Arts & CultureThe Student Driver

The Student Driver: 2018 Chevrolet Colorado

I was stuck. Or so I thought. As my back wheels flung about aimlesslyin a soupy mix of mud and dirt, I seriously considered calling a tow truck. Then, I remembered this was a midsize pickup truck and not a Toyota Corolla. So I flicked the drive control wheel to 4X4 High and waited briefly for my front and rear differentials to kick in. I gave it some gas, felt the truck stammer a bit in the mud then felt it grab traction and pull away, navigating the trail with ease. If you need to get somewhere where traction is less than optimal or you need a truck to haul gear or a trailer between work sites, nothing is better than a pickup. Yet for the majority of cityslickers, one will rarely need the monumental towing capacity of a pickup or the off-road prowess it also possesses.

That’s where the Colorado comes in. Reintroduced for the 2015 car year after an almost 10-year hiatus, the Chevy Colorado slots below its big brother, the Silverado and Chevy’s archnemesis, the Ford F-150. While smaller in generally every regard than the Silverado, it is by no means inferior to any modern full-size pickup on the market today. The Colorado is powered by a 3.6L V6 gas engine (the Diesel review is hopefully coming up once I get my hands on one) which puts out a respectable 306HP and 275 Ft-lb of torque which comes out at the low end of the tachometer. As expected, the vehicle is fully capable for off-road travel with 4X4 High and Low settings and nearly 10 inches of a ground clearance. Regrettably though, a full rear locking differential appeared to be absent. It can also tow up to 7,000 pounds which is amazing since a 2.7L EcoBoost F150 is rated for only around 8,000 pounds.

The Colorado is undeniably a smaller vehicle compared to a full-size pickup. My truck had a bedlined 5ft 2in bed (payload capacity around 1,500 pounds) and was capable of carrying 5 passengers. While the driving position is high and one has a commanding view of the road, your back seat passengers are less fortunate. Back seat headroom and comfort is very good but legroom is only okay. Back to the driver’s seat, visibility is good with no blindspots noted. Rearward visibility is good but the rear window is a little too tiny for my tastes and the rear seats headrests further impede visibility. 

Overall impressions on build quality are generally positive. Doors open and close solidly and the car feels well built from behind the excellent feeling leather-wrapped steering wheel. Seating is upright and comfortable with good support and good fabrics. While dashes are made of hard plastic, this can be forgivensince it is a truck. I can confirm plastic is much easier to clean than soft-touch surfaces if unruly passengers fling mud and dirt inside your car. The single-handed best part of my review vehicle was the power-assisted tailgate which made opening and closing an absolute breeze. Instead of normally having a 10,000-pound tailgate tenderize your thigh, the tailgate fell gracefully and one could nearly close it with their pinky. 

When you turn the key, the car roars to life the with authority and a self-assured rumbling normally reserved to V8s. On the road, the car is a riot to drive. It is literally in the inexplicable goldilocks zone of not too big and not too small. On Whyte Ave, the vehicle doesn’t feel as if you’re driving a battering ram through the City of Edmonton. Conversely, the vehicle feels big enough that you won’t have any size insecurities when parked next to a full-size pickup. At city speeds, handling is superb with no vagueness of steering and a balanced feel that contributes to a feeling of connectedness with the ground below you. It is also supremely quiet with road and wind noise literally melting into the background. The Colorado does an excellent job of concealing its body on frame truck heritage with a plush and civilized ride. Due to an off-road engineered suspension, the potholes of Edmonton become a non-issue. 

On the highway though is where you remember you’re driving a truck and not a sports car. When at highway speed, the body on frame Colorado’s weakness are unearthed. While generally quiet and competent, the vehicle bounces around a tiny bit and the cab sways like a truck when executing turns onto on ramps.  It is also not a rocket ship. Pressing on the gas won’t result in you being driven into your seat but you shouldn’t have any troubles passing in the left lane. Furthermore fuel economy is decent but not superb with the included six-speed transmission. Over my time with the truck, I recorded a real-life fuel economy of just over 13L/100KM in mixed driving. Not bad, but not great either considering how conservatively I drove the vehicle.

In conclusion, the vehicle is an excellent choice for somebody who may desire room for their toys and the ability to drive around Edmonton without having to worry about hitting every tree, person or car from here to West Edmonton Mall. In my opinion, the vehicle is best suited for someone who wants to be able to go off-road without worrying about get stuck and/or needs to do occasional towing. Simultaneously this person lives in a city and values something you can actually find parking for. Whether hitting the trail or the pavement, the Colorado will not let you down. The Colorado should receive an A+.

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