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A tan 2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is parked in the desert as a red special edition races behind it.

2021 Chevy Colorado vs 2020 Chevy Colorado

Any time an automaker announces changes to a popular model, the response can range from enthusiastic anticipation to nervous worrying. This is especially the case with small trucks, which have become all the rage in recent years. Many drivers have come to appreciate the ruggedness, dependability, and versatility of smaller variant trucks. Lots of people are intimidated by a full-size pickup, wondering if they can handle such a large vehicle, especially if their point of reference were a midsize SUV, sedan, or van. A small truck gives you the value proposition of a pickup without much trepidation over your driving abilities. In addition, small trucks have become increasingly popular with folks who love to do off-roading. These are all of the reasons Chevrolet came out with the Chevy Colorado ZR2, a variant of the brand’s popular small truck designed for off-road performance. And speaking of the Colorado, a few months ago, Chevrolet announced that it was making several changes to its popular small truck – resulting in the aforementioned enthusiasm and nerves from drivers. While this is not a complete redesign of the current model, the second generation that was first introduced in 2003, there have been some significant changes to the truck. We are going to look into those changes below by comparing the 2021 Chevy Colorado vs 2020 Chevy Colorado.

Drivetrain and Performance

A white 2020 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is off-roading.

When purchasing a truck, especially ones of the smaller variety, drivers want to know what kind of power they can get from it. Luckily, the Colorado gives buyers three engine options to ensure they are happy with the performance of their new truck.

The standard engine is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gas engine. This produces 200 horsepower and 191 lb-ft of torque, giving the Colorado the power to tow up to 3.500 pounds of trailer. This engine is also very fuel-efficient, providing up to 20 MPG in city driving and 26 MPG on the highway. This engine is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and comes standard in the Colorado WT, and LT trims.

The second engine is a 3.6-liter Double Overhead Cam V6. This produces a best-in-class 308 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque, giving the Colorado a great deal of power, enough to tow up to 7,000 pounds. In addition, the extra power doesn’t appreciably hurt fuel efficiency, with the Colorado able to achieve up to 18 MPG in city driving and 25 MPG in highway driving when equipped with the V6 engine. This engine features an 8-speed automatic transmission and is standard on the Z71 and ZR2 trims, while it is an extra option on the WT and LT models.

Finally, there is an available Duramax 2.8-liter Turbo-Diesel. This engine efficiently uses its four cylinders to produce 181 horsepower and an incredibly powerful 369 lb-ft of torque. This allows the Colorado to tow up to 7,700 pounds while achieving some impressive fuel efficiency numbers, fully 20 MPG in city driving, and 30 MPG on the highway.

The current word from Chevrolet is that it does not intend to change the drivetrains for the 2021 Chevy Colorado. This is good news since the current engine options give drivers the choice of better fuel efficiency with the 4-cylinder engines or stronger standard towing capacity with the V6 engine. Instead, Chevrolet has focused on other areas to improve performance. For example, the current models 16-inch wheels. While these are undoubtedly satisfactory, the news that all trim levels of the 2021 Colorado will feature 17-inch wheels should be welcome to truck enthusiasts, as the bigger wheels should improve overall drivability for this truck.

In the area of performance, it is clear that the changes to the 2021 Colorado have only improved the already great truck.

Exterior Appearance by Trim

In recent years, Chevrolet has remodeled its flagship Chevy Silverado full-size truck, giving it a bolder and more aggressive profile. This was done by changing the grille, adding bolder exterior details, and changing the tailgate. To date, the changes have not been carried over to the Colorado line, except for the ZR2. The 2021 model will change all of that. First, early appearances show that Chevy has improved the grille on the WT, LT, and Z71 to give it a more striking appearance than the current 2020 models. This is more in line with the other Chevy trucks. Second, center bars and a reworked lower fascia have been added, improving the looks of the WT, LT, and Z71. Finally, the tailgate has been reworked with a tougher appearance, and the word CHEVROLET embossed into the tailgate, much like that on the Silverado.

The changes don’t stop there. One of the biggest complaints from consumers is that, except for the ZR2, there have not been any exterior items to help differentiate between different trim levels. Fortunately, it appears that this will no longer be the case. 2021 Chevy Colorado WT and LT trucks will not feature new gold Chevy “bowtie” logos on the front grille, while the Z71 models will feature a black Chevy “bowtie” emblem. If this is the case, then it will be easier to differentiate between the different models beginning with the 2021 model year.

Probably the most dramatic changes have been made to the popular Chevy Colorado ZR2 model. This off-road master has been given an even bolder look for 2021. The new flow through grille will feature the CHEVROLET name stamped into the front, along with a pair of front and rear red tow hooks, which are not just pretty but can also help you out of a tight spot. By making these changes, Chevy is signaling that the 2021 Colorado will be a “go anywhere, do anything” truck built for the off-road enthusiast as well as someone who is looking for a strong and versatile vehicle.

While the 2020 Colorado was good looking itself, the 2021 model brings exterior appearance to the next level with only positive changes.

A tan 2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is kicking up sand in the desert after winning the 2021 Chevy Colorado vs 2020 Chevy Colorado comparison.

Colors of the Colorado

The name Colorado means “colored red” in Spanish, and actually, that is an understatement when it is applied to this truck. The 2020 Chevy Colorado comes in 10 different colors: an orange color called Crush, Pacific Blue Metallic, Red Hot, Satin Steel Metallic, a light grey called Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White, Black, Kinetic Blue Metallic, Shadow Gray Metallic, and Cajun Red Tintcoat. The Colorado looks striking in each of these colors, but it seems that the folks at Chevrolet were not content to stick with these colors, and have opted to make some changes for 2021. Black, Summit White, Satin Steel Metallic, and Crush are still available for the 2021 Chevy Colorado. However, there are now three new colors on offer. The first is Sand Dune Metallic, a tan that gives this truck an almost military look, adding to the bold and aggressive design that Chevrolet has embraced for the Colorado. The second is Cherry Bomb Tintcoat, a very berry red that looks super hot on this truck. The final one is Pow Zinga Metallic, an electric blue that undoubtedly shines in the sunshine.

Each color, both original and new, does a great job of complementing the new exterior design of the 2021 Chevy Colorado, giving it looks to thrill.

Is the Change Good?

Overall, the changes between the 2020 Chevy Colorado and 2021 Chevy Colorado are positive. So stay enthusiastic, and do not be nervous because Chevrolet did an excellent job with the changes for the new Colorado.

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