The Chevrolet Colorado is Chevy‘s entry in the highly competitive compact pickup segment. As with most of its modern competitors, the Colorado is closer to midsize than compact, and thus offers a reasonable amount of hauling capability without requiring one to upgrade to a more expensive, less maneuverable full-size truck. The Chevy’s affordable price makes it particularly appealing to budget-minded truck buyers and fleet managers.
The Colorado’s aggressive, angular styling makes big promises of power, ruggedness and capability. Although it handles capably on-road and off, Chevrolet’s compact pickup doesn’t really deliver on the power front, due to its weak four- and five-cylinder engines. As the years have worn on, those engines have gained some power, but they don’t hold a candle to the more refined V6 powerhouses of rivals. A V8 is now available, thankfully.
Other downsides to the Chevy Colorado are the abundance of hard plastics in its cabin, inconsistent build quality and a near absence of style. While fleet buyers and budget-minded consumers just looking for an inexpensive small pickup truck may not care about the Colorado’s general lack of refinement, we feel the majority of shoppers will do better with one of the other trucks in this segment.
Current Chevrolet Colorado
The Chevrolet Colorado compact pickup truck comes in standard cab, extended cab and crew cab configurations. Regular- and extended-cab models have 6-foot cargo beds, while crew cab models get a 5-foot box.
Standard cab models seat up to three on their bench seat. Extended-cab models technically seat five, though adults won’t be happy in the tiny, forward-facing jump seats. Crew cabs seat up to six, though the relatively narrow cab makes three-across seating quite snug for adults.
The Chevrolet Colorado comes in two basic trim levels: Work and LT. Work models come with cruise control, tilt steering, air-conditioning and automatic headlights. The LT trim is actually comprised of LT1, LT2 and LT3 subsets. In addition to upgraded materials and a better stereo, the LT can (depending on which version you opt for) also offer an in-dash CD changer, satellite radio and full power accessories. Choosing an LT also means more option choices as well. All Colorados now have side curtain airbags as standard (they were previously optional for all trims).
The regular cab can be had in Work Truck and LT1 trims. The extended cab is available in all trims and the crew cab comes in all but the Work trim.
Engine choices include a 2.9-liter, 185-horsepower four-cylinder, a 242-hp, 3.7-liter five-cylinder and a 5.3-liter V8 that makes 300 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. All but the 2.9 come with a four-speed automatic transmission, while the 2.9 can have the auto or a five-speed manual.
The Colorado can be equipped with either two-wheel drive or a four-wheel-drive system with a dual-range transfer case. There are several suspension options, including the Z85 heavy-duty and Z71 off-road packages that add a torsion-bar front suspension with heavier-duty shocks. There’s also the street-oriented ZQ8, which features a lowered, performance-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels and performance tires, and cosmetic modifications.
Reviews of the Chevrolet Colorado have been lukewarm at best. Although this truck is roomier and better-handling than its predecessor, its engines, cabin accommodations and overall build quality have always fallen short alongside the more complete packages from Dodge, Nissan and Toyota.
Used Chevrolet Colorado Models
Launched for the 2004 model year as a replacement for the smaller, outdated S-10 pickup, the Chevrolet Colorado is still in its first generation. From the start it was available in standard cab, extended cab and crew cab configurations.
Until 2010, there were three main trim levels — base level Work, midlevel LS and luxury-equipped LT — with the LS being replaced for 2009 with the similar VL. Until 2007, the Colorado was powered by a 2.8-liter inline-4 with 175 hp or a 3.5-liter inline-5 that made 220 hp. For 2007, those engines grew to 2.9 liters with 185 hp and 3.7 liters with 242 hp, respectively. The V8 engine was not offered until ’09.