New Car Review

2015 Chevrolet Colorado: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader November 2014

General Motors has returned to the midsize pickup segment with the all-new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and its stablemate, the 2015 GMC Canyon. Although the automaker initially dropped both trucks after the 2012 model year, they're back and better than ever, boasting totally new styling, new interiors, new powertrains and a vastly improved driving experience.

The result is that these two trucks run circles around the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma, their biggest competitors. But we're also interested to see whether truck shoppers will forego larger pickups like the Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-Series, given the impressive capabilities -- and lower price tags -- of GM's new Colorado and Canyon.

What's New for 2015?

The Colorado is completely new for the 2015 model year.

What We Like

Excellent interior for a midsize truck; great engine performance; lots of features; better ride than other midsize trucks

What We Don't

Ride still isn't perfect; front seat comfort not great for long drives; priced too similarly to the Silverado

How Much?

$21,100-$35,300

Fuel Economy

The Colorado offers two engines. In base models, there's a 200-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that makes 191 lb-ft of torque. Two transmissions are offered: a 6-speed manual, available only with rear-wheel drive, that gets 20 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, or a 6-speed automatic offered in rear- or 4-wheel drive guise. Automatic Colorado models return 20 mpg city/26 mpg hwy in rear-wheel drive, or 19 mpg city/25 mpg hwy with 4-wheel drive.

If you're looking for more power, the Colorado also offers a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. That engine returns 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy with rear-wheel drive, or 17 mpg city/24 mpg hwy with 4-wheel drive.

Standard Features & Options

The Colorado is offered in four trim levels: a base model called simply Colorado, a slightly more upscale WT (Work Truck) model, a mid-level LT and an off-road-oriented Z71.

The base-level Colorado ($21,100), which is only offered with rear-wheel drive, a 6-speed manual transmission and no rear seats, features anti-lock brakes, a backup camera, an AM/FM stereo with a USB port and an auxiliary jack, air conditioning, a power driver's seat and power windows.

Step up to the Colorado WT ($22,500) and you'll add rear seats along with several new options: a 3.6-liter V6, an available 6-speed automatic transmission and available 4-wheel drive.

Next in line is the Colorado LT ($26,100), which features a standard automatic transmission, GM's 4G Wi-Fi hot spot, 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system with an 8-in color touchscreen, remote keyless entry, cruise control, satellite radio, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and steering wheel audio controls.

Topping the range is the off-road-oriented Colorado Z71 ($28,500), which boasts off-road suspension, hill-descent control, a remote starter, a power passenger seat, front tow hooks, an automatic locking rear differential and automatic climate control.

Options include the pickup's 3.6-liter V6 engine along with high-tech safety features such as a lane departure warning system and a forward collision alert. Other extras include a navigation system, a Bose sound system and an innovative in-bed cargo divider.

Safety

All 2015 Chevrolet Colorado models come standard with dual front airbags and side curtain airbags for front and rear occupants. The Colorado also includes a standard backup camera and traction control. Options include forward collision alert and a lane departure warning system. As of this writing, the Colorado had not yet been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Behind the Wheel

The Colorado is simply a major step up over all of its small pickup competitors. One reason is the truck's ride, which is much smoother than what you'll find in other pickups. The interior is also nicer. The Colorado and Canyon also oast more gadgets and features than the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma. To us, the Colorado and the Canyon look more modern on the outside, too.

While the base-level Colorado's 4-cylinder isn't a major workhorse, it's certainly acceptable for many situations, and it gets strong fuel economy for a pickup truck. But we're especially impressed with the pickup's V6, which is the powerplant we recommend. It boasts excellent acceleration and a surprisingly brawny 7,000-lb towing capacity, along with a smooth standard automatic transmission.

We have only two complaints with the Colorado: Its ride, while great for a small pickup, could still be a little better. And we're not sold on the front seats, which could use a little extra support.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 GMC Canyon -- The GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado are similar in a lot of ways. You should check out both trucks to see which one you prefer -- and which is available with a better deal.

2015 Toyota Tacoma -- The Tacoma offers Toyota reliability and a loyal following. We like the Tacoma, but we think the new Colorado is a better truck.

Used Chevrolet Silverado -- If you need more capability, more power or just a larger pickup, consider a used Silverado. Though we love the all-new model, which came out last year, earlier versions are also worth a look. They'll be cheaper, too.

AutoTrader's Advice

We'd go for a V6-powered Colorado LT with a few extra options, such as lane departure warning and forward collision alert. It's the best of all worlds: You get a brand new truck with a muscular engine, a lot of equipment, and excellent capabilities that outshine other small pickup rivals -- all for well under $30,000 with shipping.

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2015 Chevrolet Colorado: New Car Review - Autotrader