We've seen it before. A new vehicle is slated to debut, especially one that's been gone for a while (the last Chevrolet Colorado was built in 2012), and what we get tries to make a big splash in the shallow end of the pool.
Trying to bust out of the gate at the startline usually tells us the runner doesn't realize this is a marathon. It bodes well that GM is coming out of the gate with a focused, simple product in the 2015 Chevy Colorado. That tells us GM wants to be here for the long haul.
Here are the top five things we like the new Colorado.
1. Diesel Engine Option
The baby Duramax 2.8-liter turbo-diesel is the right engine in the right truck at the right time. This will give the littlest GM pickup solid torque, plenty of fuel range and make it the first in the segment with a diesel. It will be offered across all trim levels as a stand-alone option.
No cost cutting here. Six airbags are standard throughout the lineup, and collision alert and lane departure systems (both using "seeing-eye" technology) will be available as a stand-alone option. Z71 models will get StabiliTrak, rollover sensing, trailer-sway control and hill descent control (which includes hill start assist).
3. Simple Trim Packages
Just three trim levels means an easy-to-understand ordering list for dealers, which allows them to choose the right truck for their region. The base model (called, appropriately enough, WT for Work Truck) will be the fleet choice; the LT will be the cost-saving well-equipped model; and the Z71 will be the only "premium" model with unique wheels and tires, and a host of off-road technology.
4. Packed With Tech
If the new Silverado made one thing clear, it's that the new GM understands that safety and connectivity will be important to buyers now and in the future. The new information center will communicate better with the driver and offer more engine and vehicle data. The available navigation screen is 8 inches wide, and most Colorados will have the next-generation OnStar and MyLink enhancements.
5. Rear-Seat Delete
Extended-cab models provide both fleet and personal truck buyers with a smaller (not for adults) rear seat, but if customers want to save a little money, they have the option of a rear-seat-delete, opening the area for more workspace.
While there's a lot to like about the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, there's still room for improvement with GM's new midsize pickup truck revealed at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Here are five things we'd like to see fixed.
1. Better Bed Tech
The bed of a smaller midsize pickup needs to be more versatile so it can deal with small and large family, buddy and couple outings. Sure, a full-size bed will likely deal with bigger loads, but the beds of smaller pickups typically cover more ground than the Colorado does. No inverter plug? No hidden or clever storage? No adjustable racks? Why not some kind of lockable "RamBox" or a more clever tailgate?
2. Better Interior Materials
There's no question this Colorado is a step up from what's it's replacing (last sold in the U.S. almost two years ago), but an improved interior is low-hanging fruit. Toyota, Nissan and Honda have not had to do anything here, so this is the time for GM offer a more activity-oriented Z71 interior with mesh netting pockets, water-bottle slots and maybe a wet-suit seat-cover option.
3. Offer a 4x4 Sport Package
We're willing to be patient on this one, but there needs to be some kind of sport-truck package offered soon. Chevy has a strong heritage in performance and to simply offer the Z71, a traditionally 4x4 exclusive badge, is to ignore a lot of historical strength. Better wheels and tires and some possible bodywork could instantly make the Colorado the street truck king. And isn't there a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V-6 in a Cadillac?
4. More bed lengths
We expect it won't take long for dealerships to get feedback on the Colorado's limited bed lengths. Even with an 8-foot bed, these trucks will still be easier to drive, offer significant fuel efficiency and be easier to repair for fleet managers, especially when compared to their full-size counterparts. The 2015 Colorado offers only two beds lengths (5- or 6-foot) for two wheelbases in crew-cab versions and one bed/wheelbase choice in extended-cab versions. By getting more creative, Chevy could add another bed length (7 foot) or include another wheelbase and get two more new bed lengths.
5. More Engine Choices
Offering just two engines for the debut of the truck borders on being just plain mean. Yes, it looks like the two gas engines will do just fine for the smaller, lighter chassis, but not offering the turbo-diesel in the Colorado until the 2016 model year smacks of nasty marketing and torture. We suppose it shouldn't surprise anyone that the new turbo-diesel option will probably have a hefty option price (we'd guess somewhere in the $2,500 range), but maybe it will be paired with a bigger fuel tank option for both fuel and diesel exhaust fluid to help justify the additional cost.