By on October 3, 2007

rear-side.jpgFor once, the brochures are right: nobody in their right mind buys a small truck for motoring pleasure. A small pickup is a way to get to and from outside activities, like kayaking, rock climbing, schlepping a DLP TV, fencing in the back forty, running a few bales of marijuana across the Mexican border (closed course, professional driver), etc. While full-size pickups mollycoddle their drivers in the hopes of luring owners who don’t actually need them, their smaller siblings have stayed true to the genre’s hair-shirt-on-leaf-springs roots. But even at the low end, there is a hierarchy….

Aside from the imminently breakable, fake chrome plastic decoration across the front (begging for aftermarket machismo) and the resulting insectoid bisected headlights, the Colorado is a decent looking truck. There’s no deference to the wind tunnels, and isn’t trying to Dodge pickup protocol with a sheetmetal ode to eighteen-wheelers. The Colorado’s squared-off, almost military lines are kinda cool, in an old school hardware store sort of way.

The interior is exactly what you'd expect: basic, functional, plastic. Our test truck was a four-wheel-drive crew cab (four door). If you called shotgun too late, this is the version you want. While most small pickup’s rear seats are best suited to small boxes of inanimate objects, the Colorado crew cab’s back chairs are spacious enough for two six-foot humans. 

x07ct_cr003.jpgThe Colorado’s double-walled bed is as unadorned as the obelisk in 2001. Tie downs? We don’t need no stinkin’ tie downs! (Unless, of course, you do.) In any case, our crew cab provided a 5’1” bed. If hauling is your thing, the standard-issue Colorado's bed extends a foot further, delivering deeper storage and higher overall payload than its rivals. Both beds offer two-tier cargo loading and tailgates that are both lockable and removable– but not at the same time.

The base Colorado holsters a 185-horse 2.9-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine hooked-up to a five speed manual (yay!). Our 4WD Crew Cab came with a 242-horse, 3.7-liter inline five-cylinder mill mated to a four-speed Hydra-Matic slushbox (boo!). The Crew’s odd-cylindered powertrain stumps-up plenty of stump-pulling power, but those 242 ft.-lbs. of twist arrive with all the alacrity of Santa Claus to a two-year-old.

x06ct_cr012.jpgIt’s the damnedest thing. You put the Colorado in drive, mash the gas and go nowhere. Seriously: the engine revs up and truck stays put. The delay lasts [the better part of] a second, but it’s enough time to wonder whether you’ve done something wrong; placed the transmission between N and D or brushed a hidden switch that takes the Colorado from four to no wheel-drive.

When the drivetrain finally pulls out of the station it performs adequately, in terms of moving the truck. But the Colorado’s fuel efficiency is like my fantasy golf game: sub par. The Crew Cab Colorado’s EPA-rated at 15/20 mpg. Hello? The Silverado’s 315hp, 5.3-liter Vortec V8 clocks in at 16/20 mpg. Although the Colorado's fuel efficiency is class average, and you can always opt for the more frugal four, you'd kinda hope for better. Or a V6.

Anyway, in normal driving, acceleration is more-than-merely adequate. BUT… in passing situations, the transmission steps down, then steps down again, in an entirely disconcerting way. There is a big ole gap in the tranny’s understanding of your desire to get past that New Beetle and the amount of time available for the job.

The Colorado’s handling is surprisingly good, especially in Z71 trim (Insta-Trac on-the-fly 4X4 command buttons, front underbody shielding, gas-charged monotube shocks, jagged tires and stickers). The wee beastie corners evenly, without drama. And the Colorado’s independent front suspension and front torsion bars deliver a ride that ain’t half bad– for a truck. It appeared off-road worthy, though we didn’t get a chance to play scrabble for purchase.

x04ct_cr068.jpgThe Colorado is what I call a Gap truck. The pickup’s seats have ample space between your bottom and the floor. The gaps in the wheel-wells leave room for meatier tires and plenty of turning radius. It’s remarkably easy to twist the Colorado through a gap in between Prii at Target. And then there’s that lovely gap between its price and the sticker whacked on its full-sized brethren.

But then there is that other gap; the one between the Colorado and its competition. While the small[er] Chevy has antilock brakes, tire pressure monitoring and air bags aplenty, other small trucks are similarly appointed AND they respond better all the way around. Their center consoles click when you close them. Their gear selectors need only half the distance to effect a change. And they go when you want them to.

At the right price you could ignore the Colorado’s Crew Cab’s thirst and mechanical laziness. But anyone who does so rewards incompetence, and pays the price at the pump.

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67 Comments on “Chevrolet Colorado 4X4 Crew Cab Review...”


  • avatar
    Larry P2

    Having owned and driven an identical ’06 GMC Canyon crew cab 4×4 for 21,000 miles, I have a few comments about your editorial based upon hard-earned experience.

    I traded in a late model Silverado for the Canyon. Let me assure you, there is a vast, yawning chasm between the EPA estimated gas mileage of the Silverado and what I actually achieved. And mysteriously, vice versa for the Canyon. I just returned from a trip to Victoria, BC yesterday in the Canyon. Gas mileage was a very respectable 25 mpg, and that was carrying a street bike one way at 70 – 75 mph the whole way. I never ever actually got more than 15 or 16 with the ‘rado. Which is why I made the trade to begin with. This is by far the best gas mileage 4×4 I have ever owned, and I have owned a considerable number of them.

    Powerwise, the Canyon is at least respectable, if not superior to the V8 Silverado. Yeah, the tranny does hunt annoyingly and yeah, the Canyon truly was sluggish when it was new, but a sufficient break in period has done miracles in the power department.

    There is also a “lovely gap” in price between the Canyon and its small/midsize competition. $30 large for the small Toyota? $40 bigs for a Honda pickup. Are you serious?

  • avatar
    fallout11

    We (Conus USAF base) own dozens of these as fleet workhorses. They are decent replacements for the previous S-10/Isuzu model, and many of the previous generation’s problems (such as front brake “sproing!”) have been fixed, but remain lackluster beasts at best, about equal to what Toyota or Nissan was selling 10 years ago. The 5 cylinder engine has a history of mechanical problems, while the 4 cylinder is solid. Gas mileage is sub-par on both, noticeably less to the 3.0L V6 Rangers also in service here.

  • avatar

    When my Cherokee gives up the ghost, a small crew cab pickup will likely be just the thing I’m looking for – something that can haul any future kids as well as my constantly broken motorcycle. I’ve been real disappointed with the Colorado reviews – they haven’t been too kind. I think it’s a real sharp looking truck, but just comes up short in too many categories. I’m pulling for it, though, because a small truck is high on my list of vehicles to buy int the next 3-5 years.

  • avatar

    I’ve never figured out the logic of the 5-cylinder engine. It has the power of a 4 with the economy of a 6. Really dumb idea.

  • avatar
    guitaral

    I’m the owner of a 2005 GMC Canyon. Very basic truck, no bells or whistles. I-4, RWD, 5 speed manual. So far I’m very pleased with it. The I-4 has lots of grunt. I get 26-29 mpg on the highway and around 20 mpg in city. It’s plenty roomy inside and in the bed. Although, the plastics in the interior are hard and cheap (but rugged). My only real complaint is that the brakes have a “grabbiness” to them. I’ve taken it to the dealer who issued a “GM is aware of the problem” letter, but no fix. Anyone else have the same problem?

