By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.1
Mid-size pickup trucks make a lot of sense, especially if you use your vehicle for work and play rather than shuttling to the office and running weekend errands. But, with budgets tight and fuel expensive a full-size pickup is probably overkill for most needs, which is why the 2012 Chevrolet Colorado is the right-size pickup for today's light-duty chores. Although its aging platform isn't as fresh as the Toyota Tacoma or Nissan Frontier, the Colorado still has a rugged charm about it. And its price point certainly can't be argued with, offering one of the most affordable entry-level trucks on the market. With the temporary demise of the Ford Ranger for 2012 (an all-new model is set to debut in 2013) and Ram not offering a Regular Cab Dakota, the Colorado has the domestic market all to itself. With a broad range of models, cab and bed configurations and engine choices, not to mention rear-wheel or 4-wheel drive, the Colorado is an attractive prospect for budget-conscious working folk and truck junkies in general.
If your pickup's capabilities are more important to you than its fancy styling or cushy interior, the 2012 Chevrolet Colorado is a truck that should be in your driveway. Those worried about the cost associated with driving a pickup will appreciate the base model's impressive fuel economy and surprisingly strong 4-cylinder engine.
The 2012 Chevrolet Colorado is more compact than mid-size when compared to its competition. It is not as wide or long as Tacoma or Dakota, and Crew Cab models aren't big on rear-seat legroom, either. Those who need to tow heavy loads should note the Colorado's 3.7-liter in-line 5-cylinder engine cannot equal the torque output of the V6 engines from Toyota and Nissan.
For 2012, Chevrolet makes a number of equipment changes to the Colorado line. The Power Convenience Package is added to 1LT trims, while 2LT trims gain standard front bucket seats. LT models no longer offer a manual transmission, and the 5.3-liter V8 engine is no longer offered on the 1LT. A locking rear differential is made standard on 2LT, 3LT and 1LT 4x4 models.
Driving Impressions Among the 2012 Chevrolet Colorado's greatest strengths are its solid chassis and potent yet fuel-efficient powertrains. The Colorado's rigid body-on-frame architecture renders rattles and vibrations nearly nonexistent, even on washboard...roads and rough pavement. Thanks to Chevy's off-road and performance packages, the Colorado can step up its off-road game, as well as its around-town image. If there is one fly in the Colorado's ointment, it's the unusually wide turning circle, which can prove problematic when trying to maneuver in tight quarters. We think the standard 2.9-liter engine is quite robust for its size and offers exceptionally good fuel economy.
The Colorado's 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.
Side Curtain Airbags
Standard side-curtain airbags are an important safety feature worth having.
The 2012 Chevrolet Colorado offers a no-frills interior that is highly functional and easy to maintain. Seating is comfortable for front-seat passengers, with good thigh support from the firm cushions. However, the Extended Cabs tiny jump seats are not fit for human occupancy over any great length of time, and while the Crew Cab offers true 2-person seating, rear-seat legroom is tight. Base models have an overabundance of gray plastic and gray cloth seats, neither of which is very inviting. Higher-level models can be equipped with cloth or leather cashmere colored seating and feature a bit more dash and door-panel embellishment to brighten the interior.Exterior
While the Colorado's look is not exactly ground-breaking, it is unmistakably Chevrolet. Like its Silverado big brother, the 2012 Chevy Colorado displays its strength through bulging fender flares, slab-sided doors and bright machine-finished alloy wheels. Regular and Extended Cab models feature a 6-foot bed, while the Crew Cab offers a slightly shorter 5-foot, 1-inch bed. Thanks to the tall side walls, the Colorado's bed offers best-in-class volume, and the clever tailgate has a 2-position setting that allows it to either lay flat or be propped at a 55-degree angle. When in the propped position, the top of the tailgate is parallel with the tops of the rear wheel wells inside the bed making it easier to load and carry, for example, sheets of plywood or dry wall. Regular Cab models ride on a 111.3-inch wheelbase while Extended and Crew Cab models are on a 126.0-inch wheelbase.
The 2012 Chevrolet Colorado WT features a 5-speed manual transmission, 2.9-liter 4-cylinder engine, air conditioning, cruise control, anti-lock brakes (ABS), side-curtain airbags, stability control, Bluetooth, tilt steering wheel, dual outside mirrors, automatic headlights, carpeting, AM/FM stereo, XM Satellite Radio, tachometer and forward-facing jump seats in the Extended Cab. The LT trim adds an automatic transmission, chrome front and rear bumpers, Deluxe Cloth upholstery, CD player, power mirrors and leather-wrapped steering wheel. To that the Z71 adds the Z71 off-road suspension, auto-dimming mirror, rear sliding window and the 3.7-liter 5-cylinder engine.
Options for the 2012 Chevy Colorado include 4-wheel drive, 4-speed automatic transmission, power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, heated leather seats, automatic locking rear differential, tow package;, 16-, 17- and 18-inch wheel options; 6-disc CD changer, traction control, Z71 off-road package, the ZQ8 performance package (18-inch wheels, sport suspension and 5.3-liter V8 engine) available on the Sport trim.
Engine choices for the 2012 Chevy Colorado include 4- and 5-cylinder powerplants, as well as a V8 engine on the LT trim. The standard 2.9-liter 4- and the optional 3.7-liter 5-cylinder engines might seem small, but they are both big on power. The 2.9-liter 4-cylinder produces an impressive 185 horsepower and offers up most of its 190 pound-feet of torque between the ranges of 1,200 and 5,600 rpm. That's enough power to muscle any lightly-equipped 4-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. The big 5.3-liter V8 is powerful but not easy on gas and is best ordered only when towing is a priority.
2.9-liter in-line 4
185 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
190 lb-ft of torque @ 2,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 (2WD), 18/24 (4WD, manual), 17/23 (4WD, automatic)
3.7-liter in-line 5
242 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
242 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 (2WD), 17/23 (4WD), 16/21 (4WD, Crew Cab)
300 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
320 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD), 14/19 (4WD)}
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."
4 people out of 9 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 21 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."
7 people out of 10 found this review helpful