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2015 Chevrolet Colorado vs. 2015 Toyota Tacoma: Which Is Better?

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro December 2014

With only a handful of models to choose from, the midsize pickup segment isn't very big. But it just got bigger thanks to the arrival of the all-new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, which squares off against established players including the Toyota Tacoma. But which truck is better? To help answer that question, we've made a detailed comparison of the Tacoma and the Colorado below. First, let's see what's new with both trucks for the 2015 model year.

2015 Chevrolet Colorado Changes

The Chevrolet Colorado is completely new for the 2015 model year. Related to the old 2004-2012 model in name only, the new Colorado boasts new powertrains, new styling, a new interior and modern features you wouldn't normally expect to find on a midsize truck.

2015 Toyota Tacoma Changes

The Toyota Tacoma makes two major changes for 2015. For one, the truck's base-level regular-cab body style is gone, leaving only extended cab and crew cab models. Additionally, last year's off-roader TRD T/X Baja model has been replaced with the new Tacoma TRD Pro.

Reliability

According to experts at J.D. Power, the Tacoma is reliable enough to earn a four in the brand's Power Circle ratings, indicating better-than-average reliability. The Colorado is too new to earn a rating, and checking numbers for the old model wouldn't be fair, since everything is completely new for 2015.

The Colorado offers a slight advantage on warranty length. While both trucks boast 3 years or 36,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage, the Chevy's 5 years or 100,000 miles of powertrain protection top the Toyota's 5 years or 60,000 miles. Still, this category can't be awarded to either truck yet, since we won't know the Colorado's dependability stats for a while.

Fuel Economy

Both the Colorado and the Tacoma offer two engines: a base-level 4-cylinder and a more muscular V6. The Colorado's base-level 4-cylinder is a 200-horsepower 2.5-liter unit that returns up to 20 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. In the Tacoma, the standard 2.7-liter 4-cylinder returns up to 21 mpg city/25 mpg hwy, but it only offers 159 hp.

More importantly, the Colorado and Tacoma both offer a V6, which is the engine most buyers will choose. The Tacoma's V6, which makes 236 hp, returns up to 17 mpg city/21 mpg hwy. Meanwhile, the Colorado's 305-hp V6 returns up to 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.

Fuel economy, therefore, is an easy pick. Not only does the Colorado edge out the Tacoma in virtually every category, but it does so with larger engines that make far more horsepower.

Safety

Because it's so new, the Chevrolet Colorado has not yet been tested by either the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Tacoma, however, earned a 4-star overall rating from the NHTSA and reasonably high ratings from the IIHS.

In terms of safety equipment, the Tacoma is no match for the Colorado. The Chevy offers a wide array of the most modern features, including a blind spot camera -- optional in the Tacoma -- a forward collision alert and a lane-departure warning system, which the Tacoma doesn't have. As a result, we have to hand the safety category to the Colorado, especially since we expect it will perform better in crash tests than the Tacoma, given its newer design.

Technology

Building on its huge advantage in the safety section, the Colorado also offers a substantial benefit over the Tacoma in technology and equipment. Yes, it's true that the Tacoma offers the basics, including an available JBL audio system and Toyota's Entune infotainment system, but the Colorado has all the latest gadgets, including on-board Wi-Fi, a larger 8-inch touchscreen, and a transmission that boasts a tow/haul mode and automatic grade braking. In essence, the Tacoma is limited by its simpler, older design and equipment, while the all-new Colorado incorporates a more desirable range of modern, high-tech features.

Value

Clearly, the Colorado tops the Tacoma in most of the categories. It also beats out the Tacoma in a few others we haven't listed -- including capabilities and capacities, engine power and drivability. But is it priced accordingly?

The Colorado's pricing is on par with the Tacoma's, if not a little cheaper. That means you can pick up a more powerful, more capable Colorado with more safety features, more tech equipment and better fuel economy for less than a comparable Tacoma. That's a pretty good deal, and it's why the Colorado is a better value than the Tacoma.

AutoTrader's Advice

To us, this one's a no-brainer: The Colorado dramatically outshines the Tacoma. That's no surprise; the aging Tacoma hails from 2005, while the Colorado is all-new this year. The Colorado offers more equipment and technology, better gas mileage, a better ride, more power and more capabilities for about the same price as the Tacoma. The only reason to buy a Tacoma would be if you're not sold on the Chevy's styling or if you're unsure about the Colorado's dependability. Otherwise, the Colorado is the best midsize pickup on the market.

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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 Toyota Tacoma: Which Is Better? - Autotrader