Who knew that pickups will suddenly become the go-to vehicle for the go-anywhere driver? Back in the day, pickups were not exactly the most appealing vehicles on the road. Purpose-built for punishing conditions, the pickup was seen as a rough and reliable workhorse that can clock in long hours on the road with no complaints whatsoever. Great for the working class but not particularly attractive to most families or other car buying demographics.
Fast forward to present day and that notion has pretty much changed, for better or for worse, depending how you look at it. No longer is the pickup just a simple tool for carrying heavy cargo or transporting people in rough terrain. It has to walk the fine line of being capable in both suburbia and off the beaten path.
Enter the Chevrolet Colorado. Given a nip and tuck, inside and out, Chevy’s one-tonne pickup offering gets a much needed makeover. While capable in any terrain, the pre-updated Colorado somehow lacked refinement and modern road manners. Having tested the range-topping 4x4 LTZ last December 2016, we were impressed as to what Chevy did for the 2017 Colorado. Now, we get to see if the more affordable 4x2 LTX will be able to impress us as well.
No longer does the Colorado resemble its departed MPV cousin, the Spin, as Chevrolet gave the redesigned pickup a new look. Sleek new headlights with blacked-out borders and a revised dual-port grill give the 2017 Colorado a more striking face. Unique only to the LTX is a matte black nudge bar which not only provides extra protection, but a more purposeful look for the pickup. Rounding it all up is the clamshell hood which fits perfectly with the flared front fenders.
The overall shape of the 2017 Colorado remains the same which is not bad as it did not need to be changed in the first place. New, however are the 16-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 245/70 Bridgestone Dueller tires. While they look nice, the bigger 18-inch alloy wheels with black inlays look better though they are only available in the range-topping LTZ. Plus, the thicker tires on the 16-inch wheels paid dividends when it came to ride comfort.
Also unique on the LTX version of the Colorado are the matte black sports bars on the bed. Aside from giving the pickup a cooler finish, one can also attach additional gear or tie down equipment on the said bars. For easier ingress and egress, new side step boards have been installed as well although I do wish they were slightly wider. Like the nudge bar up front, the sports bars and side steps are only available for this particular variant.
Step inside and the Colorado LTX mixes both form and function. Upon first impressions, it doesn't make excuses for its utilitarian purpose with acres of hard plastic. No carpets here as the Colorado LTX comes with rubber floor mats instead which suits the Colorado just fine. I find it odd, however, that the rear bench does not have any floor mats.
The dashboard features a traditional upright design but comes with a sleek yet muscular finish. Then there's the leather upholstery on the seats, door trim and steering wheel and the cleverly appointed shiny plastic trim on the central aircon vents, console and door cards. For a mid-spec hauler, it was nice seeing the pickup come with nice cabin trimmings.
It's choc full of equipment too. It now gets the latest MyLink touchscreen infotainment with AM/FM radio, Bluetooth, USB and Aux, a seven speaker audio system, multi-info display with tripmeter and average fuel consumption, and three 12V charging points (two at the center console and one at the back). I have to say that the Colorado LTX comes pretty loaded equipment-wise. Did I mention that the new MyLink system also supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay?
For added security and safety, this particular Colorado also comes with a high-definition (HD) dashcam. Part of the package is a 32GB micro SD. Where is the dashcam's video display? Chevrolet integrated it within the rear-view mirror. Clever, if I say so myself. In addition, the monitor also doubles as the reverse camera's display.
Like the rest of the Colorado range, The LTX is packed with the torquey 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder turbo-diesel. It delivers best-in-class power in its segment as it generates a whopping 200 PS and 500 Nm of pulling power. Power is then routed through a six-speed automatic that drives the rear wheels. After driving the pickup for several days, I could say that the figures did not lie.
Thanks to a wide power band, initial torque delivery from the engine was impressive. With power readily available at 2000 rpm, the Colorado was quite the lively ute. Initial acceleration from the Duramax engine is good and the turbo kicks in nicely. The six-speed automatic went through the gears smoothly and never missed a beat. It does come with a manual mode but I never got to use it since the transmission was doing an excellent job of going about its business.
Plant your foot down on the accelerator and it's actually quite easy to light up the rear tires. I had to remind myself several times to be easy on the pedal when I'm traveling around town. On the open road however, the healthy power output meant that I was able to overtake with confidence and maintain highway speeds.
As for fuel economy, the 4x2 Colorado LTX will return about 9 km/l in city driving. Out on the highway, the Colorado will have an average fuel consumption between 13.3 and 14.5 km/l.
Also impressive on the Colorado LTX is its handling. It no longer felt heavy to drive around as Chevy fitted it with a new electronic power steering system (EPS). Along town roads and city streets, the steering was light and precise, a far cry from the pre-facelift's setup. On the highway, the EPS stiffened ever so slightly which was good.
Still, it's not the type of vehicle you'd want to attack corners with (given its heft and tall ride height) but for a one-tonne pickup, it actually handles fine. Like most pickups, the Colorado also gets double wishbones at the front and leaf springs at the back.
Ride comfort on the Colorado is pretty average for a one-tonne pickup. The thicker tires on the LTX made the pickup go over the bumps smoother compared to the LTZ's slightly low-profile rubber. There is generous legroom at the back as well as head- and elbowroom. But like all other pickups, the rear backrests are still too upright. One can slouch, however and slide their feet onto the bottom of the front seats for a more comfortable ride.
For Php 1,387,888, the Colorado LTX comes with loads of tech and creature comforts. Some may argue that its closest rivals (Ford Ranger FX4, Isuzu D-Max X-Series and Nissan Navara Sport Edition 4x2 A/T) are more affordable. But with the amount of standard kit present in Chevy's mid-range 4x2 pickup, the Colorado LTX has more bang for buck.
With pickups continuing to become more high-tech and car-like to drive, the simple workhorses are slowly becoming a thing of the past. But the 2017 Chevy Colorado LTX somehow showed that one can still make a rugged pickup, complete with modern creature comforts.