 and a towing package, maximum towing capacity for the Tacoma tops out at 6,500 pounds. The Frontier comes standard with a V6 engine, and 2-wheel-drive versions can tow 6,300 pounds -- 200 more than the 4x4 Frontier. Lower hp ratings for the V6-powered Tacoma and Frontier are factors in the trucks' more limited towing capacities. Nissan's V6 produces 261 hp in the Frontier, while the Toyota Tacoma V6 makes only 236 hp.

Chevrolet has not yet announced fuel economy ratings for the Colorado, but the more powerful V6 engine does not necessarily mean weaker fuel economy than competitors. The 6-speed automatic could help to deliver better efficiency than either the V6 Tacoma or Frontier, which both offer a 5-speed automatic. Fuel economy ratings are expected before the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon arrive in dealers' showrooms.

What it means to you: Midsize pickups such as the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon provide many of the capabilities of a full-size pickup but in a smaller and more efficient package. For drivers who pull trailers or haul heavy loads, the Colorado and Canyon boast impressive credentials.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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