The Chevrolet Colorado may be the smallest pickup truck Chevy makes, but it packs an impressive powertrain, well-equipped interior and a ride that makes it perfectly adept as an everyday driver, whether you require a pickup for work or not. Add some modern styling and you can see that with the Colorado, the pickup has reached a level far beyond the workaday rig it once was. Note: while the pictures you see here are of the ’23 truck, the changes for ’24 are minimal, with the main addition being that of the hardcore ZR2 Bison off-road model.
Exterior: Styling-wise, our Z71 tester is complimented by standard 20-inch wheels, standard chrome grille with matching mirror caps and side steps as well as all the cool stuff shared with other Colorados such as the dual tier headlights/DRLs, underbody skid plates and nice proportions overall. While you’ll want to go with the ZR2 or Trail Boss models and their 2 inches of lift if you’re going to be doing more off-roading, what the Z71 gets plus a two-speed dial-operated on-the-fly transfer case means that it can handle itself in more adverse conditions – such as a Canadian winter.
Interior and Tech: It’s got the goods inside the crew cab cabin – which is your only cabin choice, as is a five-foot pickup bed — to make that more palatable as well including available heated and cooled front seats and heated steering wheel (activated by the press of a wheel-mounted button, although it will turn itself on automatically with the heated seats if it senses cool ambient temperatures) and digital climate-control. There’s also a sunroof which, as a taller driver, I didn’t love as it does negatively affect headroom.
Once seated inside the driver’s seat finished in black with red trim, the view out over the squared-off front wings is a good one, and the high seating position helps in this regard as well. The back seat is a little on the cramped side, however, to be used at length preferably by children. Or, just go ahead and flip up the bottom seat cushion to reveal a jack as well as some supplementary storage.
In addition to the less-than-sizeable rear seat, other qualms include the lack of a power rear window, the need to use the touchscreen to turn the headlights on or off and no digital rearview mirror option.
Speaking of the touch display: it measures 11.3” and is nice and responsive, with Google Built-In included. That means your native navigation is actually handled by Google Maps, you can log into your Google account and there’s also Google Assistant, who can guide you to your friend’s place or read your daily calendar. That display is matched by another for your gauge cluster, which can itself be modified with the press of a wheel-mounted button mounted right beside the steering wheel heater.
Stepping outside the truck, meanwhile, we come to the pickup bed.
It comes only as a five-footer, with tie downs both front and back as well as a power outlet. There’s also a spray on bedliner but no supplementary storage within the bed walls, and no lights there, either. It’s a bit spartan but gains back points thanks to something called the StowFlex tailgate. Basically, by flipping two latches on the tailgate, you can lift a rubber-sealed lid to expose a bin for wet items, dirty items or tools. It’s not quite as advanced as the Multi-Flex tailgate on the Colorado’s Silverado bigger sibling – which opens every which way and gets built-in bed access aids and a quasi bed extender – but it’s still very cool to have. Speaking of bed-access: the Colorado also gets CornerStep bumpers, which get their corners carved out to accommodate a steel-toed work boot for easier bed access.
Powertrain and Drive: 4WD is standard on all models except the base RWD WT trim, and our tester came equipped with an eight-speed shiftable auto and a 2.7-litre turbo four-cylinder good for 310 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. That’s just under what you get from the new Ford Ranger equipped with that truck’s optional 2.7L motor, while you’ll have to upgrade your new Tacoma to the i-Force MAX powertrain if you want to beat the Colorado Z71 on the power front.
You do have to rev the Colorado a little more to get the most out of it, but once done I found the acceleration to be smooth, never really leaving me wanting when it came to passing at speed or entering the freeway. The powertrain also helps the Colorado Z71 tow up to 3,500 kilos (about 7,700 pounds), which means tent trailers, jet skis and the like should be no problem. I do have a quibble with the engine’s report, however; it rough so as to almost sound diesel-like in its operation and that’s not exactly the kind of sound you want to emulate.
As far as handling goes: the electronic power assist steering has some proper weight to it, which is kind of what you want when it comes to a pickup, although some may actually find it a little too heavy, especially when moving at slower speeds. It’s right on for me, though, and there’s even some feel through it, providing a decent idea of what’s going on below the front axle. It’s not going to accelerate or handle the bends like a performance sedan, of course, but there’s a stability here that keeps the Colorado from skittering across the pavement when unladen and so forth.
Chevrolet Colorado Z71
Chevrolet Colorado Z71
Chevrolet Colorado Z71
Conclusion: There really is a whole lot to like here. The Colorado is just that much more livable than the Ranger, and has a look that’s just that much more high-class than what’s offered by Ford, no matter which trim we’re talking about. In Z71 spec, meanwhile, that’s all taken up yet another notch; if you want something more off-roady, then the ZR2/Trail Boss twins are the trucks for you but if you want something that can be used more on the everyday, then the Z71 should be considered.
2024 Chevrolet Colorado Z71
Price as tested: $$55,419
Configuration: Front engine/Four-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.7-litre 4-cylinder turbo/ 8-speed automatic
Power/torque: 310 horsepower/ 391 lb-ft of torque
Fuel (capacity): Regular (81 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 11.8 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 12.7 L/100 km
Warranty: 3-years/60,000 km (basic)
Competitors: GMC Canyon, Ford Ranger, Jeep Gladiator, Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma
Website: Chevrolet Canada