The 2017 Chevrolet Colorado continues to build on the momentum of its successful introduction a couple years ago. This year, Chevy installs a new V6 engine mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission. Coming later this year is the new Colorado ZR2, a specialized model for the extreme off-roader.
You'll Like The 2017 Chevrolet Colorado If...
The 2017 Colorado is ideal for those looking to do hauling or towing, but don't really want the hassle of parking and maneuvering a full-size truck in the city. With its available diesel engine, fuel economy is remarkably good, and the new ZR2 may just be the off-road enthusiast's dream.
You May Not Like The 2017 Chevrolet Colorado If...
The Colorado is a smaller truck, so if you need to tow more than 7,700 pounds, need additional interior space, or just want more capability than a small truck can offer, you're better off with a full-sized one.
A new V6 engine features cylinder deactivation at highway speeds to help improve fuel economy, while the 8-speed automatic it comes with aids acceleration and towing and hauling. The ZR2 is for off-road enthusiasts who want the highest-tech equipment they can get from the factory.
The 2017 Colorado walks a delicate line. On one hand, it needs to appeal to those who might otherwise be interested in an SUV, so it's comfortable and quiet, with front seats, controls, and a rear seat in Crew Cab models that are all easy to live with. It even comes with premium features like heated seats, Apple CarPlay, and an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system. Yet it maintains the expected ruggedness of a truck, with tough-feeling plastics, comfortable but durable seat upholstery, and touches like the foldable rear seat. ZR2 models get a unique set of switches for various differential locks.
The more we see of the Chevy Colorado, the more we like it. It does nothing to mask its midsize-pickup style, but it holds back from rubbing your nose in faux-ruggedness, with curves and lines that are softened compared to the Toyota Tacoma. Even the new ZR2's visual modifications are for function rather than form, so the increased wheel arches, modified bumpers and hood scoop are all functional components. The standard CornerStep rear bumper makes it easy to get into the bed, and we suggest getting the EZ Lift-and-Lower tailgate, which lets you open and close the tailgate with one hand.
Suffice it to say, we love the 2.8-liter Duramax diesel that's available in the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado. It's quiet, smooth and refined, with excellent power delivery, and there's just enough diesel soundtrack to remind that you have something under the hood that you can't get in a Toyota. But there's also a new V6 engine this year, now with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The V6 is a truck-tuned version of the V6 that's available in various Cadillac models, as is the transmission, and the combination promises more power and torque and better refinement than its predecessor. The biggest news will be the ZR2, an extensively reworked version of the Colorado ready for tackling dunes, rocks, trails and whatever else an ambitious driver can think of. With shocks by renowned race-car supplier Multimatic and increased ride height, our brief test ride showed that the ZR2 is ready for just about anything.
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for a 2017 Chevrolet Colorado varies depending on the configuration you choose. A base model with the extended cab and 4-cylinder gasoline engine will run you a little more than $21,000 including the $940 destination charge. But in reality most buyers will skip the base model, and the roughly $24,000 Work Truck model, and instead start at the LT model level, about $27,500 for an extended-cab and long-bed 2WD version. A 4WD long-bed Z71 Crew Cab Colorado with the Duramax diesel can top out well over $45,000, but you can get a diesel for about $30,000 if you mind your options. These prices are in line with the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma. Check out the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying in your area. The Colorado offers better resale than the Frontier, but both get whomped by the Tacoma.
Sure, you can buy the base model 2017 Colorado with its 2.5-liter gasoline-burning 4-cylinder engine, and still get the utility-enhancing CornerStep rear bumper, locking tailgate and cargo-box lighting, air conditioning, a 4.2-inch touch-screen audio system with USB, and power windows. But unless you're replenishing your pizza-delivery fleet, you'll more likely start at the LT model, which includes an 8-inch touch-screen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an enhanced multicolor information display between the gauges, nicer wheels and interior trim, three months of Sirius satellite radio, cruise control and OnStar.
There are two upgrade engines available for the 2017 Chevy Colorado: the new 3.6-liter V6 or the Duramax diesel, and 4-wheel drive with a low-speed transfer case is also available. Like many trucks, there's your choice of extended- or crew-cab body, plus a standard length or long bed. Available features include a spray-on bedliner, fog lights, cross rails for the cargo-box storage system and a locking rear differential. The Z71 model offers specialized suspension, differential, and underbody shields for off-road capability. If that's not enough, in the spring the ZR2 promises to exponentially expand that envelope.
The Chevrolet Colorado is the only midsize truck available with a diesel engine (GMC Canyon notwithstanding), and the 2.8-liter Duramax diesel is a gem. Smooth and powerful, it offers up an excellent driving experience and superior fuel economy to anything else in the market.
While we haven't had a chance to tackle trails in the ZR2 just yet, we're excited at the prospect of this truck. Chevrolet pulled no punches with the Colorado ZR2, adding serious off-road equipment like Multimatic shocks, independently lockable front and rear differentials, and a whole lot more.
Under the Hood
The standard engine in the Colorado is the 200-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, which is fine, but you'll most likely want to spring for the new 308-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 or the 2.8-liter Duramax diesel 4-cylinder with its 369 lb-ft of torque. The new V6 also comes with a new 8-speed automatic transmission, the only 8-speed in the midsize-pickup truck market (save for the mechanically similar GMC Canyon); the other two engines come with a 6-speed automatic, or a 6-speed manual in the case of the base-model Colorado. Two-wheel drive (2WD) is standard, and 4-wheel drive (4WD) is optional with all engines. Fuel economy ranges all the way up to 30 mpg with the diesel.
200 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
191 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg (manual, 2WD), 20/26 mpg (automatic, 2WD), 19/24 mpg (4WD)
308 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
275 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg (2WD), 17/24 mpg (4WD)
2.8-liter turbodiesel inline-4
181 horsepower @ 3,400 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 mpg (2WD), 20/28 mpg (4WD) Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
Last year it was a new diesel. This year, the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado gets a new V6 engine mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission. The combination adds a bit of horsepower and torque, but thanks to the new transmission, there's no fuel-economy penalty. Also new this year is the Colorado ZR2, a specialized model featuring off-road gear that the most die-hard Baja 1000 watcher will love. It all combines with the Chevy Colorado's existing strengths: an available diesel engine that gets up to 30 mpg; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; a comfortable and quiet interior, and much more. The changes all help ensure that the 2017 Colorado gives no ground against its biggest rival: the segment-leading Toyota Tacoma.