By KBB.com Editors
As gasoline prices continue to edge upwards, the compact pickup is beginning to look mighty attractive. Though it can't tow or haul like a full-size Silverado, the little Colorado makes an attractive alternative for those whose truck use tends to be more recreational than occupational. The Colorado's new 185-horsepower four-cylinder and 242-horsepower five-cylinder engines provide good power and excellent fuel economy, while a four-wheel-drive option allows the compact pickup to tackle deep snow and venture off-road. Although the Colorado's cab and bed are not the largest in this segment (and its turning radius is uncommonly wide), the truck remains competitive with Ford's Ranger series and, to a lesser extent, the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier and Dodge Dakota.You'll Like This Car If...
If you like the rugged, bold look of the full-size Silverado, but want it in a smaller package that gets better fuel economy, check out the Colorado. The standard four-cylinder engine is surprisingly strong yet gets better than 25 miles per gallon on the highway.You May Not Like This Car If...
Some may find the Colorado too narrow and, with the Crew Cab model, short on rear-seat legroom. Also, the Colorado's optional 3.7-liter in-line five-cylinder engine does not offer as much torque as the V6 engines from Toyota and Nissan.What's Significant About This Car?
Quick to answer complaints of poor power, Chevrolet adds two new engines to the Colorado lineup: A 2.9-liter four-cylinder and 3.7-liter five-cylinder. Also new for 2007 is a tire pressure monitoring system and a revised automatic transmission.Driving It Driving Impressions
The Colorado's greatest improvement over the old S10 can be found in its chassis and powertrains. The new body-on-frame chassis is much more rigid than the old pickup. You can feel it in the way the Colorado handles, off-road and in the corners. Even over washboard roads, our Colorado exhibited none of the dash-rattling or squeaks we've come to expect from the S10. Chevrolet has also created a number of performance and off-road packages that enhance the Colorado's rugged image. Surprisingly, for such a small truck the Colorado possesses a rather wide turning circle. The standard in-line four-cylinder is fairly potent for such a small engine. When ordered with the manual transmission, it also offers exceptionally good fuel economy.Favorite Features
The Colorado's rear tailgate can latch at a 55-degree angle so that items can rest flat on the top of the wheel wells and align with the tailgate.
Optional roof rail-mounted side-curtain airbags are a first for this segment.
The Colorado's interior layout is highly functional, with all the gauges and controls in clear sight and easy reach of the driver. The seats offer firm bottoms and good lumbar support, and the cloth fabric is both durable and comfortable. Crew Cab models are a bit tight when it comes to rear-seat legroom, but front seat occupants should be more than satisfied. The one drawback may be the over-abundance of gray throughout the cab. Chevrolet has revamped the interior color scheme to lessen this mass of gray plastic, but the most vivid improvements show up only in the pricier trim levels.Exterior
The Colorado definitely has the look that says "Chevy." Bulging fender flares and bright alloy wheels punctuate tall slab sides. Regular Cab models ride on a 111-inch wheelbase while Extended and Crew Cab models are on a 126-inch wheelbase. The bed length for the Regular and Extended cab is six feet, while the Crew Cab model offers a five-foot bed. Both beds feature tall sidewalls, for deeper storage, which give the Colorado best-in-class cargo volume. The Colorado features a clever tailgate that can be folded a full 90-degrees or set at a 55-degree angle, effectively placing the top of the gate in line with the top of the rear wheel wells, which makes it easy to load and carry, for example, large panels.Notable Standard Equipment
The Colorado LS features a five-speed manual transmission, 2.9-liter four-cylinder engine, air conditioning, cruise control, anti-lock brakes (ABS), tilt-steering wheel, chrome front and rear bumpers, dual outside mirrors, automatic headlamps, AM/FM stereo, tachometer and 15-inch steel wheels. The LT trim adds Deluxe Cloth upholstery, power locks, color-keyed carpeting, CD player, forward-facing rear jump seats (Extended Cab) and 15-inch aluminum wheels.Notable Optional Equipment
Options include four-wheel drive, four-speed automatic transmission, power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, limited-slip rear axle, tow package, six-disc CD changer, side-impact airbags, traction control, rear tonneau cover and a Sun and Sound package that adds a six-disc CD changer and power sunroof. The Xtreme package is available on two-wheel-drive LT trims and includes the ZQ8 lowered suspension, gas-charged shocks, rear stabilizer bars, 18-inch wheels, body-colored front fascia and grille, fog lights and a rear spoiler.Under the Hood
Engine choices for the Colorado include four- and five-cylinder powerplants. The standard 2.9-liter four and the optional 3.7-liter five are both derivatives of the new in-line six found in the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy. Though the sizes of these engines might seem small, they are both big on power. The 2.9-liter four-cylinder produces an impressive 185 horsepower and offers up most of its 190 pound-feet of torque between the ranges of 1200 and 5600 rpm. That's enough power to muscle any lightly-equipped four-wheel drive vehicle through the toughest terrain. The optional 3.7-liter engine makes 242 horsepower. Both of these engines produce class-leading horsepower while returning outstanding fuel economy.
2.9-liter in-line 4
185 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
190 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 (2WD manual), 17/24 (2WD automatic), 18/24 (4WD manual), 16/23 (4WD automatic)
3.7-liter in-line 5
242 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
242 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 (2WD), 16/23 (4WD), 16/22 (4WD Crew Cab)
The Colorado Regular Cab LS has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $14,495, while the Extended Cab LS starts at $16,895 and the Crew Cab LT starts at $20,895. Base Regular cab models can be loaded with options and still remain below $20,000. To help make your best deal, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price. It shows the typical transaction price the Colorado is selling for in your area, a valuable piece of information when negotiating price. As for resale potential, the Colorado falls far short of the values held by the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. Kelley Blue Book expects the Colorado to retain less-than-average residual values at the 24-, 36-, 48- and 60-month intervals. However, the Colorado matches, and in some cases exceeds, the projected residual values of the Ford Ranger.