Review: 2017 Chevrolet Colorado - Refinement On or Off The Road

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Review: 2017 Chevrolet Colorado - Refinement On or Off The Road

Experience, as 19th-century novelist Oscar Wilde quotes; is simply the name we give our mistakes. Oddly, because the experience is mostly gained from mistakes, instead of making the most suitable decision every time.

It is for this reason, after four decades, the Volkswagen Golf GTi remains the best package for a small, everyday performance car, the very ethos that beckoned its creation; and forty years on, the BMW 3 Series has only become more talented with every iteration.

They weren’t always perfect – but the experience of past mistakes always helps to build a better car for the future.

Then it should come as no surprise then, when a carmaker has a century (yes, you read that right) – 100 years of knowledge, of building trucks both big and small, their latest offering should be good at the very least.

Fewer still will have such deeply intertwined heritage from its place of origin, synonymous with mobilising entire generations of hard working people. For the most part, if you’re talking about an all-American pickup truck – you’re talking about a Chevrolet.

The all-new Chevrolet Colorado is here, and a while back, we got our hands on it.

Specifications:

Price: RM112,788 (LTZ), Rm120,888 (High Country)
Engine: 2.8-litre, Inline-4 Transverse, Variable Geometry Turbocharged, Commonrail Direct Injection
Power:193hp @ 3,600rpm
Torque: 500Nm @ 2,000rpm
Transmission: 6-speed torque converter automatic, 4WD

Safety: 3 airbags, ABS, EBD, ISOFIX, Electronic Stability Control, Frontal Collision Alert, Brakes Assists, Reverse Camera, Hill-Descent Control, Trailer Sway Control

Origin: Fully imported from Rayong, Thailand.

Overview

The Chevrolet Colorado was first introduced by local distributor Naza Quest in 2012. Initially, three variants were on offer – a manual 2.5-litre and the range-topping 2.8-litre in LT and LTZ trims.

Both engines, from Chevy’s Duramax range, see a return in the third-generation truck launched in Q4 of 2016, with a considerable boost of power, across five different variants. The workhorse entry-level 2.5-litre LT manual makes do with a fixed geometry turbocharger pumping out 163bhp and 380Nm from 2,000rpm.

The other four variants are only offered with automatic transmissions starting with the 2.5-litre LT and LTZ, here variable geometry turbocharging ups the ante to 180bhp and 440Nm from 2,000rpm. The figures identical to the previous generation’s 2.8-litre unit.

The range topping 2.8-litre, available in LTZ and High Country trims, now outputs 193bhp and a whopping 500Nm of torque – up 13bhp and 30Nm over the previous gen car.

All variants sport-six speed gearboxes. Manual for the entry-level 2.5-litre and self-shifting with a Tiptronic mode in the other four variants. A Centrifugal Pendulum Absorber (CPA) within the flywheel now counteracts torsional vibration of the engine, thus reduces engine noise and increases refinement, especially at low engine speeds.

So, the Colorado range is far more comprehensive now, with five (double-cab) variants to choose from – also, special attention has been paid to improving the comfort, safety features and the styling of the pick-up truck.

Even the entry level 2.5L manual LT is supplied with three airbags and ABS with EBD, as you progress further up the range, the 2.5litre LTZ adds active safety systems such as forward collision alert, lane departure warning, tyre pressure monitoring system and traction control.

On the inside, better sound insulation materials have been chosen to keep the cabin as serene as possible, while iPhone users can link up to the Apple CarPlay list of connectivity features while on the go, according to Chevrolet, Android Auto remains work-in-progress for the time being.

Exterior

Well, you wouldn’t call it pretty but the overall attitude of the Colorado bristles with style and character now – little features like the daytime running lights, nestled within the bold headlamps do much to attract the odd glance.

I especially appreciated the dimensions of the new front bumper and grille – where the old grille seemed overly bare, the new car’s sleeker grille inlets, split in two across a strip adorned with the iconic ‘Bow Tie’ logo, manages to look very modern.

The High Country variant adds a dollop of presence with 18-inch two-tone alloys, blacked out details on the bumper front and back and High Country decals. However, I personally feel that the RM8k price difference between the 2.8 LTZ and High Country variant, simply for the cosmetic add-ons, which sooner-or-later will become available on the aftermarket, isn’t really a bargain.

But, with ever more buyers looking for exclusivity in every corner of the market, it will definitely appeal to certain buyers.

Interior

Along with the changes on the outside, Chevrolet have considerably up the ante on the inside too – an entirely redesigned dashboard now shares no resemblance with donor Isuzu D-Max’s architecture, a common bugbear of the older model.

The commanding centre console, dotted with fine looking air-con vents flanking the 8-inch infotainment unit, looks the business. Lower down, the simplistic layout of the shifter console is highlighted by a gloss black cover, which adds detail to the overall look.

The seating position up front gives a commanding look ahead, while the steering wheel angle and reach allows for fuss-free operation. The materials, especially around the door panels and dashboard – are a night-and-day improvement over the older car. It’s up there with the best, cars in this category will offer, i.e; the ACOTY winning Ford Ranger and also the all-new Toyota Hilux.

In the rear, Chevrolet have made improvements to the angle of the rear seat supports, thereby affording rear-seat occupants to enjoy a higher level of comfort. In general, one could load five passengers in the Colorado for a long drive and still, arrive without feeling flustered.

Driving Experience

If it wasn’t before, this has to be the biggest new USP of the Chevrolet Colorado now. Just 10 minutes of drive time gives you a profound impression of how well sorted and refined the truck is. The independent double-wishbone front and leaf-spring rear setup are augmented by gas absorbers, and the overall calibration of the chassis perfectly accommodates our road conditions.

In your typical day-to-day in town driving – the Colorado will handle small bumps and undulations with ease, the overall chassis and body stiffness has dialed out a big proportion of body-roll and the common scuttle shake lending a pseudo SUV-like driving experience. The electronically assisted power steering (though lacking in feedback) is light and beautifully easy to operate at low and medium speeds.

While on the highway – the body rigidity again comes into its own, with the Colorado tracking very well at mid to high speeds. During a stint on the highway, the speed limit was despatched with ease, and, even at speeds of 170km/h – the truck’s front end was spot-on, surefooted and guided the rear end very well.

I even had a chance to take the Colorado off-road, over some proper steep hills, muddy undulations, and rutty terrain and it aced the challenge that as well. The front and rear axles are able to cleverly articulate towards the surface and apply the engine's torque very well.

Again, the traction control and (Shift-on-the-fly) 4WD system is a boon for getting you out of a tight spot. I have some reservations, about how the EPS rack and pinion system will hold-up in the long run if used vigorously off-road, but having said that, the overall system works with sublime efficiency. The 200,000km, 5-year warranty again serves to assert that it should have no issues.

For the most part, I was driving the Colorado rather enthusiastically, hence, a proper discernment of the fuel economy would be inaccurate – my car returned a 13.9-litres/100km reading just after the off-road blast, mid 11s for day-to-day driving would seem very likely.

Conclusion

Although for the most part, there’s much ado for local distributor Naza Quest to comprehensively build the Chevrolet brand in Malaysia – they certainly have a well-rounded and competitive product that ticks all the boxes.

Perhaps, one would have to simply rely on Chevrolet’s experience and know-how because they certainly have applied all of it to the all-new Chevrolet Colorado.

Gallery: 2017 Chevrolet Colorado Media Drive



Arvind

Arvind

Arvind describes a car in the same way he would describe a woman; this is not very healthy. Unlike the eternal sunshine of a spotless mind, soulful naturally-aspirated soundtracks and trigger quick (self-applied) gearshifts are all that fill the darkest recesses of his mind. Arvind is still trying to understand women...


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