When Chevrolet launched the Colorado in our market back in 2011, it was at the top of the pack. At the time, all of its primary competition -Ranger, Hilux, Strada, Navara and D-Max- were all veterans of the market; they were kept fresh by consistent updates and upgrades.
Today, the game is different. The Colorado is now the veteran of the bunch after new generations of all its competitor models have been introduced by their respective manufacturers in (unusual) succession. Now Chevrolet has to respond to the challenge, and they did so by implementing a rather comprehensive redesign of their fighter in the pick-up class.
Being an update, they didn't really change major things such as the structure of the body like the shape of the bed, the doors, and other major sheet metal. That would incur major costs especially since they would have to do a lot of modifications to the stamping process. Of course they changed the wheel design, and it does look quite good. What Chevrolet really upgraded was the design of the front fascia; a facelift, so to speak.
Normally a facelift involves a new set of headlamps and perhaps a reshaped bumper, but the Colorado's redesign is a bit more comprehensive, particularly in the front section. The designers created a completely different impression from the 2011 model, pushing the Colorado forward into a vehicle that really looks good whether you're parked in one of the metro's party hubs, cruising on the highway, or going off-road. It just looks more powerful, more striking and more sophisticated; unusual for a truck.
But it is the changes on the the inside that I truly appreciated. The cabin is definitely far better than before as the dashboard is completely different. The reshaped and redesigned dash is more functional, more stylish and also effectively distances the Colorado from it's brother: the D-Max. They've also removed the Camaro-inspired dual binnacle gauges in favor of a more modern cluster.
Everything in here feels really well built. The dash is solid with a much better fit and finish than before. The interior door panels are likewise new, and look better too. Oddly enough the steering wheel is still the same, but that's no biggie. I like the new multimedia unit particularly because of its layout and the fact that -thankfully- it doesn't use a mini-USB port like its predecessor as I was never able to find an adaptor to use; not even in CD-R King.
Under the hood, the Chevrolet truly has strength in numbers. The 2.8-liter variable geometry turbodiesel is simply impressive, especially with 200 horsepower available at 3800 rpm and 500 earth-moving Newton-meters of torque at 2000 rpm. To put those digits in perspective, it matches the horsepower of the top spec Ranger and exceeds the torque by 30 Nm, all despite being 400cc smaller in displacement. The Colorado's engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic, and gets a 4x4 system with a limited slip diff; yes, you wouldn't have any problems if you suddenly ended up on a trail.
On the daily commute, there really is no feeling quite like driving a modern pick-up, especially one that was clearly intended to be great as an everyday drive. The driver's seat is power adjustable, you've got automatic climate control, there's an auto dimming rear view mirror, remote engine start, parking sensors front and rear, a back-up camera, and even forward collision alert; the features list reads like an executive car, not a truck. And even on the highway, it's got plenty of kit. There's a lane departure warning system and even electronic cruise control. But really what I found most convenient was Apple CarPlay.
Yes, most of us associate pick-ups as workhorses with extremely bumpy rides that could turn body fat into butter, but modern pick-ups are now far from the machines we knew them to be. Such is the way of the Colorado LTZ, as it feels more made for our daily lives rather than our daily hauling needs; that's the reason why it has suspension tuned for more comfort without sacrificing its carrying capabilities.
On the expressway, the Colorado rides smoothly, and quietly. Of course the engine get a bit noisy at high speeds and high revs, but at cruising speeds of 80 to about 100 km/h it's all good. Overtaking is easy, despite the heavy weight of the vehicle. Wind noise is also kept well in check, and that's good. Efficient too; at 13.4 km/l on the highway it's not bad, and it does 8.6 km/l (20 km/h average) in the city too.
All that power and torque is quite handy to have around. This Colorado can take on a ton of cargo on the bed (about 907 kilograms) and pull a total of 3.5 tons (or 3174 kilos), meaning it can tow 2 average compact cars with plenty to spare. But mostly, I enjoy the power and the way the truck lunges forward with a prod of the throttle.
On a light trail, the Colorado gets the job done. The tires are the more road-friendly sort that was made for highways, but the systems in the Colorado does maximize whatever traction they can offer when taken onto the tougher path. It rides high above most obstacles, so long as they're below about 200 millimeters in height. Of course for tougher trails, all-terrain or even M/T tires are the order of the day, but for most stuff, the stock truck will do. And in case you're wondering, it's rated to wade through water that's up to 800mm deep; but do take care if you'd like to test that capability.
Overall, I appreciated the many changes they made to the Colorado. The competition really has elevated the game since the Colorado was initially introduced in 2011, but this new one is ready to meet the challenge. In fact, it feels like it's spoiling for a fight with the others, but we'll save that for later.
As it stands, the Chevrolet Colorado 4x4 LTZ is still every bit a truck, but I really like the renewed purpose. The Colorado has come down from the Rockies and transformed into a truck that most of us can enjoy on the daily commute, the weekend drive, and out at the job site, if need be.