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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

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An orange 2021 Chevy Colorado Z71 is shown from the front at an angle after leaving a dealer that has a Chevy Colorado for sale.

The Always Admirable Chevy Colorado

The Chevy Colorado has been around since 2004. Whether we choose to accept it or not, that was almost 20 years ago. As a result, most of the drivers who are interested in a Chevy Colorado for sale are familiar with the truck. The Colorado is considered a midsize pickup truck––not as large as its sibling, the Silverado, but today’s iterations are capable of towing loads up to 7,700 pounds. Furthermore, recent models are offered with some pretty impressive factory-installed off-road chops.

To some drivers, it may seem there’s nothing new under the sun when it comes to trucks like the Chevy Colorado, but have you ever really stopped to consider this “little” truck? The Colorado has had quite the story thus far, including years of fading out of popularity followed by a hiatus. The Colorado’s triumphant 2015 return to the limelight is the sort of stuff legends are made of––or at least blockbuster movies. Before Hollywood buys the rights to the Chevy Colorado’s story of bravery, persistence, and fantastic engineering, let’s take a look at all of the many reasons this truck has endured for nearly 20 years and how the 2023 model writes a new chapter in this tale of perseverance.

The Chevy Colorado’s Early Days

2004 was a different time for trucks. The Chevy S-10 and the Dodge Dakota were the two reigning small pickup trucks, with the Chevy S-10 dominating the midsize segment and the Dakota leading the compact truck class. Little pickup trucks were big in 2004, and Chevy was deeply aware that discontinuing the S-10 meant they’d have to put something very cool in its place.

To start, Chevy made sure the Colorado was relevant to the widest range of drivers possible. The 2004 Colorado was offered in the regular, extended cab, and crew cab versions. Regular cab trucks came equipped with a six-foot bed and bench seating for three. Extended cab models included dual rear-hinged rear doors to admit three passengers behind the driver and front passenger. The crew cab included seating for six but was offered only with a five-foot short bed.

Two brand-new engines were added to the mix, as well. Drivers could select between the 2.8L version that supplied an improved 175 horsepower or a 3.5L inline-5 that brought with it a hereto unheard-of 220 horsepower in the first year of production, though there were ten total engine selections throughout the span of the Colorado’s first generation. Drivers could also select a manual or four-speed automatic transmission, and there was a choice of rear-wheel or four-wheel drive, though the low-range gears on the four-wheel drive versions could not be used on dry pavement.

Furthermore, there were three options to choose between when selecting suspension. The Z71 off-road suspension provides additional ground clearance and remains a top choice for drivers who have minimal interest in road driving. The ZQ8 suspension was the “sport” option, sitting lower and offering greater responsiveness, but it was not available on four-wheel drive models. The Z85 was the ideal option for drivers who were looking for an all-purpose ride.

A red 2019 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison is shown from the front while driving over rocks.

Mind the Gap Years

The Chevy Colorado took off, but then the unthinkable happened: it got back burner-ed. It seemed like one day, Chevy was announcing the replacement of the six-disc CD changer with Bluetooth streaming audio on higher trims, and the next, nothing new was happening. 2010 through 2012 were considered the “dark years” for the Colorado, though the truck itself was every bit the fun, well-equipped, dynamic vehicle it has always been. There just weren’t a lot of updates to be had, and the whole midsize truck thing seemed to be blowing over.

At the end of the 2012 model year, Chevy announced that the Colorado would no longer be offered to North American buyers. Though the midsize truck continued to be offered in overseas markets––earning particular popularity in Thailand––it wasn’t until 2015 that the Colorado returned to U.S. soil.

The 2015 Colorado immediately took the market by storm. It won the 2015 Motor Trend Truck of the Year Award, the U.S. News 2015 Best Compact Truck for the Money award, and the Best Pickup Truck of 2015 Award from J.D. Power and Associates named it to their Top Fuel Efficiency in Trucks list as well as the Lowest Cost of Ownership. But there were a few overall changes. First, the regular cab models left the lineup. The Z71 became its own trim level, the towing max increased to 7,000 pounds, and touchscreen infotainment systems replaced the CD changer forever.

The 2015 Colorado also packed more power than its predecessors. A 2.5L inline-4 engine could provide 200 horsepower and 191 lb-ft of torque, while a zippier 3.6L V6 option offered 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. Both engines topped fuel economy ratings, getting between 17 and 20 MPG on the city streets and 24 to 27 MPG on the highway, depending on the choice of transmission and rear or all-wheel drive.

The Colorado of Today

The Chevy Colorado has been updated, refreshed, and re-engineered for the 2023 model year. Once again, experts and drivers alike are beside themselves with an appreciation for the small but mighty Colorado. Five total trims are offered, starting with the utilitarian WT trim, which still comes equipped with a standard 11.3-inch touchscreen, eight-inch digital Driver Information Center, all-season tires, and built-in Google services. Also on board all Colorado models is Chevy Safety Assist, which provides drivers with standard driver assistance features like Forward Collision Alert with Automatic Emergency Braking and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning. Today’s Colorado is more powerful, too, with an available 310 horsepower 2.7L turbo high-output engine that provides 430 lb-ft of torque. This engine is standard on the all-new ZR2 trim, which takes the Colorado to new places in terms of off-roading.

More than anything, the Colorado continues to be a smart little truck. Chevy has proudly bejeweled its midsize pickup with plenty of best-in-class and first-in-class tools like the ten available exterior camera views that help with trailering and off-roading alike or the available StowFlex Tailgate with its unique inner-tailgate storage space. Given the enthusiastic reception of the 2023 Colorado, it’s clear that this truck knows how to make friends and influence drivers around the globe. Of course, it’s just all in a day’s work.

A blue 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is shown from the front at an angle.

Choosing Your Chevy Colorado

It hasn’t been all sugar-coated bliss for the Colorado. It rocketed to the top, only to fade into non-existence, only to come back better than ever. In fact, when it comes to looking at used Chevy Colorados for sale, experts believe there are only a few years to avoid (2013 and 2014), but mainly because those years did not exist in the U.S.

Those who are shopping for a Chevy Colorado can rest assured that this vehicle is designed to help them get from home to anywhere and back again, regardless of strange terrain or heavy payload. Now with two off-road models, drivers can enjoy taking their trucks everywhere they might need to be. Granted, a midsize truck is not ideal for every driver, but the Colorado knows its job and does it well––very well if you’re counting all of the awards in its showcase.

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