Entry Price: $21,300
Price as Tested: $41,565

This week, we’re driving the 2019 Chevy Colorado pickup, delivered in 4WD Crew Cab dress and featuring the Z71 off-road suspension package. The extended cab and crew cab Colorados (no standard cab is available) come in either long box (6-feet-2) or short box (5-feet-2) versions, the latter our tester’s configuration. Since its debut back in 2004 as a compact pickup that replaced the S10, Colorado has grown in size and popularity.

From its initial Inline-4-cylinder power to a popular and sturdy Inline-5 cylinder (yes a 5-cylinder), the Colorado powertrains along the way featured several V6 designs and even the LS style 5.3-liter V8s from 2009 through 2012. Through the tweaking and re-tweaking, it was clear the designers at Chevrolet were serious about its Colorado and rightfully so.

Today the second generation Colorado and sibling GMC Canyon have settled on an engine lineup that includes the trusty Ecotec Inline-4, a GM exclusive Duramax Turbo Diesel Inline-4, or the most popular of the three engines that comes in a double overhead cam 3.6-liter V-6 design.

With a wheelbase that grew from 2004’s 111.2 inches to its current “midsize” platform of 128 inches, this chassis is now utilized for all Colorados be it extended or crew cab. Further, these new Colorados are a big surprise when discussing stature, especially when compared to pickups available from 1972 to 1980. For example, a full-size 1980 Dodge D-Series pickup with a 6.5 ft. box rode on a wheelbase of 115 inches, more than a foot shorter than today’s midsize Colorado. So, for all you Colorado enthusiasts that noticed a major move upward in 2015 when the new generation arrived, you are correct this is the biggest Colorado ever built.

As for the best of numbers, a record 134,842 Colorado pickups were sold in 2018. When combined with sibling GMC Canyon sales of 33,492, this overall record year came in at 168,334 units sold, besting the new model 2015 sales of a combined 114,507 units. These are very impressive results and really the only numbers that matter to those sitting around the GM Executive Board table. To add icing to the cake, the Colorado is on the receiving end of the most prestigious magazine award given yearly, namely back-to-back Motor Trend Magazine “Truck of the Year” awards in 2015 and 2016. The previous best sales year was 163,204 combined units sold in 2005 when it was still a compact.

At the heart of every Colorado is a finely crafted design that offers payload, fuel mileage, passenger amenities and looks, which results in a midsize that indeed delivers the larger truck genes that make full size Silverado so popular. Pricing starts at $21,300 for a stripped down Base Extended Cab two-door Inline-4 rear-drive and escalates to the top-line ZR2 4WD Crew Cab V6 that starts at $43,995. In between, there’s for sure a Colorado for you. The 4-door Crew Cab starts at $29,795 and all engines allow for 4WD underpinnings.

Our Colorado Z71 starts at $36,900 and relies on the 3.6-liter V6 that delivers a stout 308 horsepower and 275 lb. ft. of torque. The V6 Colorado models mate to a standard 8-speed automatic and are a solid choice for towing as it can haul 7,000 pounds and deliver 17 city and 24 highway EPA numbers. The 181 horse, 369 torque diesel adds 700 more pounds tow capacity to 7,700 with fuel mileage increasing to 20 city and 30 highway. If you choose the entry level 2.5 liter Inline-4, towing drops to 3,500 pounds with horsepower at 200 and torque at 191. However, if you won’t be doing any real workhorse hauling, the little 2.5 will deliver 20 city and 26 highway MPG numbers and is an economical choice.

One option included that I feel is overpriced is the Z71 Midnight Edition package, where for $2,995 more you receive a spray on bedliner, body color grille, black bowtie, all terrain black tires, polished black 17-inch wheels, and Z71 emblems. I do recommend the side assist step bar package for $675, which makes entry easy for both the young and old.

Colorado offers room for five in the crew cab and room for four in the two-door extended cab arrangement. Colorado continues to feature the Chevy infotainment system that boasts an 8-inch touch screen, 6-speaker standard stereo system, SiriusXM, Apple/Android capability, 4G WiFi, and easy to use stereo and accessory controls.

Impressive is something old and non-technical, specifically a real key to start your truck.

Unlike today’s push button start craze, you won’t accidentally leave your key FOB on the kitchen table after warming your Colorado up on a cold morning and then driving away. Or, something I’ve done a few times, your keys are in your jacket when you valet park resulting in the driver trying to track you down so he can park your car. If your Colorado is running, the keys have to be in the ignition. Yes, it’s that simple.

As for the ride, Chevy Colorado is a truck, and a heavy duty one thanks to the Z71 suspension. However, as tough as this truck is, it delivers surprisingly good highway comfort and includes all the safety equipment expected in today’s vehicles. Your Chevy dealer will explain everything Colorado offers in detail when you visit the showroom.

Important numbers include a 128.3 inch wheelbase, 4,758 lb. curb weight, 21 gallon fuel tank, 44.6 ft. turn circle and a ground clearance of 8.3 inches.

Personally, if I were buying a midsize pickup truck, the Colorado would be the first I would test drive for obvious reasons. It is one of the best pickups out there today.

Likes: Aggressive good looks, decent fuel mileage, outstanding versatility, V6 tows almost as many pounds as the diesel.
Dislikes: Tough entry/exit without optional assist side steps, Z71 Midnight option very expensive not recommended.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media. Contact him at greg@gregzyla.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.