- The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, which takes dead aim at the Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, debuted at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show.
- The Colorado returns after a short absence from the North American market.
- The introduction of the 2015 Colorado rounds out Chevy's lineup of redesigned pickups for 2014 and 2015.
GM threw down the gauntlet earlier this year, when it told Edmunds that the Toyota Tacoma pickup truck is the only real competitor to the Colorado.
Now, at a time when the domestic competition seems to have de-emphasized midsize pickups, Chevy is betting that demand is still there. If they're right, the brand should have a leg up on Ford, which phased out the Ranger after the 2011 model year, and Dodge, which gave up on the Dakota after the 2011 model year.
With the new Colorado, Chevrolet completes its triple-threat pickup truck offerings for the next two model years. Chevy redesigned its full-size Silverado 1500 for the 2014 model year and has announced details of the all-new 2015 Silverado HD.
The Colorado first appeared in 2004 as a replacement for the S-10. Although the name continued to be used internationally — in Australia and Brazil, for example — it was dropped for the North American market in 2012.
The new Colorado puts a big emphasis on horsepower and meeting the needs of truck customers.
Mark Reuss, GM president of North America, put it this way: "Our strategy is simple: meet the needs of the broadest possible customer base, and let them choose precisely the right truck to meet their needs. The all-new Colorado benefits from the solid foundation established by the Silverado, and it reinvents the midsize truck, while reinvigorating the segment at the same time."
The new Colorado will be equipped with a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, with a 3.6-liter V6 available as an option. Each engine will be outfitted with direct injection and variable valve timing, and each will be mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Maximum towing capacity is stated to be 6,700 pounds.
Although SAE power ratings are still pending, Chevy says to expect the 2.5-liter four to put out 193 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, while the 3.6-liter six is estimated to produce 302 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque.
For 2016, the Colorado will be available with the second-generation Duramax 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel power plant that has been offered this year in global markets.
Buyers of the 2015 Colorado will have their choice of three configurations: an extended-cab model with a 5-foot bed; a crew cab with a 5-foot bed; and a crew cab with a 6-foot bed.
There are also three trim levels: WT, LT, and Z71, each available in 2WD and 4WD versions. The WT and LT models have chrome grille surrounds, while the more rugged Z71 features gunmetal trim, as well as projector headlamps and unique 17-inch aluminum wheels.
Coil-over front suspension on all models features low-mass aluminum knuckles and electric power steering. Brakes are discs all around with the Duralife brake rotors, pioneered on the 2014 Silverado, which Chevy says can deliver up to twice the service life of other rotors. GM's G80 locking rear differential is standard on the Z71 and available on the WT and LT.
Weight is controlled by means of the Colorado's aluminum hood, and aerodynamics is enhanced with grille shutters, which close at highway speed to increase efficiency. Other exterior features include corner-step rear bumpers, two-tier loading that allows the bed to be split into upper and lower sections and 13 tie-down locations.
Chevy says the interior of the 2015 Colorado has been designed to deliver the comfort and appearance of a midsize car or crossover SUV, with comfortable cloth seats (leather is an option), a center console, floor-mounted shifter, sculpted headliner and plenty of storage. The Z71 model gets its own distinct interior trim, including embossed seatbacks and contrasting stitching.
Technology has been addressed with a dedicated area for mobile-phone charging, an 8-inch color touchscreen (on the LT and Z71), multiple USB ports, a 3.4-inch information screen for the driver and available OnStar and MyLink systems with gesture recognition and natural-language voice recognition.
Safety features on the 2015 Colorado include six airbags, a standard rear-vision camera and available forward collision alert and lane departure warning. The off-road-oriented Z71 model also comes standard with StabiliTrak stability control, trailer sway control, hill start assist and hill descent control.
Chevy notes that development of the 2015 Colorado will continue through its introduction in 2014, and specifications are subject to change.
Edmunds says: The return of the Colorado should be good news for buyers who prefer a midsize truck and prefer to buy American.