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 2008 Chevrolet Colorado makes an attractive alternative for those whose truck use tends to be more recreational than occupational. The Colorado's 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.
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, with two-wheel drive, is EPA-rated at 24 miles per gallon on the highway.
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.
OnStar with the Safe and Sound package is standard on 1LT and Z71 trim levels.
Driving Impressions The Colorado's greatest strengths can be found in its chassis and powertrains. The newest body-on-frame chassis is much more rigid than previous Chevrolet compact pickups and you can...feel it in the way the Colorado handles off-road and in the corners. Even over washboard roads, the Colorado exhibited no sign of dash-rattling or squeaks. 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 has 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.
The Colorado's rear tailgate can be set at a 55-degree angle so that items can rest flat on the tops of the wheel wells and align with the tailgate.
Optional 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 111.3-inch wheelbase while Extended and Crew Cab models are on a 126.0-inch wheelbase. The bed length for the Regular and Extended Cab models is roughly six feet, while that for the Crew Cab model is about five feet. Both beds feature tall sidewalls, for deeper storage, which give the Colorado best-in-class cargo volume. The Colorado has a clever tailgate that can be opened flat or set at a 55-degree angle, effectively placing the top of the gate in line with the tops of the rear wheel wells, which makes it easy to load and carry, for example, large, flat panels.
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, dual outside mirrors, automatic headlamps, color-keyed carpeting, AM/FM stereo, tachometer and forward-facing jump seats in the Extended Cab. The LT trim adds chrome front and rear bumpers, Deluxe Cloth upholstery, CD player, leather-wrapped steering wheel and some trim items. To that the Z71 adds the Z71 off-road suspension, auto-dimming mirror, rear sliding window and the 3.7-liter five-cylinder engine.
Options include four-wheel drive, four-speed automatic transmission, power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, heated leather seats, automatic locking rear differential, tow package, six-disc CD changer, XM Satellite Radio, side-impact airbags, traction control, Z71 off-road package and a Sun and Sound package that adds a six-disc CD changer and power sunroof.
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 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 good fuel economy.
2.9-liter in-line 4
185 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
190 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 (2WD, manual), 18/24 (2WD, automatic), 16/22 (4WD, manual), 17/22 (4WD, automatic)
3.7-liter in-line 5
242 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
242 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 (2WD), 15/21 (4WD), 16/22 (2WD, Crew Cab), 15/20 (4WD, Crew Cab)
By Oliver on Monday, August 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Dependable, easy to repair"
Cons: "Living in fear from all the hype"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"After our purchase we learned of all the bad hype surrounding this vehicle. The dealer probably re-set the error code to sell the truck. Our son warned us to sell; but we still own the truck after 3 years. We checked the code @ Chevy and it stated to "break down the engine and mic every part". This is a joke in itself. With a little research I came across 2 modules that can cause the "light". I replaced one and the light remained off for a couple of weeks. The other module is some sort of a temperature sensor. I am out to replace it because the light reacts differently to the temperature of the engine. If I drive 5 miles and pull over and turn off and restart the engine the light does not return. We keep the engine oil clean, and keep up with minor repairs, like differential joints (before they break) The serpentine belt was the easiest I have ever changed, 5 minutes! So I guess all the hype is similar to the VW BBW engine hype, poor maintenance causes breakdown, so blame the vehicle."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By pma720 on Saturday, August 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 125,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "runs great plenty of power very low maintenence"
Cons: "a little quirk with the electrical, very seldom"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is a great small truck. I have had it since it was brand new and have never had a major problem. I have 125K miles on it and it still runs and looks great. It does have its little quirks but all are minor. I can't wait until the 2015s come out. I will be buying a new one for sure."
12 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By john on Monday, June 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good price,holds its value well,handels well,can h"
Cons: "not a full size bed"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Good truck room for kids & pets. I hulled a lot with this truck. Its not a full size bed but I managed to hall 2X4 to 2X10's and plywood"
23 people out of 43 found this review helpful
By granduser on Thursday, May 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good overall value for the price"
Cons: "Back seats a little chincy need better padding"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"very good value I would probably purchase it again only a couple of drawbacks to it, back seats pretty cheap and hard not to comfortable. Front seats pretty nice and comfortable heated leather, both front seats power. Only other issue with it is valve seats might be getting bad. GM knows there is an issue but won't address or recall them. They have know for over 5 years of this problem."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By GaryM on Friday, May 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 151,140overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good value and reliability."
Cons: "Pueny payload. Adeqaute for around town hauling."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I bought this truck new in it's first model year as an alternative to a Toyota Tacoma and have not been disappointed. It has been a solid performer, with few if any problems with regular scheduled maintenance, much of which I performed myself. Other than brakes, tires, and fluids, it is all original, less a new stereo I just installed. It performs equally well on semi-improved dirt roads as well as the interstate."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By SKI on Tuesday, May 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,300overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "4 cy.l 4 wheel drive great fuel economy for a 4X4"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This truck is everything I wanted in a truck. I wanted a 4cyl 4wheel drive truck that was a decent size and this truck filled the bill. It has been very reliable and the 4 cyl. engine provides very good power and fuel economy."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful