By on June 17, 2011


Well, we’ve accidentally developed something a of a Chevy theme this morning, what with the Cobalt and 2013 Malibu… and now this, the Colorado Rally Concept, a first look at the next generation of GM compact pickups. Though the concept’s 2.8 liter turbodiesel engine is unlikely to make it to the US, Pickuptrucks.com reports

According to manufacturing documents we’ve obtained, the Colorado’s start of regular production is slated for Oct. 3, 2011, in Thailand and Jan. 16, 2012, in Brazil, where it will likely be sold as the S-10.

According to our sources, the code names for the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon versions for North America are 31XC and 31XG. Start of U.S. manufacturing is scheduled for around July 2014, though production of the current Colorado and Canyon are expected to end by 2012 at the plant in Shreveport, La.

Aimed directly at the global pickup segment defined by Toyota’s HiLux and Ford’s Global Ranger, the Colorado looks to be larger than the typical compact pickup and represents a fundamentally different strategy than Chrysler’s planned minivan-based “lifestyle pickup.” And don’t look now, but tough midsized trucks like this could be as much a replacement for current full-size buyers as gas prices and CAFE standards rise, as they could be true entry-level compacts. But then, we’ll need to see how much this global vehicle is modified for the US market before we really know what we’re getting here.

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44 Comments on “A Glimpse Of Chevy’s Compact Pickup Future...”


  • avatar
    philadlj

    Considering the runaway success of the Ecoboost F-150, and Chevy with nothing to counter it, it seems like a good time to roll out the new Colorado, as the current model is a rolling sales corpse.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      “Considering the runaway success of the Ecoboost F-150…”

      Really?

      I thought they were just getting out in wide distribution? I have yet to see one on the street…

  • avatar
    JMII

    While its a step in the right direction (size wise) no turbo diesel = no sale for me.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Drop an I4 turbo diesel designed for fuel economy in the GMT-900 platform and be done with it. You won’t be able to build them fast enough.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    Not bad looking but that interior isn’t reality though.

    Good to see Chevy not abandon the small truck segment and Ford should rethink the global Ranger and bring a version of it here to replace the current, and definitely outdated Ranger, as good as it is, it’s used basically the same platform since being introduced in the early 80′s.

    However, size is crucial as if it gets TOO big, it then borders on full sized or better yet, it becomes the size of the much older, smaller full sized trucks, still, it could keep the mileage down some.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      It is a concept, the interior probably won’t stick around. After all, it has a 5 point harness. See the tail gate with holes in it? Yeah, definitely a concept. Neither of those are going to happen.

  • avatar
    NN

    Typical GM. Release pictures of a great looking vehicle, that if sold today, would probably do very well. Instead we get to look at these pictures for the next 3-4 years before we have a chance to buy one. And knowing the domestic manufacturers records at new launches, you’re better off waiting at least one year if not two before actually buying. So this truck here will be worth considering in 2016. Can’t wait!

    I own a 2010 Malibu that I really like, and I pull for the domestics, but it kills me to see that they (GM) are still are so damn clueless. I know there is the argument that small trucks make no money…yeah, yeah, do you think Toyota doesn’t make money on them? Small trucks make no money for the domestics because the ones they produce are terribly uncompetitive, and have been for many, many years.

    • 0 avatar
      Halftruth

      “Small trucks make no money for the domestics because the ones they produce are terribly uncompetitive, and have been for many, many years.”

      I disagree. I have an 04 Dakota with a 3.7 liter that has been bullet proof in the 30k+ miles I have driven it. Averages 19.8 mpg in mixed driving. I have also driven a late model Tacoma and Frontier (the Tacoma with a 4 cyl and the Nissan with a 6, both man trans, like mine).The Tacoma was nice but the Frontier was a POS. Neither swayed me enough to switch.. Just my.02

      • 0 avatar
        86er

        Hang onto that ’04, that was the last year of the real lookers, and the new generation was hardly an improvement.

        Had a 2000 myself, tight and solid little truck, but I needed a little more room.

  • avatar
    aristurtle

    Wow, the bed on that thing looks like it’s shorter than it is wide. Compact trucks: you’re doing it wrong.

    Or maybe this is for the Chevy Avalanche/Honda Ridgeline set, where you have a normal SUV, with a truck bed on the end for show?

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Hopefully its more appealing than the current Colorado, which does what its supposed to do, which is provide fleet vehicles that give the impression of cost savings. It isn’t a vehicle you like much less love, to compete with the HiLux you have to have a pickup that gains a following, rather than being adequate for all tasks assigned.

  • avatar
    FloridaSteve

    By the time this flashy looking concept makes it to the showroom it will become the most bland, underpowered, rental car interior turd imaginable. Oh the possibilities for differentiation if they would keep a little quality and style and then give it a diesel option.

    Sad really..

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    I’m still trying to figure out why the once robust compact pickup market in the U.S. has all but vanished. Doesn’t matter who the manufacturer is sales in this segment are a tiny fraction of what they used to be. I’m sure that’s why Ford has no plans to replace the Ranger, not enough sales to justify the development of a replacement model. Anyone have some insight as to why this segment is almost non-existent?

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      One oft-cited reason is that the price and fuel economy difference between compact & fullsize pickups are minimal. So
      -Compact PUs need really good MPG, and
      -Convince buyers that size should not dictate price.

    • 0 avatar
      aspade

      Because a small truck appeals to practical people and practical people generally shop used before new. With two or three million perfectly good small trucks on the road already it’s a saturated market.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Problem is half tons are simply irresistible. To go from a base 4cyl Ranger to a sharp looking F-150 including a great sounding and efficient V8 is about a $5,000 jump (minimum). The same jump from Mexican Rangers and F-150s is $9,000 so maybe it is a conspiracy.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I have no idea, but considering how gawd-awful most of these compact pickups were, I’m not lamenting their passing.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        I own a 1998 Ranger, and I haven’t found a single truck on the market that’s actually an upgrade for *my* purposes.

        I’m a guy with an office job who lives in the suburbs and likes to do DIY stuff on the weekends, and the F-150 is just too damn big for me. But, the Ranger’s bed is a little awkward for hauling plywood/drywall.

        There are a bunch of things that I could do with used Rangers that would make ‘em work a little better for me. For instance, I could buy a ‘ute bed for it, which costs less than a nice cap and replaced the whole bed. The transmission will needs a rebuild in the intermediate futur, and my wife would prefer an automatic, though, so I’m looking to replace the truck. But, since I’d like something newer, and since there aren’t any actual compact trucks on the market,, I’ll probably just replace it with a 4′x8′ utility trailer pulled by a modestly-sized station wagon.

        Oh, wait, useful little station wagons don’t really exist in the US market, either, unless you call the Matrix and the Caliber “wagons”…

        P.S. I had my checkbook out to buy a diesel-powered Colorado 4×4 in 2003. But it didn’t exist, so I’m still driving my damn Ranger.

    • 0 avatar
      Roland

      How can anyone sell a lot of small trucks, when nobody makes small trucks? The only compact pickup on the market is the Ranger–in its last year of production.

      If you’re in the market for something small and economical that is still a real truck, these are bleak years. Shopping for used vehicles is going to become problematic given the currently diminishing pool of suitable new small trucks.

      The Tacoma, Canyon, and Dakota are NOT small. For God’s sake, the Tacoma is nearly the size of the F-150 I drove back in the 1980′s.

      The compact SUV’s are not really trucks, and those too, have all become rather bloated in recent years. I look at today’s RAV4 and compare it to, say, a Suzuki Sidekick from the 1990′s. I would greatly prefer a smaller, simpler, more rugged vehicle like the old Sidekick (and you could get them with a little 1.6 L motor!)

      “Crossovers,” for their part, have too little ground clearance.

      I often drive on rough, narrow roads in the mountains of British Columbia, although I don’t haul big payload. For me, a short wheelbase, narrow track, and high clearance are all valuable attributes. For example, my Ranger with a regular cab has a short enough wheelbase that I can turn around, without too much trouble, on an old mining or logging road which has become impassable. I find that 4WD and engine power are less important, for my purposes, than clearance and maneuverability.

      I don’t understand griping about interior cosmetics. Are the gauges and controls located in suitable places, do they tell you what you need to know, are they easy to read under a variety of lighting conditions, and are they easy to reach without looking? That’s about all there is to it.

      I also don’t understand griping about the lack of model changes in the Ranger. It’s an okay truck, it does what it’s meant to do, so why change it just to give the automotive media something to write about? My only gripe about the Ranger is that you can’t buy the 4-cylinder with the sport suspension, and that I wish it was a bit smaller.

  • avatar
    fredtal

    I don’t get pickups with small beds.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Crew cabs with small beds, keep the overall length around 17 feet with a car like turning radius’. City folks demand it and besides, they mainly want the look of a truck and if they do haul 4X8 sheets, they’ll extend 2 feet or less past a dropped tailgate.

