By on October 8, 2019

Image: GM

Appearing midway through 2014 as a 2015 model, the Chevrolet Colorado and its GMC twin, the Canyon, are growing long in the tooth, which isn’t too big a concern in a segment that hosts the Nissan Frontier. However, consumers like alterations that show their truck is newer than other trucks.

As such, there’s a 2021 model-year refresh on the way for General Motors’ midsize pair. Just don’t expect wild changes.

We can’t show you what a stock 2021 Colorado looks like, as it’s still under wraps ahead of an Oct. 10 debut at the 2019 Method Race Wheels Laughlin Desert Classic. The off-road ZR2 variant, on the other hand, is here for your viewing pleasure.

GM apparently wants to better differentiate Colorado trims, so it went to town on the model’s front fascia. This is where the only real major change lies.

Image: GM

As you can see here, the ZR2’s grille ditches the bowtie logo and instead spells out the brand name — just like you’d find on Ford’s F-150 Raptor or Ram’s Rebel. Out back, you’ll find an embossed CHEVROLET tailgate, which is a feature coming to all Colorados. For lesser trims, the bowtie remains up front (gold on the WT and LT, blacked-out on the Z71).

Colorados without cutaway front fenders will see similar alterations up front: revised center bars and lower bumper cover, plus rejiggered skid plates. Oh, and there’s red tow hooks for the off-roader. Plus a V8.

Nah, just kidding.

Being that this is a minor late-cycle refresh (a replacement is expected in 2023), powertrains are expected to stay the same. That means a base 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 3.6-liter V6, and optional 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder diesel, coupled to either a six- or eight-speed automatic transmission.

Image: GM

With midsize truck buyers now able to choose an entry from Ford, Chevy faces greater competition than in past years. Advancing age and a new rival isn’t a great recipe for sales growth, and indeed the Colorado’s U.S. volume took a hit this year. Through September, Colorado sales are down 7.6 percent.

Still, it’s worth noting that last year was the nameplate’s best sales year to date.

[Images: General Motors]

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42 Comments on “Biding Its Time: 2021 Chevrolet Colorado to Gain the Smallest of Refreshes...”


  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I’m not a fan of that grille style… or rather the way it’s blacked out from the hood all the way down below the bumper. That reminds me too much of the Lexus grilles, which I personally despise. Given the choice, if I can’t get a chromed or body color bumper to enclose that Predator muzzle, I would probably rattle-can it in primer grey along with those two blacked-out cheek pieces.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    that ZR2 is like the worst of the Camaro and Silverado all in one.

  • avatar

    “Military Grade Black Plastic”

    • 0 avatar
      crtfour

      Is that a good or bad thing? As a former military contractor, I can assure you they absolutely source from the lowest bidder.

      • 0 avatar
        1500cc

        @crtfour

        The part everyone like to leave out of that sentence is, “… the lowest bidder *that meets the performance specifications and can prove it*”. If a part is made out of sh|tty plastic, it’s because that’s what’s on the drawing.

        Aside from that, I can assure you from sitting on the other side of the table, that low cost does not always win the contract.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Wake me if there are powertrain changes.

    Say like standard 2.7 “Tripower” turbo and optional 4.3 V6 from the full size trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      1500cc

      What’s the advantage of the 4.3 over the 3.6? I know it was re-designed to be sort of a 3/4 LS, but it seems to be slower and thirstier than Ram and Ford NA OHC V6s so I can’t see it being any better than GM’s own 3.6. The LS magic didn’t really trickle down.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        https://autoweek.com/article/car-news/gm-reveals-new-43-liter-v6-ecotec3-truck-engine-specs-and-details

        https://www.thompsonchevrolet.com/blog/2018-chevrolet-colorado-engine-specs-and-towing-capacity/

        4.3 has a lower torque peak and makes more torque than HP. Those are generally the hallmarks of a truck engine vs. a car engine (a naturally aspirated one).

        The 2.7 turbo 4 – 310 horsepower and 348 pound-feet of torque, which would simply make it awesome in something so light weight.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I meant that the 4.3 makes its peak torque at a lower RPM than the 3.6.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “I meant that the 4.3 makes its peak torque at a lower RPM”

            Exactly what you want in a truck. Not gutless on the low end, I need to rev my guts out to make any power.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @Carlson Fan: I have no complaints about the horsepower and torque from my 3.6 in the Colorado. It may not be neck-snapping quick but it’s quite strong. My first tow with it the truck didn’t act like it had anything attached to the bumper, even going up and down some pretty steep grades in the intercoastal geologic fold region of southeastern PA.

  • avatar
    Jon

    I want to like this truck. I test drove one last year and it suits my need well. The V6 was peppy and the duramax was adequately powered. However, I highly prefer mpg over mph so id take the duramax option.

    I don’t need a truck as often as i used to and i would buy one only if the fuel mileage matched my current car (4cyl camry). I am also unwilling to test the reliability of a complex high powered four cylinder engine since I drive my vehicles for their lifetime.

    My suggestion: 2.8L – DEF – 60lbft – 20hp + 6spd manual = purchase

  • avatar
    Thomas Kreutzer

    They really don’t need any changes, these are already great looking trucks.

