Words: Stephen Spyropoulos
Photography: Stephen Spyropoulos
Published: February 4, 2016
When I was growing up, I developed a daily habit of turning on the television and flipping to the sports channel to watch monster trucks race around a dirt stadium. Watching them perform donuts in the mud, fly over massive 50-foot jumps, and crush cars beneath their large off-road tires became an obsession that consumed my Friday evenings. I even dreamt of one day owning my very own iteration of Grave Digger.
But driving a 1,700-horsepower pickup on the streets is a little impractical (save for the beast that is the Ford Raptor). There are Ford F-150s, Dodge Rams, and even Chevy Silverados, but these are behemoth trucks that have an insatiable appetite for fuel and consume parking spots like no other. The world needs smaller trucks that are less daunting to drive, easier to park, and are more economical on the wallet. Enter the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71.
With its first redesign in over a decade, the Chevy Colorado is the perfect sized truck for everyday life. Its dimensions make it easily the most maneuverable truck in the segment. I should mention, for skeptics, that the Colorado is not just a miniature version of the Silverado. While there are similar interior features thanks to Chevrolet’s widespread use of that fantastic 8-inch infotainment system, the Colorado is just as capable off-road and is a better size for the urbanite who doesn’t have to visit his cousin Jim on the family farm every weekend. Plus you can head downtown and not have to worry about getting your roof scraped in underground parking garages.
The Colorado is the breadwinner atop a class that consists of only a handful of opponents such as the Colorado’s twin, the GMC Canyon, the old and outdated Nissan Frontier, and the venerable Toyota Tacoma. A new challenger is already on the way as well— the unibody 2017 Honda Ridgeline is due out later this year, and is expected to give the Colorado a run for its money.
The Chevy can be had with a few different powertrain options including a 4-cylinder Duramax turbodiesel that churns out 369 lb-ft of torque, a 2.5-litre EcoTec inline 4-cylinder that is rated at 200 hp, as well the range topping 3.6-litre V6 that was featured on my tester. That six-cylinder slugs 305 horsepower down to all four wheels, or two if you feel so inclined.
The Colorado, while built mainly with off-road underpinnings, can step up to the plate when it comes to performing normal truck duties. The truck came with a 1,567 mm long bed coated in a rugged black bedliner material and a Heavy Duty Trailering Package for a Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) of over 5,443 kg.
The mid-sized hauler weighs in at 1,987 kg, and when combined with classic body-on-frame design and not-so-aerodynamic proportions, the Colorado suffers when it comes to fuel economy. 14.5 L/100km is what I averaged during my test week, and that was with a 70/30 highway/city split. On the bright side, it’s more efficient than any full-sized truck.
Let the V6 whine and you are treated with a delightful growl as you reach 100 km/h in around 7.5 seconds. The sound is so addictive that you might not mind the extra bills flying out of the exhaust. Even so, I was taken aback by the lack of any cylinder deactivation feature or an auto start/stop system. This surely would have aided in keeping fuel in the tank. Frugal and more prudent consumers that have an eye on the tank will find solace in the new and more efficient turbodiesel engine (we’re testing one soon, so stay tuned!).
The saving grace for the Colorado is that it drives and handles like a smaller SUV. The steering is nice and light, throttle response is fantastic in the city, and the truck feels surprisingly light on its feet. In fact, it behaved similarly to the Chevrolet Equinox we drove a couple of weeks back, albeit, with more power and a bouncier suspension.
Over potholes and speed humps, the Colorado Z71 likes to dance about from side to side. Thanks to its off-road tuned suspension, it leaves you and your passengers feeling like they’re seated on a rollercoaster ride. Thankfully there are plenty of oh-s*** handles affixed to the interior to help you hang on when traversing these obstacles.
The exterior options featured with the Z71 Package are up there: cool graphics are affixed to the rear quarter of the bed, the front fascia gets an upgrade featuring chrome recovery hooks, and 255 series wide tires hug each corner and look just about ready to rip up a trail. While the Colorado’s exterior makes you grin, the interior elicits a different response.
I was left wanting more from the Crew Cab interior. While not a total sacrilege, the interior featured stiff half-cloth and half-leather seating with equally as rigid armrests and the centre storage bin. Awkwardly placed pedals were annoying, and the transfer case selector knob that was hidden so well that I thought Chevy had forgotten to put it in the truck.
The caveats of the interior didn't take away from the overall truckin’ experience, but I was a little disappointed with the cheap feeling controls on the steering wheel and the abundance of hard plastics. I wish Chevrolet incorporated more of that faux-carbon fibre plastic trim and give us the option to have a heated steering wheel to pair with the heated seats.
Staying true to Chevrolet’s connectivity movement, the Colorado comes jam packed with USB slots, 12-volt power outlets, and OnStar’s 4G LTE hotspot capability. That means kids in the back can get distracted from asking the question “Are we there yet!?” I also really need to commend Chevrolet on their work with the 8-inch touchscreen. The feedback is splendid, the GPS is foolproof, and the Bose premium sound system (probably the best $685 you can spend) leaves you wondering if Dr. Dre himself was the mastermind behind the dash.
Starting at a base price of $36,495, the Colorado Z71 offers a lot of truck performance and value for the money. Loaded with options, our Colorado is priced at $40,625, which is around the same for a similar spec’ed Tacoma. However, the Chevy offers a well-tuned chassis, delightful steering, a plethora of modern interior tech, and an entire lineup of engines that ensures there’s a Colorado for every buyer.
Now, I can’t remember the last time I drove a pickup truck so getting in and out of the Colorado was a bit of a challenge. But every time I stepped on the running board and jumped inside, I’m reminded of my Friday evenings, watching drivers on the television hopping in and out of their garish ad-plastered monster trucks. While my own mud-chariot lacked and 4-wheel-steering, it was my very own red monster truck with a potent V6 and everyday usability. Now my only task is to come up with a creative stage name…
型号 Model: 2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 4WD Crew Cab SWB
顏色 Paint Type: Red Hot
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $36,495
試車售價 Price as Tested: $40,525
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 3,258
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,403 / 1,794 / 1,791
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,987
引擎 Engine: 3.6-litre V6 VVT DI
最大馬力 Horsepower: 305 hp @ 6,800 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 269 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, 4WD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 13.6 / 9.9 / 11.9
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 14.5
輪胎尺碼 Tires: P255/65R17