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

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2014

The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado have a lot of similarities. They're both newly redesigned pickups, and they're both built by Chevrolet. They're also similar in size, they offer similar interiors, and they include a lot of the same equipment. Cost is also surprisingly close; a well-equipped Colorado can easily enter the range of a Silverado. So what's the difference between the two pickups? We explain it all below.

Exterior

There's no doubt that the Chevrolet Colorado and Silverado look a lot alike, but if you study exterior details, you'll notice some major differences. Most notably, the Colorado looks a little smaller than the Silverado does, which makes sense because it is smaller. The Colorado has smaller headlights, a smaller grille, and generally less of the brawny, "tough truck" look the larger Silverado sports. The Silverado is boxier, while the Colorado has softer lines designed to help distinguish it from its big brother.

Interior

As you might expect, the interiors of the Colorado and the Silverado are similar in a lot of ways -- but just like the trucks' exterior styling, there are some distinctions. Once again, the Silverado's cabin has a more muscular flair than the Colorado's, with a column shifter, huge door handles and a wide center console being the major differences. Some Silverado models also retain a gap below the dashboard for a middle-seat passenger, while the Colorado has a full center console that runs from the area between the seats all the way to the center control stack. Size is also a key difference. While the Colorado isn't exactly hurting for interior space, it's hardly as roomy as the larger Silverado -- especially in back.

Mechanicals

The Colorado and Silverado may look similar, and some versions might be about the same size, but make no mistake, the two trucks are very different under the skin.

In the Colorado, Chevrolet will offer three engines. Base models will use a 200-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, which is available with a manual or automatic transmission. Shoppers who want extra power can upgrade to a 300-hp 3.6-liter V6, which is only offered with an automatic transmission. And for drivers looking to save fuel, Chevrolet plans to offer class-exclusive diesel power, courtesy of a 2.8-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder.

In the Silverado, the standard engine is a 4.3-liter V6 that makes 285 hp and 305 lb-ft of torque. While that powerplant is adequate for the full-size truck, most drivers will upgrade to a more powerful 5.3-liter V8, which makes 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. At the highest end, Silverado models offer a 420-hp 6.2-liter V8. Unlike the Colorado and its standard manual transmission, all Silverados make do with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

In other words: If you want more power and increased capability from your pickup, the Silverado is definitely the way to go.

Features

Although the Silverado is technically the big brother to the Colorado, the two trucks offer about the same levels of equipment and features. There aren't many items you can't get in the Colorado that you can instead get in the Silverado until you start getting to very high-end versions like the Silverado High Country.

Of course, there are some differences in the capacities of the two trucks. For instance, while General Motors says a properly equipped Silverado can tow up to 12,000 pounds, the Colorado's tow rating is limited to around 7,000 pounds. While Chevy hasn't yet announced the Colorado's payload capacity, we can bet it stands a bit below the Silverado's 2,100-lb figure.

Technology

Both the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado are on the leading edge of high-tech equipment in the usually low-tech world of the pickup truck. Both trucks boast GM's new 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and the automaker's OnStar telematics system. They also both offer backup cameras, a lane-departure warning system and forward collision-alert technology -- items that aren't often seen on a workhorse pickup truck.

Maybe the trucks' most advanced feature is their MyLink infotainment system. Featuring Pandora and other apps, MyLink allows drivers to stream music, get directions, and perform various other tasks. MyLink also comes with Apple's Siri Eyes Free system, which allows iPhone users to control their phones without taking their eyes off the wheel.

Most importantly, gadget lovers won't need to choose between the two trucks, since they offer about the same level of high-tech equipment -- whether standard or optional.

Safety

In government crash tests, the Silverado earned a 5-star overall score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), thereby becoming the first full-size pickup truck to do so. We suspect that the Colorado will also earn high marks, given General Motors' strong performance in recent crash tests, but we won't know for sure until just before the truck goes on sale.

What we do know is that the Silverado and Colorado boast a long list of impressive safety features. Not only do the trucks come standard with front-side airbags, rear-side airbags and curtain-side airbags, they also boast GM's OnStar system, which offers stolen-vehicle tracking and roadside assistance. They also include a variety of safety options ranging from simple features, such as a backup camera and park assist, to high-tech equipment, such as forward-collision alert and GM's safety seat, which vibrates if you drift from your lane.

Once again, however, safety doesn't differ vastly between the two pickups; they offer about the same level of equipment. We'll find out soon whether the two trucks offer the same level of crashworthiness once the Colorado is tested by the NHTSA.

Conclusions

Although there are still a few unknowns about the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado (such as crash-test ratings and payload capacity), the differences between the Colorado and Chevrolet's larger Silverado are clear. The Silverado is for those who need a larger pickup, with bulky styling, high-grade capabilities and a larger interior. The Colorado, meanwhile, is for drivers who want something a little smaller and more compact that's easier to drive in an urban setting. Fortunately, those shoppers won't get penalized when it comes to equipment and safety features, since nearly all of the options available in the Silverado are also offered in the Colorado.

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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 vs. 2015 Chevrolet Silverado: What's the Difference? - Autotrader