Test drive: 2015 Chevy Colorado - functionality at its finest

BY Tom Jensen • November 24, 2014

Americans have had a long love affair with pickup trucks, which continue to sell at strong rates.

Through the end of October, more than 1.88 million pickups were sold in the United States this year, an increase of 4.9 percent over the first 10 months of 2013.

For many folks, trucks are a necessity for work; for others, trucks are a lifestyle choice. Pickups are an especially good choice in cold-weather climates for people who don’t want to take their sports car or muscle car out in bad weather.

The top four selling trucks are all big, full-size beasts, which are great for hauling and getting work done, but for some may be too big and ungainly.

To that end, General Motors has just rolled out the all-new, midsized 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and its cousin-under-the-skin, the GMC Canyon.

For owners who want a pickup truck because it suits their lifestyle, the Colorado is an excellent choice. Compared to the full-size Chevrolet Silverado, the Colorado is about 16 inches shorter, which might not seem like a lot, but it makes the midsize truck much easier to handle in traffic.

“Many people like the ‘can-do’ spirit of a truck, but they want a vehicle that is easier to maneuver in traffic and easier to park at work or at home,” said Tony Johnson, Colorado marketing manager. “For them, bigger is not necessarily better.”

This week’s tester was a loaded-to-the gills 2015 Colorado 4WD Crew Long Box, the top-of-the-line version of this truck.

One of the selling points of pickup trucks is that you have a wide latitude for options when building one. Not surprisingly, you can order a Colorado in a dizzying number of configurations.

The Colorado is also available in a choice of three trims: Work Truck (WT), LT and Z71.

There are four-door extended- and crew-cab models, with a choice of four- or six-cylinder engines and two- or four-wheel drive. Specifically, there’s an extended cab model with a 6’ 2” bed, a crew cab with a 5’ 2” bed and a crew cab with a 6’ 2” bed. The Colorado is also available in a choice of three trims: Work Truck (WT), LT and Z71. In other words, something for most every taste.

With the 6’2” inch bed, the Colorado will carry 4’ x 8’ sheets of plywood, if you put the tailgate down.

Our tester, which was attractively trimmed in Red Rock Metallic paint and jet black/dark ash interior was heavily optioned with the $1,080 Luxury Package, which includes a four-way power front passenger seat adjuster, power driver lumbar control, power front passenger lumbar control, heated driver and front passenger seats, automatic climate control, projector-type headlamps, auto-dimming inside rearview mirror, heated outside mirrors with chrome finish, chrome rear bumper and door handles.

Among other options, this one also had 18-inch dark argent wheels ($1,000), leather seats ($950), Bose audio system ($500), MyLink audio and navigation package ($495), Safety Package with forward collision alert and lane departure warning ($325). Six airbags are standard.

The MyLink systems allows iPhone and Android users to connect their phones to the truck’s electronics.

Siri Eyes Free enables iPhone 4S, 5, 5S and 6 users to access Siri via the steering wheel controls and check calendar entries, have text messages read and respond to them, place calls or call up music.

The inside features comfortable and wide seats and an array of easy-to-use electronics.

Android phone users can also use the steering wheel controls to access their phone’s voice recognition features.

Our tester came with a smooth-as-silk 3.6-liter V-6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

From a design standpoint, Chevrolet has done an outstanding job with the Colorado, making it look muscular and purposeful instead of appearing to be an eviscerated full-size truck. Not every manufacturer gets that.

Likewise, from a functionality standpoint, the Colorado is very well executed. The cabin is extremely quiet, visibility is tremendous from all corners and I was much impressed with its driving dynamics. Yes, it’s a big truck, but it isn’t the lumbering, lethargic beast that some full-size trucks are.

And there’s no question it’s a more convenient size, which you notice on trips to the mall or the grocery store.

On the inside, I loved the comfortable and wide seats and the array of easy-to-use electronics inside, as well as the visibility from behind the wheel. Chevrolet could have done a better job on the grade of plastics used on the dashboard, but that’s a small gripe.

All told, Chevrolet has done an excellent job with the new Colorado. This would be a great to choice to drive over the winter while you keep your Corvette or Camaro out of harm’s way during the winter.