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2019 Chevrolet Colorado Expert Reviews

Expert Reviews

2019 Chevrolet Colorado

New Car Test Drive
© 2019 NewCarTestDrive.com

The 2019 Chevrolet Colorado mid-size pickup runs the gamut from basic work truck to plain, yet comfortable urban cargo carrier. Pick the right version, and it can even turn into an off-road achiever. Launched in its current form as a 2015 model, the Colorado blends smart dimensions with efficient operation.

A 100th Anniversary Edition painted Centennial Blue is available for the 2019 model year, offered on extended-cab Z71 trucks. Centennial features include “heritage bowtie” emblems, chrome tow hooks, and distinctive 18-inch wheels.

Active Tow is newly standard with the 3.6-liter V-6 or turbodiesel engine. Heated mirrors are now available, and a pair of new body colors are offered: Kinetic Blue and Steel Gray Metallic.

The Colorado shares its platform, body styles, and powertrains with the GMC Canyon. Although the Canyon is styled a bit more businesslike, its configurations are less versatile than Chevrolet offers.

Colorados come in either extended-cab or Crew Cab form, the latter with four conventional doors. Depending on cab type, three cargo bed lengths are available.

A 200-horsepower, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard, but most Colorados contain the 3.6-liter V-6, yielding 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. A 2.8-liter turbodiesel inline-4 also is available, delivering immense torque and impressive highway mileage. Those 4-cylinder models may have a manual or automatic transmission, but the V-6 pairs only with an 8-speed automatic.

With the turbodiesel, a Colorado can haul up to 7,700 pounds, versus 7,000 pounds for V-6 versions.

Rear-wheel drive is standard, with four-wheel drive optional. With its wider stance, raised suspension, and big all-terrain tires, the ZR2 qualifies as a serious off-road trekker.

Such active-safety features as forward-collision and lane-departure warnings are available only for LT trim and above. No Colorado is fitted with automatic emergency braking. That’s a notable demerit.

Safety scores fall short. Crash-testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration resulted in four-star ratings overall and for frontal impact, though the side-impact test resulted in five stars. The rollover score (a calculated figure) was only three stars.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the extended-cab Colorado only an “Acceptable” rating for its small front-overlap and side-impact tests. Crew Cab models earned “Good” ratings, though no score was given for the passenger-side small-overlap test. Headlights were deemed “Poor.”

Model Lineup

Prices do not include $995 destination charge.

Base Extended Cab ($20,500) has rear-wheel drive and a 4-cylinder engine, with a long bed and 128.3-inch wheelbase. Included are power windows/locks, a power driver’s seat, air conditioning, and 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Extended Cab Work Truck ($24,000 with rear-drive, $28,600 with four-wheel drive) has rear-drive, 4-cylinder engine, and 128.3-inch wheelbase. Carpeting substitutes for base model’s vinyl flooring. Painted bumpers and alloy wheels are standard.

LT Extended Cab ($27,500 with rear-drive, $31,200 with four-wheel drive) has the 4-cylinder engine and 128.3-inch wheelbase, along with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, cruise control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Z71 Extended Cab ($30,600 with rear-drive, $34,200 with four-wheel drive) gets the 4-cylinder engine and 128.3-inch wheelbase, adding a toughened suspension, limited-slip differential, and off-road styling touches.

Z71 Extended Cab V-6 ($40,900; four-wheel-drive only) replaces the 4-cylinder engine with V-6 power.

ZR2 Extended Cab V-6 ($40,900; four-wheel-drive only), the serious off-roader, includes a raised suspension, widened track, off-road tires, and built-in light bar.

Crew Cab Work Truck ($26,600) has a 128.3-inch wheelbase and rear-wheel drive, with the 4-cylinder gas engine.

Crew Cab Long-wheelbase V-6 Work Truck ($28,300 with rear-drive, $31,900 with four-wheel drive) is built on a 140.5-inch wheelbase.

Crew Cab V-6 Work Truck ($31,600) has a 128.3-inch wheelbase and four-wheel drive

LT Crew Cab ($29,500) has the gas 4-cylinder engine and 128.3-inch wheelbase, with rear-drive.