  • avatar
    LK

    My primary complaint with the Colorado was always the low 4,000-pound tow rating – which was barely any better than fwd cute-utes like the RAV4. It appears that the 2008 model has a higher 5,500 pound tow rating, which is a substantial improvement and could potentially attract a number of new buyers.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    I have the same problem with the Colorado as I do other “small” trucks: Price. $28k for this thing? You can get a full size, V8, 4WD truck for the same price and lose 1MPG fuel economy.

    Maybe if small trucks were actually small, they’d be worth purchasing. Right now, there’s little reason for these mid-sizers to exist.

  • avatar
    Steve_K

    Very creative review. Anyway, the Colorado is OK by itself but it’s a pale shadow of the S10, especially the ZR2-optioned S10 that I drive. S10 is fully instrumented (temp, oil press., volts) while the Colorado has only temp. S10=250 ft-lbs from the 4.3 V, Colorado=242ft-lbs from the I-5. Both have torsion bar front suspension for the 4×4′s, so no improvement there. S10 has 4 tie-down hooks in the bed. The manual trans option has been deleted with the I-5, whereas S10 V6 had a manual option. There is also no wide stance option for the Colorado, even though it exists as the H3 chassis. I find the S10 cabin much more pleasant, but that’s merely subjective.

    However, all that is moot if the rumored Colorado V8 option shows up!!!

  • avatar
    Slare

    This past summer I cross shopped small trucks and found the Colorado attractive but lacking in both value and utility.

    I was looking at nicely equipped 4×4 CC models.

    The Colorado simply cost too much once optioned up. Though I think a basic extended cab 2wd model is a good value, the price just ramps too quickly and too much once you start adding what you want – in the 25-27k range even after supplier pricing and incentives.

    Ford Ranger? They still want the same money for a 10 year old truck. No amount of stickers or cladding can cover up what is a ridiculously dated platform. I’m amazed anyone buys them. By far the shortest consideration time.

    Dodge Dakota? Sorry not my cup of tea. Dodge was the only one that didn’t even merit a dealer visit.

    Same with the Ridgeline. Not really a truck, way too expensive.

    Toyota had a nice (though not at all exciting) truck but an inflexible dealer network offered very little under sticker pricing with arrogance to boot. Also required premium gas somewhat offsetting the higher mileage rating. Nice truck, but too expensive and very bland. This is the truck for people who really want a car.

    So, I ended up in a Nissan Frontier. A nicely equipped 4×4 Auto crew cab model with a long (6ft) bed, power and a sunroof ended up at 25k all said and done, within a stones throw of a similar Colorado, if not cheaper. With that I got a 263hp torquey V6 with a 5 speed auto, a factory coated bed with a track tie down system, and have been getting 20mpg all day long. Not to mention 6,500lb towing (admittedly a stretch) and the regular length bed. I will admit that a good bit bigger and not exactly the same.

    I love GM (which is hard to do these days), and going foreign really hurt me. The last pickup I bought was a 2001 ZR2 S10 – a truck I loved but was just a total pile in terms of build quality.

    The domestic offerings in this segment are just terrible.

    At least GM is finally dropping a V8 in them. If they can keep the price reasonable it’ll make them a whole lot more fun/functional without any real compromises.

  • avatar
    CellMan

    I think there is a serious market for small, reliable and frugal pickups that isn’t being addressed. The Tacoma is too huge now, the Ridgeline is more of an Accord with a pickup bed which leaves the Colorado/Canyon. I don’t think there is anything else.

    Many manufacturers have small pickups in other markets and they would do well to sell them in North America. I saw the new Toyota Hilux recently, and man, that thing would kill if it was sold here. Saying that, if Ford (bring back the Ranger) and GM focused some time and energy (and $) on this segment, it could be a profitable one, you know, building something that people want.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    “It has the power of a 4 with the economy of a 6.”

    The Toyota Tacoma’s 4 banger has 162 horsepower, so the Colorado has some 80 horsepower and thus a staggering 50 percent more. In fact, until 1992, Ford’s tire-shredding V8 powered Mustang GT had a mere 225 horsepower, 20 less than the “underpowered” Colorado.

    - Jeep Liberty 3.7 V-6: 210 horsepower;
    - Ford Ranger 4.0 V-6: 207 horsepower;
    - Jeep Wrangler 3.5 V-6: 205 horsepower

    One symptom of Anti-American Derangement Syndrome apparently is the inability to perform basic math.

    Anyone who actually thinks that you only lose 1 mpg by buying a full-size truck does not have much experience with either a Colorado or a full size truck.

    I was told by a salesman, who really wasn’t kidding, that a fullsize Dodge Ram with a Hemi would get 20 mpg. My coffee went right out my nose as I involuntarily erupted in a painful spasm of laughter.

    My real world gas mileage with my Canyon has convinced me.

  • avatar
    radimus

    Actually, the Ridgeline is the Baja version of the Pilot which is the wagon version of the Odyssey.

  • avatar
    Mj0lnir

    I’m interested in what the TTAC staff and posters think about the V8 powered Canyon?

    Will an extra 80 horsepower and gobs of extra torque change your perspective at all?

    What would it have to be priced at to make you overlook the cheap trim and “meh” attitude GM seems to have towards it?

    Would it be okay mated to the 4 speed auto, or is an M5/A5 mandatory?

    I’m not being a “homer” here- I’m truly interested in whether or not the V8 option will make a difference to buyers/journalists.

  • avatar
    LK

    Sajeev: I agree, there no longer seems to be a lot of point to the smaller pickups, as they cost nearly as much as the full-sizers and barely get better mileage (usually only 1-2 mpg).

    If ‘small’ pickups are going to remain a viable market segment, I see three ways they can go – the first and most obvious would be to use a small diesel and bring the mileage up to the mid/upper-20s with a decent tow rating.

    The second would be to give up on towing, go with a unibody truck and maybe even switch to FWD (or AWD, like subaru). I realize the Subaru Baja didn’t go over well, but what if they made a utilitarian version with a regular cab and a 6-foot bed? While they no longer make the Rampage or VW Sportruck, I think that the current gas prices might support those types of vehicles. Actually, I think VW might still make the Sportruck in South Africa…though it’d have to be extensively updated before it could be sold here. Or, VW could import the Caddy or Caddy Maxi – sell both a van version and pickup version, put in the TDI and suddenly we’d have a 30-40mpg small pickup with a higher payload than most half-ton trucks.

    The third option is to go visit our Australian friends and bring back some Utes…I’m not exactly sure if they’d replace the smaller trucks, but I still want to be able to buy one.

