2015 really is the year of the truck.
In the last nine months, four car manufacturers launched new generation and updated versions of their pick-up truck nameplates, breathing much life into the segment.
Such was not the case for Chevrolet Philippines, as there wasn't an update scheduled this year for their contender: the Colorado. And so, to make their truck more competitive, they chose to upgrade the truck themselves... well, sort of.
The result is this: the Chevrolet Colorado Tracker Pro.
The body and overall design is still the same as the one that Chevrolet Philippines launched in 2012, and that's not a bad thing. It's still a strong design with those muscular proportions, tall stance and purposeful cuts and lines. But one look and it becomes clear that this particular variant of the Colorado isn't exactly standard, as Chevrolet made some very meaningful and profound upgrades to the look and capabilities.
The most obvious the installation of a snorkel on the passenger side fender and A-pillar. For the non-4x4 inclined, the snorkel (as it's name states) allows the engine to breathe even when wading through water. On all four corners are gun-metal wheels with grabby all-terrain tires, allowing the Colorado to get more traction off-road. Chevy also installed a lift kit on the suspension, elevating the ground clearance another 2 inches, and increasing the Tracker Pro's water wading depth to 880mm; the best in its class.
Underneath the nose of the Tracker Pro is some serious off-roading gear such as an electric winch that can pull 12,000 lbs. (about 5,500 kg), or nearly triple the weight of the vehicle. That winch comes with a full kit that includes the remote switch (that you plug into the bumper), a set of chains, straps and more. There is even a tow hitch at the back that's rated up to 6,000 lbs. (about 2,250 kg), meaning it can tow another Colorado with plenty to spare.
Should things get rocky, there's an aluminum skid plate underneath the engine bay. All of these enhancements, along with the bedliner and the functional roof rack, are not mere cosmetic parts but components meant to make the Colorado more capable when the road gets tough.
Like the standard Colorado models, the interior is a nice mix of gray and black hues. The steering wheel does feel nice, and the dashboard layout feels very modern. The seats are wrapped in grayish beige leather, with plenty of space to go around for a truck. 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.
Power amenities, multi info displays, USB input and other bits come standard with the Colorado. The in-dash audio system is the new Chevrolet MyLink system, and has plenty of functions for even the most techie of us around. Chevy also put in a built-in back-up camera, a tire pressure monitoring system, and even an in car video recorder (dashcam) with 32 GB of memory.
Powering the Colorado Tracker Pro is the VM Motori-sourced 2.8-liter CRDI diesel engine. Badged as Duramax, the Colorado gets 200 PS and 440 Nm of torque at 2000 rpm for this model that has a 6-speed manual. Firing it up for the first time elicits that diesel rumble, though its much quieter than before.
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. The clutch is lighter than expected while the braking is good, considering the extra weight. Handling is decent, but there isn't really much 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. Fuel economy in the city is at the 9.6km/l mark (moderate to heavy traffic) and 12.9 km/l on the highway.
When taken on a trail up in the mountains the Colorado Tracker Pro performs and feels as advertised. The shift on the fly 4x4 system makes drivetrain selection easy, and the A/T tires offer plenty of traction on muddy roads. Thankfully the weather cooperated and didn't necessitate the use of the winch, and the river crossing didn't need the use of the snorkel, but it's nice to know that they're there.
Overall the Tracker Pro is a great choice in the pick-up segment, especially for those who seek a hassle-free entry into serious off-roading. This model, priced at PhP 1,588,888, gives customers a veritable starter kit into 4x4 adventures and is plenty of fun when used off the beaten path.
Oh, and it works great on floods too.