      • 0 avatar
        Patrickj

        17 feet (or a little less) is a break point between pleasant enough to drive in the city and something that will always be a chore in traffic. Even 17 feet makes competing for street parking painful.

        I see no issue at all for a homeowner to have the tailgate open to haul a sheet of plywood. Daily hauling that way might get old, though.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        Yep… I’ve got an ’02 Dakota Quad Cab, length = 17.9′ with a bed of 5’2″. So a 4×8 sheet doesn’t stick out that much when the tailgate is down. Its really the perfect size: not too big, not too small. I bought this truck for two reasons: size and available V8 for towing. When I replace it (still going strong at 88K) my requirements will be the same. Thus a small diesel would be ideal, but a full size truck is just too darn big… even if the price was the same I’d get the smaller truck, this way I don’t need a “man step” to reach items in the bed.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        It seems like the right way to solve the “4 door small pickup with a useful bed” problem would be to put a minivan-style front end on it. I’m sure there’s an unemployed art student somewhere who’s chomping at the bit to make such a vehicle look cool.

        Seriously, a front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive compact 4-door pickup truck with a V6 out of a minivan, the same 3500lb towing capacity, and a bed that could haul plywood easily, while still fitting in roughly the footprint of my old Ranger, would have gotten my money back before I gave up on finding a pickup truck to replace my Ranger. Super-awesome-bonus-points for a diesel engine.

        But automakers seem way too bent on making a pickup truck *look* like a truck, rather than *work* like a truck, so I don’t see the point of buying one of these Ridgeline/Avalanche trucklets. I drove an F-150 around town for two weeks while outfitting it for a family member, and it really is too damn big for what I do with a vehicle — so there’s really no way that I can be upsold to a full-sized pickup truck, no matter how nice it is. The 2011 Ranger is the same truck that I have in my driveway (except with a monthly payment), and RAM, Toyota, and GM don’t have anything that fits me either, so I’m out… It’ll be a station wagon and a trailer for me.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Luke42-

      They already make one. It’s a compact truck with the minivan front end, 4 doors, useful bed, all-wheel-drive and diesel power you’re looking for. Wait no longer!

      http://farm1.static.flickr.com/243/447806505_b3341648ea.jpg

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    ..and what’s with the Transformer style interior? I am not digging it.. Anyone else?

  • avatar
    Doc

    I quoted some plastic material to a tier two supplier for some plastic parts for this vehicle in the past week. The request for quote did not contain annual volumes. I calculated material quantities based on 50k units per year which I thought was reasonable. The tier one came back to my customer and said that the material prices were too high and that they were forecasting 300k units per year.
    Not sure what they are basing that forecast on.

  • avatar
    obbop

    I’ve owned a 1972-1/2 Datsun Lil Hustler, a 1977 Toyota long-bed with 5-speed, a 1978 Toyota short bed with the ultra-rare auto tranny, a 2004 Chevy long-bed 4×4 and have driven a herd of other pick-ups belonging to various firms.

    The Isuzu diesel was the slowest “standard” truck I ever crawled with.

    A fully loaded maxed-out 40-ton semi, at least on level ground, was NOT all that much slower than the Isuzu was; and the owner had it looked at repeatedly by various mechanics who declared, “all checks out normal. Guess it’s just slow.”

    Anyway……

    Got nothing to say or add other than the “cool story, bro.”

    Well… maybe to babble semi-coherently that I believe that there are legitimate reasons for using a cargo van as an alternate abode when the economy worsens and previously embedded in the “better classes” of folks find themselves awash within the economic tidal wave of economic despair.

    See y’all at the dumpsters.

    Perhaps it will do some of ye good.

    In a round-about way.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    “I don’t get pickups with small beds.”
    Simple- My Frontier crew juuuussst fits in the garage. If I want to haul something heavy, I use the bed. If I want to haul something long, I hook up my ’72 MGS trailer.

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    Someone please tell me why the ‘no diesel’ rule applies to American pickup? I would think that this would be a match made in auto heaven.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      As a former owner of a VW Jetta TDI and a current owner of a gas-powered Ford Ranger, I wholeheartedly agree. The flat torque curve would make the Ranger much better.

