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By Mike Levine
June 23, 2009
Vehicle Overview When four of the five midsize truck manufacturers introduced new small pickups for 2004-05, GM introduced the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon and in so doing gave up two decades of equity in the popular S-10 brand to rename its compact truck. Chevy also stepped away from the norm to offer a dual overhead camshaft and inline-five-cylinder engine rather than a traditional V-6. Then came new trucks from Dodge, Toyota and Nissan — all with more horsepower and towing capacity.
Last year, Chevy finally offered a 300-horsepower V-8 in the Colorado, just as a slowing economy started directing shoppers to smaller, lower-priced engines. The Colorado has always been a favorite among cross-shopping consumers because of its extensive lineup and numerous options. Chevy likes to promote its three suspension setups to help differentiate its models. The Z85 is for normal operation, the Z71 is tuned for off-road use and the ZQ8 is designed for sports-car-like handling.
For businesses and contractors looking for a customized small work truck, the Colorado can be ordered in a chassis cab configuration that can be upfitted with panel van-style or "midbox" storage solutions.
New for 2010 There are only minor changes for the 2010 Chevy Colorado. The 5.3-liter V-8 has been enhanced with variable valve timing for marginally better emissions and performance across its power band. Side curtain airbags are now standard.
Exterior When the Colorado debuted for 2004, it carried over the front-end styling from that generation's Chevy Silverado, including the familiar power bar grille and angular "bat wing" headlamps. It looked great on the Colorado then, but now the Silverado has been restyled and the Colorado is looking a little long in the tooth. The Colorado has a little more muscle in its silhouette than some other compact trucks, which is great in four-wheel-drive and/or Z71 trims. Lowered with the ZQ8 suspension, though, the Colorado may have a little more meat than some would like. Changes in recent years added body-colored moldings, bezels and surrounds to add a more sporty appearance to some trim levels.
Bold wheel flares on Z71 models
Z71 suspension offers higher stance than previous models
Four new wheel designs help differentiate models
Sport appearance now standard on all Z85 models
Interior Though drenched in plastic, the Colorado's interior features an effective gauge layout and easy-to-reach audio and climate controls. There are some nice chrome accents to spice up the atmosphere, but this is mostly a utility-friendly cab with adequate storage and reasonably spacious surroundings for a compact pickup. The seats are wide and comfortable, and the crew cab offers decent headroom and legroom for people of most heights. The second row of the extended cab is for children only.
Available leather seating in crew cab LT
Available moonroof in crew cab, extended cab
Available sliding rear window
Under the Hood
185-horsepower, 2.9-liter inline-four-cylinder with aluminum block and cylinder head, dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder that makes 190 pounds-feet of torque
242-hp, 3.7-liter inline-five-cylinder with aluminum block and cylinder head and dual overhead camshafts that makes 242 pounds-feet of torque
300-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 with aluminum block and cylinder head and two valves per cylinder that makes 320 pounds-feet of torque; variable valve timing is new for 2010, primarily for improved emissions
Five-speed manual (standard on four-cylinder models)
Four-speed automatic (standard on inline-five-cylinder and V-8, optional on four-cylinder models)
Safety GM has improved the Colorado's safety credentials by adding standard side curtain airbags. Stability and traction control are also standard. GM's electronic stability system uses electronic brake controls to help the driver maintain control of the vehicle in certain situations.
Crash sensor sends GPS signal
Front seat belt pretensioner
Of Interest to Truck Owners
Maximum gross vehicle weight rating: 5,300 pounds (extended cab and crew cab)
Maximum payload capacity: 1,422 pounds (4x2 regular cab)
Maximum towing capacity: 6,000 pounds (extended cab and crew cab V-8)