Used 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Extended Cab Review
Edmunds expert review
The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado is now the most up-to-date and refined midsize pickup truck available. Compared to dated rivals or even as an alternative to full-size trucks, this new Colorado is very appealing.
What's new for 2015
While a lot of people like having the utility that comes with driving a pickup, not everyone needs or wants a full-size truck. That's typically been where compact trucks have fulfilled a need. In recent years, though, there hasn't been a whole lot to choose from. Chevrolet even stopped producing its compact Colorado for a few years. But this year is different, as Chevy's back in the game with an all-new 2015 Colorado.
The new Colorado (and its GMC sibling, the Canyon) is larger than the version Chevrolet discontinued three years ago, and that's made it more or less the same size as its Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier rivals. That means the Colorado's real advantages over those older competitors lie in its more fuel-efficient powertrains, a noticeably nicer interior and the addition of what many buyers will consider to be the latest "must-have" features. We think these upgrades should go a long way toward stirring things up in what has been a largely stagnant vehicle segment.
While the Colorado's regular cab model has been dropped, Chevy is now offering an extended-cab body style with a 6-foot, 2-inch "long" bed and a crew cab with four proper doors and a choice of a 5-foot, 2-inch short bed or the aforementioned long bed. A fuel-efficient 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is standard in extended-cab models, while most crew cab models come with the more powerful 3.6-liter V6 that bumps towing capacity to a class-leading 7,000 pounds.
Where this truck really surpasses both its own previous generation and its current competitors, however, is in the area of overall refinement. Chevy's engineers went to great lengths to make the handsomely styled interior noticeably quieter than the competition's. Chevy has also added the latest technology, from a standard rearview camera to the available 8-inch MyLink touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone-like apps and a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot. In short, it's safe to say that the all-new Colorado is one of the most sophisticated midsize pickups on the market.
The Chevrolet Colorado does have a few minor shortcomings. Its newness is paired with a price premium, certainly, and chances are you'll pay a little more to get a Colorado. Also, the minimal price difference and fuel economy savings between this new midsize model and many light-duty full-size trucks -- once the two chief arguments for buying a smaller pickup -- may also turn out to make it less attractive than in previous years.
To be thorough, you'll still want to compare the Colorado to the 2015 Nissan Frontier and 2015 Toyota Tacoma. The Frontier and Tacoma are still capable trucks and are priced lower than the Colorado, but they also show their age in regard to refinement. It's also worth pointing out that the 2015 Ford F-150 and 2015 Ram 1500 can post EPA fuel economy estimates that are as good as these new compact trucks while offering greater interior room and payload/towing capability. But overall we think pickup shoppers will find a lot to like with the new Colorado.
Trim levels & features
The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado is a midsize pickup offered in two- and four-seat extended-cab and five-seat crew cab body styles. There are two bed lengths and four trim levels, ranging from no-nonsense Base and Work Truck models to the better-equipped LT and the top-of-the-line Z71.
The entry level model, known simply as Base, is offered only with an extended cab. Standard features include 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, daytime running lights, air-conditioning, vinyl upholstery and floor covering, a four-way power driver seat with manual recline, front bucket seats and deletion of rear jump seats, a tilt-only adjustable steering wheel, power windows, a rearview camera and a six-speaker AM/FM audio system with a 4.2-inch color display and USB and auxiliary audio input jacks.
The next step up would be the Work Truck model, which is available in both extended-cab and crew cab body styles and adds fold-up rear jump seats (extended-cab models only), cloth upholstery, carpeting and floor mats.
The major difference between the Base and Work Truck trims is the latter's availability of a long list of desirable options including the WT Convenience package, which bundles an EZ-Lift tailgate, keyless entry, cruise control and a theft-deterrent system. The Work Truck Appearance package adds 16-inch alloy wheels and body-color mirrors, door handles and rear bumper. An audio system upgrade package includes Chevrolet's app-based MyLink system, with a 4.2-inch screen and Bluetooth cell phone and audio streaming connectivity. Stand-alone options include an automatic locking rear differential, spray-on bedliner, a trailering package (V6 models only), power-adjustable outside mirrors with built-in convex spotter mirrors, the EZ-Lift tailgate, the OnStar telematics service and a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot.
Springing for the LT gets you everything in the WT Convenience and Work Truck Appearance option packages plus 17-inch alloy wheels, power-adjustable outside mirrors with built-in convex spotter mirrors, an overhead console, a tilt-and-telescoping adjustable leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, illuminated visor mirrors, the OnStar telematics service, a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot and a Chevrolet MyLink audio system with an 8-inch touchscreen, satellite radio, Pandora radio, steering wheel and voice controls and three additional USB ports.
Options on LT models include the LT Convenience package, which adds front foglights, a rear window defogger, the EZ-Lift tailgate and remote starting. The Luxury package (requires LT Convenience package) includes projector-style headlights, heated power-adjustable chrome outside mirrors, chrome door handles and rear bumper, a four-way power front passenger seat, driver and front passenger power lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, automatic climate control and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The available Safety package includes forward collision alert and lane departure warning systems.
