2009 Chevrolet Colorado Review

Pros & Cons

  • Affordable, composed handling on- and off-road, varied engine choices.
  • Mediocre towing capacity without V8 option, subpar fit and finish inside.
List Price Estimate
$3,739 - $5,550

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2009 Chevrolet Colorado is an attractively styled light-duty pickup that appears competitive on paper. But out in the real world where passenger comfort and overall build quality really count, it doesn't quite measure up.

Vehicle overview

Higher fuel prices have changed many people's perceptions about what's truly needed from a pickup. Suddenly, small pickups are an acceptable alternative to full-size pickups for many people. You might think this trend would bode well for the 2009 Chevrolet Colorado. However, you'll want to think twice before buying Chevy's pint-sized pickup.

Things would appear to be looking up for the Colorado. For 2009, Chevrolet has effectively addressed our previous concerns about a lack of power by making a V8 engine available for the first time. It's a 5.3-liter V8 capable of 300 horsepower, and it should make the Colorado one of the quickest small pickups you can buy. Meanwhile, the previously available four- and five-cylinder engines are still available, promising enhanced fuel economy.

Unfortunately, that extra power or fuel economy will likely be largely forgotten as soon as you sit inside the Colorado. The interior is still bland, the seats are uncomfortable and the plastic trim looks and feels cheap. It's the same with the driving experience -- the ride is bouncy and there's plenty of road noise.

The 2009 Chevrolet Colorado compensates for its faults somewhat via relative affordability and a variety of powertrain choices. But overall, we still believe the Dodge Dakota, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma are better trucks in almost every regard. If you're a budget-minded shopper with light-duty usage in mind -- and you have completely ruled out used pickups -- the Colorado may be worth checking out. But if you've set your sights on a refined and thoroughly capable small pickup, you'll want to skip the Chevrolet Colorado.

2009 Chevrolet Colorado models

The 2009 Chevrolet Colorado is a compact pickup available with two- or four-wheel drive in three body-style configurations: regular cab, extended cab (with short reverse-opening doors) or crew cab (with four regular forward-swinging doors). Crew cabs come with a 5-foot cargo box, while other Colorados feature a 6-foot bed.

There are three primary trim levels to choose from on regular- and extended-cab models -- the base Work Truck, midlevel LS and top-of-the-line LT. The crew cab is offered in LT trim only. Inside, base vehicles are pretty spartan aside from air-conditioning and an AM/FM stereo. The LS is a better choice for most folks, with upgraded seating and trim and the opportunity to add more optional features. The LT trim is offered in three increasingly well-equipped flavors (extended cab and crew cab only): 1LT, 2LT and 3LT. Depending on your selection, you'll end up with features like an in-dash CD changer, satellite radio, a larger five-cylinder engine, full power accessories and remote keyless entry. A new value package (VL) combines popular options like the five-cylinder engine, full power accessories and an automatic transmission on the crew cab.

Three suspension packages are offered to tailor ride and handling to specific needs. They include the standard Z85, a Z71 off-road package and the new ZQ8 sport suspension with standard 18-inch wheels. Depending on trim level and body style, other major Colorado options include heated power leather seats and a sunroof.

2009 Highlights

Now entering its sixth year of production, the Chevrolet Colorado gets a few notable upgrades for 2009. Most significant is the debut of a V8 engine option. Other changes this year include a new on-road-biased ZQ8 sport suspension package, larger wheels and tires for the off-road-oriented Z71 suspension package and a revised antilock braking system that's said to decrease stopping distances. Finally, last year's Sport Appearance Package is now standard on all base Colorados.

Performance & mpg

Both the four- and five-cylinder engines carry over for the 2009 Colorado, although a 5.3-liter V8 is now available in extended-cab and crew-cab models. The standard 2.9-liter four-cylinder makes 185 hp and 190 pound-feet of torque, and an optional 3.7-liter inline-5 produces 242 hp and 242 lb-ft of torque. The 5.3-liter V8 (only offered on extended-cab and crew cab models) makes 300 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on most four-cylinder Colorados, with a four-speed automatic optional. The five-cylinder and V8 come with the automatic. Four-wheel-drive models feature a two-speed InstaTrac transfer case with push-button controls and an optional locking rear differential.

EPA fuel estimates stand at 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway for a four-cylinder regular cab, down to 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway on a 4WD crew cab with the inline-5 engine. The V8's fuel economy wasn't available at the time of this writing. Properly equipped, a V8-powered Colorado can tow up to 6,000 pounds.

Safety

The 2009 Chevrolet Colorado features a new braking system with standard antilock brakes. Traction control is also standard, as is the OnStar emergency communications system. Head-protecting side curtain airbags are optional.

In government frontal-impact crash tests, the Chevrolet Colorado crew cab earned a perfect five stars for the protection of the driver and front passenger. Other Colorados earned four stars in those tests. Side-impact testing resulted in four stars out of five for front-occupant protection, and five stars (without side curtain airbags) for rear passengers in crew-cab models. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset crash testing, the Colorado earns either a highest-possible "Good" rating (extended cab) or a second-best "Acceptable" (crew cab). Without the side curtain airbags, the Colorado earns a "Poor" rating for side-impact protection, the IIHS's lowest score.

