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2015 Chevrolet Colorado: First Drive Review

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author photo by Doug DeMuro September 2014

We recently spent some time behind the wheel of the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, a highly anticipated new truck that marks General Motors' return to the once popular midsize-pickup segment. Boasting totally new styling, a new interior, new engines and some major equipment upgrades over its predecessor, the 2015 Colorado is certainly set to make a splash. How did we like it? We've gathered our thoughts below.

Major Improvements

The second you step inside the Colorado, it becomes immediately clear that this is an entirely different truck than the outgoing model, which was last sold in 2012. The interior is vastly upgraded, offering an impressive array of high-end new materials and an excellent combination of textures and soft-touch surfaces. We never thought that we'd say this about a pickup -- especially a midsize model, considering the utilitarian cabins of rivals such as the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma -- but we genuinely enjoy spending time in the Colorado's driver's seat.

Speaking of the Frontier and Tacoma, even die-hard Nissan and Toyota fans will likely admit that those trucks are now completely outclassed by the Colorado. Compared to the simple, increasingly outdated interiors of those pickups, which came out over 6 years ago, the Colorado offers a positively luxurious cabin with improved ergonomics and a far more modern look. This is further bolstered by the Colorado's remarkably quiet ride -- something we rarely say about any pickup -- and its long list of standard and optional features. These include some of today's most modern high-tech features, such as a touchscreen infotainment system, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning and GM's new OnStar system, which includes a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot.

Maybe the only letdown in the Colorado's interior involves the truck's seat comfort. Not only do we think that the seat bottom is a little too short, but it seems like the rear seat could have a little more legroom -- even in the 4-door crew cab model. We might just be spoiled by full-size trucks, however, as the Colorado offers more rear-seat room than its Nissan and Toyota rivals.

Plenty of Power

We had the opportunity to test out two of the truck's powertrains: a 200-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and a 305-hp 3.6-liter V6. Unfortunately, the Colorado's highly touted turbodiesel engine's arrival is delayed and won't launch immediately when the truck does later this fall.

With the 4-cylinder engine, the truck feels a little heavy, which is no surprise given its bulky 4,000-lb curb weight, but if Frontier and Tacoma sales are a good guide, the Colorado's V6 will likely account for most of the truck's sales. That's good news, because we felt that the V6 was strong, brawny and easily powerful enough to propel the pickup under virtually any circumstances. Of course, drivers who pull trailers will especially want the V6 and its accompanying 7,000-lb towing capacity.

Real Truck

Although we were impressed with the Colorado's lack of wind noise and slick interior, we found ourselves a little disappointed in the pickup's ride quality -- especially on rough roads and over bumps. Of course, this is the simple reality of pickups -- and especially midsize models. Car-based SUVs offer a car-like ride, but lack the off-road ability or towing capacity of a truck. It's a compromise each buyer has to make based on their needs. As midsize pickups go, the Colorado's ride is very good, more refined and comfortable than both the Nissan and Toyota. However, very rough pavement and potholes upset the truck's otherwise smooth ride. The bottom line here is that the Chevy Colorado is a truck and it has many of the pros and cons of its rugged underpinnings. 

The good news, however, is that the Colorado's ride is never downright harsh. You'll never feel like you're in a commercial vehicle or even in Colorado models of years past. Ride quality is also improved over the Frontier and Tacoma, but it doesn't quite reach the comfort levels of, say, Chevrolet's Equinox crossover. This will be a little disappointing for shoppers who might see the Colorado's long list of new convenience features and stellar interior and want to use the truck as a family hauler.

Worth a Look?

If you're interested in a midsize pickup, there's absolutely no doubt that the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado is the best thing to happen to this segment in years. Even if you're interested in a full-size pickup, we suggest that you give the Colorado some serious consideration. Not only will it save you money on fuel, but it's easier to park, easier to drive, and more affordable than full-size offerings such as the Chevy Silverado. It also offers far more capabilities than most truck shoppers will ever use. In fact, the Colorado is all the truck that we think most shoppers really need -- and now that it offers improved wind noise, better powertrains, an upgraded interior, and the latest in infotainment and safety technology, it seems like all the truck that most shoppers could possibly want, too.

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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.
2015 Chevrolet Colorado: First Drive Review - Autotrader