2015 Chevrolet Colorado Long-Term Road Test - Wrap-Up

2015 Chevrolet Colorado Long-Term Road Test

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Read the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado's introduction of this vehicle to our long-term fleet.

See all of the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado's long-term updates on this vehicle.

What We Got
The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado was all-new, and it marked Chevy's return to the midsize truck segment. Like most trucks, it was available in numerous configurations. There were two cab styles, two bed lengths, four trim levels, three wheel sizes, four upholstery options, two engines and two transmissions. We had to make some decisions.

We chose what were likely to be the top-selling options. So that meant a crew cab, 5.2-foot short-bed, four-wheel drive, a 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. We also added the Z71 Off-Road package that included an automatic locking rear differential and hill descent control to improve off-road capability.

A selection of stand-alone options further increased our bottom line. We added the premium Bose audio system ($500), an 8-inch navigation touchscreen ($495), the 7,000-pound-capable towing package ($250), rubber floor mats ($160) and a rubber bed mat ($140). The truck carried an MSRP of $36,535, but we were able to negotiate a deal to buy it for $35,357.

We subjected the truck to just about every situation an owner might come across. Here's a sample of what we found.

Performance

  • "The engine has a decent spread of torque that is...sabotaged by the transmission calibration. That and it sounds pretty coarse, subjectively speaking, during even moderate acceleration events. At a cruise the truck is fairly serene." — Jason Kavanagh


  • 2015 Chevrolet Colorado

  • "This big honkus is designed to be stiff and unyielding in order to improve aerodynamics in the name of a higher fuel economy rating on the window sticker. It's bodywork. I did not proceed any farther.... The flap would have been torn apart, and then ripped off when I backed down.... Any self-respecting 4x4 truck should be able to clear this tepid 20-degree slope without touching." — Dan Edmunds


  • "[Towing in] manual mode made it easy. It really was a must-do. On the freeway I kept the truck in 6th gear most of the time, with the occasional shift to 4th for passing and grades. It was nice that the truck allowed shifts without disrupting cruise control." — Mike Schmidt

MPG

  • "Eleven fill-ups and 3,703 miles later, our 2015 Chevrolet Colorado is back from Wyoming. It was a heck of a trip and the Colorado proved itself a capable partner across large swaths of the Western United States. The Colorado averaged 21.1 mpg during the 3,700 miles. Almost all of the driving was in 85-degree or warmer weather, and at least half of those miles were logged above 5,000 feet. Its best tank of 24.7 mpg came (surprise, surprise) with my wife driving after I suffered an allergy attack and had to medicate my way out of it with Benadryl." — Josh Jacquot


  • "In February, we saw our lifetime mpg drop to 17.5 (it was 17.7 at the end of December). The average wasn't helped by recording our worst fill of the test this month at 13.8 mpg. We also did some rally-car towing that averaged 15.7 mpg over two fills and hurt our combined average a bit (but still, not bad for moving approximately 6,500 pounds more than 400 miles). That said, the Colorado has recorded 18/19 mpg six times over the last 12 tank fills. Perhaps it's simply a matter of more miles to find the true average, but it's a little disappointing that we're off the combined rating by more than two miles during four months of the test." — Josh Jacquot

Comfort

  • "I found the seats pretty comfortable over the long haul. A bit more thigh support wouldn't be unwelcome, but otherwise the seat proved comfy, with only a hint of road butt after three hours. The Colorado settles in nicely at speed, with low noise levels for a truck and good straight-line stability. And really, when you're plodding up Interstate 5, those two attributes are key." — Jason Kavanagh


  • 2015 Chevrolet Colorado

  • "I recognized early in this truck's time with us that it lacks the plush, subtle ride of today's full-size, half-ton pickups. That's not to say it's uncomfortable. I chose it for this trip knowing it was less comfortable than our Ram or F-150 and I figured it would be fine. And it was." — Josh Jacquot

Cargo Space

  • "This wouldn't be much of a test as to whether the Colorado could handle two dirt bikes.... Rather, it would be a good test of our new bed extender.... We tried putting the two rear wheels of the dirt bikes as close together as possible at the extender's longest point, but even that didn't work. The bummer of it all is that the bed extender exists not so that there's less worry about the bikes falling off the back (that's what tie-downs are for) but so you can throw things like gear bags, coolers and stands in the bed without them falling out. Instead I had to put everything in the cab." — Mike Monticello


  • "Remember, after much debate we bought a short-bed version of the Colorado. Despite that questionable decision, it handled my air compressor, gas can, tool kit, go-kart, gear bag and a few chairs for me and my kids. Quite a bit of stuff, but bringing the kart stand was not an option." — Scott Oldham

Interior

  • "There are a few small things I don't like about the cabin in our Colorado. Tacky trim and rubbery steering wheel buttons are just a couple. But overall, the Colorado has the kind of purposeful design that makes it feel like a real truck... a nice, big shifter in the middle, big analog gauges in front of you and sturdy knobs or dials for most major functions. There's no big trick here, just the basics done right." — Ed Hellwig


