The 2016 Chevrolet Colorado is the second year of an all-new, second-generation design that began with the 2015 model. It’s still a midsize, but depending on the configuration, it’s up to 20 inches longer, 6 inches wider and 5 inches taller than the 2004-2012 first-gen model. (There were no 2013 or 2014 models.) As in 2015, the 2016 version is available only as a 4-passenger extended cab with a pair of rear jump seats or as a 5-passenger crew cab with a flip-down 3-across rear bench. Front bucket seats are standard. The extended cab comes with a 6.2-foot bed, while the crew cab has a 5.2- or 6.2-ft bed. Both rear-wheel drive and shift-on-the-fly 4-wheel drive are offered. Most content is shared with the GMC Canyon.
The big change for the 2016 model is a 2.8-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder addition to the Colorado’s engine lineup, which increases maximum towing capacity to 7,700 pounds. The 2016 Colorado continues to offer standard Chevrolet MyLink infotainment on the LT and Z71 models with text-message alerts and Siri Eyes Free, OnStar 4G LTE with in-truck Wi-Fi and, for the first time, Apple CarPlay compatibility with iPhone 5 and later devices.
The 2016 Colorado is a good used-vehicle choice for personal and light-commercial use due to its smaller footprint, superior garageability, more maneuverable size and fuel-efficient engine choices.
What We Like
What We Don’t
Sluggish performance of 4-cylinder; clunkiness of 6-speed manual transmission; insufficient adjustments for driver’s seat
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The 2016 Chevrolet Colorado is available with a 2.5-liter dual-overhead-camshaft (DOHC) 4-cylinder, a 3.6-liter DOHC V6 also used in Chevrolet cars and crossovers or a new 2.8-liter Duramax 4-cylinder turbodiesel.
The base 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine develops 200 horsepower and 191 lb-ft of torque. The 2-wheel-drive versions are rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 19 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway with a 6-speed manual transmission and 20 mpg city/26 mpg hwy with a 6-speed automatic. The 4-wheel-drive versions are EPA-rated at 19 mpg city/24 mpg hwy. The max tow rating for this engine is 3,500 pounds.
Standard on 4WD crew cabs and optional on other Colorados, the 3.6-liter V6 makes 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard with the V6. The 2WD V6 models are EPA-rated at 18 mpg city/26 mpg hwy, and 4WD V6s get a 17 mpg city/24 mpg hwy rating. The V6 can tow up to 7,000 pounds.
An all-new torque-rich 2.8-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel is optional on the LT and Z71 models. The Duramax 2.8-liter produces 181 hp and a hefty 369 lb-ft of torque at just 2000 rpm for good low-end response and is mated to a standard 6-speed automatic transmission. It incorporates an exhaust brake system to reduce brake wear on steep downgrades and an integrated trailer brake controller. The diesel can tug up to 7,700 pounds. The 2WD diesels are EPA-rated at 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy, while 4WD versions get a 20 mpg city/28 mpg hwy label.
Standard Features & Options
The 2016 Colorado comes in WT (Work Truck), LT and Z71 trims.
The WT comes with air conditioning, full carpeting, cloth front bucket seats, a urethane steering wheel, 16-inch steel wheels, a 6-speaker AM/FM radio with a 4.2-in display and USB port, a backup camera, a power fore/aft driver’s seat, a tilt steering column, automatic headlamps, a chrome corner-step rear bumper, a locking tailgate, power front windows and door locks, antilock brakes, hill-start assist, stability and traction control and manual folding outside mirrors.
The LT equipment includes Chevrolet MyLink infotainment with an 8-in touchscreen, Apple CarPlay compatibility, Bluetooth connectivity, OnStar 4G LTE with in-truck Wi-Fi, SiriusXM radio, 17-in alloy wheels, cruise control, a tilt-telescopic steering column, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, an overhead console, remote keyless entry, power mirrors and color-keyed exterior trim. Options on the LT include navigation, leather seats, a 7-speaker Bose audio system, fog lights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-heated front seats, remote start, an automatic-locking differential, a sliding rear window, an E-Z Lift and lower tailgate and 18-in alloy wheels.
The Z71 brings automatic climate control, an auto-dim rearview mirror, remote start, power-heated front seats with lumbar adjustment, a sliding rear window, an E-Z Lift and lower tailgate, hill-descent control, an auto-locking rear differential and 17-in all-terrain tires. Navigation, the Bose audio system and leather seats are Z71 options.
A safety package offers optional lane-departure and forward-collision alert systems. An optional spray-in bedliner is available.
The Colorado’s slightly more maneuverable size makes it a sensible alternative to full-size pickups for light hauling in urban areas where garageability is a factor. There are no bargains in late-model, low-mileage pickups, but you’ll pay a bit less for a 4-cylinder 2WD extended cab than you will for a turbodiesel or well-kitted 4WD V6 crew cab with the LT or Z71 trim.
To get a good idea of the prices of used 2016 Colorado pickups, check out the used-car values at KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2016 Colorado:
On a small number of units, the driver’s front airbag may fail to properly inflate during its second-stage deployment in a high-speed crash, increasing the risk of injury.
The console door may not latch securely, allowing the console’s contents to strike vehicle occupants in a crash.
Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
The NHTSA gave the 2016 Colorado extended cab and crew cab a 4-star overall rating, with four stars for frontal impacts, five for side impacts and three for rollover performance.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the 2016 Colorado crew cab as Good for moderate-overlap front impacts, side impacts, roof strength, head restraints and seats. It also gave the 2016 Colorado extended cab Good ratings for moderate-overlap front impacts, roof strength, head restraints and seats, but only an Acceptable grade for side impacts.
General Motors covers the 2016 Colorado with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty with roadside assistance and a 6-year/100,000-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.
Chevrolet certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles cannot have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be no more than 5 years old. Every CPO Colorado undergoes a 172-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, plus whatever remains on the transferable original 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain coverage.
Other Cars to Consider
2016 Nissan Frontier — The long-in-the-tooth Frontier continues in extended (king) cab and 4-door crew cab form with a choice of short or long bed, 2- or 4WD and a 152-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder or a 261-hp 4.0-liter V6. A spray-in factory bedliner and adjustable tie-down cleats are available. Max tow rating is 6,300 pounds.
2016 Toyota Tacoma — The top-selling midsize Tacoma is updated for 2016 with fresh styling and updated infotainment. The base power plant continues to be a 159-hp 2.7-liter 4-cylinder, while a new 278-hp 3.5-liter V6 is the top offering. The V6 can tow up to 6,800 pounds. Available body styles are Access (extended) or Double (crew) cabs. A TRD Off Road version adds off-road chassis upgrades and special trim.
Even though it’s bigger than the 2004-2012 model, the second-generation 2016 Colorado midsize pickup still offers a more fuel-efficient, garage-friendly and maneuverable alternative to full-size trucks. We recommend V6-powered Colorados because they get nearly the same fuel mileage as 4-cylinder models and offer much better performance, particularly in hilly terrain. And the new Duramax turbodiesel 4-cylinder is a good choice for towing and off-road operation. Look for a certified pre-owned truck or lower-mileage option. Avoid modified trucks and get a vehicle history report. Make sure that all safety recalls have been performed by a GM dealer.