2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2: Monthly Update for February 2018
by Travis Langness, Automotive Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
For such an abundantly capable off-road rig, we enjoy driving our long-term 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 on the highway quite a bit. February wasn't its most mileage-heavy month, but the ZR2 did clock more than 1,000 miles, primarily on the open road. We're fond of how it smooths out road imperfections and remains relatively silent over most surfaces despite its knobby tires. The tall tire sidewalls seem to help in the city, too, with no pothole or speed bump too large to go crashing over at speed.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
We're settling into a nice pattern with the diesel-powered ZR2, doing very well on fuel economy about midway through our yearlong test. The excellent ride quality means that we take it on freeway trips quite a bit, and we haven't towed much with the Colorado yet, which is helping keep the numbers high. We're beating the EPA estimate for the diesel-ZR2 combo and range is excellent, too, with a significant number of fill-ups seeing the other side of a 400-mile trip odometer reading.
Average lifetime mpg: 21.1
EPA mpg rating: 20 combined (19 city/22 highway)
Best fill mpg: 25.7
Best range: 453.1 miles
Current odometer: 10,313 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"I agree with co-worker Will Kaufman's comment from last month: Getting the optional diesel engine in the Colorado makes little sense. It's slow, costs a lot of money and returns only slightly better fuel economy. According to the EPA's fueleconomy.gov site, the diesel's annual fuel costs are a bit more than the V6's.
"I was thinking that the diesel would be superior in off-road situations, with greater low rpm grunt that would be beneficial for crawling over rocks. But then I reread our First Drive and noticed that the diesel's six-speed transmission reduces its overall crawl ratio compared to the V6 and eight-speed auto. So, that's a wash. But I dig this engine anyway. The rattly engine sound and low-revving nature impart the Colorado with a big-rig vibe. There's some extra personality to it, and I like that." — Brent Romans, senior editor
"I'm really impressed with the Colorado's front seat heaters, of all things. They warm up quickly and are appropriately hot on their highest setting. I also appreciate the ability to specify whether you want the entire seat heated or just the seatback. I've driven a few newer Buicks and Chevrolets that only have a general seat heater setting, so don't be surprised if the seatback-only function disappears in the near future." — Cameron Rogers, staff writer
"I'm quite pleased with the overall comfort of our Colorado for long-distance drives. You might think those knobby off-road tires would make a racket, but they don't. Louder? Yes, but far from annoying. The ZR2's special suspension rides pretty smoothly, too, all things considered. I've also found the driver's seat is comfortable for hours at a time. No problems doing long drives." — Brent Romans
Technology & Audio
"None of us have written anything about the Colorado's touchscreen infotainment system yet. In a way, that's a good thing. When Chevy's MyLink system first came out, it was largely panned for being slow and annoying to use. The latest system is solid, though. The graphics still look a little dated, but it's easy to find what you want through the menus. Response times are sufficiently quick. Having Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is nice, too." — Brent Romans
"I'll second my co-workers' comments about getting in and out of our Colorado ZR2 — it's not the easiest. Granted, this isn't going to be a primary concern if you're buying a ZR2. But it would help if Chevy added an overhead grab handle so you can lift yourself up. There's not one on the driver's side. There's a handle on the front passenger side, but it's on the front roof pillar instead of being overhead. It's more to hang onto when the truck is bouncing around." — Brent Romans
"Our Colorado ZR2 would be just fine for somebody placed in the Witness Protection Program. People go nuts over Ford Raptors, but so far my impression is that our ZR2 is invisible to the general motoring populace. It's got bucket loads of off-road capability, but you wouldn't know it from the mild styling enhancements. I happen to like the sleeper aspect to this truck, but I could also see this as a turnoff for a lot of other truck and Jeep buyers." — Brent Romans