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2012 vs. 2015 Chevrolet Colorado: What's the Difference?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro December 2014

The all-new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado has now reached dealers, touting improvements and refinements compared to the original 2004-2012 Colorado. What exactly has changed between the two midsize pickups? To help you find out, we've highlighted all the differences and updates that distinguish the all-new Colorado from the outgoing model.

Exterior

On the outside, it's easy to see that the latest Colorado is completely revised compared to the outgoing model. The front end, rear end and sides are completely different and far more modern than the original Colorado's look, and the new pickup's stance is taller and more upright than the earlier model, much like its key rivals, the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma. The latest Colorado also offers a little more styling than the outgoing model, with additional curves compared to the original pickup's more utilitarian look.

Interior

Differences are even more obvious on the inside, where the latest Colorado offers more room, more equipment and, most importantly, a far nicer interior with better materials and a dramatically improved center control stack. That's the most noticeable update, as the latest Colorado uses a wider, larger, higher-tech center stack than the outgoing model. But you'll also notice more passenger space and improved materials on virtually every surface, even on base-level Work Truck models.

Mechanicals

In 2012, the Colorado offered three engines. Base models used a 185-horsepower 2.9-liter 4-cylinder, which returned up to 18 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. Most drivers opted for a 242-hp 3.7-liter 5-cylinder engine, which returned up to 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy. Finally, those looking for extra power could choose a 300-hp 5.3-liter V8 that topped out at 14 mpg city/20 mpg hwy.

For 2015, the Colorado's powertrain choices are simplified to two options. Base models use a 200-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, capable of up to 20 mpg city/27 mpg hwy. Drivers looking for more power can opt for a 305-hp 3.6-liter V6, which offers up to 18 mpg city/24 mpg hwy.

Features & Technology

As you might expect, the latest Colorado offers considerably more equipment than the outgoing model does. For example, there's an 8-inch touchscreen in the latest pickup, while the outgoing model didn't offer a touchscreen. The latest Colorado also offers Wi-Fi and GM's MyLink infotainment system, which weren't available in the 2012 models.

The advantages don't stop there: The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado boasts other additional features, including a remote starter, automatic climate control, heated front seats, a backup camera, a unique GearOn bed organizer, and safety technology such as a forward-collision alert system and a lane-departure warning system. None of those items were available on the 2012 Colorado, which offered a far simpler driving experience than the latest truck does.

Driving Experience

As you might expect, the latest Colorado drives dramatically better than the outgoing truck did. While the old truck suffered from considerable cabin noise and a harsh ride, the new Colorado touts a surprisingly smooth, comfortable ride that stands above not only the old model, but also rivals such as the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma. Likewise, the new Colorado boasts more secure roadholding than the old truck did, with more direct steering and improved handling.

In terms of acceleration, we think the latest V6 engine outshines all powertrain choices available in the 2012 Colorado, including that model's V8. Of course, the latest engines are also smoother and more fuel-efficient than the 2012 Colorado's circa-2004 powerplants. Thanks to new 6-speed automatic transmissions that replace the old model's 4-speed units, the 2015 Colorado's powertrains offer more passing power and refinement, too. In essence, this is an all-new truck, and it feels like it.

Safety

In addition to its dramatic improvements in such other areas as engine performance, fuel efficiency and comfort, the 2015 Colorado holds some distinct advantages over its predecessor when it comes to safety. Admittedly, the old model and the new model feature similar levels of standard equipment, including traction control, anti-lock brakes and side-curtain airbags.

The 2015 Colorado takes things a step further, touting a standard backup camera and options such as lane-departure warning and forward-collision alert. Few modern pickups offer those features, but they're welcome in today's world of high-tech gadgets.

Conclusions

The latest Colorado and outgoing 2012 model are dramatically different in a number of key areas. Of course, styling is different, both on the outside, where the new truck offers a more modern and distinctive design, and on the inside, where the latest Colorado adds improved materials and a higher-tech cabin. The latest Colorado also offers more safety features, more technology, more options, a smoother ride, better fuel economy and more interior room. Overall, this is one of the most comprehensive redesigns we've seen -- to the point where just about the only thing shared between the 2012 and 2015 Colorados is the name.

Find a Chevrolet Colorado for sale

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Used 2012 Chevrolet Colorado 2WD Regular Cab W/T
Used 2012 Chevrolet Colorado
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Used 2012 Chevrolet Colorado 2WD Regular Cab W/T
Used 2012 Chevrolet Colorado
$7,997
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2012 vs. 2015 Chevrolet Colorado: What's the Difference? - Autotrader