Since its launch two years ago, GM effectively reignited interest in the midsize truck arena with its Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins. After last year's addition of the segment's first diesel model, the Colorado is subject to yet another powertrain revamp plus new features to keep it on consumer's minds.
The Colorado is offered in three body styles: extended cab with long box, and crew cab with short box or long box. Trim lines range from the base trim level, offered exclusively in extended cab 2WD form, WT, mid-grade LT, and the top-line Z71 which includes off-road rated suspension, unique front fascia, and automatic climate control.
All trims receive a standard reverse camera, cloth upholstery, power driver's seat, air-conditioning, and power windows. Impressively, the Colorado offers available 4G LTE internet connectivity with wi-fi hot spot, forward collision warning, and lane-departure warning.
New for 2017 is a bigger 7.0-inch version of the MyLink system, optional on the WT and standard on the LT which features standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The LT trim level is also now available with heated cloth seats, while all trim levels now receive the Teen Driver function to monitor and report on driver behaviour. Two new exterior colours are available for 2017 - Graphite and Cajun Red; they join Laser Blue and Orange Burst, which were added late in the 2016 model year.
The '17 Colorado benefits from the General's new 3.6-litre V6 engine. While the motor has the same displacement as last year, and continues to offer direct fuel injection, it's an all-new design with cylinder deactivation and an engine idle-stop system to improve fuel economy. Power and torque rise slightly to 308 hp and 275 lb-ft, representing 3 hp and 6 lb-ft gains. This engine also comes paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which offers the highest gear count in the segment.
Buyers who opt for the V6 also benefit from the addition of AutoTrac automatic four-wheel drive system (previously, owners could manually select either 2WD or 4WD Hi or 4WD Lo), while trucks fitted with the Trailering Package now include an integrated trailer brake controller. The latter was previously limited to trucks fitted with the Duramax diesel engine. With the new V6 engine, the Colorado is rated to tow up to 7,000 lbs (3,175 kg).
Speaking of the diesel, the 2.8-litre four-cylinder makes a return for 2017 unchanged and produces 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. It's capable of towing as much as 7,770 lbs (3,493 kg), while simultaneously offering the best highway fuel economy in the segment. The base engine, a 200-hp, 191 lb-ft of torque 2.5-litre four-cylinder is also available; it is rated to tow up to 3,500 lbs (1,588 kg). A six-speed automatic is standard on all diesel models and most four-cylinder gas trucks with the exception of the base trim. Payload levels for the Colorado range between 1,366 lbs (620 kg) and 1,574 lbs (714 kg).
The Colorado competes with its stable-mate, the GMC Canyon, the aging Nissan Frontier, and the just-updated Toyota Tacoma. The Colorado also faces new competition from the pricey but refined 2017 Honda Ridgeline.