The top-of-the-line Z71 trim level (which takes its name from what used to be an off-road-oriented option package) includes the LT features as well as distinctive LED daytime running lights, dark-tinted 17-inch alloy wheels and grille surround, an off-road-oriented suspension, hill descent control, unique cloth/leatherette upholstery and other model-specific trim. A seven-speaker Bose premium audio system is available as an option on LT and Z71.
Performance & mpg
The 2015 Chevy Colorado is offered with a choice of two engines, starting with the standard 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder that puts out 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque. Matched to a six-speed manual transmission, which is standard on the two-wheel-drive Base and extended-cab WT models, it returns EPA fuel economy estimates of 22 mpg combined (19 city/26 highway). With the available six-speed automatic, the numbers are 22 mpg combined (20/27) with two-wheel drive and 21 mpg combined (19/25) with four-wheel drive. Properly equipped, four-cylinder models can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
The available 3.6-liter V6 puts out 305 hp and 269 lb-ft and comes mated to the six-speed automatic. EPA estimates for two-wheel-drive models are 21 mpg combined (18/26), and with four-wheel drive you're looking at 20 mpg combined (17/24). Properly equipped V6-powered models have a maximum towing capacity of 7,000 pounds.
In Edmunds performance testing, a Colorado crew cab short bed with four-wheel drive went from zero to 60 mph in a quick 7.5 seconds.
Standard safety features on the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, trailer sway control, front seat side impact airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a rearview camera.
The OnStar telematics system (standard on upper trims) provides emergency crash notification, stolen vehicle notification and remote locking and unlocking services. Advanced safety technologies including forward collision and lane departure warning systems are offered as options on select models.
During Edmunds testing, a Colorado crew cab short bed with four-wheel drive came to a stop from 60 mph in 129 feet, which is a good result for the segment. Competitors average about 5 additional feet.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2015 Colorado its highest possible rating of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset crash test, the only test that agency has conducted thus far on the Colorado as of this writing.
On the road, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado demonstrates the same polished feel evident throughout the rest of the truck. That's not to say its ride is luxury-sedan smooth — this is still a pickup after all — but it definitely has a less truckish quality than its competitors. Handling feels equally secure, with relatively little body lean when you're driving around turns. It's not nearly as intimidating around tight bends as its big brother, the Silverado 1500.
Fitted with the available V6 engine, the Colorado has plenty of oomph and can tow your typical trailer full of dirt bikes or ATVs without breaking a sweat. For heavier lifting, it's the obvious choice. In regular city driving, though, the six-speed automatic transmission is a bit slow to change gears. It's optimized for fuel economy, which makes it slightly hesitant to downshift when you need a bit more acceleration than that provided by just squeezing on the gas pedal. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder is underwhelming, as it just doesn't have enough power to really motivate a vehicle this large, especially if you plan on doing any towing or hauling. Real-world fuel economy can suffer, too. We recommend just getting the V6.
Chevy offers a Z71 trim level for the Colorado but this is not a truck that you'll want to drive too far off pavement, however. The truck's modest ground clearance combined with the low-hanging front airdam, which is meant to improve aerodynamics and therefore fuel economy at highway speeds, limit how much tough terrain the Colorado can take on. You'll certainly want to remove the airdam if you're planning on doing any serious four-wheeling.
If you've had a look at its long-running midsize pickup competitors lately, it's easy to see the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado's interior is a decided step up in terms of design, quality and available features. It's also noticeably quieter than rival trucks at highway speeds.
Gauges and basic controls are well placed and refreshingly intuitive. The available MyLink infotainment system is relatively simple to use, and we like the extra capabilities of the voice command system (and built-in Apple Siri Eyes Free technology). The touchscreen can sometimes be slow to respond to inputs, however, or require a reset before it responds at all.
On a more practical front, the crew cab's rear seat offers a few additional inches of legroom compared with its rivals, which is convenient if you plan on transporting any adults or locking large items in the cab. The seating is pretty comfortable for two normal-sized adults, though full-size crew cabs are still the way to go for three-across seating and/or superior legroom.
As with most extended-cab models, the rear jump seats in the Colorado's version are no place you'd want to put an adult for more than a short jaunt. Both body styles offer storage space under those rear seats for valuable tools or gear you'd rather not leave unprotected in the bed. For shoppers interested in the extended cab, Chevrolet has integrated a feature where the rear headrest doubles as an extension to the rear seat bottom, allowing for the installation of a child seat.
The Colorado's taller sides and tailgate (they're almost full-size truck high) make it easy to haul bulky payload items, and the Colorado long bed model can carry standard 4-by-8 sheets of plywood with the tailgate down without any overhang. The available EZ-Lift and Lower tailgate makes opening and closing the tailgate less of a workout, too.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.