2015 Chevrolet Colorado
While the market for full-size pickup trucks keeps expanding, sales of smaller pickups have been steadily contracting and now account for only 280,000 units annually. The Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma have been the only constants, but they’re about to be rejoined by the new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado. Launching at the Los Angeles auto show, the Colorado is of course closely related to the global truck that’s already on sale in the rest of the world. (The GMC Canyon sister truck is on the way, too, but will debut at a later time.
With the most noticeable differences being up front, in the form of reshaped headlamps, new fog-lamp surrounds, a new grille, and more. The swept-back fascia is also a major departure from the blocky design of the new Silverado, a decision made, we imagine, to provide tangible differentiation among the high-end Colorados and low-end Silverados whose prices will overlap. The look falls more in line with the sedan and SUV portions of Chevy’s lineup, which the brand hopes will raise its profile among buyers of those vehicles. Those shoppers will appreciate this truck’s tidier dimensions; it’s five inches narrower, three inches lower, and 900 pounds lighter than the comparo-winning Silverado. So it’s smaller if not truly small.
Chevy tells us that the roof stamping is the only major exterior component shared with the global version, while a new boxed and hydroformed frame is closely related to the Silverado’s and increases structural rigidity and improves crash performance versus the global Colorado. Inside, the instrument panel and dashboard have been completely redone and in higher trim levels will feature a touch screen running Chevy’s MyLink software. The Colorado and Canyon will be assembled in Wentzville, Missouri, alongside the Chevy Express and GMC Savana vans that will continue to be built in the facility.
Two engines will be available when the Colorado goes on sale late next year. An all-aluminum 2.5-liter four with 193 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque is standard. For those seeking more power or 6700 pounds of towing capacity—the base tow rating remains a secret—Chevy will offer a 3.6-liter DOHC V-6 with 302 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. Both engines will come hooked to a six-speed automatic and will have optional four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case. There will be disc brakes at every corner with four-piston calipers borrowed from the Silverado clamping onto the front rotors.
In late summer or the early fall of 2015, the second-year 2016 Colorado will offer a 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel. Power numbers aren’t yet available for the cleaner, urea-injected U.S. version of this engine, but the 2.8-liter makes 180 horsepower and 346 lb-ft of torque in the rest of the world. We were told, however, to expect similar numbers.
The Colorado won’t be available as a regular cab, offering only a Crew Cab with four full doors, or an Extended Cab with rear-hinged rear doors. Crew Cab versions will be fitted with either five-foot or 6.1-foot beds; opt for the Extended Cab and you get the 6.1-foot bed. Both beds come with a damped tailgate. Three trim levels will be available: The basic version will be the Work Truck, LT will be the mid-level trim, and the top version will be the Z71. About 10 to 15 percent of sales are expected to be to fleet customers.
Chevy tells us that it’s too early to discuss exact pricing, but they did say that the truck will start well below the Silverado’s $26,760 base price. Our best estimate places the basic Colorado at just under $20,000. As mentioned, higher trims are expected to cross over into Silverado territory, so look for fully loaded models to reach $35,000.