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Preview: 2013 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck

Consumer Reports News: October 11, 2011 04:23 PM

Chevrolet has stated that the all-new Colorado pickup truck shown recently for Thailand will be sold around the globe, including in the United States. This truck is the long-overdue replacement for the current Colorado small truck.

The new model is based on a platform developed by GM’s Brazil arm, with the vehicle tailored to local markets as needed. The truck goes on sale in the world’s largest small-truck market, Thailand, this month, where it will be offered in regular, extended-cab, and crew cab versions.

For Thailand, the Colorado will be offered with two new 2.5-liter and 2.8-liter turbodiesel engines, each with a choice of five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The 2.5-liter engine produces 150 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, while the 2.8-liter generates 180 hp and an impressive 346 lb.-ft. of torque.

Chevrolet has not announced powertrains or other mechanical details for the United States, nor an intended on-sale date. The current Colorado is scheduled to be produced in Louisiana through the 2012 model year.

Recently, sales are up on the Colorado and its twin, the GMC Canyon. Despite Ford insisting that its full-sized F-150 can serve consumers and businesses, there remains a place for smaller trucks that get better fuel economy and are simply smaller. Ford’s argument may have made more sense in the 1990s when gas was cheap and an F-150 was much smaller than the current behemoth. Today, consumers need to right-size their major expenditures and for many that includes getting a vehicle the right size to simply park.

Looking back and ahead
I distinctly recall visiting General Motors for an annual summer full-line preview several years ago, when they offered drives with the preproduction Colorado, the much-ballyhooed replacement for the S-10 truck. Of note was a new inline five-cylinder engine, destined to power the then-upcoming Hummer H3. I drove the truck for a few miles, baffled by the cheap overall feel and unsatisfying powertrain. Making polite banter with senior engineers when I returned, I asked if there were a model with the five-cylinder available to try. They said I just got out of it.

In the years that followed, the Colorado never did live up to its potential, though its engines did grow in displacement and output. The Colorado scores just 40 out of 100 points in our tests, making it one of the very lowest-scoring models on the market. And don’t just take our word for it; owners in our annual auto survey rate it the lowest among all pickup trucks for owner satisfaction.

We consider the current, full-sized Chevrolet trucks to be very good, being especially fond of the versatile and livable Avalanche. For General Motors’ sake, as well as that of truck buyers, we hope this redesigned Colorado marks a significant advance. The market could use more, good small trucks to serve work and recreation needs on a budget.

Jeff Bartlett

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