If you're the kind of American who buys pickup trucks, chances are you haven't even kicked the tires on anything smaller than a full-size truck in recent years. Unlike every other kind of vehicle buyer, pickup owners have shown little enthusiasm for anything less than big, and with hefty incentives eternally available on larger trucks, most buyers have no financial motive to think small.
With the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado revealed at the Los Angeles Auto show today, Chevy hopes to restart demand for a Goldilocks-sized pickup, one that will sell itself on style as much as hauling.
Power comes from either a 2.5-liter four-cylinder good for 198 hp or GM's corporate 3.6-liter V-6 offering 302 hp. That's enough to boost the Colorado's towing and payload capacity to 6,700 lbs. via a six-speed automatic transmission. Three bed sizes and either two- or four-wheel-drive with optional locking rear differential fill out the option sheet.
But the main difference with the larger Silverado won't be how much less the Colorado can carry, but how much less fuel it burns. GM didn't give fuel economy figures, but the Colorado will weigh up to 1,000 lbs. less than a full-size pickup, thanks to tricks like an aluminum hood. A year after its launch in late 2014, GM will offer a 2.6-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine option — one that should give the Colorado fuel-economy bragging rights running away from its peers.
Previous generations of Colorado-sized trucks from GM carried the dullness common to vehicles expected to spend their useful lives in company fleets. The new ones offer all the touch screens, soft dashboards and safety technology expected from modern cars — which, truth be told, will be the Colorado's biggest potential audience. The set of truck buyers who long for a smaller, more efficient pickup has shrunk, but if Chevy can draw in customers who would want a comfortable, stylish vehicle that happens to have a pickup bed useful a few times a year, the Colorado could be bigger than it seems.