    My main beef with them, however, is their cost. I’m not sure if it is still true now, but when I looked at these a few years ago I was amazed to find that after I optioned one out the way I wanted I could get into a Silverado half-ton for just a few thousand more. (Largely because of the amount of cash they had on the hood at the time…)

    I wasn’t game for either which is why I went out and bought a nice Nissan D21 Hardbody. I didn’t really need a truck anyhow, just kind of wanted one to have around for house stuff. So far, it’s worked out well.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The market is good with that. Unless you’re getting the base midsize, you’ll pay the same or more. Much more after max fullsize pickup rebates, similarly equipped, trim for trim.

      Keep in mind probably most of the North American market would never in a million years own anything fullsize. When that’s the case, you’re stuck paying what ever they want, up to a point of course.

    • 0 avatar
      eng_alvarado90

      In my area a 2020 Colorado gets about $4K-$4.5K off on all trims. A comparable Silverado gets $8K-$9K off, which means I would only pay about $4K more for the full size

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        When either will meet your basic requirements, the best apples-to-apples is an extended cab fullsize (non V8), vs the long bed midsize crew cab V6 (max tow).

        Then their biggest physical difference is width. And you’ll get the biggest rebates on 2019s.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    While midsize truck buyers now do have the option to buy one from Ford, most still choose to buy a Tacoma.

    What is more surprising is that the Honda Ridgeline was crowned as The Best midsize truck which doesn’t speak well for the Colorado/Canyon which came in dead last for ride, handling, power train, materials.

    Motorweek is the best source for more info and links to their testing partners.

    No amount of magic wand and hocus pocus jibberish is going to cure what ails the GM midsizers or their fullsizers.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Toyota loyalists are one thing. The fact that Ford only manages to move as many Rangers as Nissan does Frontiers is quite another.

      • 0 avatar
        eng_alvarado90

        Ranger hasn’t been on sale for the full year. Sales started in late Jan or early Feb and most trucks I’ve seen are mid level to loaded trims. On the other hand the Frontier mostly sells in low trims. I suspect Ford would like to sell more Rangers, but at least they are getting good profit on each one they sell

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          2019 YTD. Ranger sales started in January.
          Frontier: 54,686
          Ranger: 50,512

          Because of production ramp up, I’d expect the Ranger to outpace the Frontier into the future. However the overall number certainly isn’t high as compared to say, the GM twins.

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Gazis

            danio3834

            Just double checked Nissan & Ford’s websites. Then I thought why not just put all the mid-sized truck numbers out there

            2019 sales thru September

            Tacoma 187,662
            Colorado 96,820
            Ranger 56,512
            Frontier 54,686
            Canyon 26,300
            Ridgeline 23,633
            Gladiator 23,384

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      “ surprising is that the Honda Ridgeline was crowned as The Best midsize truck which doesn’t speak ”

      Okay this is bologna, I was looking at journalist “reviews” of a 2019 Frontier, and they recommended a Ridgeline over it… what? A minivan with an open cargo area is a better “truck” than a $18k BOF rear drive *actual* truck? Honda must have paid a lot of money to get sites to post these ridiculous assertions.

      I’d hate to look up an F350, the same site would likely recommend a Odyssey as a better mover of building supplies.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “I’d hate to look up an F350, the same site would likely recommend a Odyssey as a better mover of building supplies.”

        Unless the F350 has the 8 foot bed, the minivan might actually be better in most cases XD

      • 0 avatar
        Jon

        “Honda must have paid a lot of money to get sites to post these ridiculous assertions.”

        Honda aint the problem.

        Many “automotive journalists” are more interested in tech, comfort and ride quality over reliability, durability longevity. They know little about machines and much about trim.

        If you want to know about a piece of technology, ask a journalist. If you want to know about a machine, ask a mechanic.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        For light-duty use cases the Ridgeline makes a lot of sense. However, the pricing is a little steep and it about as stylish as wearing a pair of Depends on the outside of your pants.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          As Jon says, the Ridgeline love in the media is attributable almost entirely to ride quality/comfort. Every single review mentions it prominently and multiple times.

          For truck buyers who don’t care about the ride, there is little reason to consider one over its better priced and more capable competition.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The Gladiator is a also a convertible so I’d probably go for that.
    I like the dimensions on the mid-size class but IMO the engine/transmissions in the full-size trucks are far superior.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Don’t like this. Visually offensive.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    Did GM give Aztek focus groups a curtain call for final design approval of the new Colorado?

  • avatar
    Clueless Economist

    No 2.7 turbo. Not interested.

  • avatar

    “The Official Truck of Guys Who Buy Tom Clancy Novels at the Airport and then Get Mad Because There’s Too Many Words in Them”

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    peteski

    And your post is atypical of someone who can’t afford a $50,000.00 pickup.

  • avatar
    peeryog

    That red pickup in the last picture looks like it suffered a major engine fire. But its still going, so that’s pretty good.

  • avatar
    nickyt89

    Typical GM (recent) fashion, as of late, most of the refresh performed by GM has been making their cars less desirable and this is one of them. I can’t believe some people at GM thought it looked better than before or even looked good for that matter… Oh, and for the love of good, could they offer that truck with the 10 speed automatic transmission?! I mean come on!

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I wonder if they finally added rear seat vents in the crew cab models?

      You can’t get the truck without a console, might as well add vents to the back of it for the kiddos.


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