First Look: 2015 Chevy Colorado

 
Here it is: the midsize Chevrolet Colorado pickup that's destined for US showrooms in 2014. And while you might simply assume that the truck seen here is simply an Americanized version of the global Colorado already on sale in other markets, it's much, much more than that. The goal with the 2015 Colorado, according to Alan Batey, Chevrolet's Global Brand Chief, is to offer the "most capable, versatile and fuel-efficient pickup" in the US.

For starters, the 2015 Colorado was designed and engineered to the same standard as General Motors' fullsize trucks. In fact, Jeff Luke, Executive Engineer of GM Trucks, told Autoblog that the US-spec Colorado's underpinnings are actually more closely related to the larger Silverado than to its global counterpart. What's more, depending on trim, the Colorado is some 900 pounds lighter than a comparable Silverado.

It's a rugged, handsome thing, this Colorado – and to our eyes, it's far more attractive than the boxy, all-dat-chrome-up-in-mah-grille Silverado, or the overseas Colorado, for that matter. Chevrolet will only offer the Colorado in Extended Cab and Crew Cab bodystyles, with six-foot and five-foot boxes, respectively. Work Truck (WT), LT and Z71 trims will be available, and we're told that the base WT model will be available with a rear-seat delete option for folks who need as much storage space as possible. High-end Z71 models will ride on 17-inch alloy wheels, and all models get pickup-friendly features like standard corner steps, a two-tier loading system and 13 tie-down locations. Optional goodies include a spray-in bed liner and Chevy's nifty EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate.

At launch, two gasoline engines will be offered – a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a 3.6-liter V6, both mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission. Official SAE power ratings are still pending, but Chevy tells us that the 2.5-liter engine is expected to produce 193 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, while the larger V6 should put out 302 hp and 270 lb-ft. With the V6, the Colorado should be able to tow some 6,700 pounds. In its second year on the market (2016 model year), Chevy will offer the Colorado with a 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder diesel engine, similar to the one currently used in its global versions. Power ratings have not been divulged as of this writing, but Luke reminded us that the current Thai-spec diesel puts out 200 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque. Chevy expects class-leading fuel economy from the Colorado, which, considering the aging competition (Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma), shouldn't be hard to achieve.

There's more good stuff inside the new Colorado, with an upscale interior that is far more premium than what's offered in the Frontier or Tacoma. We had a chance to poke around a pre-production unit during an event in Detroit recently, and found ingress/egress to be easy, with comfortable, supportive seats and plenty of space in the back (of the Crew Cab model, anyway). LT and Z71 models will get an eight-inch color touchscreen infotainment system, as well as a 3.4-inch driver information screen in the instrument cluster. Chevy's MyLink system is available, as is the latest OnStar suite of helpful telematic goodies. Chevy says the latest safety features will also be available, including optional forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and standard StabiliTrak with rollover mitigation, trailer sway control, hill start assist and hill descent control (on the Z71).

Pricing has not been announced at this time, but Maria Rohrer, Chevy Trucks' director of marketing, told us that it will be very important to keep pricing at a "three-truck, three-tier" strategy. Considering the Silverado starts at $25,575, we would expect the Colorado to fall somewhere under the $20,000 mark. (A 2014 Tacoma starts at $17,875, for reference.) Official numbers, as well as final specifications, should be released closer to the truck's on-sale date next fall. Source: Autoblog
Categories: News, Chevrolet, Colorado

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