I admit, when I first saw the 2015 Colorado at the Canadian International Auto Show, I wasn’t exactly bowled over. I’ve never been a truck guy, but I was willing to give it a try when Chevy asked if I’d like to try one out for a week. Now, after a week of being both passenger and driver in the Colorado, using it to ferry the children to hockey and clearing out the garage, I’ve decided that I need one in my life. Now here’s why…
When I first looked at the Colorado and saw that the suspension has about 3 inches of travel I readied myself for bone-shattering recoil every time I hit a pothole or drove over a pebble. Oh, how wrong I was. The seats are pulled straight out of luxury car and envelop both passenger and driver. Even the bench seat in back is well upholstered and soft. While the shocks do have a fair bit of travel in them, the ride is surprisingly smooth. I tested the ride out on three different surfaces: Highway; city roads; and dirt tracks.
On the highway, I found that the ride was as smooth as could be. It reminded me of driving a Cadillac more than it did of driving any of the trucks in which I’d previously ridden. Once I got onto the surface roads, the travel in the shocks was slightly more noticeable, but even hitting a pothole at 50kph didn’t do much more than rattle the ice in my drink a bit. The true test for a work truck though is found off road. Can I drive it across a job site without bouncing into the ceiling or compressing my spine? Yes. Easily. On the dirt track I tested it on (which ends in a dirt roundabout with a 3 foot deep hole in the centre), the truck jostled a bit at speed, but there was never any danger of being bounced out of the seat or sustaining any real spinal damage. The handling and breaks were also surprisingly sharp. While circling the dirt roundabout, I put it into a powerslide which gave me no drama when I turned out of it and continued down the straight.
Chevy is marketing the Colorado as a mid-size pickup, which, for years, has been a field dominated by Nissan and Toyota. While the Toyota Hilux and Invincible may actually be invincible, they’re not exactly sporty or powerful. The Colorado is both. With four-wheel drive and a big V-6 engine, the truck puts out 305hp and 269 foot pounds of torque. With that kind of power and the upgraded tow package equipped, the Colorado will tow up to 7,000lbs.
In order to test out Chevy’s claim that the Colorado will do 0-100kph in about 7.2 seconds, I pointed it at the onramp to Highway 401 and pushed the pedal to the floor. Initially, the results were not spectacular, the transmission struggled through the first 4 gears and the needle slowly climbed towards 100kph. Exiting the highway at the next off-ramp, I came around for another try. This time, I slowly and gently depressed the pedal. Success. In just over 7 seconds, I was cruising along the onramp at 100kph. Maybe it was just a case of it being a brand new vehicle (less than 2000 km on the odometer when I picked it up) or perhaps it was a result of the low range gears being made to slowly change in anticipation of towing, the gentler touch did the tick.
The speedometer on the Colorado goes all the way up to 240kph. This, I think, is more wishful thinking than reality. When pressed, the Colorado will go to 158kph and no further. This is due to the limiter Chevy has installed.
This mid-size truck has more technology stuffed into it than my home computer does. It starts with the 4G LTE WiFi which is built in. Gone are the days of listening to the kids complain that they can’t watch YouTube videos or play their internet based games while on a road trip. The reasonably priced data packages will ensure that no matter where you are, you’re able to update your Facebook status or check out the newest viral cat video.
The Colorado also comes equipped with MyLink. This 8” full colour screen, located in the centre of the dash acts like your tablet. You can customize which features show on your home screen, swipe your way through the menus and access everything from environmental systems to satellite navigation.
Once you’ve got the system set up to your specifications, you can pair your phone via Bluetooth and stream your music through the immensely powerful, 10 speaker Bose Centerpoint Surround System. In order to test the system out, I started up the SiriusXM radio and tuned it to the House/Trance station. The bass nearly blew the windows out at ½ volume. Moving over to the 70s station, I was able to listen to my classic rock and close my eyes and imagine I was listening to it live. This sound system is that immersive.
The technology isn’t just about entertainment though; there are also a number of safety features which turn technology into peace of mind. There is the omnipotent OnStar system that can help you in the case of an emergency or when you need to find the nearest gas station or any other route guidance.
The rear vision camera not only includes the ability to show you where your vehicle will end up when turning the wheel in reverse, but also tilts down to allow you to expertly back up to a trailer without backing into the hitch.
As I experienced while driving on the highway, the Colorado’s suite of safety technology also includes forward collision alert (on the LT model). While driving normally, the forward facing cameras and sensors will detect any vehicles ahead of you and display a small, green car symbol on the display. As you get closer to the vehicle in front of you, the car will turn yellow/orange. If the car in front of you brakes suddenly, the indicator will turn red and an alarm will audibly sound, alerting you to an impending collision and giving you time to hit the brakes. Without this particular feature, I might not have returned the vehicle to Chevy in the same condition it was when they loaned it to me.
Paired with the forward collision alert system, the Colorado also has lane departure warnings. Using a camera mounted behind the rear-view mirror, the car will alert you if you stray from you lane without using an indicator.
With all of this technology on board, your next road trip will not only be more enjoyable, it’ll also be safer.
I’m still not a truck guy. I’d sooner be behind the wheel of a Cadillac CTS than a truck, but for seating (there’s room to seat 5 comfortably), storage space (there are two bed sizes – 5’2” and 6’2”), technology (4G LTE, wherever you go!) and ride comfort, this would have to be the truck for me. It really is like driving a Cadillac with the rear of a GMC and the handling of a Camaro. In all honesty, when I first parked it in my driveway and gave it a good look I thought to myself “it looks like an El Camino for the 21st century”, and do you know what? That’s exactly what it is. It’s a sporty truck, a grocery-getter, a family vehicle and can tow the family trailer or boat anywhere you want to go.
Bottom line – If you’re in the market for a mid-size truck this year, this is it. With prices starting around the $21,000 mark (though the model I drove was fully equipped and priced at $43,000), it’s got everything you need for work and play.