  • avatar
    pfingst

    radimus: That’s fantastic! Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • avatar
    LK

    Larry P2 – I’ve driven nearly every pickup out there, and yes…there really is only a 1-2mpg difference between most small/mid-size trucks and full-size trucks. The smaller trucks have the largest advantage in city driving, as they are lighter…but on the highway they don’t have much of an advantage at all, as weight is less of an issue and the larger V8s in the full-size trucks can turn at lower RPMs and return decent mileage. There’re a fair number of full-size trucks that can return 20mpg or better on the highway (including the Hemi Ram), as long as you drive at a reasonable speed…once you get to the 70-80mph range the mileage can drop off drastically. A good rule of thumb is to keep the RPMs below 2,000 on full-size V8 trucks to get decent mileage – though what speed that is will obviously depend on the gearing. On some trucks it’s only 55-60mph, so it comes down to if you’re patient enough to drive that slowly.

    Personally, I’m not that patient and typically drive 80+ mph – so I get horrible mileage with both full-size and compact pickups. The last time I put miles on a Colorado I got in the 16-17 mpg range for highway driving, and since most of the full-size half-ton trucks I’ve owned got about 14-15 mpg on the highway the Colorado was approximately 2mpg better.

  • avatar
    NN

    I’m very pleased that you guys chose to review this vehicle, as it has been my target for my next vehicle…but…I don’t know…

    I currently have a 98 Blazer ZR2 4.3 5-speed w/130k on it. It’s been good to me and was a hell of a smart purchase–god bless used domestic car values. I get 17-18 in the city and 19-21 on the highway, no BS (I drive it easy unless 4-wheeling). I use it as a pickup 1/2 the time, throwing nasty stuff in the back frequently, and now it smells. Bad. So I figured a 4-door pickup would be great, and a used Colorado would fit the bill…but man I am disappointed on what I read about the 5-cyl.

    For those of you who know, what are the reliability issues w/the 5cyl? I have heard people say they are trouble-prone, but have not heard specifically what is wrong. I wonder if the 4 can move the vehicle sufficiently enough for occasional off-roading, hauling my small 2,000lb boat, or even schlepping 4 adults across town? Anyone had experience w/the 4-cyl 4×4 crewcab?

    It does have 185hp…and hell, my Blazer has only 190. But I’m sure it’s way down on the torque.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    The Toyota Tacoma’s 4 banger has 162 horsepower, so the Colorado has some 80 horsepower and thus a staggering 50 percent more. In fact, until 1992, Ford’s tire-shredding V8 powered Mustang GT had a mere 225 horsepower, 20 less than the “underpowered” Colorado.

    Too bad the Colorado has to rev like a 4-cyl Tacoma to make any power. Revving aside, mid-size trucks should do themselves a favor and act more like said Mustang GT: 300+ lb-ft of torque @3500-ish rpm on regular gas is right on the money.

    Back to the 5-cyl motor:

    242hp @ 5600rpm is off the mark, even when you grab a passenger car V6 (Toyota/Nissan) and try to truck it up. But this was a truck motor from the git-go, right?

    242lb-ft @ 4600rpm…yeah, that’s not workin’ for me either. Drop the rpm peak about 1000revs and then we’ll have a good truck motor.

  • avatar
    p00ch

    In the mid 80′s and 90′s, we had a decent pool of small, economical trucks to choose from: Nissan, Mazda, Toyota, GM, etc. All had the footprint of a mid-size car (compact car by today’s standards), 4 cylinders and a 5-speed manual as standard, and were cheap to buy/operate.

    I believe there is still a significant market for this recipe, especially with today’s fuel prices. I am one of those ‘white-collar handymen’ who occasionally needs to haul minor stuff but also needs an economical daily driver. Choice was so limited that I ended up getting a minivan.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    Any chance GM could fit the Trailblazer’s inline-6 into the Colorado?

    Why the I5? Are the beancounters playing CAFE games? Do they sell enough of these to justify the engineering / logistics / support?!?? It’s too freakin’ weird…

  • avatar
    Slare

    The I6 is too long and too expensive for a Colorado.

    The I engines suffer from poor fuel economy for their output. On paper the output looks good but the lack of low end grunt kills them for truck guys, who want and often need that torque.

    And the lack of small trucks is the market’s fault. Now that fuel economy and practicality are coming back, you’ll see the big 3 react a couple years after the first company does.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    How much more expensive could the I6 be? The I5 is basically the I6 minus one cylinder, I don’t understand how it could be much more expensive? Its the additional cost of materials really that high for an extra cylinder?

  • avatar
    crc

    Why on earth can’t we (civilians) get a Jeep J8 with the pick up body on it.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    I can see the I-6 being a packaging problem. The Ford 4.9L straight six was great: plenty of grunt and extremely durable. But it was a big motor.

    Just like several other GM products, the Colorado needs a GEN III small-block to set it apart from the pack. Hell, the puny 4.8L will do just fine.

  • avatar
    Slare

    It’s not the delta from the I5 to the I6 that’s the problem (though it isn’t negligible), just packaging.
    Also I think the I6 would hit a wall where it is just too expensive of an engine for the platform. The small block might actually be cheaper than the I5, which has such low production.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Why GM ever decided to design an inline 5 has always been a mystery to me. I’ve been wondering how anybody could have possibly thought the I5 would be a good idea ever since I read about it in Motortrend back in 2001 or 2002. I can’t really think of any reason why GM didn’t design the engine bay of the Colorado to fit the I6 in the first place, the 270hp out of the I6 would have been class leading at the time as well

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    First off, very good review. It’s not often that a car site can review a truck without making snide comments about suburban pickup buyers. I know I’m not the only white-collar worker (lawyer) in Colorado who drives a pickup, and it’s mainly because of my recreational pursuits. For example, next week, I plan on throwing a couple of dead quadripeds into the back of my Tacoma. Try doing that with a Touareg!

    In any case, this review encapsulates what is missing in the small truck market today. I think it also highlights what is happening to the domestic market share: The Colorado is a “me too” vehicle that does nothing very well. The domestic manufacturers need to realize that just being “good enough” isn’t good enough.

    The sad thing is, there’s not a whole lot of options for the small truck buyer like me. The Tacoma is nice but too big, and way too pricey. The Dakota is for all intents and purposes a “full size” truck (making the Ram an “Oversize” truck), The Ranger isn’t available with 4 doors (and please don’t mention the Exporer Sport Trac. I just ate lunch) and the Frontier is just about as bloated as the Tacoma. Try to find one that will break 20 mpg in 4wd form is difficult, at best.

    Speaking of 4wd, am I the only one who gets incensed at seeing all the low-hanging plastic on 4wd trucks? It’s like these people have never actually seen a 4wd road.

    In any case, I remain hopeful that some manufacturer will come out with a reliable, capable, economical 4wd small truck before my ’04 Tacoma wears out.

  • avatar
    antipodean

    Both the Ford Falcon One Ton Ute and the Holden Commodore Ute / cab Chassis Ute would be ideal for the U.S. Market. I could be wrong, but I believed the reason they could not be imported (aside from the BA/BF series Falcon platform being unavailable in LHD) was tariffs put in place at the behest of lobbying by the UAW; to restrict the importation of trucks (given the direct assault on their bread and butter). Please correct me if I am misinformed. My business requires pickups, and F350 Super Duty’s have been admirable workhorses. However…

    The price of Diesel in Northern California, whilst lower this year, has been consistently priced some 10 to 20 cents per gallon above Premium / Ultimate. I have purchased a new truck every year the past three years, the 03 and 04′s have over 160k miles each already, the 96 is up to 1.3 million. All on original engines and transmissions. But the mpg (although offset as a business cost) now hurts. Midsize would cut the mustard in 80% of deliveries, but again, the midsizes on offer have little benefit in mpg. The Dodge / Freightliner Sprinter cab chassis interests me, and the Ford LCF gets better milage than super duty’s, but is cab over (bye bye legs in an accident). A Ford Transit cab chassis diesel is the mainstay of the English construction / contractor fleet, and somehow manages to make do with much less HP, although more torque down low. Yet Ford thinks anything out-working an F150, regardless of size, would be financial suicide for them to import.

