Chevrolet Colorado: Bigger, Bolder, Better
By: Michael LevinePosted:
© 2003 PickupTruck.com
to the quickening product lifecycle seen in full size pickups over the
past few years, small truck designs still stick to the long road when
it comes to model changeovers. So when entirely new trucks are offered
in this segment it’s a chance to dramatically raise the bar and
set higher standards over the outgoing model and the competition.
Chevrolet introduces the all new Colorado midsize pickup to replace the
10-year old Chevy S-10. And from its powertrain to its sound system, from
its wheels to its seals, the Colorado shares nothing with the truck it
At first look the Colorado sports unmistakable Chevy looks that are the
most aggressive in the Chevy truck family. Its angular, chiseled lines
take it a few steps past the Silverado, Avalanche and TrailBlazer and
beyond most trucks in the compact and midsize segment except for, some
could argue, the Dodge Dakota. A large chrome ‘power bar’,
with embedded gold Chevy bow tie, cuts a prominent line through the mesh
grille and surrounding headlights, readily thrusting Chevrolet small truck
heritage right into the 21st century at full throttle. On Z71 models large
fender flares over the wheels give the Colorado a wider, bulldogish appearance.
Its bed is also wider and deeper than the model it replaces.
When it goes
on sale the Colorado will offer the largest and most diverse model lineup
in the segment. It will be available in regular, extended and crew cab
models with two- and four-wheel drive offered on all cab styles. Three
suspension packages – standard, sport, and off-road – will
drive the exterior appearance.
or base suspension (Z85) is a heavy-duty setup that applies to both two-and
four-wheel drive vehicles. It includes chrome components, a modest use
of color-keyed parts, with optional color-keyed exterior components. Wheel
design depends on the trim level, and there’s also a new base level
available with both regular and extended cabs.
suspension (ZQ8) provides a lowered look, with low profile tires, color-keyed
components, fog lamps and unique wheels. Special performance enhancements
have also been made to the steering and suspension. The Xtreme trim package
that was popular on the S-10 will not be available for 2004 but sources
tell us to look for it again by 2005 or 2006.
two- and four-wheel drive trucks replace and expand where the well known
ZR2 suspension package left off. These trucks get the macho treatment
with tow hooks, raised suspension, contrasting exterior components, and
265 tires mounted on unique aluminum wheels. The 4x2 high stance Z71 suspension
and trim package is Chevy’s response to Toyota’s popular PreRunner
suspensions on two-wheel drive trucks (except Z71) use an independent
coil spring and stabilizer bar. The four-wheel drive and two wheel drive
Z71 front suspensions have independent torsion bars and a stabilizer bar.
All Colorado models use low friction, sealed-for-life ball joints.
both two- and four-wheel drive trucks use semi-elliptic two-stage multileaf
springs with solid axle and a rear stabilizer bar.
claims the Colorado has as much space as the Dodge Dakota. Its surfaces
and instrument panel are much sleeker and better styled than the current
S-10 but a little content is lost, namely the second cigarette lighter
that can be used as a power port to charge your laptop or cell phone.
Gained are two upright seats now in the rear of the extended cab model
that are much easier and more comfortable to use than the S-10’s
fold-down jump seats.
noted the growing popularity of crew cabs during the final three years
of the S-10 with the introduction of the S-10 Crew Cab in 2001 and ZR5
model in 2002. For 2004 forty-percent of Colorado’s production volume
is expected to come from this cab configuration. The remaining sixty-percent
will be split forty-percent extended and twenty-percent regular cabs.
has been significantly upgraded on the Colorado. It’s 250% stiffer
than the S-10’s and features hydroformed cross members.
inline five and four cylinder engines replace the S-10’s V6
and four-cylinder powerplants. Siblings of the revolutionary Vortec I6
engine found in the Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy and Oldsmobile Bravada,
the Vortec 2800 I4 2.8-liter engine (175hp / 185lb-ft) and the Vortec
3500 I5 3.5-liter engine (220hp / 225lb-ft) bring better balance, smoothness
and performance to the Colorado.
to 25 more horsepower, the I5 engine promises 3 mpg better fuel economy
over the V6 it replaces. The I4 is as powerful as most small truck V6
engines. What’s even more impressive about these engines is the
number of parts that are common between the two, and between the I4, I5
and I6. A full 75% of the I4 and I5 parts are shared with the I6, and
almost 90% of the part numbers are common between the I4 and I5.
production is expected to edge out the I4 as the engine of choice.
the changes and upgrades on this new truck you would think there would
be a significant price increase for the Colorado over the S-10 but Chevrolet
claims that this won’t be the case.
media briefing outlining its midsize car and truck strategy, Tom Wallace,
vehicle line executive for midsize trucks, identified the “heart
of this market” to be in the $15,000-$25,000 range and says he expects
half of Colorado sales volume to be under $20,000.
Colorado will reach dealerships in October 2003.