  • 2015 Chevrolet Colorado

  • "Two quarts of oil and a nearly flat package of tie straps. That's it. That's all I could fit in the storage bin under the rear seat of our long-term Colorado. Anything more or anything taller and returning the seat bottom to its down position becomes impossible. I'm disappointed by this." — Scott Oldham

Audio and Technology

  • "Last weekend I used the Colorado to haul my trailer to its storage location. And for the first time in my life experienced the awesome benefit of using a back-up camera to align a trailer hitch to a trailer. In the Chevy Colorado the camera is positioned well and offers perfect perspective for putting the ball right underneath the coupler.... Awesome." — Josh Jacquot


  • "Basically, these are dual-location seat heaters. You can turn the heat on just for your back, or you can warm up your back and butt at the same time.... It's a great tool for treating back pain. So when I got overzealous with some furniture rearrangement earlier this week and tweaked my back, I was happy to see the Colorado was available." — Travis Langness

Maintenance

  • "Somewhere between California and Wyoming a rock chipped the windshield of our Colorado. The harmless blemish remained dormant for weeks until one afternoon when it gave birth to a 2-inch crack. Minimal coaxing stretched it to five, then 10 inches long, at which point we declared the windshield dead." — Mike Schmidt


  • "No wires were in immediate danger of being damaged, but some were rerouted anyway to prevent future mishaps. Our seats were installed incorrectly at the factory but they had the hooks necessary for the repair. They were removed and reattached." — Cameron Rogers

Miscellaneous

  • "Despite its small box, I was able to cram nine 5-gallon fuel jugs and six mounted Miata wheels in there, plus a floor jack and a few sundries. That was with the bed extender still in place (not deployed). Worked for me." — Jason Kavanagh


  • 2015 Chevrolet Colorado

  • "Sergio offered us $28,000 for the truck. This was $1,000 better than the CarMax offer and $1,159 better than Edmunds' trade-in True Market Value®. He said that the price would be good assuming that everything checked out with the vehicle when he saw it in person.... And so the Colorado leaves our fleet." — Ron Montoya

Maintenance & Repairs

Regular Maintenance:
The Colorado requested routine maintenance at 7,500-mile intervals. That equated to two visits (7,500 and 15,000) during our 20,000-mile test. And both were free of charge under Chevrolet's two-year/24,000-mile maintenance plan. But these weren't our only dealer stops.

Service Campaigns:
A total of four recalls applied to our Colorado during this test. Two were handled during routine maintenance: (1) relocating a wiring harness near the brake lines and (2) replacing the front brake calipers. The other two required separate attention. Our only unscheduled dealer visit addressed these remaining campaigns: (3) rerouting a wiring harness in the driver footwell and (4) tightening bolts to secure the front seats.

Fuel Economy and Resale Value

Observed Fuel Economy:
EPA fuel economy projections for our V6 Colorado were 20 mpg combined (17 city/24 highway). After 21,900 miles we averaged on the low end of that scale, 18.2 mpg. Our best single tank was 24.7 mpg. Our best range on one fill-up was 463 miles.

Resale and Depreciation:
We purchased our 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 short bed for $35,357. After one year and 21,900 miles, Edmunds' TMV® Calculator valued the truck at $28,829 based on a private-party sale. A local Chevrolet dealership ultimately bought the truck for $28,000, outpricing both CarMax and a brief stint on the open market. That equates to 21 percent depreciation, a better-than-average number for our long-term cars.

Summing Up

Pros: Solid performance from V6 engine, comfortable ride quality, competent with a trailer in tow even near its 7,500-pound rated capacity, straightforward interior design, supportive seats, held its value, free maintenance for first two years.

Cons: Limited off-road capabilities, didn't meet EPA fuel economy numbers, lazy transmission shifts.

Bottom Line: A comfortable cabin, solid performance and a manageable size make the new Chevrolet Colorado a legitimate alternative to a full-size truck. Although it lacks serious off-road chops, only customers who venture off the beaten path on a regular basis will notice. If all you want is a Silverado in a smaller package, the Colorado delivers.

 
Total Body Repair Costs: None
Total Routine Maintenance Costs: None (over 12 months)
Additional Maintenance Costs: $403.62 for windshield
Warranty Repairs: Reroute a footwell wiring harness, tighten seat bolts, relocate electrical harness near brake lines, replace front brake calipers
Non-Warranty Repairs: Replace windshield
Scheduled Dealer Visits: 2
Unscheduled Dealer Visits: 1
Days Out of Service: None
Breakdowns Stranding Driver: None
 
Best Fuel Economy: 24.7 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 12.7 mpg
Average Fuel Economy: 18.2 mpg
 
True Market Value at service end: $28,829 (private-party sale)
What it Sold for: $28,000
Depreciation: $7,357 (21% of paid price)
Final Odometer Reading: 21,926 miles

Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.


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