    Euro and Australian spec toyota hi-luxes are available with 2.4 and 3.0 turbo diesels, and are seen on Australian roads in plague proportions. Again, if they were available here, they would suit perfectly. Gobs of torque down low, and 25mpg at minimum. I second the comments about the Ford Ranger, its had its run. Even the Mazda B series that spawned it has been put to pasture. I came to the conclusion some time ago that there is just no interest, on the part of ANY manufacturer in the U.S.A in seeing consumers driving truly fuel efficient vehicles. Starting with commercial fleets would make more sense, and have a bigger impact on the national consumption of oil.

    I await the 09 Diesel F150 with baited breath, and keep my fingers crossed for Isuzu 4cyl diesels showing up in Chevy Canyons. Or maybe Toyota will swallow its pride, can the Tacoma and bring the Hi-Lux and Land Cruiser pickups that perform heavy duty applications and weekend warrior duty without breaking a sweat for consumers that almost the entire planet has access to, except for NA.

  • avatar
    yournamehere

    vw needs to stick one of there TDI engines into a small pick up!

  • avatar
    AuricTech

    On the compact pickup front, I know that Nissan signed an agreement in June 2006 to build a compact pickup for Suzuki to sell in North America, said truck to hit dealers next summer as an early 2009 model. Am I wrong to hope against hope that this will be more (or, more accurately, less) than a rebadged Nissan Frontier?

  • avatar
    Qusus

    Larry P2:

    Unless you live in Canada a small Toyota pickups do not cost 30K, and the Ridgeline does not cost 40K. Those numbers about 10K too high.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    Make sure you arent comparing Apples and oranges here. A comparably equipped Tacoma crew cab 4×4 will set you back at least $28 thou, and probably 30 when similarly equipped to this test Colorado.

    Only the V-6 powered Tacoma ain’t a reviled GM product, so it will not be announced on these pages that it “guzzles gas frantically like a V8 with the power of a 4 cylinder” even though it produces six less ponies than this lame-o GM-built Colorado.

    It is a Toyota, after all.

    And can someone hurry up and provide substantiation to the claim that the I5 is “trouble-prone?”

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    I was looking at small trucks last weekend. I found on a dealer lot a regular cab Tacoma with a 4 banger and a 6 foot bed. Sticker was $16k (maybe closer to 17) The truck didn’t look bloated to me, but all the 4 door 4×4 versions look bloated.

    As for Ranger, I have one, and don’t often say nice things about it, but to be fair, it does have class leading gas mileage, and as dated as the platform is, it’s still just as good as anything else in it’s class- unless of course you wanted a crew cab with a useless little box on the back. You can also get them with a 7 ft. bed – you know, for those 2 or 3 buyers who actually plan to haul something.

    A diesel option in this class would make an awful lot of sense, so we’ll look for Toyota to do that.

    As for Ridgeline, I’m a Honda fan but the Ridgeline is just a ridiculous vehicle.

  • avatar
    tankd0g

    In the USA you can get a 4×2 Tacoma with a 4 and manual for $14,000. In Canada you can’t get ANYTHING for $14,000, but that’s another story. I don’t see why you would need to look any further than that if all you wanted was something reasonably economical to haul around your dirt bike. Granted it’s ugly as ****, but it’s not for show.

  • avatar
    tankd0g

    The I5 has had serious problems with piston slap, that GM has screwed many owners over on by saying “that noise is normal” right up until the warranty runs out.

  • avatar
    labrat

    I had a GMC Canyon, a clone of the tested vehicle for almost 3 years and 41,000 miles. Some observations:

    - Ours was the older 3.5 liter inline 5, rated at 220 hp. No mechanical problems with the engine. Power was okay at higher rpms but a little thin in the low/midrange. Not good for a pickup. In my opinion, this is a step down from the 4.3 liter pushrod V-6′s used in the S-10 predecessors.

    - We got 24 mpg on a trip from Michigan to Florida, with speeds generally from 70-80 mph. We had a tonneau cover, though, which may have helped aerodynamics on the highway. City mpg averaged 16-17, which is better than our current AWD Acadia (14-15 mpg).

    - This truck was used to tow a 3800 lb boat/trailer. It was average at best. More torque would have helped here.

    - Steering was light years ahead of the Trailblazer we once had, which led to more confidence when towing.

    - Agree with the interior comments. Not luxurious or aesthetically appealing, but with a couple of kids in the back seat always trying to find new ways of destroying things, the durability was appreciated.

    - The only problem we experienced was when the truck was new, there was a water leak in the cab that soaked the carpeting and eventually stunk whenever it subsequently got wet. The dealer fixed the leak and deodorized the carpet, but it should have been replaced.

    All in all, not a bad vehicle, not a great one. My biggest complaint would be the engine. I would like to see a 4.8 liter V8 or a small diesel to provide adequate torque for towing.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    I just spent about an hour on Google, as a concerned owner of a GMC Canyon, trying to find anything ….. anything that supports the above’contention that the I5 has “piston slap” issues.

    I scoured through pages of Google search results and could find literally no substantiation for the claim. There is, however, plenty about the GM Vortec V8′s notorious problem with piston slap. The Silverago that I traded in on my Canyon had it in spades …. until I changed the viscocity and brand of oil and voila’ …. problem eliminated. This is a quick and cheap solution that was lost in the stampede to a class action lawsuit against hated GM over the issue. The truth of the V8 Vortec piston slap controversey is this: GM used very high performance, revolutionary, lightweight pistons that produced much more power and greater gas mileage for a given engine, a fact that was lost when the stampeded for the courhouse began.

    Does anybody remember the Toyota “sludge” issue? Both GM’s piston slap “problems” and Toyota’s “engine sludge” debacle are completely products of the fertile imagination of ingenious trial lawyers.

    Go to any hot rod show and wait until a line of high dollar hand-built hotrods roar to life: invariably, they ALL have piston slap on startup.

    Then I suddently realized that the “arguments” against the Canyon/Colorado trucks are a constantly shifting, moving target and that no matter how easily one can refute the facts, it really doesn’t matter.

    The real argument here is that they are produced by GM, and that instantly, permanently and irrefutably condemns them.

  • avatar
    Qusus

    Larry P2:

    I haven’t seen the reliability reports on a Colorado so I can’t address the supposed issue of the I5 piston issues but I stand by my assertion that there is no real “price gap” between the Colorado and it’s competition as you stated in the first post.

    The Tacoma 4×4 Crew Cab (with a V6) costs about the same as the Colorado tested here. Even if we accept the estimate that a comparably equipped Tacoma will cost 30K, that’s a less than 2K difference between the vehicles.

