Alas, the Chevrolet Colorado was discontinued following the 2012 model year, but a replacement truck is on its way, a model that should debut in 2014.
Small pickup trucks have been part of the Chevrolet line up for decades with the first small trucks supplied by Isuzu as far back as the 1970s. In the 1980s, a homegrown S10 model was sold and continued in production until 2004 when the Chevrolet Colorado was introduced.
The Chevrolet Colorado spanned nine model years, a vehicle that came in larger, wider and heavier than the S-10 it replaced. Its arrival coincided with a general upsizing of small trucks across the board as the smaller and lighter trucks that defined this segment were replaced by larger trucks such as the Dodge Dakota.
Engines and Transmissions
The Colorado and its GMC Canyon trim offer stiffer bodies than the previous models, and were sold in standard and stretched wheelbases. Its standard 2.8-liter in-line four cylinder engine made 175 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 185 foot-pounds of torque at 2,800 rpm. A five-speed manual transmission was standard, a four-speed automatic was optional.
Chevrolet also made available a five cylinder model, displacing at 3.5 liters. This unusual engine offered the same transmission pairings as the smaller engine. The “five” made 220 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 225 foot-pounds of torque at 2,800 rpm. Base models Colorado models offered on the four initially while the five cylinder engine was used to power the larger versions of this truck.
As the Chevrolet Colorado marched through its lifespan, GM brought forth changes that expanded the truck’s powertrain offerings. The base four was bumped up to 2.9 liters and the five cylinder engine increased to 3.7 liters, both moves resulted in increased performance with no change in fuel efficiency.
Beginning in 2009, Chevrolet rolled out a 5.3-liter V-8 engine, a 300 horsepower engine that also made 320 foot-pounds of torque. Chevrolet paired this engine, found in its larger trucks and SUVs, with a four-speed automatic transmission. Suddenly, Chevrolet had a truck that did everything its larger brethren could do, but on a smaller scale.
The Chevrolet Colorado was sold in WT and LT trim levels with some variations on the LT three with the Crew Cab model. A regular cab along with extended and crew cabs were available.
The standard cab sat on a 111.3-inch wheelbase and was 67.6 inches wide by 64.9 inches tall. A 6-foot, 1-inch truck bed was standard. Extended and crew cabs sat on a 126-inch wheelbase. Crew cab models were equipped with a truck bed that came in at about a foot shorter.
Standard equipment included an AM/FM stereo radio, with CD player included with the LT model. Also available was SiriusXM satellite radio and a premium speaker system. A leather-wrapped steering wheel with a tilt column was standard. Each truck offered Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, a pair of power outlets, available power door locks and power windows, daytime running lamps and fog lamps.
Each truck was outfitted with standard 16-inch wheels set within all-season tires. Also available were 18-inch wheels clad in chrome or aluminum. Various performance, appearance and power packages were available, making it possible for Chevrolet Colorado owners to customize their trucks.
The Colorado was dropped as it was a victim of declining interest in small pickup trucks. Most Chevrolet buyers would just as soon have a Silverado to do what they want a truck to do then to settle for a smaller footprint.
Fortunately, things will soon turn around when a new Chevrolet Colorado hits the market in 2014. The next generation truck is of unibody construction and is already on sale in markets such as Thailand, where it is built. Though sales of the new Colorado are likely to pale when compared with the Silverado, GM nevertheless believes that the new truck will gain a following and perhaps find a place in the bow-tie brand. Judging by the continued success of the Toyota Tacoma and to a lesser extent the Nissan Frontier, there just may be room again for a small, Chevrolet pickup truck.
San Antonio native Brenton Nallie is a car enthusiast who enjoys writing for www.bullringusa.com about different truck gadgets.