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The Chevrolet Colorado was Chevy's entry in the highly competitive compact pickup segment. As with most of its contemporaries, the Colorado was closer to midsize than truly compact. As such, it offered a reasonable amount of hauling capability without requiring one to upgrade to a more expensive, less maneuverable full-size truck.
The Chevy's affordable price made it particularly appealing to budget-minded truck buyers, but that's largely where the positives stopped. The Colorado (and its GMC Canyon twin) suffered from lackluster four- and five-cylinder engines, an abundance of cheap cabin plastics, inconsistent build quality and a general lack of refinement.
An all-new Colorado is a possibility for the future. But for a used truck, we think shoppers will do better with one of the Colorado's more well-rounded rivals.
Used Chevrolet Colorado Models
Launched for the 2004 model year as a replacement for the smaller, outdated S-10 pickup, the Chevrolet Colorado was built as just one generation through 2012.
From the start it was available in standard cab, extended cab and crew cab configurations. Standard cab models seat up to three on their bench seat. Extended-cab models technically seat five, though adults won't be happy in the tiny, forward-facing jump seats. Crew cabs seat up to six, though the relatively narrow cab makes three-across seating quite snug for adults.
Initially, there were three main trim levels: base level Work, midlevel LS and luxury-equipped LT. The LS was replaced for 2009 with the similar VL and the following year the midlevel trim was dropped, leaving just the Work and LT versions. Work models were pretty basic as expected, while springing for the LT meant perks such as upgraded materials, full power accessories, a better stereo, satellite radio and even leather upholstery.
Until 2007, the Colorado was powered by a 2.8-liter inline-4 with 175 horsepower or a 3.5-liter inline-5 that made 220 hp. For 2007, those engines grew to 2.9 liters with 185 hp and 3.7 liters with 242 hp, respectively. A 5.3-liter V8 rated at 300 hp became optional in 2009.
The V8 was clearly the most capable engine available, but also the most inefficient. Although the four-cylinder version could have a five-speed manual, chances are most Colorados you come across will have the four-speed automatic that was optional on the four-cylinder and standard on the other engines.
The Colorado could be equipped with either two-wheel drive or a four-wheel-drive system with a dual-range transfer case. There were also several suspension options, including the Z85 heavy-duty and Z71 off-road packages as well as the street-oriented ZQ8, which featured a lowered, performance-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels and cosmetic modifications.
Our reviews of the Chevrolet Colorado were lukewarm at best. Although this truck was capable, its cabin accommodations and overall build quality always fell short when compared to the more refined trucks from Nissan and Toyota.
If you are looking for newer years, visit our new Chevrolet Colorado page.
For more on past Chevrolet Colorado models, view our Chevrolet Colorado history page.