Once or twice a decade, a new car or truck will come out and be so good, so likeable and so well-done that it can make all the other OEMs think hard about matching it.
In the case of mid-size pickup trucks, that incredible new car is the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado.
In a segment that has been in the doldrums for a least five years, the new Colorado is good enough to have Ford and Ram scratching their heads — reviewing old emails with a search heading of “Ranger” or “Dakota.” Why did we cancel these, again?
Off the market since 2010 but now back rested, redesigned and re-energized, the new Colorado firmly ditches its old compact truck segment in favor of the much more capable, and better-sounding, ‘mid-size truck’ you see before you.
What happened in those four years of beauty sleep?
What is this magic potion to turn the admirable but fairly lackluster previous-gen Colorado into the best truck on the market for 95-percent of all truck uses?
Let’s dive in to find out with the usual headings of Exterior, Interior, Performance, Pricing and Summary.
HD Off-Road Drive Review
Included directly above is an HD drive review testing out the Colorado Z71’s switch-able 4×4 modes and locking differentials on some old irrigation channels near the ocean in Charleston, South Carolina.
The first and most crucial thing you notice about the new Colorado Z71 is that it is big and tall. Not Big/Tall like the XXL pickups out there in the 1500 class — more big, tall and lean might be a better description.
Where the old Colorado rode low and felt narrow at all times, the 2015 model is lifted on giant rubber. Its grille and cab designs feel modern but hard-working at the same time.
The nose is a bluff cliff of a face, with a high hood-line falling away almost vertically into the Chevy truck bowtie shroud in the upper grille. The wide horizontal element is a dark black on this cool Z71 trim, extending into the bumper and looking cool yet functional. If the current Silverado is almost too traditional in its looks, the Colorado hits the sweet spot with its elegant headlamp internals and projector-beam halogen lighting.
A chrome-rimmed foglamp lives in the lower bumpers in a blacked-out section of the painted bumper, while the lower chin spoiler is a good balance. It is hard-wearing and flexible, with the aerodynamic extension integrated into this short-overhand nose nicely. Functional, but modern and memorable up front.
In the sides and in profile, the Colorado’s newness is plain to see — But not plain-jane.
The Colorado actually has a fairly steep windshield angle slope, which meshes well with the rounded roofline. The glasshouse in this crew-cab truck angles upward toward the rear windows, creating a smooth and sleek beltline at truck-cab height.
This is clearly a truck that was designed — not just styled.
You know that from the upward-moving lower sill stamping and the futuristic way the back door cutout and cab shape is angled. A bit of a slope is visible in the overall cab-to-pickup-box joining point. Sounds like a trivial detail, but combined with the built-in fender flares and cool brake-light shapes — -the Colorado really is a solid A-grade design.