LT V-6 Crew Cab ($34,200) offers V-6 engine with four-wheel drive.

LT V-6 Long-wheelbase Crew Cab ($31,100 with rear-drive, $34,500 with four-wheel drive) is built on the 140.5-inch wheelbase.

Z71 Crew Cab ($32,500) has rear-drive and a 4-cylinder engine and the 128.3-inch wheelbase.

Z71 V-6 Crew Cab ($36,900) has four-wheel drive and the 128.3-inch wheelbase.

Z71 V-6 Long-wheelbase Crew Cab ($33,900 with rear-drive, $37,200 with four-wheel drive) has the V-6 engine and 140.5-inch wheelbase.

ZR2 V-6 Crew Cab ($42,500; only four-wheel drive) has the 128.3-inch wheelbase.

Walk Around

In any form, the Colorado looks strong, yet curvaceous, ranking among the most attractive trucks to be found.

Two bed lengths and two cab formats are available. Unlike the larger and more boxy Silverado pickups, Colorados rely on swoopy styling with a more global demeanor. Wide headlights flank a large grille. Huge taillights and sloping body lines enhance its sporty stance.

A taller bumper combines with a raised suspension on ZR2 editions, boosting approach angles while off-roading. Seriously capable, the ZR2 looks the part with its fender flares and taller bumper, accompanying the raised suspension and big, knobby tires.

Interior

Despite a few budget-focused design touches, cabins are appealing. Base and Work Truck version are somewhat spartan, including vinyl upholstery.

Controls are high-mounted and easy to reach, on the symmetrical dashboard. Toggle switches provide various secondary functions.

Front-seat riders can anticipate firm comfort, though seating is more upright and snug for back-seat passengers, including those in Crew Cab models. Crew Cabs promise 7 more inches of leg clearance than extended-cab trucks.

Every Colorado feels well-assembled, using good materials. Most models lack soft-touch plastics.

Driving Impressions

Ride quality may be on the choppy side, but Colorados promise comfort for daily drives. Three strong engines are available, offering performance to suit one’s needs.

While ZR2 editions have not been big sellers, they’re supremely capable off-road as well as on more intense pavement stretches. With their tight suspensions, the Z71 and ZR2 can feel even bouncier than more modest models.

Colorados use a body-on-frame design with an independent front suspension and rear leaf springs. Rougher terrain can unleash some back-and-forth shimmying sensations. On most models, large tires help absorb surface flaws.

Available with either a 6-speed automatic or manual transmission, 4-cylinder Colorados are adequate in urban driving. But they can feel breathless when extra energy is needed for highway passing. Standard on Crew Cab models, the 3.6-liter V-6 is more powerful, working with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The available 181-horsepower turbodiesel, delivering 369 pound-feet of torque, has a more noticeable exhaust note but is strong and refined.

Chevrolet’s basic four-wheel-drive system is a part-time setup, not intended for use on dry pavement. An AutoTrac system with automatic mode is available.

With its slightly raised suspension and unique dampers, the Z71 handles moderate off-roading. Backwoods enthusiasts will prefer the serious-minded, admirably capable ZR2.

Fuel economy varies considerably by engine. Colorados with V-6 and four-wheel drive are EPA-rated at 17/24 mpg City/Highway, or 19 mpg Combined. Rear-drive boosts the estimate to 18/25/20 mpg.

Big tires and a tall stance help make the ZR2 the most thirsty Colorado, EPA-rated at only 16/18 mpg City/Highway, or 17 mpg Combined. Base Colorados with 4-cylinder engines reach a respectable rating of 20/26 mpg City/Highway, or 22 mpg Combined, with either transmission. Turbodiesel models are EPA-rated at 20/30 mpg City/Highway or 23 mpg Combined, dipping to 19/28/22 mpg with four-wheel drive.

Colorado shoppers face plenty of choices, from basic Work Truck to comfortable cruiser or serious off-roader. Whatever the trim level, body configuration, and powertrain, Chevrolet’s Colorado ranks with the most competent pickups on the market. If further choices are needed, Chevrolet offers a wealth of options, though cost can rise swiftly.

Driving impressions by Andrew Ganz, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.

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