    I realize now that my original post was poorly worded. I meant that the 10K overestimate as stated in your first post applied only to Honda pickup. Even in it’s most expensive trim w/ navigation it stickers at 35K. The least expensive crew cab model starts at 28K on number.
    On average it seems like a less than 30K truck. (Keep in mind that there are no options on the Ridgeline, thus 35K is as expensive as it could possibly get.) Again quite close to the truck tested in this review.

    I’m not much of a truck guy and since I’ve never even driven a new Tacoma I wouldn’t be a good judge of the merits of the three aforementioned vehicles, however, my point was that the price gap between them was not as large as you originally mentioned. Certainly, there is no such thing as a 40K Honda pickup. In fact, I highly doubt there’s anyone who even paid close to 35K for the fully loaded navi-version.

  • avatar
    tankd0g

    Larry P2 :
    GM’s entire family of Atlas engines when they were introduced had this issue. The problem is far more evident on an inline engines than a V. Do you know what piston slap is? Changing the viscosity of the oil is not going to make up for GMs inability to use a vernier to measure two parts to see if they fit together! Any IDIOT can see the scoring on the skirt of a piston that has been slapping in the bore of a cylinder. The fact that no all of these supposedly identical engines had the problem is only more evidence of GMs hit or miss worksmanship. Even my lawn mower does not have piston slap on start up or otherwise.

    P.S. The Toyota sludge issue was real enough for Toyota to fix it.

  • avatar
    svensk

    A 5.3L Canyon = very low 14second 1/4 mile truck. With a PCM tune, mods a 5spd manual 2wd should break 13′s.

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    I had a no-frills 2wd Toyota pickup in the early 80s that was a regular cab, long bed and diesel engine. My brother is still driving his 14 year old S10 (another no frills 2wd model). Those trucks had a good footprint size IMHO; I wish they made something that size again.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Go to any hot rod show and wait until a line of high dollar hand-built hotrods roar to life: invariably, they ALL have piston slap on startup.

    That is because many of the rods have stroked engines, with very low rod ratios. A tremendous amount of thrust is directed into the cylinder wall, causing the piston slap against the side of the cylinder. Most street engines do not have these extreme rod ratios and the associated slap.

  • avatar
    Slare

    The pricing discussion is a really difficult one to have because getting an apples to apples price is really tough.

    The amounts the various makers will knock off of sticker is a big range, local markets determine what truck configurations are actually available, and the domestic suppliers have a much more piece meal approach to options, not to mention each truck in the segment has different levels of option content. Add all this together and it makes sense nobody can seem to agree on pricing.

    My general thoughts are that the Ridgeline shouldn’t be included at all, the Toyota acts as the baseline, Nissan is maybe 2-3k less, and the domestics are maybe another 2k less. This is if you cut through all the crap, option the configs as similar as possible, and presume good out the door pricing.

    I’d also like to add that the people defending the I5 are doing it by quoting output numbers. It’s not that simple, and if you drove all the trucks discussed or used them under load it would make a lot more sense. The I5 feels like a dog compared to what Toyota and Nissan have under the hood. It doesn’t have the low end torque and is hurt by the 4 speed. I really feel GM fell into this same trap during development, comparing numbers to the old 4.3 and thinking it’d be just dandy. But truck buyers think about a little more than just published HP numbers…

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    The team that designed the dash should be reassigned.

  • avatar
    Virtual Insanity

    Decent little truck, I had a fraternity brother with the GMC version. It was good for us, we could stuff a good bit in the back that we couldn’t otherwise, most of us had cars.

    If I were into the smaller trucks, I’d think about grabbing one of these when my chance for a company car comes up. But seeing as its free, then I’m gonna go ahead and shoot for a Denali Sierra.

  • avatar
    obbop

    During my too-many trips to the Chevy dealer for warranty work on the Silverado (not a bad truck but not good, either) I wandered the show room and lot peeking and poking at the new vehicles.

    Spent many hours doing this killing time just to hear “Can not replicate the problem” as spewed by service writers to cover an unwillingness to actually diagnose warranty-covered defects, wanting instead, I suppose, for defects to jump out and bite them on the nose (corporate GMC did not care about lousy warranty coverage by dealerships I visited).

    Anyway…. I looked long and hard at the Colorado in all its manifestations… there was a lot of them for sale and I see very few on the road in the Omaha Nebraska area.

    I noticed a lack of body rigidity. Couldn’t judge the frame but the cab and bed sure seemed to be flimsy. A slight upward push on an open door caused flex in the “B pillar” or whatever that upright aft of the door is called.

    The hood, the tailgate, so many areas appeared to be flimsey, as if they were not well-attached.

    On a general level, a subjective opinion reached by the poking…..the Colorado just seems to be a cheaply made trucklet that will not endure long if used as a pick-up is used by those actually making a truck “work” as some folks buying a truck expect.

    The Colorado’s seemingly-to-me el cheapo construction may be fine for the suburbanite-type using it mainly for transportation with minimal hauling, towing etc. but I do not expect the critter to last as long as a beefier full-size pick-em-up truck.

    And, after the continuous problems I had with warranty coverage regarding the 2004 Silverado I would be hesitant to buy another GMC/Chevy product…. but my problems could possibly be rare or a “regional thing” that others may not experience.

  • avatar
    fallout11

    Thank you Antipodean, for bringing up the excellent Australian small truck options. Wish we had them here in NA.

    And I concur with Dynamic88, while the Ranger has most definitely had its day and is now quite dated, it was way ahead of its time when introduced and has soldiered on for me (and my employer) admirably through several iterations. Solid, dependable, rugged, no frills, if lackluster. Still regularly see legions of them on the road here in the Deep South. A new Ranger would be just about perfect.

  • avatar
    LK

    antipodean: You are correct, the US has a 25% tariff on pickups – which (along with our diesel emission standards) works to prevent all the interesting and/or fuel-efficient trucks from being sold in the United States.

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    AFAIK the 25% tariff has nothing to do with the UAW. I believe it’s called the “Chicken tax” because it has something to do with retaliation for some other country’s taxing of our exported chickens. Mr. Farago has commented on it in the past, he may know more. In any case, I seem to recall that trucks were the first “transplants” to be assembled in the US for this very reason.

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    Incidentally, Ford of Argentine makes a very cool looking 4-door Ranger with a 2.7l Turbo Diesel. I don’t know how difficult it would be to bring that to the US but I can’t believe it wouldn’t be a big seller if they did. I’d seriously consider one!

  • avatar
    LK

    Martin Albright: Yup, the pickup truck tariff was imposed by the Johnson administration in retaliation for a European Community block on American chicken sales (prior to that the tariff was 8.5 percent). Mexico and Canada are exempt from the tariff, which is why a large portion of “American-made” pickups are assembled in Mexico.

    However, from what I understand recent free-trade agreements mean that Australia is now exempt from the pickup tariff…so perhaps that means that we’ll eventually see some of the Australian utes sold here.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    Although I could find no substantiation on the alleged I-5 Piston slap, I did find one article where they actually drag-raced and (empirically rather than subjectively) a Colorado against a Dodge Hemi Ram and the two were absolutely neck and neck with nearly identical time slips. Yet, complains this review, the Colorado “feels” subjectively slow. It does, but in reality, objectively it is a very fast truck.

