$16,649 - $36,036

2018 Chevrolet Colorado Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.5

The 2018 Chevrolet Colorado offers three engines, each of which is useful to the right buyer. It’s one of the most capable trucks in the class, and it gets better gas mileage than many rivals. The Colorado is also maneuverable and rides smoothly, and it can handle some off-roading if you want it to.

  • "The Colorado drives well in almost all scenarios. Its tow ratings lead the class, steering and handling allow the truck to maneuver well around town, and the highway ride is smooth. We'd happily take the Colorado on a long road trip and drive it on a daily basis." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "Driving an unladen Colorado Duramax 4x4 along California's central coast, it's the quiet and refinement that impresses the most initially. The engine rarely operates at speeds over 2000 rpm, and the transmission is just as poised here as it is when it's lashed to a gas engine. Unless the driver is staring at the tachometer, or obsessed with ultimate acceleration numbers, there's little to indicate that this Colorado is burning diesel fuel." -- Car and Driver (2016)
  • "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)

Acceleration and Power

The Colorado’s base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that puts out 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automatic is available. This engine has ample power for daily driving, but if you plan to use your Colorado for towing and hauling, you’ll want one of the other powertrains.

The Colorado is available with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, and it’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The transmission shifts smoothly, and the engine delivers good acceleration in addition to nearly maximum towing capacity.

For buyers who will be towing regularly, the Duramax 2.8-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder is the engine of choice. It puts out 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, is paired with a six-speed automatic, and delivers the best towing capacity in the lineup.

The diesel also gets the best gas mileage of any Colorado powertrain. It earns an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway – outstanding ratings for a compact pickup truck. The base engine is no slouch, either, earning 20 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway. The V6 gets the worst ratings of the bunch (18/25 mpg city/highway), though they’re still within shouting distance of the four-cylinder’s estimates.

  • "We love the 2.8-liter Duramax diesel available for the 2018 Chevrolet Colorado. It is 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. However, the gas V-6 matched to the 8-speed automatic transmission is just as satisfying." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Fitted with the available V6 engine, the Colorado has plenty of oomph. The potent yet efficient turbodiesel four-cylinder is a compelling alternative, especially if you plan to do a lot of towing." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "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 (2016)

Handling and Braking

The Colorado is maneuverable around town and on winding roads, and it rides more smoothly than many competitors. Rear-wheel drive comes standard, and four-wheel drive is available. The Z71 and ZR2 trims are more suited for off-roading than other trims thanks to their more rugged suspensions and features like hill descent control, a transfer case shield, and a locking rear differential. The Colorado also offers a two-speed transfer case and all-terrain tires.

  • "A plus for midsize trucks such as the Colorado is their maneuverability. Though they may seem only marginally smaller than full-size trucks (such as Chevy's Silverado), they're much more nimble and versatile in the city. … Though this Colorado is less responsive than some other trucks in the segment, it is still confident, even with four-wheel drive. During performance testing and out on the road, it produced decent numbers and offered suitable stability when driving around turns." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "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 (2016)
  • "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 (2016)

Towing and Hauling

When properly equipped (with the turbodiesel engine), the Colorado can tow 7,700 pounds – the highest total in the class. It tows nearly as much with the V6 (7,000 pounds), but less than half as much with the base engine (3,500 pounds). The Colorado has a high payload for a compact truck – up to 1,574 pounds. A new addition to the Colorado for 2018 is the Active Tow system, which helps you line up your hitch and your trailer while you’re reversing.

  • "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 (2016)
  • "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 (2016)
  • "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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