Driving

The 2009 Chevrolet Colorado's inline four- and five-cylinder engines are reasonably smooth, though acceleration and hauling performance are lackluster compared to those offered by the larger V6s of competitors. A newly available V8 should fix this, but there's an obvious penalty in fuel economy. The four-speed automatic transmission doesn't offer as many gears as its rivals, but its shifts are smooth and well-timed. Chevy's small truck is relatively quiet around town, though wind and road noise increase at highway speeds. Either the Z71 or the ZQ8 suspension upgrade packages are worthy additions, depending on your trucking priorities.

Interior

While its competitors have gotten more luxurious and refined in recent years, the Chevy Colorado remains saddled with subpar materials, an abundance of hard plastic and mediocre seat comfort. The layout of controls and gauges gets high marks, however, for a simple and straightforward design. There's lots of room up front, though rear legroom is tight in both extended-cab and crew-cab models; rear entry/exit can also be awkward due to small rear door openings. A nice feature is a dual-position tailgate that can be secured when partially open to better support building materials resting on top of the wheelwells.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2009 Chevrolet Colorado.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

OK Truck
dandydon,04/14/2010
I missed not having a 4wd truck but I didn't miss the 14 mpg. So I got this Colorado. The mileage is OK, I have gotten 22 to 23 mpg on the highway. Around town in drops right off to 16- 17 mpg. I like the looks. It does ride a little rough , but it's a small 4wd with the off-road package, so that's expected.
What's Not To Like?
oyeme,01/17/2011
Sometimes the professional reviewers from Edmunds, Consumer Reports, etc are just too picky because my Colorado Z-71 has been a great truck! It has 24,XXX miles now. I have had ZERO problems with it! It gets about 24.5 mpg on highway and a combined 23 mpg recently with in town and highway driving. This little truck has been very reliable and the build quality that Edmunds pans is not seen on my truck. It is still rattle & squeek free and overall impression is that of a real solid truck. The only complaint, although it is not the truck's fault, is that the OEM M+S tires are noisier than I like. I will replace them for quieter ones when these wear out but they are wearing like iron!
Great Truck - 2WD, 4 cyl, crew cab
jerry t,03/07/2009
I test drove this truck with hesitation after reading the editors review. I tested the Colorado vs the Tacoma. The Chevy won in all categories, in my opinion, except interior design. Contrary to the editor review, this truck is quiet, comfortable and has plenty of power to get you moving and do light truck duty. The truck is not at all bouncy and rides like a car. Chevy added some nice touches to the package I bought like chrome door handles and really sharp looking chrome wheels. A similar Tacoma would cost much more. It braked much better than the Tacomas squishy brake petal and had more power. I never realized how much fun to drive a small 4 cyl truck could be, but it is.
A great looking all around American truck....
dj2015,12/28/2014
I was lucky enough to get an '09 Z71 model with Tow/Chrome package at only 30k miles for a great deal. I chose the Chevy Colorado because of it aggressive look as oppose to Tacoma bubbly styling and Frontier. I made some minor interior upgrades to make the truck a nicer ride. The truck is not a luxury car but the interior is better looking than it's competitors The ride is bouncy but is expected from a truck with big tires. It has good suspension, going over bumps with ease. is greatThere are minor squeaks but I don't mind. The gas is decent. I get on avarage 20 MPG, $40 on full tank takes me 320 miles - city/hwy. The truck has been very reliable, practical, and fun to drive.

Features & Specs

MPG
16 city / 21 hwy
Seats 6
4-speed automatic
Gas
242 hp @ 5600 rpm
MPG
18 city / 24 hwy
Seats 6
4-speed automatic
Gas
185 hp @ 5600 rpm
MPG
18 city / 24 hwy
Seats 6
4-speed automatic
Gas
185 hp @ 5600 rpm
See all Used 2009 Chevrolet Colorado features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Marginal
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2009 Chevrolet Colorado

Used 2009 Chevrolet Colorado Overview

The Used 2009 Chevrolet Colorado is offered in the following submodels: Colorado Crew Cab, Colorado Regular Cab, Colorado Extended Cab. Available styles include LT 4dr Extended Cab SB (2.9L 4cyl 5M), VL 4dr Extended Cab SB (2.9L 4cyl 5M), LT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 5cyl 4A), LT 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (2.9L 4cyl 5M), VL 4dr Crew Cab SB (2.9L 4cyl 4A), Work Truck 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.9L 4cyl 5M), LT 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.9L 4cyl 5M), LT 4dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (2.9L 4cyl 5M), LT 4dr Crew Cab SB (2.9L 4cyl 4A), Work Truck 4dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (2.9L 4cyl 5M), Work Truck 4dr Extended Cab SB (2.9L 4cyl 5M), and Work Truck 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (2.9L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2009 Chevrolet Colorado?

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Which used 2009 Chevrolet Colorados are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 Chevrolet Colorado for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2009 Chevrolet Colorado.

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Find a used Chevrolet Colorado for sale - 4 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $21,648.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 2 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $12,094.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Colorado for sale - 3 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $12,422.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 4 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $23,557.

Should I lease or buy a 2009 Chevrolet Colorado?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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