    Which brings me to my point. I own both a Canyon and an older full size Ford with the legendary 300 6, so I know a thing or two about lowend torque versus high revving horsepower. It is said that the Ford straight six will “either pull it, or pull it apart.” Yet the motor was a sales failure, based on the fact I believe, that most people who buy a pickup use them neither to tow or haul anything particularly heavy. Neither the Ford Straight 6 or the longed for GM 4.3 V-6 could pass current emissions or fuel economy standards.

    Having owned both a wheezing 2.8 and a doggy 4.3 engined S-10, I have no doubt that the Canyon I own is a drastic improvement in both usuable power and full economy. I feel sorry for anyone who would resort to pulling anything particularly heavy with an S10.

    I live in a virulently redneck part of a red state. Once in awhile, I wonder through the Walmart parking lot and peek in the bed of newer full size pickups now and then. The vast majority of them have no scrapes, scratches, mars or any other indication of heavy hauling in their pristine, unmolested beds. And while I occassionally see full size pickups pulling gigantic boats, almost unanimously those trucks are 3/4 ton or one ton behemoths with diesel propulsion. The half tons are invariably pulling a brace of jet skis or a pair of dirtbikes, if they are pulling anything. Well within the capabilities of a Canyon.

    Ultimately, that is why the Ford 300 six is defunct and the Colorado/Ridgelines are the future of light-duty pickups, I believe. Maybe not now, maybe not next year, but soon.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    No one’s yet mentioned that the Hummer H3 (which is based upon the Colorado) is now being offered with the 5.3L V8, which has (apparently) addressed the same shortcoming of that vehicle which plagues the Colorado.

    Although it did take GM some major re-engineering (the firewall had to be modified) to stuff the 5.3L into the same space as the Colorado’s 3.7L I-5, it does show that GM can do it. Since the engineering is there, one would think it would be an easy, logical step for them to install the better performing (in all aspects) 5.3L V8 into the Colorado, as well.

  • avatar
    davey49

    The small trucks are narrower, making them easier to drive in traffic compared to full sizes.
    The Colo is 10 inches narrower than the Silverado and 6 inches narrower than the Tacoma.
    No piston slap for the I-5 or I-4. The problems were with the cylinder heads or the balance shafts. Long since fixed (2004 only)
    Had an I5 for 10 years (Audi)

  • avatar

    Courtesy Ford in London, Ontario has a 2008 Ford Ranger out front – regular cab 4 cylinder, 5 speed with A/C for $14,777 + freight and taxes. They have a 2008 Ranger V6, automatic, with A/C for $15,999 + freight and taxes. An old platform but perfectly acceptable at that price point.

    No surprise that Ranger sales are up over 50% this year in Canada.

    A similar Colorado at the Chevy store next door is more powerful, must more thirsty, and it costs about $3000 more (and it’s butt ugly).

  • avatar
    Virtual Insanity

    Since the engineering is there, one would think it would be an easy, logical step for them to install the better performing (in all aspects) 5.3L V8 into the Colorado, as well.

    They are doing a V8 Colorado/Canyon.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    I will finish my rants and then leave….

    In thinking about the rapidly-evolving future of light duty pickups and what I believe to be the harbingers of the future: Ridgline, Canyon/Colorado, Subaru Baja et al, there were several thoughts that came to mind.

    These pickups are critisized for their truncated beds. And the Honda even has a lockable trunk in the bottom of the bed, made possible (horror or horrors!!) by its Independant rear suspension. Yet these small beds are clearly the result of Crew Cabs and emphasis on passenger comfort and amenities over hauling space. I have hauled, and not for myself, full 4×8 sheets of plywood and sheetrock in my old Ford just one time in two years. 99 percent of what I have actually hauled in the Ford could have easily been hauled in my CC Canyon. And I guess if I really needed to haul a full pallett of plywood or sheetrock again, I have noticed that every building supply around here offers free delivery. So I think most light duty pickup owners would do well with something like a Subaru Baja or even smaller as long as the passenger room wasn’t too drastically effected.

    I think the Baja and the Ridgeline – with their front drive architecture, unibody construction and four wheel independant suspension – will handle better and more safely, be more nimble for everyday driving, ride more comfortably and be totally suitable for 99 percent of all light truck buyers. The Canyon, with its 4,000 pound towing limit, clearly errs on the side of comfortable ride and handling when the bed is empty; the bane of all small, oversprung trucks that artificially pump up the load and towing capacity by ridiculously overspringing their miniscule rear axles.

    And it is very clear to me that 99 oercent of truck owners drive around 99 percent of the time with an empty bed.

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    Larry: I agree with you re: small trucks. Sadly, Subaru dropped the Baja (too early, IMO) due to poor sales. The original concept of the Baja would have been more like an Avalanche, with a true “disappearing midgate” that would have allowed full use of the area behind the driver’s seat, but when the Baja itself was created, they took a cheaper route and replaced the disappearing midgate with an “access door.” I think that, as well as poor timing (the Baja was introduced in 2003 when gas was still relatively cheap) and poor marketing doomed it to failure. Even over on the Subaru boards, people were clamoring for something more like the old BRAT than the Baja. I think Subaru could have “split the baby” and come up with something that satisfied both but they didn’t seem to have the desire.

    I’m still waiting for some enterprising company (maybe even GM?) to bring the Avalanche’s disappearing midgate and 4-doors into a mini-truck platform. I would seriously be tempted if they did.

  • avatar
    NN

    Put a small, economical and torquey diesel in a crew cab Colorado and give it a midgate a la the Avalanche, and you would have the most versatile and fuel-efficient small workhorse on the market, and something that would seriously challenge the Tacoma for leadership in this important market segment. Unfortunately, the extra cost with the diesel would put it easily over $30k.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Virtual Insanity: “They are doing a V8 Colorado/Canyon.”

    ‘Doing’ a V8 Colorado/Canyon and actually offering it as an RPO are two entirely different things.

    The flat statement that the Colorado/Canyon will be getting a V8 for production (although it makes a lot of sense, given that the engineering has already been done) sounds more like idle speculation by enthusiast rags based soley on the same chassis H3 getting the 5.3L for 2008.

