2015 Chevrolet Colorado: Does It Make the Cut?
April 1, 2015
First, I'd like to say that Mike Monticello has ruggedly handsome style.
But he's a bit of a Whiny Wendy when it comes to the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado. Armrests are too hard. V6 is good, but not great. Boo hoo. In fairness, he's also praised the seats and says the ride is "certainly tolerable."
Maybe I'm just a little more rugged (if not handsome) than Mike because I find the Colorado checks most of my boxes, especially when it comes to thinking about a replacement for an aging Jeep Cherokee. First, I just like trucks. I like what they can do, I like what they represent. To me, trucks have always been the ultimate expression of open-road escape (once I got over the whole late 80s mini-truckin' craze).
In college, I drove from Orange County to Georgia and back, with stops in Tuscaloosa and New Orleans. It was a fairly spontaneous decision, made about a week before spring break, and one I'm fairly certain I wouldn't have considered but for my Isuzu pickup. A girl I knew at school, who I wanted to know better, agreed to co-pilot on the condition that we visit an art school in Savannah that she was considering for a transfer.
We got to know each other pretty well in that confined cabin space, and the open pickup bed became our mobile headquarters and crash pad. She even adopted a stray dog along the way. I'm pretty sure none of this would've happened if I'd owned a Civic.
The Colorado inspires the same feelings of wanderlust and adventure that my Cherokee did 15 years ago and the Isuzu before that. But if I were to get the Colorado today, I'd have to opt for a cap and a sliding cab window. There's a length of about 150 inches from the base of the windshield to the tailgate, useful for exploiting longboards, baseboards and 2x4s. Sure you can always rack some surfboards up top, but it's nice to have the option of securing them when your table at the taco stand puts your truck out of sight.
I'm also not certain I'd get the crew cab. A crew cab and short bed aren't versatile enough and a crew cab with long bed is too unwieldy. I'd have to seriously consider an extended cab/long bed unless I was certain I'd be joined by two or more companions each time I saddled up.
I admit some hesitation with the Colorado's off-road ability, especially in the wake of Dan's post of the Colorado's Ramp Travel Index. Early on, Chevy downplayed the Colorado's scope. We were tipped off when words like "sport" and "lifestyle" crept into the marketing speak and some of the first photos centered around adventure, outdoorsy activity: kayaks, mountain bikes, a trailer and some dirt bikes.
But the Z71 off-road package gave us hope, as did engineers who assured us we could wheel this thing just fine if we removed the easily-removable lower front air dam. It depends on how you define off-road, I suppose, and Dan's post explains in detail where the Colorado falls short on approach angle and clearance.
And although I don't regularly wheel these days (a sad admission for a Jeep owner, I know), I admit I find myself thinking more about the refreshed Tacoma due later this year if I get any more serious. And I freely admit I've fallen into the trap of the potential truck buyer who opts for four-wheel-drive "just in case."
Just in case I want to take it out into the canyon after it rains, which it does not anymore in California. Just in case it snows in the local mountains (see previous). Just in case I want to drive into Mexico to a remote surf break on the Baja California coastline, accessible only by rutted washboard desert crust (some adventures I don't need any part of anymore).
We still have time with the Colorado, time enough to put it through an intensive off-road battery and see how it fares.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor