Chevy, GMC Say Good Things Come in Smaller Packages, Too
The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins are getting their first major makeover in more than a decade. These two midsize trucks give General Motors the only three-truck lineups in the industry -- Colorado and Canyon competing against midsize competitors Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tundra; Silverado and Sierra 1500 anchoring the traditional full-size segment; and Silverado HD and Sierra HD doing the heavy lifting at the top of the pickup-truck heap.
The Colorado and Canyon are new from the ground up, featuring new engines and transmissions, a fully boxed frame, locking rear differential, frame-integrated hitch, chrome step bumpers, EZ-lift tailgate and a new suite of safety and convenience features.
While other automakers have dropped out of the shrinking midsize truck segment, Chevy and GMC feel there is a solid core of buyers looking for the versatility of a truck and the fuel economy and maneuverability of a crossover at a price that slots nicely below full-size competitors.
Fuel economy is a big concern for most shoppers and probably more so for truck buyers who regularly average less than 20 mpg. To that end, GM engineers made significant improvements to the engine and transmission offerings of the Colorado and Canyon as well as adding active aero shutters, electric power steering, removable lower air dam, wheel spats, tailgate spoiler and box-to-cab seals. In all, Chevy and GMC claim that the improvements give the Colorado and Canyon segment-leading fuel-economy ratings of up to 27 mpg overall.
While some pickups are moving to coil springs at the rear, Colorado and Canyon stick with traditional leaf springs -- albeit two-stage with rubber bushings. Engineers are confident that the fully boxed frame, redesigned front and rear suspension and improved engine mounds produce a smoother and more comfortable ride without sacrificing load-carrying capacity. Standard on Colorado Z71 and Canyon SLT and available on others is an automatic locking rear differential, which is designed to provide additional grip in slippery situations.
Two cab sizes are offered, extended cab and crew cab. Extended cabs have four-passenger seating while crew cabs seat five. The extended cab has just 28.6 inches of rear-seat leg room compared to the 35.8 inches in the crew cab. Extended cabs come only with a 6-foot-2-inch cargo box. Crew cabs come with either the 6-foot-2-in box or a shorter 5-foot-2-inch box. Features of the cargo box include a roll-formed steel floor, box rail and tailgate protectors, locking and removable tailgate, corner step bumper cutouts and an available factory spray-in bedliner.
The engine lineup consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 200 horsepower and 191 lb-ft of torque and a 3.5-liter V6 offering 300 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. Both engines feature direct injection and variable valve timing for improved fuel efficiency and performance. Transmission choices include either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic. Rear- and four-wheel-drive models are offered.
Payload ratings range from a low of 1410 lb. on the 2WD extended cab with four-cylinder engine to 1590 lb. on the 4WD extended cab with V6. Base towing capacity is 3000 lb. for both the 4- and 6-cylinder engines. Maximum towing capacity is 7000 lb. on V6 models equipped with the trailering package.
Technology features include General Motors vehicle multimedia interface. Called MyLink in Chevys and IntelliLink in GMCs, the system boasts an 8-inch touch screen, full Bluetooth pairing, voice recognition, USB music connection, Pandora audio streaming, Siri Eyes Free and text message alerts. Also offered is a navigation system with 3-D mapping.
Newly available is 4G LTE Wi-Fi. Called On 4GLTE, the additional-charge service transforms the Colorado or Canyon into a mobile wireless hotspot. Up to seven devices can be connected simultaneously and are able to stream data up to 50 feet from the vehicle. Data plans start as low as $10 per month.
Colorado and Canyon are available now at your local Chevrolet and GMC dealers with a starting price of just $20,995. You'll want to check out these midsize pickups at the Chicago Auto Show this coming February.
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