$15,777 - $29,188

2016 Chevrolet Colorado Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado was new.


Performance: 8.5

The 2016 Chevrolet Colorado impresses critics with its maneuverability and for delivering a quiet ride. The base four-cylinder engine provides decent power, according to test drivers, but the available V6 and turbodiesel engines stand out for their muscle and towing ability. The Colorado gets good fuel economy for the class.

  • "We had to work the I4 harder than the V6, but with the smaller engine, the truck felt more spry and agile, and in some ways reminded us more of the good old days of the compact trucks of the 1980s and 1990s. The brakes were responsive, with somewhat less pedal travel in the 4-cylinder truck we tested. The ride was compliant but not mushy." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "Compared to the last Tacoma we drove, the new Colorado feels more taut and controlled. GM seems to have gotten the balance right: The ride isn't overly hard, and the body doesn't bounce much when the road gets really wavy." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "In comparison to the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, however, well, there is no comparison -- the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon are far superior." -- Automobile Magazine (2015)
  • "On paper they aren't much different than a previous generation 1/2-ton, but driving them we noticed that they have the maneuverability of a much smaller pickup." -- Truck Trend (2015)

Acceleration and Power

A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque is standard in the 2016 Colorado. A 305-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 that produces 269 pound-feet of torque is available, as is a 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel that produces 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard with the base engine, and a six-speed automatic transmission is optional on higher trims. The Colorado with a four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission gets an EPA-estimated 20/27 mpg city/highway, which is good for the class. When equipped with the available turbodiesel, the Colorado gets an EPA-estimated 22/31 mpg city/highway, which is outstanding for the class.

Some automotive writers say the Colorado’s four-cylinder engine provides ample power and acceleration, but most agree that the available V6 is the preferred engine. The available turbodiesel draws rave reviews for its abundant torque and excellent towing ability. Some reviewers also praise the automatic transmission for its responsiveness and smooth shifts.

  • "While the base-level Colorado's 4-cylinder isn't a major workhorse, it's certainly acceptable for many situations -- and it gets strong fuel economy for a pickup truck. But we're especially impressed with the pickup's V6, which is the powerplant we recommend. It boasts excellent acceleration and a surprisingly brawny 7,000-lb towing capacity, along with a smooth standard automatic transmission." -- AutoTrader
  • "The new diesel is a torque monster; it makes the Colorado feel more, well, trucky. We dig that. However, to get a V6 under the new Colorado's hood rather than the base four-cylinder requires only $1,235. Not a bad deal for 300 hp. The new Duramax? It costs slightly more than three times as much -- $3,730. It's an expensive option, one pricing this truck near the Silverado. For those needing a fuel- and space-efficient truck that can handle a fairly serious trailer, the Colorado diesel seems like the perfect fit." -- AutoWeek
  • "Aside from delivery services and tradesmen, most users will want to opt for the 305-hp 3.6-liter V-6. It's no racehorse, but it pulls strong through all six of the mandatory automatic's gears. The 200-hp four-cylinder has enough power to get through the workday, but the on-road manners of the Colorado are polished enough for work and play, and the bigger engine makes both more enjoyable." -- Car and Driver (2015)
  • "Power and responsiveness was great from both available engines. The V-6 has enough power to tackle any task or load you might throw at it, and the four-cylinder was a real treat to drive, never once leaving us wishing for more in normal, unloaded, city, and highway driving." -- Truck Trend (2015)

Handling and Braking

Rear-wheel drive is standard on the Colorado, and four-wheel drive is available. Off-road suspension and hill descent control are available in the Z71 trim. Reviewers say the Colorado offers a smoother ride than many rivals. They add that it’s fairly maneuverable. Some critics also say the Colorado has strong, reliable brakes.

  • "The Colorado is simply a major step up over all of its small-pickup competitors. One reason is the truck's ride, which is much smoother than what you'll find in other pickups." -- AutoTrader
  • "The transmission shifts smoothly and quickly, and we've already been impressed with the Colorado's smooth and controlled ride and around-town maneuverability." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The steering feels steady going straight ahead and the truck bends reassuringly into turns accurately and with minimal body lean. It feels more connected and composed than the last Tacoma we drove. The steering response does feel a bit slow, but GM is quick to point out that the Colorado's turning circle is tighter than the Tacoma's." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "Much of that confidence comes from a solid braking system. With 12.2-inch discs up front and 12.75-inch discs out back, the Canyon has no trouble scrubbing speed, even with a good load behind it. The pedal is firm, with good initial bite." -- Road and Track (2015)

Towing and Hauling

The 2016 Colorado can tow up to 7,700 pounds when equipped with the available diesel engine, which is an excellent total for the class. Test drivers report that the Colorado tows two-ton trailers with ease. It also boasts excellent hauling capabilities for the class by offering a maximum payload of 1,590 pounds when equipped with the available V6 engine.

  • "Speaking of work, on backcountry roads near Solvang, California, we were able to test the truck towing a 3,865-pound horse trailer. The Duramax had no trouble moving that load. In fact, we were able to chirp the tires from a hard launch." -- AutoWeek
  • "The truck tows a moderately heavy trailer very nicely. With a load closer to its limit and the necessary weight-distributing hitch employed, you feel the trailer a little more behind you, but it doesn't overtax the engine. This is easily the best Colorado for anyone doing more than occasional towing, and you can still park it in a garage." -- Autoblog
  • "The tow/haul mode (not available on four-cylinder trucks) does a good job of selecting the right gear to keep the engine in the meat of its torque curve, although the engine does get a tad raucous at higher rpm." -- Car and Driver (2015)

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