It seems GM didn’t come back to the midsize truck segment just to play around.
Story by: Will Sabel Courtney
Everybody wants a truck. Some people wear their desire loud and proud, others bury it deep down inside, but on some level, every one of us wants to have a tough pickup to tow, haul, off-road—or just feel like a king while surveying all the poor saps below in their puny “cars.” One glance at the charts holds the proof; the Big Three’s Big Trucks (F-150, Silverado/Sierra, and Ram) consistently rank in the top five best-selling passenger vehicles in the States.
But those trucks aren’t simply big sellers—they’re big vehicles, period. With curb weights north of three tons, dimensions close to those of a small bus and turning circles similar to a Navy destroyer, living with these monster rigs can be trying if you don’t own your own farm…and don’t mind leaving the back 40 fallow to use as a parking lot. And with top-of-the-line trucks packing price tags reserved for Bimmers and Benzes a decade ago, bringing home a pickup can mean picking up every penny and nickel you find just to keep gas in the tank.
Enter the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. You might remember those names; they’re the same ones General Motors slapped on their last couple of mid-size pickup trucks. That’s about the only thing these new rigs share with their predecessors, though. The Colorado and Canyon are new from tip to tail.
They’re also good-looking from tip to tail. In person, the Colorado comes across as sportier and younger, whereas the Canyon’s more distinguished. The insides are pretty much the GMC scores a sleeker, swankier interior that feels worthy of the higher price tag it commands over the Chevy. Both rigs are nice places to watch the world go by, though, with airy, open cabins and ergonomics most other car companies could take a page from.
Looks are important, of course, but for trucks, capability and features are tops on the list of importance. GM’s mini-rigs come with a standard 200 horsepower inline-four, but unless you never plan on towing or hauling anything other than yourself and your phone, you’re better off with the 305 horsepower 3.6L V6—and if you’re not gonna haul anything, what’d you buy a truck for? (You don’t lose much on the gas mileage front with the bigger engine, either—the V6 still gets 24-26 mpg on the open road, which is a lot better than most full-size trucks.)
Both trucks come in a choice of 2WD or 4WD, short or long bed, and extended or crew cabs—the latter of which is actually big enough to seat four or five full-grown people. Don’t think these two small trucks lack the ability to move big items, either. The trucks can haul around three-quarters of a ton of payload, or tow up to 7,000 pounds. That ain’t small potatoes.
GM says a lot of Colorado and Canyon buyers will be moving up from passenger cars and crossovers, so the General went out of its way to pack on features that would have seemed like luxuries in a truck only a few years ago. On-board Wi-Fi, thanks to AT&T 4G LTE? Covered. A rear-view camera? Standard. Lane-departure warning, an 8-inch color touchscreen for radio and navigation, forward collision warning, a spray-on bedliner? All available. There’s even a whole bunch of accessories designed just for the truck, to make hauling everything from bikes to boats easier.
And best of all, these trucks come in nice and cheap. You can score a Colorado for around $21K; most will likely come in around $30-35K, but even so, that’s a deal for a rig that does all that these trucks do. It seems GM didn’t come back to the midsize truck segment just to play around; they’re playing for keeps. And odds are good they’re gonna see these trucks sell like whoa.
Model Tested: 2015 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD LT Crew Long Box
Base Price: $20,995
Price as Tested: $38,870
Power: 305hp, 269 lb.-ft.
Gas Cash: 17 city, 24 hwy