      My 98 Ranger has a 2.5L 4-cylinder that puts out 125ish horsepower, and my Jetta had a 96hp diesel. Surprisingly, both vehicles have very similar curb-weights. So, yes, I am knowingly saying that I would prefer to drive a truck with *less* horsepower than my existing 4-banger, because of the way the TDI engine delivers its torque. Of course, matching the horsepower of the existing engine would be cool, too, but I spent a lot of time thinking about this while my Jetta was in the shop (it was a Volkswagen), and I really do want to drive home the point that I would be happier driving my Ranger with a torquey little turbodiesel than with the engine that Ford put in it.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    MikeInCanada,

    There is no official ‘no diesel’ rule but I have my own ‘no diesel’ rule that comes from experience. A diesel option sounds good but it may be years down the road before you’d realize the fuel savings vs. the extra $5,000 you’d spend upfront. Then you may have to deal with expensive particulate filters, urea blatters and future manditory emissions testing. The added complexity of today’s diesels could cost you plenty more when you need repairs down the road. Will your trusted mechanic be ready?

    I deal with diesels in my medium duties everyday and that’s the last thing I want in my small pickup. Just my .02

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Looking at the VW Golf, one of the few vehicles powered by a small diesel in the US, the diesel carries around a $4,500 premium over the larger, more powerful 5 cylinder gas engine. With bureaucracies competing to tighten emissions standards each year, it won’t get any cheaper to sell or operate a diesel in the US. Meeting current standards seems to hurt efficiency of diesels too. While I think diesels suit small and medium light duty trucks, I think that the regulatory environment keeps automakers from putting one in production.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        A few years ago the big 3 were gung-ho about outfitting future half tons with diesels. Those plans were scrubbed right before CARB started clamping down on diesels. I’m sure they had insider information. The regulatory climate is not what it used to be and most of the advantages of diesels are gone. OK, there was no regulatory climate for diesel and they do, of course, run cleaner today but nothing beats a gas engine overall.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      As a former owner of a Volkswagen TDI, I disagree with your personal diesel rule. I don’t have any reason to suggest that you should drive a small diesel, but I sure would take advantage of the option, if it existed.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Luke42-

        I’m glad you’ve had a positive experience with your VW TDI but diesels in compact cars and trucks just don’t make econmical sense for most buyers. Otherwise nothing is keeping mainstream automakers from offering them.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        From what I’ve gathered, it is economics — but I think it’s not quite as simple as you’re implying.

        Small diesels make lots of economic sense in Europe, and they’re a very popular choice there. Part of it is the expensive fuel, part of it is the tax structure, and part of it is that they’re just really pleasant to drive.

        Both the Euro V and EPA Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions standards are quite strict, but they’re strict about different things. The European rules are more concerned about CO2, and the US rules are more concerned about nitrous oxide and particulate matter. It seems that most automakers (other than Volkswagen and Mercedes) only put forth the investment required to meet one of these standards, and if you’ve gotta pick one, meeting the European standards is a sure bet, whereas selling them in the US is iffy.

        BTW, GM and Ford both produce great little diesel cars. They just don’t sell them in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Not clear on the european cost effectiveness of diesels vs. gas but it’s hard for U.S. buyers to justify spending $5000 more on a compact car or truck that will have unknown headaches down the road. Offer compact diesel trucks and I’ll pocket the $5000 and get a reliable regular gas burner everytime. Compact trucks are already too expensive. Even though lots of people ask automakers for the option, not enough people will buy them once they crunch the numbers. I think automakers know this. Lots of people also want a new El Camino.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    Tomorrow morning, I’m picking up a 94 Ranger 4×4, extended cab with a V6/ 5spd. It is gonna be my 3rd car, used for dump runs, and gardening stuff,beach runs, etc. Since I bought the truck, I see them everywhere. My brother has an ’09 Tacoma stripper. It is pretty good for what it is.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Genuinely small pickups used to sell in big numbers, but years of inexpensive fuel killed people’s willingness to deal with cramped interiors. As small pickups were scaled up to have roomy, comfortable cabs, the entire trucks ended up bigger. Then they needed bigger engines and capabilities to match their size. I really like the idea of a sub-3,000 lb pickup that keeps up with traffic and gets 25 mpg with a 4-cylinder engine, but I was origamied into 1987 Toyota pickups when I was a 6’2″ inch, 175 lb teenager. I’d be tortured as a 225 lb adult. Those little Toyotas were tough as nails, and I was impressed when I drove a rusty old leaf-sprung 4×4 Yota up a mountain stream bed, but even then I didn’t want to contemplate having my knees in face while sitting 4 feet off the ground on a daily basis. My friend’s 2008 Tacoma is a Range Rover by comparison. It only gets 18 mpg in DC traffic, but that’s actually about what his car gets there too.

  • avatar

    Chevy missed it. Nice looking truck and really like that rack in the back.. but no easy fold down midgate??? They should have built something that looked more like the 2001 k5 concept.


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