By Allyson Harwood
KBB Expert Rating: 8.7
The all-new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado can carry a hefty payload and tow a 7,000-pound trailer, yet it's small enough to park in a garage. It's available as an Extended Cab or Crew Cab, rear-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive, and with a 5- or 6-foot bed. Its attractive styling, interior refinement and efficient-yet-powerful engines set it apart from its Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier competitors. The new Colorado has best-in-class towing, is expected to offer best-in-class fuel economy, and is first in its class to offer features like Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning and a standard back-up camera. All that, plus refinement and cool tech features should also attract owners of crossover SUVs who may have left the midsize truck market when it became stagnant.
The new 2015 Chevy Colorado will appeal to people who want to tow a trailer or carry gear, but want an easier time parking and better fuel economy than a full-size truck offers. It is also more refined, more efficient and more capable than the other trucks in its segment.
If you want to tow more than 7,000 pounds or need more interior space than a compact/midsize truck can offer, the new Colorado is not for you. It also doesn't have the same history in the segment as the stalwart best-selling Toyota Tacoma.
KBB Expert Ratings
For 2015, everything starting with the frame – designed to be tough like the frame of its big brother Chevy Silverado – is new, including the body, engines and interior.
The good-looking 2015 Chevy Colorado was fun to drive, with plenty of power coming from both the 3.6-liter V6 and the 2.5-liter inline-4, both of which are available with a...
... 6-speed automatic transmission. (A 6-speed manual comes standard with the inline-4.) We had to work the 4-cylinder Colorado harder than the V6, but with the smaller engine, the truck felt more spry and agile. The brakes were responsive and the ride was compliant, but not mushy. Space is tight in the second row of the Extended Cab model, and getting in and out is challenging, so we expect most people to choose the Crew Cab. The new Colorado offers a very quiet interior filled with creature comforts like an 8-inch touch screen, standard back-up camera, and the ability to make the Colorado a Wi-Fi hotspot. End result: The interior is part comfy crossover, part tough pickup.
GearOn BED CARGO DIVIDER
The GearOn system includes an available platform for the new Colorado that's the length of the bed, which serves as a storage system. You can tie down bikes, work supplies or other gear on top and stow gear and tools underneath, out of view.
MyLink works with OnStar to give Colorado a safe way to stay connected. It'll allow hands-free control of the stereo and phone calls, can read texts to you as you drive, and with OnStar's 4G LTE, can make the Colorado a Wi-Fi hotspot.
One of the key aspects of the new Colorado that sets it apart from the competition is the truck's interior. The Colorado is designed to be durable and capable of handling the rough treatment that often comes with using a truck on the job, yet the materials and features like MyLink, an 8-inch color touch screen and seat heaters align it more with the interior you would find in a small crossover SUV. It also has the quietest cabin in its class.
The new 2015 Colorado has key features that make it easy to load and unload cargo. Two of the most important are the standard CornerStep rear bumper, which provides a convenient way to get to gear that's in the truck bed, and the available EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate, which allows you to lift the tailgate with one hand. The most off-road-capable Colorado, the Z71, has its own look, thanks to its 17-inch aluminum wheels and tires, and an off-road suspension package.
Every 2015 Chevy Colorado comes standard with a rearview camera and the CornerStep rear bumper. Other key standard features include a 4.2-inch screen for the 6-speaker stereo, cargo box lighting, power windows, and a locking tailgate. However, most people will buy the LT or Z71 trim levels as opposed to the Base and the Work Truck, and with those higher trim levels, things like three months of Sirius Satellite Radio, cruise control, OnStar, an 8-inch touch screen and navigation system, an overhead console, and a rear defroster are standard.
The new Colorado is available with a spray-on bedliner, fog lights, cross rails for the cargo box storage system and a locking rear differential. Many safety features come standard, but Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning are now available as well, for the first time in any compact/midsize truck. Other niceties include seat heaters for the driver and front passenger, and if someone wants something bigger than the standard 16-inch steel wheels, there are different styles of 17- or 18-inch aluminum wheels.
For 2015, the new Chevy Colorado is available with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder or a 3.6-liter V6, and most of those will come with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Those who want a manual gearbox can get a 6-speed behind the 2.5-liter. Both of these engines are expected to have best-in-class fuel economy (in 2-wheel-drive models), and EPA estimates agree. For 2016, a third engine will be introduced: a 2.8-liter diesel powerplant. While it will likely cost more than the 3.6-liter V6, the diesel engine also promises to offer plentiful torque and should produce excellent fuel economy.
200 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
191 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg (manual), 20/27 mpg (automatic, 2WD), 19/25 mpg (4WD)
305 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
269 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17-18/24-26 mpg (automatic)
The Base Colorado, a 2WD Extended Cab with the 4-cylinder engine and the 6-speed manual transmission, starts at $20,995, including destination. A 4-wheel-drive longbed Z71 Crew Cab Colorado with the V6 and the 6-speed automatic tops out at $44,430 with all the bells and whistles. While that top-of-the-line cost may sound pricey, it is right in between those of the Frontier and the Tacoma. To make sure you get the best deal on a new Colorado, be sure to check out the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price. And since the Colorado is an an all-new truck, it's still a little too early for us to predict its resale value.