2012 Chevrolet Colorado Review

Pros & Cons

  • Affordable
  • strong V8 performance
  • wide variety of configurations.
  • Mediocre interior fit and finish
  • weak power and towing capacity from base engines
  • aging design
  • disappointing crash safety scores.
List Price

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2012 Chevy Colorado still looks sharp, but inside and underneath it lags behind the competition in both passenger comfort and overall refinement.

Vehicle overview

Chevy seems to be on another 10-year plan with its Colorado compact/midsize pickup. The Colorado's predecessor, the S10, lasted more than two decades. And though the 2012 Chevrolet Colorado is a competent truck, its age has resulted in it being outclassed by its primary rivals in terms of utility, design, feature content and all-around desirability.

Entering its ninth year of production without a full redesign, the Colorado is still an affordable pickup with much the same muscular look as Chevy's full-size trucks. It offers multiple configurations of body styles, trim levels and engines, including a stout 300-horsepower V8 that can pull 6,000 pounds of trailer toys.

But a look inside the cabin reveals the Colorado's shortcomings. This utilitarian space with its unimpressive materials hasn't changed much since the Colorado's debut. Chevy designed the interior with unfussy truck buyers in mind -- large knobs can be manipulated while wearing work gloves -- but the fleet managers who find themselves in compact pickups won't be impressed with this truck's noisy cabin and busy ride.

Among competing small trucks, only the Ford Ranger feels more dated, so the Colorado wins against this rival. But the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma are two more contemporary and refined alternatives to the Colorado. Value hunters might even consider late-model used versions of these competitors before settling on the aging Colorado.

2012 Chevrolet Colorado models

The 2012 Chevrolet Colorado is a compact/midsize pickup offered in three body styles: regular cab, extended cab (with small rear access doors) and crew cab (with four regular doors).

Crew cabs come equipped with 5-foot cargo boxes while other models feature a 6-foot box. The Colorado is offered in either a basic Work Truck or a premium LT trim, with the latter available in LT1, LT2 and LT3 subsets tailored to specific needs. Every model of the rear-wheel-drive Colorado except for the LT3 offers four-wheel drive as an option.

Standard features for the Work Truck version of the Colorado include 16-inch steel wheels, a front split bench seat, a tilt steering column, air-conditioning, cruise control, OnStar, Bluetooth and an AM/FM stereo. The LT1 adds 16-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, deluxe cloth upholstery, full power accessories, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and upgraded audio with a CD/MP3 player and satellite radio.

The LT2 models gain an off-road suspension, a sliding rear window, chrome exterior trim and front bucket seats. The LT3 is similar but has the V8 engine and a sport suspension. Leather seating is an option for crew-cab Colorados.

2012 Highlights

Except for an automatic locking rear differential on midlevel trim models, the Chevy Colorado offers no significant changes for 2012.

Performance & mpg

The 2012 Chevrolet Colorado offers three engines. The base engine is a 2.9-liter four-cylinder generating 185 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. Optional for all trims (and standard on 4WD Crew Cabs) is a 3.7-liter five-cylinder that produces 242 hp and 242 lb-ft of torque. Finally, a 5.3-liter V8 rated at 300 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque comes standard on the LT3 and is optional on LT2 models.

A five-speed manual transmission is standard for most four-cylinder Colorados, with a four-speed automatic optional; the five-cylinder and V8 engines are equipped only with the automatic. Four-wheel-drive models feature a dual-range InstaTrac transfer case with controls conveniently mounted on the dash.

EPA estimated fuel economy ranges from 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 21 combined for the regular cab model equipped with the four-cylinder to 14 mpg city/19 highway and 16 mpg combined for crew cabs equipped with the V8 and four-wheel drive. A properly equipped V8-powered Colorado can tow up to 6,000 pounds.


The 2012 Chevy Colorado comes standard with OnStar, antilock brakes, stability control, traction control and side curtain airbags.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, an extended-cab Colorado received a top-ranked score of "Good" for frontal offset collisions. The crew cab model, however, fared worse and earned a second-best "Acceptable" ranking for the same test and a worst "Poor" rating for side-impact protection.


The 2012 Chevrolet Colorado's smaller four- and five cylinder engines are smooth enough, but fall short of the competition's V6s. The V8 compensates for this deficit, although at the expense of fuel economy. The Colorado's four-speed automatic transmission shifts cleanly, yet it can't deliver the acceleration or fuel economy delivered by the competition's five-speed automatics.

Around town, the Colorado is reasonably quiet, although the amount of wind and road noise is certainly trucklike. The standard suspension affords plenty of load-carrying capability, but at the price of plenty of bounce across bad pavement and dirt roads.


Although the Colorado looks handsome from the outside, sharing chiseled cues with the full-size Silverado, the cabin appears stuck in time. While rivals have become more refined, the Colorado continues with mediocre cabin furnishings, plenty of hard plastic trim and seats that are barely comfortable, much less supportive.

On the other hand, controls and instruments are arranged in a simple and straightforward fashion, and there's plenty of room up front. Passengers in non-crew cab models, however, will have to shuffle and twist to reach the rear seats through the small door openings. Once back there, they'll likely find small quarters and tight legroom.

