Chevrolet today unveiled an all-new 2015-model Colorado mid-size pickup, catching pickup truck sales leader Ford Motor napping, as well as Ram, because both brands have deserted the lucrative niche by dropping their Ranger and Dakota models. As a result, Toyota Tacoma currently dominates with only some mild or weak competition from the Nissan Frontier.
Chevrolet claims Colorado will “redefine the midsize truck and offer real truck capability and versatility to customers who don’t require a full-size truck.” Bombast aside, as well as several years of slow moving GM delays, Colorado is expected to deliver class-leading power, payload and trailer ratings when it finally goes on sale next fall as a 2015 model.
Colorado and companion GMC Canyon join the all-new 2014 Silverado and Sierra 1500s, and the upcoming Silverado and Sierra HDs to give Chevrolet and GMC customers a lineup of pickups that cannot be matched by Ram or Ford F-Series. The Colorado is 16 inches shorter and 900 pounds lighter than the Silverado. (New Chevrolet Colorado Concept Begs the Fuel Economy Question: Where oh Where is Ford’s Small U.S. Pickup?)
In the Colorado, a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard, and a 3.6-liter V6 is optional. Each corporate engine is tuned and validated for truck use, and each has direct injection and variable valve timing to make the most of power and efficiency. Each is mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. About one year after launch, Colorado will also offer a diesel engine, a 2.8-liter I4 turbo-diesel long offered in global markets.
The four cylinder is estimated at 193 horsepower (146 kW) and 184 lb.-ft. of torque (253 Nm), with approximately 90% of the peak torque available from 2,000 rpm to 6,200 rpm. The 3.6 V6 engine is estimated at 302 horsepower (224 kW) and 270 lb.-ft. of torque (366 Nm). SAE certification of the power ratings is pending.
Aluminum blocks and forged-steel crankshafts, along with dual-overhead camshafts with variable valve timing, direct injection and jet-spray piston cooling are shared on both engines. A number of extended-life components are said to reduce maintenance intervals and reduce the cost of ownership.
When properly equipped, the Colorado is expected to offer class leading payload capacity and trailering capacity of more than 6,700 pounds (3,039 kg). The 2015 Colorado’s configurations are an extended cab model with a 6-foot bed, a crew cab with a 5-foot bed and a crew cab with a 6-foot bed. With the tailgate down, the 6-foot bed allows hauling of 8-foot-long items.
Colorado will come in WT, LT and Z71 trim levels, all in 2WD or 4WD. The off-road-inspired Z71 has a gunmetal grille surround – a change from the chrome standard on the other models – projector headlamps and unique 17-inch aluminum wheels. The Colorado features triple-sealed doors inlaid in the body sides, like the 2014 Silverado, for improved aerodynamic performance and a quieter interior.
To help keep overall mass down and improve the front-to-rear weight balance, the Colorado features a segment-first aluminum hood. It also has thus far the segment’s only active aero grille shutters, which close at highway speeds to enhance aerodynamics.
Other nice touches include:
- Standard bed rail and tailgate protectors with optional factory-installed spray-in bed liner.
- Standard CornerStep rear bumper design pioneered on the 2014 Silverado.
- Optional “EZ Lift-and-Lower” tailgate that uses an internal torsion bar to make raising the tailgate easier with one hand, and a damper for more-controlled lowering.