Pickup duo of Colorado/Canyon returns with style

North America’s largest automotive category just became that much stronger with the launch of the Chevrolet Colorado and the closely related GMC Canyon.

The return of both General Motors’ trucks signals resurgence in what was a mostly dormant class, namely the mid-size pickup.

Retired, seemingly for good, after the 2012 model year, the Colorado/Canyon are

back with a new global platform, more power and standard features plus, most importantly, greater hauling and towing capacities, which should interest those who use pickups for work and/or play. Of course, just by their very size, they can’t quite match the all-out brute strength of a full-size pickup, nor were they intended to … nor for most people do they have to.

Still, the Colorado is only about 14 centimetres narrower than the Chevrolet Silverado with a distance between the front and rear wheels that’s about 37 centimetres less. That means the Colorado is also shorter and therefore a bit easier to park and it will also leave more room in the garage.

For the Colorado, the stylists have done a masterful job creating a truck that combines efficiency and sportiness into an attractive package, whether in extendedcab or crew-cab variations (a regular-cab style isn’t offered). The body lines are crisp and taut and the integrated fender flares have shed the awkwardness that marred the previous Colorado’s otherwise decent looks.

Huge strides have also been made inside. The oversized controls can be operated without removing work gloves and the latest in standard and optional touchscreen displays similar to the ones used in GM’s fullsize pickups are also available.

For lighter-duty use, a 2.5-litre fourcylinder produces 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque while the optional 3.6-litre V-6 makes 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet.

The 2.5 can be connected to a six-speed manual transmission on certain extended-cab versions, making it the only Chevy pickup that lets you shift for yourself. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard in crewcab four-cylinder Colorados in addition to extended-and crew-cab V-6-powered models.

Four-wheel-drive is optional with either cab style, however the V-6 is required if a 4×4 crew-cab is your selection.

Fuel economy is decent, especially when it comes to the two-wheel-drive fourcylinder trucks that are rated at 12.2 l/100 km in the city and 9.1 on the highway.

As for payloads, extended-cab Colorados come with a 6’2" box, while crewcabs

are available with a standard 5’2" or optional 6’2" bed. For eight-footlong building materials, the tailgate will obviously have to be down.

Getting in and out of the bed is much easier with the recessed corner-step rear bumper borrowed from GM’s full-size trucks. A factoryinstalled spray-in bed liner can also be specified while the tailgate comes with a standard locking feature.

A properly hitched V-6 can pull up to 3,180 kilograms, or double the capacity of four-cylinder models. Those numbers compare to 2,950 kilograms for the midsize Toyota Tacoma V-6 and 1,590 for the fourcylinder version. Colorados are available in Base, WT (Work Truck), LT and Z71 trim levels. The extended-length Base, which starts at $21,700 including destination charges, comes with air conditioning, floor console and a sixspeaker audio system, however the back seat and carpeting are deleted. They’re brought back for the WT while additional trim and other dressup content is added.

THE SPEC SHEET

Type: Two-/fourdoor, rear-/four-wheeldrive mid-size pickup.

Engines (hp): 2.5-litre DOHC I4 (200); 3.6-litre DOHC V6 (305).

Transmissions: Six-speed manual; sixspeed automatic.

Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control.

Fuel economy: L/100 km (city/hwy) 12.2/9.1 (2.5 4×2, AT).

Base price (including destination): $21,700.

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