|The handsome Chevy Colorado Z71 4×4 certainly turns heads. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
They’ve got styling, performance, efficiency, interior design and execution, infotainment excellence, and yes those brilliant rear bumper steps going for them. And I haven’t even mentioned the all-new 2.8-litre Duramax turbo-diesel yet.
Behind my 2017 Chevy Colorado Z71 Crew Cab 4WD tester’s smiling grille is GM’s 3.6-litre DOHC, direct-injection V6 with a variable intake manifold and variable valve timing making 308 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 275 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm,
|Its traditional truck design is what most pickup buyers want. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Fuel economy remains the same at 13.6 L/100km city, 9.9 highway and 11.9 combined, which is par for the course (the Tacoma 4X4 Double Cab V6 with a similar configuration is good for an estimated 13.1 L/100km city, 10.5 highway and an identical 11.9 combined, despite just 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque), although the class-exclusive four-cylinder turbo-diesel mentioned earlier puts
|Unique details set the Z71 package apart. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
My gasoline-powered tester’s advanced mode-selectable eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift capability has much to do with its efficiency, this having the most forward speeds of any pickup truck in the class, plus when the Trailering Package is added it now includes a standard trailer brake controller (previously only available with the diesel), helping it achieve up to 3,175 kilos (7,000 lbs) of trailering weight as tested, whereas the diesel 4×4 can pull even more, its rating capped at 3,447 kg (7,600 lbs). Also notable, GM’s AutoTrac automatic four-wheel drive system is now standard fare with the V6, the old system requiring users to manually select 2WD, 4WD Hi or 4WD Lo.
|GM’s CornerStep rear bumper eases access to the bed, especially improving safety during wet weather. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Even their interiors have been the same, with carbon copy black and grey, leatherette and cloth upholstery. They’ve all been very nice too, but how about some variety GM? I’d like to try a base Work Truck (WT) with the 2.5-litre four, or even
|GM offers plenty of accessories for the bed, including a spray-in bedliner. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The diesel was new last year, by the way, with this latest 2017 model having some additions of its own. These include the aforementioned nudge upward in V6 performance, plus a new larger 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen incorporating an updated Chevrolet MyLink interface featuring wonderfully colourful Apple-like graphics in stock form as well as the ability to connect your iOS and Google-powered smartphones to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto respectively. It’s optional on the base WT and standard with mid-range LT trim and above.
|The Colorado meets the Tacoma for interior finishings in most trims. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
If you’re wondering what you get for the upgrade to Z71 trim, the features list includes an automatic locking rear diff, hill descent control, an upgraded twin-tube shock infused off-road suspension, a transfer case shield, 17-inch Dark Argent metallic cast aluminum alloys on 255/65 all-terrain tires, a full-size 16-inch spare, projector style headlights, fog lamps, remote start, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, single-zone auto climate control, a powered front passenger seat, powered lumbar support for both front seats, heatable front seats, a sliding rear window, an EZ-Lift and Lower tailgate, and more.
|The Colorado’s cabin is a comfortable place to be. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Lastly, some notable items that get pulled up to Z71 trim from the base WT (when equipped with the Crew Cab, Short Box, and 4WD) include the V6, eight-speed autobox, four-wheel discs with ABS, traction control and StabiliTrak stability control, front recovery hooks, black beltline mouldings, cargo box light, exclusive (and brilliant) CornerStep rear bumper, powered door locks, locking tailgate, colour-keyed carpeting, front and rear carpeted floor mats, powered windows, front bucket seats, powered driver’s seat, split-folding rear bench seat, floor-mounted centre console, air conditioning, backup camera, six-speaker audio, tire pressure monitoring, regular assortments of airbags front to rear, and more.
|A large colour multi-info display divides the gauge cluster’s analogue dials. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The Colorado provides a better ride than average, a trait I find true of all GM trucks. Nevertheless it handles well for this class, while my tester’s off-road ability should be more than adequate for most owners’ requirements. To be transparent I didn’t take this one off pavement, but I’ve done so with previous Colorados, most recently the ZR2, and while the Z71 won’t be able to keep up to this segment’s ultimate 4×4, it shouldn’t get left far behind either.
|Chevy’s bright, colourful infotainment display is one of the best and most advanced in the class. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The formidable V6 is a great match to the new eight-speed automatic, with strong pull
|Roomy and comfortable, the Colorado Z71 pampers front occupants. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
GM is clearly leading in the powertrain department, this transmission and the aforementioned turbo-diesel a one-two punch at the head and solar plexus of Toyota’s Tacoma. Not too long ago the Japanese truck dominated the segment, but since the General has come back in such a big way it’s now a Pacquiao vs. Mayweather standoff (or should I say runaround). Either way, the two are neck and neck in the Canadian market.
|Rear passengers are well taken care of, with good legroom. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Either way, GM Canada should be plenty proud. The Colorado and Canyon are so good they’ve managed to gain incredible ground against the once totally dominant Toyota since arriving back on the scene in 2014. The Canadian team should pat themselves on the back even harder for whipping their U.S. counterparts, the two GM trucks significantly behind the Tacoma south of the border. This likely has as much
|The lower cushions can be flipped up to expose storage below, while the seatbacks fold flat too. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
In the smaller mid-size segment this Colorado is more than just a contender. Along with its GMC Canyon companion it’s my newfound favourite. Its advanced automatic transmission, optional diesel engine, and those fabulous rear bumper steps make it my number one choice in this segment, which has me crossing my fingers that Toyota updates its Tacoma soon so this ongoing title fight stays close. Competition has clearly bred a much better truck so far.
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