2015 Chevrolet Colorado: Mild Dirt Duty Exposes Weak Approach Angle
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on September 11, 2015
A couple of weeks ago, I drove our 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 4x4 pickup to the Gorman Ridge rally, held in the Hungry Valley state vehicular recreation area. I arrived in the wee hours to stake out a good spot in the service park, as there would soon be a land rush for good real estate in the paddock. Josh Jacquot and the F-150, towing Josh's rally car, weren't set to arrive for a couple of hours.
During the event, the Colorado mostly sat at the ready should we need to dash off into town on the off-chance we needed something we hadn't already thought to bring. This mostly sedentary task allowed us to press it into service as a tire showroom, of sorts.
The crew was periodically busy throughout the day, and I couldn't stray far in case the car turned up unscheduled in need of repair. But late in the day, as the light began to fade and the car was off running stages well away from base camp, I took the Colorado up to the top of a nearby hill to get a birds-eye view of the place.
Many of the trails in the "downtown" part of Hungry Valley are wide enough for Jeeps and trucks, and there isn't a single rock obstacle, ledge or log to surmount. It's easy graded-road stuff that any 2WD crossover could deal with.
Motorcycles and ATVs blast around here on a normal day, so some trails are encrusted with whoop-dee-doos of varying depth and severity. The paths I chose were pretty tame on this point. Unless I'm in a truck with extended suspension travel, like a Ford Raptor or better, I avoid whoops whenever possible.
Even so, the Colorado's plow-like front fascia dug in like a grader in places I never would have expected. The truck's pitiful 18-degree approach angle wasn't up to even this simple task. At least the fairly loose sandy surface didn't break it off.
Come to think of it, maybe that wouldn't have been such a bad thing. Maybe I ought to bite the bullet and invest the three or four hours it takes to unbolt the detestable thing.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 17,743 miles