Outside, the Colorado's tailgate can be set partially open to furnish a flat loading area for 4x8 panels or long items.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2012 Chevrolet Colorado.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

28k miles after 6kmiles hard road trip
I bought this 2012 Chevy Colorado with the 3.7 liter 5 used with 21,000 miles. I then took it on a 6,000 mile road trip this September 2012 thru 22 states. From Charleston South Carolina, to Great Falls Montana to Parker Arizona back to Charleston. The Last leg of the trip from AZ to SC I towed a 2000 Dodge Dakota single cab with a frame hitch behind my Colorado. throughout the entire trip the truck ran excellent. Before towing the Dodge I averaged 24.5 MPG highway at about 75 MPH. Towing the Dodge I managed 15-19 MPG. driving up the continentual divides in both Arizona and New Mexico I was able to maintain a steady speed of 70 MPH while towing. The truck would run at about 2500 RPM.
2010 to 2012 2WD Colorado Crew Cab LT2 Z71
I have owned 2 Chevy Colorado Crew Cabs starting with an '05 LS Crew Cab and 2.8L engine and a 2010 Crew Cab with 3.7L engine. Both were 2WD. My family and I have found this configuration to be more useful and appealing than the purchase of a compact SUV. The reason I write this is because besides the great service and reliability, the new 3.7L in 2WD actually gets as good or better than the 2.8L. We routinely drive 330 mi. each way to a family cabin. On three recent trips (May, June, July) we got 26.3, 26.5, and 26.7 mpg on one leg. This was with AC on or off. It just confuses me how some say this truck get no better mpg than full size trucks. It gets 17-19 city and 24 to +26 highway.
Excellent value for the Money - A must look at Truck
1LT 4dr Extended Cab SB (2.9L 4cyl 4A)
I tend to buy vehicles at the end of their design life -- bugs have been worked out, etc, and deals are there. This 2WD Colorado is an exceptional value for the money. It IS comfortable, looks great, and from other owners I talked to, is RELIABLE. In 3,000 miles so far this is the case. Don't listen to professional reviews that push you towards imports...they ALL have cheap plastic interior. Chevy did a great job on this truck. Perfect? No. Affordible, reliable, a great VALUE? YES YES YES. Have pulled pop up camper, hauled dirt and rock all in first months of use. Only wish 2WD models were easier to find on the lots...why do we need 4WD when roads are cleared soon after it snows?
cheapest decent truck
I bought a 2012 colorado crew cab used w/ 21,400 miles with the 5 cyl. 3.7L engine. The 4 cyl. engine was too weak, and fuel efficiency difference was only 1 mpg. Alone with luggage I get 24.5 mpg at 66 mph. With more ppl and luggage its more like 22 mpg. In houstons mix of highway and city I tend to get 19-20 mpg. It now has 60,000 miles and have had a $400 sensor go out. Ride and road noise are not the best, but livable. Turning radius better than full size, but not great. I find fuel mileage is significantly better than full size trucks, and I have had no issues with the drivetrain. This truck has no frills, but its reliable. This is the midsize truck to buy if you want value.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2012 Chevrolet Colorado features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover20.4%
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
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2012 Chevrolet Colorado

Used 2012 Chevrolet Colorado Overview

The Used 2012 Chevrolet Colorado is offered in the following submodels: Colorado Crew Cab, Colorado Regular Cab, Colorado Extended Cab. Available styles include Work Truck 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.9L 4cyl 5M), 1LT 4dr Crew Cab SB (2.9L 4cyl 4A), 1LT 4dr Extended Cab SB (2.9L 4cyl 4A), 2LT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 5cyl 4A), 1LT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 5cyl 4A), 1LT 4dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (2.9L 4cyl 4A), Work Truck 4dr Extended Cab SB (2.9L 4cyl 5M), 2LT 4dr Crew Cab SB (3.7L 5cyl 4A), 2LT 4dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 5cyl 4A), Work Truck 4dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (2.9L 4cyl 5M), Work Truck 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (2.9L 4cyl 5M), 1LT 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.9L 4cyl 4A), 2LT 4dr Extended Cab SB (3.7L 5cyl 4A), 1LT 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (2.9L 4cyl 4A), 3LT 4dr Crew Cab SB (5.3L 8cyl 4A), and 3LT 4dr Extended Cab SB (5.3L 8cyl 4A).

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Chevrolet Colorado?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Chevrolet Colorado trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Chevrolet Colorado 1LT is priced between $16,995 and$16,995 with odometer readings between 83605 and83605 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Chevrolet Colorado 2LT is priced between $13,495 and$13,495 with odometer readings between 106201 and106201 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2012 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) 2012 Chevrolet Colorado for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2012 Colorados listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,995 and mileage as low as 83605 miles. 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 2012 Chevrolet Colorado.

Can't find a used 2012 Chevrolet Colorados you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Chevrolet Colorado for sale - 4 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $23,261.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 1 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $22,227.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Colorado for sale - 2 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $17,842.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 2 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $23,709.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 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.

Check out Chevrolet lease specials
Check out Chevrolet Colorado lease specials