  • avatar
    JPR

    I own a 07 Colorado I-5 crew Z71 non-4X4.
    I have owned two S-10s in the past, an 87 with a 2.8 (wanna talk underpowered at 125hp in a 3500lbs truck!) and a 01 Xtreme with a 4.3 and a 01 Blazer (same as S-10 with a shell). I personally really like the Colorado over my S-10 and the 87,well,it doesn’t even belong in this little rant but it was
    a good truck aside from being a rust bucket. What I really don’t understand is all the hype everyone gives the 4.3 v-6 and wish it was in the Colorado. The 4.3 really wasn’t that great of an engine, reliable, but underpowered at 180-90hp seeing as the S-10 weighed more than the Colorado. Off the line it had grunt but once you got the higher gears weather in overdrive or not the power just tapered off and you really had to lay down the pedal to get it to give up any extra power. This is something I haven’t noticed with the 3.7 I-5. Yes off the line it doesn’t feel any stronger but once you hit 3rd is when it really starts to pull and doesn’t waste all of it’s torque in the lower gears like I noticed with the 4.3. And with my experience the 4.3 a gas hog at the very best in conservative driving I got 18MPG and on average got 15MPG. I’m averaging 18MPG in the Colorado and still have more power. granted the 4.3 it is still used in the 08 base Silverado but underpowered is an understatement along with the 14-18MPG rating. All in all I’m not bashing the 4.3 as it was a staple in the GM light trucks for 10+ years and was an industry leader when introduced in 86 but time and technology changes and like I said before the 4.3s time is growing short as we can see. Both 2.8 I-4 and 3.5 I-5 did have problems when they were introduced in 04. Some but not all I stress had head issues which were addressed in the release of the 2.9 and 3.7. I had no experience with the 2.8 or 3.5 so I can’t compare them to the 2.9 or 3.7. Getting away from the engines. Everyone says the interior is so drab and too much plastic. What do you want? It’s a truck; get over it if that’s the only major fault keeping some from buying this truck. The plastic actually is good because in 10 years when the soft rubbery dash is cracked and faded in other vehicles the Plastic one will still be hard plastic and not a cracked faded mess. And the late model S-10s weren’t all that much to look at on the inside either so no it wasn’t any better. There was just as much plastic in the cab and it had the rubbery soft dash, which in both my S-10 and Blazer after 5 years were hard and faded even after proper care (black magic not armor-all and an auto shade on the hotter days). Aside from that the interior is very functional and “simple” and not cluttered with excess buttons and what not. It may not be pleasing to some interior or exterior but with the overall look of some offerings from other manufacturers (no names mentioned) the hamsters with Down syndrome look isn’t appealing to me on a personal level. In summary the GMT355 trucks (Colorado, Canyon, Isuzu (that’s who did about 60% of the design) and the H3 (on its own level) are all great trucks they’re just on a different level compared to what some people are looking for in a truck it would seem. Everyone wants a full size truck in a mid package and price. I guess that’s why GM is putting the 5.3 v-8 in them starting in February. It will not be the newer 5.3 with fuel management but the older 295hp with around 330lbs.ft. Of torque like in the H3 ALPHA. It should get decent gas mileage given these trucks only weigh in between 3500-4000lbs.
    From what I understand it will only be available in the extended and Crew models. I’m sure that will broaden to the single in a couple of years, probably as a regular cab SS model or a “real” xtreme model, not just the cladding. The proof is on both the Chevy and GMC sites. You can build and price with the 5.3 as an option but it does not reflect in the final price so at this point the pricing is still unknown. I can’t see it more than $2000 on top of the I-5 price. That’s not why the tow rating is at 5500lbs for 08 though. It is because GM designed a new hitch that is weight distributing and new EPA tests. They have always or at least with the 3.7 have been able to haul that much in the extended and crew cab models.
    Everyone has a laundry list of reasons why these trucks are so bad even if they’ve never set foot in one. Every vehicle line out there has problems and the Colorado is no exception, but this truck is not a Hugo or a Pinto and for the most part as of 07 have a pretty good track record in the mechanical department and the interior did get a minor update. Just remember that for every bad experience, you will tell whoever will listen about it and for every good you may tell 1 or 2 people. It’s true. Don’t discredit it until you have personally tried it first.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    I agree with many of the points of the above poster. The lack of knowledge of trucks and the people who buy and use them on this site is, well, …. embarassing.

    Case in point: I will make a prediction here and you will hold me to it. The upcoming small Mahindra diesel pickup, like the Chevrolet SSR, will be a major, catastrophic sales flop that will make Mahindra a very brief presence in the United States. Remember when the entire automobile journalistic fraternity begged and pleaded with GM to build the SSR? And so they have similarly gushed rhapsodic about the Mahindra diesel.

    THe Mahindra will fail for several reasons, not the least of which is this embarassing snippet from the review on the Mahindra Scorpio: “115bhp @ 3800rpm. More importantly (at least for a two-and-half-ton SUV), the mill stumps up 28.3kgm of torque between 1700-2200rpm.” Why the article would describe the horsepower the usual way but the torque in metric terms says a lot about the agenda on this site. Yet it could not hide the fact that the thing will top out – empty – at around 80 mph.

    It will be an oversprung, ill-handling, choppy riding, miserable buck-boarded suspended nightmare because Mahindra thinks small pickup buyers, and many on this board agree, want an artificially inflated load and tow capacity. The general public doesn’t. Heck, you could take a Smart Car and beef up the suspension to the point where you could tow 7,000 pounds with it, and have your fillings knocked out of your teeth the 99 percent of the time when driving it empty.

    The diesel-powered small truck will be slower than a candied turd and completely run out of breath at 80 mph. Freeway on ramps will be a dangerous ordeal. Sure you will be able to tow a full-size boat with it, as long as you don’t mind miles-long trains of irate motorists backing up behind you up hills at 10 mph. Nobody that can afford a full-size boat will even consider a Mahindra.

    What kind of people will buy Mahindras? People who think that diesel power will deliver good fuel mileage but have no real need for a pickup. As petroleum prices steadily increase, many potential Mahindra buyers will consider the effect of their ego on their pocketbook, and will buy a Smart Car instead.

    That will be an excellent choice, because the Mahindra’s fuel mileage is pathetic. Again, from the gushing review: “We achieved around 11 to 12km per liter of diesel. (translated: assuming that they were buying diesel in imperial gallons, that is only about 20 mpg) The Hyundai Terracan with its bigger (and better) engine delivers the same fuel economy.”

    “Still, the Mahindra and Mahindra Scorpio is a complete package: a refined cruiser, a capable mountain mule, and a competent highway cruiser.” (!!!!)

    And it should be added, since it is not made in America, its really horrible and glaring deficiencies can be well-hidden by being expressed metrically.

  • avatar
    Slare

    ‘Doing’ a V8 Colorado/Canyon and actually offering it as an RPO are two entirely different things.

    This has been greenlighted at GM for quite some time. Lots of suppliers working on it and it has been quietly announced by GM, though nobody can figure out why GM is being so quiet about it. Most Chevy people over the age of 25 have known somebody who dropped small block in an S10, and it is just stupid fun.

    So, we’ll get to see just how much of the poor sales performance and review feedback can be resolved with more motor. Chevy will in essence, be saying “put up or shut up” to those who said the I5 was their only beef.

    To be fair to the Colorado, its only true competition is the Ford Ranger, which imho it has nicely beat. It is also better than the S10 it replaced, enough that the tons of faithful S10 owners see it as an ok update.

    The problem is that to the people who truly cross shop the slightly bigger offerings (Frontier, Tacoma, Dakota even) decide they are a better value.

    But in the truck world, there are just not that many people cross-brand shoppers.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Thanks for the correction on the 5.3L install into the Colorado and the reason it’s not widely known. It is quite odd that GM has been so mum on the subject, particularly since there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of negatives about the 5.3L V8 in comparison to the lackluster 3.7 I5. If the reviews of the H3 Alpha are any indication, the V8 handily beats the I5 in nearly every category, with the fuel mileage penalty being negligible.

