Cars

2015 Chevrolet Colorado: A right-size pickup

2015 Chevrolet Colorado
2015 Chevrolet Colorado Tom Strongman

Chevrolet’s all-new midsize Colorado pickup is a practical size for folks who use their trucks mostly for personal transportation and only occasionally for hauling. Its personal appeal seemed to be validated by the admiring looks and comments I got while driving it.

Motor Trend magazine named it Truck of the Year.

Trucks come in so many different variations, from powertrain to drive system to box size, that generalizing is not easy. The four-door Colorado is available in extended- or crew-cab models, rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, with a 5-foot-2-inch short bed or a 6-foot-2 long bed. Engine choices include a 200-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder or a 305-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6. Both engines have aluminum blocks, dual-overhead camshafts with variable valve timing and direct fuel injection. The transmissions are six-speed automatics, and a six-speed manual is offered with the four-cylinder engine.

The electronically controlled four-wheel drive system has high and low modes of four-wheel drive as well as standard two-wheel drive.

There are three trim levels, WT (work truck), LT and Z71. Base prices start at $20,995 and range to $35,290 for a crew-cab, long-bed, four-wheel-drive Z71.

The test truck from GM’s press fleet was a four-wheel-drive, crew-cab, short-bed Z71 with the V-6 engine. The short-box model has a 128.3-inch wheelbase that is easier to handle in parking lots and tight quarters. The long-box versions have a 140.5-inch wheelbase and a correspondingly larger turning circle.

Compared to a full-size Silverado, the Colorado can carry 1,540 pounds or tow 7,000 pounds where the Silverado can carry 1,800 pounds and tow 9,400 pounds. The Colorado also gets better gas mileage, up to 27 miles per gallon on the highway with the four-cylinder or 26 mpg with the V-6. That’s for two-wheel drive.

The Colorado’s cabin is as nice as an SUV’s, and the triple-sealed doors help reduce wind and road noise. The heated seats were two-tone cloth that looked as if they would wear well and not show soil easily. They are set close to the floor, and the seating position felt a bit odd to me. The back seat is large enough for adults.

Gauges are grouped into a single pod while audio, climate and the 8-inch screen for the optional navigation system are placed in the center of the dash. The shift lever is mounted in a console that also has cupholders.

The 2015 Colorado is also offered with forward collision alert, lane departure warning, rear-vision camera and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot via OnStar’s 4G LTE connection. The vehicle becomes a mobile hotspot that is on whenever the vehicle is on. It comes with a three-month/three-gigabyte data trial. OnStar has several data plans, and prices range from $5 a month to $50 a month depending on the amount of data used.

The IntelliLink system, according to GM, “extends the OnStar experience from safety and security to information and entertainment by seamlessly integrating the capability of a smartphone into the vehicle so that hand-held phones may be safely stowed while driving.”

Those with iPhones can access Siri via the steering wheel controls and check calendar entries, have text messages read and respond to them, place calls or call up music.

Price

The base price of the test car was $34,115. Options included a Bose audio system, navigation with 8-inch touch screen, spray-on bedliner and trailer package. The sticker price was $36,710.

Warranty

Three years or 36,000 miles, with a five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Tom Strongman’s e-mail is tstrongman@gmail.com.

2015 Chevy Colorado Crew Cab Short Bed 4WD Z71

Engine: 3.6 -liter, 305-horsepower V-6

Transmission: Six-speed automatic, four-wheel drive

Wheelbase: 128.3 inches

Curb weight: 4,380 pounds

Base price: $34,115

As driven: $36,710

MPG rating: 17 in city, 24 on the highway

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