It’s been broadly assumed that truck buyers couldn’t care less about technology, but they do, and automakers are finally responding.  Our long-term 2016 Chevy Colorado might not be laden with cutting-edge gadgetry like adaptive cruise control, automatic collision braking, lane departure assist, or even passive entry with push-button start, but it does shine where it matters most: infotainment.

Connectivity simplified

Featuring an 8-inch, high-resolution capacitive touchscreen, our Colorado’s MyLink infotainment center is as pleasant to use as it is to look at. The smartphone-style design lets you configure the layout to your liking, thereby simplifying the act of multitasking and reducing your inclination towards distracted driving. To that end, MyLink’s response times are impressively quick, complemented by large, easily-discernible icons and excellent glare control – even in direct sunlight.

But the Colorado’s killer app is, well, an app, which originates directly from the source. Apple CarPlay  is the future of infotainment, and Chevrolet acknowledges that fact by integrating the technology into its entire product portfolio (Android Auto will be available at a later date). Backed by Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri, CarPlay provides access to reminders, music, calls, SMS dictation, and navigation all from the 8-inch touchscreen. There is, however, one critical flaw with CarPlay, and it involves map caching. Simply put, inputting a new destination into Apple Maps won’t work without cell service. So, if you find yourself in a dead zone and need directions, only the embedded navigation system will do (+$495).

Bluetooth blues

After nearly eight months of use, we have but one major gripe with MyLink, and it occurred when we connected multiple smartphones to the system via USB cables. Unable to designate a “master” audio source, MyLink will not play Bluetooth or USB audio when multiple devices are connected to the system – at least until the issue can be resolved with a software update.  

On a brighter note, we have nothing but good things to say about the instrument cluster’s 4.2-inch full-color display. In addition to a digital speedometer (a personal favorite), the driver information center supplements the primary touchscreen with audio, trip, phone, and navigation information. Best of all, the interface couldn’t be more straightforward.

Capping off our Colorado’s tech report is an impressively well-rounded 7-speaker Bose audio system, helpful dynamic backup camera guidelines, and pre-collision warning system that saved us from a trip to body shop on more than one occasion.

Airbag anomaly

From the moment we took delivery, our 4x4, Z71 Off Road Colorado became instantly acquainted with dirt. Be it low-speed rock crawling, open-desert, or washboard fire roads, there wasn’t much our Colorado couldn’t handle – or so it seemed. Because recently while traveling on a flat, residential dirt road at a GM-verified speed of 5-7 mph, the rollover sensor triggered for no apparent reason and, as a result, deployed the side curtain airbags. Shortly after realizing what had just happened we received a call from an OnStar operator, who offered to contact the necessary emergency services. We explained to the dispatcher that no further assistance was required and everything was under control.

Although side visibility was completely obstructed, summoning a tow truck seemed excessive given the situation. Instead, we decided to cut the airbags’ lower anchor points and drive the vehicle 40 miles back to KBB headquarters. GM engineers summarily picked up the truck and shipped it to Detroit for a detailed evaluation.

Four weeks later our Colorado was repaired and delivered, though as yet we have not received an “official” explanation about the incident. While this was undoubtedly a freak occurrence, if you are venturing offroad in a Colorado, you might think about pulling the airbag fuse before venturing off road.

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