The pick up segment is definitely getting more and more exciting.
The arrival of more advanced common rail direct injection, far better designs, engineering for tougher uses, better ride qualities and far more powerful variable turbos have turned the once purely utilitarian trucks into true vehicles we city dwellers can comfortably and easily use everyday.
Chevrolet is the newest brand to join the local pick-up truck bandwagon, and this is their weapon of choice: the Colorado. Let's see what it can do.
For this particular truck, the looks are quite striking. The Chevy family face is pretty cool to look at, while the truck's dimensions make it one of the biggest in the class; same goes for the bed. Properly muscular and with plenty of ground clearance as a truck should. I particularly like the color choices they offer, especially this shade of blue that seems to give it a stand out quality in a crowd of silver, white, black or beige pick ups, don't you think?
One unusual thing about this particular unit is its “pair” of headlights. If you've noticed, they're not the same, as the driver side has the multi-reflector halogen lights while the passenger side has a projector. It's not a manufacturing error. One headlamp got hit, and was replaced with the 4x4 projector headlamp; the only one in stock at the time. Chevrolet also installed a roll up bed cover; an accessory for sure.
The interior is a nice mix of gray and black hues. The steering wheel does feel nice, and the dashboard layout feels very modern; just like the exterior. Rear legroom and hip room is good. Overall, it's nice and roomy, with the usual array of storage options such as compartments atop the dash, pockets for storage, cupholders by the A/C vents, and little compartments under the rear seat for tools and such.
For features, you get the usual. Power amenities, multi info displays, USB input and other bits. There is, however, something strange about the spec of this particular unit. TCCCI (Chevy's distributor) opted to install a DVD system with navigation into this unit; it is not the standard spec audio system you would get if you bought the 4x2 M/T version you see here. There's even a back up camera that turns on a little LCD on the rear view mirror; again, I suspect it's not standard. Nevertheless, if you bought one, you would get an integrated radio system with a USB port, Aux in and MP3 playback, so your iPod, media player or MP3 CD won't feel out of place.
The diesel engine in the Colorado is a new one for Chevrolet. This being the 4x2 model, it gets a 2.5 liter common rail direct injection diesel engine, a turbo and an intercooler. The 2.5 Duramax may not be getting the variable turbo that the 2.8L model gets, but still it produces 150 PS and 380 Newton-meters; plenty of power and torque, and it's matched with a five speed manual driving the rear wheels.
Firing up the Duramax diesel (it's really an engine developed by Isuzu), I can feel quite a bit more vibration and hear more than the usual clatter. Around town, the suspension is more comfortable than what you would be used to in trucks like the Hilux or Navara, and feels to be in the same category as the new Ranger and Strada for ride. Handling is decent, but nothing really to note in that department.
Straight line acceleration is good, though the gearing is a little taller than what I would have expected. For uphill inclines you really need to be in the right gear for it, as the Colorado does feel quite heavy. I would have wanted to try a little off-roading in this Colorado, and perhaps try out the wading capabilities of the Colorado: 800mm, the same as the new Ranger. Being a rear wheel drive only model, however, it might be best to leave that to the 4x4 2.8L version. Fuel economy in the city is at the 8.5km/l mark with heavy traffic, 9.8km/l in moderate/light traffic, and 12.5 on the highway.
In all honesty, only a full comparison test with its peers will the Colorado's abilities be truly showcased, but we'll reserve that for some other time. As it stands, the Chevrolet Colorado 2.5L 4x2 is priced at PhP 1,148,000; not bad at all considering that quite a few top spec compact cars are in this price range.
For this particular version, optioned-out with accessories to be a lifestyle 4x2 truck, Chevrolet Philippines has broken out into a new segment in quite a big way.