Inigo S. Roces / Inigo S. Roces | January 02, 2013 16:52
Made for the Prairie
It’s been a long wait, but we've finally gotten the Chevrolet Colorado. Some of our more in-tune readers will know that the previous models, though never sold here, were sharing platforms with the D-max. There was little effort to truly distinguish it as a Chevrolet, other than the front and rear facades and some minor changes in the interior.
This time, it’s all different. It’s an American-feeling truck all the way. There’s that familiar Chevrolet family face that dares to buck current style trends with a clearly defined bumper. Foglights are recessed behind chrome bush guards. Fender flairs are essential, not aesthetic, to house the massive tires.
Moving on to the inside, potential buyers will find a cabin that plays on the twin cockpit design found in the Cruze. It’s been slightly altered for a tougher look with beige and black for contrast. The shapes and vents in the dashboard shed the typical tough truck look for more civilized styling.
Come to thing of it, the only hints that it’s a truck are in the squared binnacles housing the dials. The dials themselves are designed like a shock-proof outdoors watch. I find there’s a little too much detail in the dial graphic, making it small and harder to read. Fuel and temp readouts are at the bottom of each dial. In the center, an LCD displays trip information and fuel economy readouts. Hanging from the ceiling is a large rearview mirror with digital night and day display. When reversing, the view behind is displayed on its right side. Over in the center stack, is a no-fuss integrated stereo sits at the top. Below it are the climate controls are housed in a circular interface.
If you’re read our review of the 4x2, you’ll note it had the in-dash touch screen interface with navigation. It came with simpler air con controls. For now, it seems like an either or option, meaning you can either have auto climate control or a DVD Navigation system, but not both.
Moving on, at the bottom are two power outlets. The center divider holds a massive stitched stick shift. Four wheel drive controls are simplified to a knob just to the lower right of it. Simply twist the knob to move from 2H to 4H to 4L.
In the second row is some decent space for rear passengers. An armrest comes down from the bench, and a separate power outlet sits behind the center console box.
Behind, the truck bed is large and can easily accommodate some large furniture. Chevrolet installed the optional utility box and bed liner. Thankfully, the rear bed is so huge, it’s taken up little of the bed’s usable space and seems like a good idea.
Hauling all of this along is a 2.8 liter common rail turbo diesel 4 cylinder Duramax diesel. A variable geometry turbo with intercooler boosts power up to 180 ps and 440 Nm of torque. That power passes through a 5-speed manual to the limited slip differential equipped rear axle. Just a twist of the 4x4 knob can send it to all wheels.
All of this combines to make a truly American feeling truck when it comes to the drive. It’s large, brash and quite a scene stealer. Yes, it’s a bit noisy and some of that vibration can be felt through the cabin. Nonetheless, like other larger American cars and SUVs, it’s also soft on the suspension side. This truck is easily the most comfortable of them all. Indeed there’s a penalty in handling as the car lists in corners and dips forward and backward a bit under power or on the brakes.
The sheer power, however, certainly makes up for it, knocking your head back with the torque and picking up speed quickly. After driving the Ranger, the Colorado’s manual feels like a longer throw from gear to gear. I, personally like it, adding a bit of old school muscle car feel to the truck.
Fuel economy in the city is at 9.3 km/L in medium traffic while highway was at 12 km/L.
It all helps to more clearly define its uniquely American character. Sure, it’s made in Thailand, but there’s just so much American identity that carries through. You almost feel like pulling up your overalls and spitting out some tobacco the moment you step off.
Admittedly, this character might not suit everyone’s taste. The Colorado seems designed to favor owners that truly love pickups and would drive them every day if they could. This one will reward them with a comfortable ride, a civil interior and lots of space and power on tap if need be. Many brands call their offerings lifestyle trucks. The Colorado is, without a doubt, an American lifestyle truck.