    As to the competition, while the Frontier and Dakota are definitely larger, I thought the Tacoma was still close to the Colorado and Ranger in size and, with it’s much higher build-quality reputation, the compact truck that was the class leader. I’ve compared the three trucks and it’s not too difficult to justify the higher price for the Toyota.

    Of course, at the Tacoma’s higher price point, it’s also not too tough to make the switch to a base Silverado (supposedly the current full-size class leader).

    Frankly, my biggest beef with both the Colorado and Tacoma is the lack of a standard fold-down center armrest in the base versions. At least you get one in the otherwise craptacular Ranger (as with all the full-size pickups).

  • avatar
    JPR

    I would have to agree with you rudiger about the center console in the Colorado and Tacoma. It is small and if you have a passenger with you that’s like my wife you are always vying for position if you know what I mean. but at least you can store stuff. Another little rant is that I really feel GM and Chevy did not build the twins (Colorado/Canyon) to directly compete with the imports or anyone. I feel biased buyers and the media have created much of the competition between the mid size trucks and SUVs. I never heard GM say that the Colorado was going to revolutionize the mid or small truck market or change it at all they were just looking to replace their outdated platform and try a new direction since the S-series truck in some forms stayed basically the same for 20+ years. They were just looking for a replacement for the S-10 and happened to find it in the Isuzu (Yes, it’s at least 60% Isuzu if not more)
    truck design and an extra use for the GMT-355 platform the H3 would be using at that point. The Isuzu I290 & 370 and Chevy/GMC
    Colorado/Canyon are all the same truck. What’s really funny is that in every review of the twins the Canyon always scores higher marks even though it is the same truck off of the same assembly line in Shreveport LA. It just has a few minor cosmetic differences like the grill and badging (just tought it was funny). I’ve also noticed that the Isuzu gets on par or higher marks as well. Now the only thing I can’t understand is why GM overlooked bringing the Isuzu D-MAX with it’s 3.0 liter commonrail turbo diesel to the states. It’s the same truck and from what I’ve heard sells very well in the asian and european markets. It is also a “GREEN” and efficient powerplant from my understanding. The Colorado does truly deliver in it’s standard forms an economical truck with a powerful I-4 engine at 185hp which is what people wanted.
    And my I-5 crew cab gets good mileage at a new just calculated 20-22MPG and thats no lie and is a combo of in town and highway so I can see where people get 24+ (all highway) even with the I-5 considering, the supposedly undersized motor that should be sucking down the gas to move this truck still gets 5+ MPG over my larger but less powerful 4.3 v-6 in a lighter S-10 (New Technology Wins! even if people think an inline 5 is strange). It’s all in how you drive it and what you want out of it. You can’t own an H2 or a Titan/Armada(gas hog from a friends experience) complain about the price of gas, drive it like you stole it and expect anyone to see eye to eye with you or not laugh behind your back. That said I agree with the
    people who say the 5.3 V8 will get acceptable gas mileage in these small to mid-sized trucks they are on average 500-1000lbs. lighter than a full size. But I’m gonna wait and see rather than throw out any numbers.

  • avatar

    The Colorado is a decent truck with the right bits. The four-banger produces a class-leading (for a base engine) 185 hp @5600 rpm and a good 190 pound-feet of torque @2900 rpm. That means getting the four-banger up to max horsepower requires less revving. It reduces towing by a thousand pounds and hauling by a bit as well, but compensates with much better fuel economy for 2008 at 18/24 mpg.

    Oddly, I looked at a couple at Carmax today alongside the new and old Tacoma and Ranger, and found base models to feel more comfortable than higher levels. For example, the split-bench front seat has a cloth center armrest, while the captain’s chairs have a plasticky center console. I would seriously consider the split bench for that reason, not to mention it can (conceivably) seat six people.

    A few things to consider that haven’t been mentioned yet:

    This truck did badly in IIHS side-crash tests. Structural strength was particularly poor. Don’t buy this truck without side-curtain airbags, at the very least. If they come out with torso airbags at some point, get those too.

    This truck gets electronic stability control standard for the first time for 2009 MY, making the new model years less likely to roll over.

    The Colorado Crew Cab with four-cylinder engine costs virtually the same amount as a Toyota Tacoma Access Cab with four-cylinder engine. It delivers economy within a mile per gallon of the Taco.

    The Chevy is extremely small and light: It’s much smaller than the Tacoma and Frontier, especially in width. It is not meant for those looking for a small full-size.

    In short, I think that the Colorado can be a good truck for some people if they check the right boxes, especially because it’s the only compact truck that is available with a four-cylinder crew cab configuration.

  • avatar
    mark85

    I think that Canyon does not lose so much with competition as with market timing , politics and dishonest , incompetent professional reviewers . When introduced in 2004 it was big hit with its 225 hp I5. In 2005 Nissan and Toyota introduced their new Frontier and Tacoma. Road- comparisons tests were made ,test data published , opinions formed and impressions made. Competition turned out to be stronger. I 2007 Canyon came up with bigger ,stronger , updated engine 3.7L I5. It was too late and too little to regain reviewers attention like Edmunds, CarAnd Driver or Customereports.org. By 2007 Tacoma and Nissan 4.0 L V6 were already taken for granted so market timing was really bad for Canyon. Certainly Canyon is not Tacoma or Frontier but relaying on 2005 performance results in 2009 Canyon reviews and ignoring fact that Canyon has new much better engine is simply crossing the line especially by Customereports.org which still quotes performance numbers for Canyon’s old engine. On compact truck market totally dominated by Toyota and Nissan, Canyon 3.7 L I5 never got a second chance to be tested against Frontier and Tacoma. Too bad since Canyon has really strong engine, maybe somewhat crude and unrefined but definitely powerful . Impression that 3.7 L I5 feels a bit sluggish can be misleading since all torque engines feel slow no matter how strong they are and dead feel of aluminum block make things even worse. My Canyon is 2WD Regular Cab 3.7L I5 and it definitely accelerate faster than my 2005 Honda Accord V6. Fair to say it is also light truck below 3500 lb. As far as measurable Canyon performance I found only two credible information. One is coming from TestTruckDigest @GolfCoastNews.com They tried comparable Canyon and Tacoma and they got identical results for 1/4 mile and Tacoma being minimally faster at 0-60 test. Second result is coming from Dragtimes .com. Sure this is not professional site but tested are done by car and truck enthusiasts and as far as I know this is very honest and honorable site with guys having no business in fixing results . Toyota flagship technical marvel 2008 Tacoma X-Runner went about as fast at 1/4 mile and 0-60 as 2008 GMC Canyon , fact that Canyon had modified module for using higher grade gasoline but stock Tacoma use top grade gasoline anyway. Is it a joke or what ??? I was offered to buy workhorse like this for 14600 extended cab power everything ,nice alloy wheels, at bankrupting GMC dealers. How much X-Runner cost ???. I bought my truck for 12139.99 , how much basic Toyota 4 bangers cost with optional air conditioning ??? Close to 20000 !?. Sure Tacoma and Canyon are priced about the same but only on the paper .Enough said.
    Also ,to be correctly understood , my post relates only to Canyon engine performance not to overall rating of the vehicle.


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