By on June 24, 2020


The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon gain visual refreshes for 2021, but the updates foisted upon General Motors’ midsize twins won’t win over those who enjoy keeping their pickup expenditures to a bare minimum.

For the vast majority of the buying public, however, the revamped trucks might be viewed as an improvement over what came before.

Appearing for the 2015 model year, the current-gen Colorado and Canyon have grown long in the tooth. They also gained a new challenger in the form of the Ford Ranger. For 2021, the GM twins gain brawnier-looking front fascias and grilles, with the Colorado mimicking an honest-to-God bumper (a feature Ford made a big deal about during the Ranger’s debut).

The entry-level Base model disappears, though, meaning the Colorado range starts at a higher price point than before. $4,000 higher, as the cheapest WT configuration stickers for $26,395 after destination.

As Christopher Bonelli, GM’s head of design, product, and brand communications, told TTAC, “The penetration of the 2WD Extended Bed Base model was quite low.”

While the entry-level Colorado does jump four grand, Bonelli said “the additional standard and available features offered on the Work Truck make for a compelling package.”

That trim retails for $500 more than the 2020 model. Of course, now you don’t have the option of picking up a bare-bones Nissan Frontier, so that works somewhat in GM’s favor. Slightly more attractive silver-painted 17-inch steelies adorn each wheel well in WT guise, and the previous model’s intrusive front air dam swaps for a less ungainly unit that can be unbolted and removed with ease — something GM Authority found particularly appealing. The dam finds its way to loftier trims, too.  Elsewhere, tow hook appear up front.

For all 2021 Colorados, the brand name comes stamped into the tailgate.

Image: GM

Moving up the ladder, the LT trim (seen in header image) starts $100 higher than 2020’s $28,895 entry price. Like the WT, it carries a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder and six-speed automatic. The Z71, with its standard 3.6-liter V6 and eight-speed auto, holds the line on entry pricing.

The top-flight ZR2, with its cutaway fenders, off-road legs, and a face only a mother could love, has already seen the internet limelight. That brush buster adds $200 to its window sticker, now starting at $42,995.

Production of the 2021 models begins late this month.

[Image: General Motors]

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18 Comments on “Big on Base Models? The 2021 Chevrolet Colorado Is Not the Truck for You...”

  • avatar

    Does anyone take the sticker price on any truck seriously? Although both GM and Ford have gotten real proud of their “base” trucks lately

  • avatar

    Almost 30 Grand for a 4 cylinder, non-Turbo, small(ish) truck? No thanks. Not when you can get almost 20 Grand off a fullsize truck with more engine.

    • 0 avatar

      They’re assuming a great number of Americans can’t deal with the size of fullsize (and can barely stand midsize). And they’re right. Otherwise why pay more for less?

      Previous generations capped the price of midsize pickups, always under fullsize, and profits were questionable.

      Today midsize pickups are priced more aggressively as options are stacked. $3,500 for F-150 4wd and $4,000 for Ranger 4wd. It’s corrective marketing if you ask me.

      • 0 avatar

        Correct. Not sure why this is so hard for people to understand. I do NOT want or need a full size truck! No matter the price or engine. I tow a smallish boat (16 foot). I don’t haul drywall everyday. I don’t want a step to deploy from the tailgate just to reach the bed. I need a vehicle that fits in my garage. A full sizer does not work for me, its just too darn BIG. I like the versatility of a bed and thus CUVs are out as well.

        My Dodge Dakota is “right sized”, it perfect for my needs. I’ve driven it for nearly 18 years, all the while waiting for a suitable replacement. The mid-size market went away leaving me as a consumer ignored. Now the market has swung back around and there are a few mid-sizers to pick from.

        Full sizers became super popular and the OEMs cashed in, can’t blame them for that. The mid-size market was there… just under-estimated. Granted the market isn’t huge but trucks generate profits no matter what size.

        • 0 avatar

          “trucks generate profits no matter what size”

          I know but I just get hung up on the “gettin a deal” aspect offered by the fullsizers. My buddy just bought a new F150 with MSRP $51,000 – for under 32 Grand. NO SUCH discounts on Ranger or Taco or Colorado. Nowhere NEAR. I just don’t want the MFRs making that much cash off me. I get the garage argument, but my garages are full of cars I like better than any truck, so it will sit out either way, and we have acreage so “too big” is really not an issue, either.

          • 0 avatar

            If the full sizers have that large of a discount then they are clearly overpriced to start with.

            As people always point out: MSRP means nothing in the vehicle purchasing world since only a fool pays the sticker price. If you want to be the first on your block with a shiny new 4×4 then maybe you pay that, but everyone knows in 6-8 months the red tag and bonus cash offers will appear dropping the price.

            Once again I would not take an F150 or RAM 1500 no matter the discount or savings. I have no desire to own such a thing, the main draw of a mid-size truck is just that – its size. The pricing reflects what the market will pay. You can spec a Ranger to be in the $45k range… but are people actually doing that and signing up for those payments? I doubt it.

          • 0 avatar

            Simply having a pickup bed doesn’t guarantee profitability. Size does matter here, but not for what you think.

            The bigger trucks (except Tundra, Titan, Ridgeline) are exponentially more profitable than the nearest midsize. Except that can only come from insane volume, plus special editions, luxo trim levels, including shared platform SUVs, HD pickups, etc.

          • 0 avatar

            Why would MSRP be set below what fools will pay? The credit challenged will also pay full price just to make the deal. I’ve seen it happen and they’re lucky to get it (work trucks, hotshot, oil fields, etc).

            Yeah not to mentions those that have to be the first on the block with the latest refresh, special edition or “All-New”.

            Figure it’s much easier to “discount” the hell out of them to adjust for the market, but it looks really bad to “gouge” over whatever, arbitrary MSRP, just because they can.

  • avatar

    “Moving up the ladder, the LT trim (seen in header image)” If the article was about the BASE edition, then WHY was no picture of the base unit utilized???

  • avatar

    Gun Metal Gray and Sandstone are 2 of the best looking colors on a vehicle, but they blend into the background a little to good at some hours of the day, or glare, gloom, sudden shade, etc. I wouldn’t drive them without my headlights ON 24/7.

    Or fog lights ON at least. I’ll always buy a bright red truck if given the choice. I may hate red, but it also hides a lot of minor dents and trail pinstripes, along with lots dirt and grime.

    It must be the blinding glare, but you always know it’s there.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Close to 30k I will pass. I just bought a white 2008 Ford Ranger regular cab fleet special with 101k miles for $3,344 which runs like new. All I need is a new rear bumper, new tires, and a new paint job. I like that it has a rubber floor instead of the low grade carpet that are in most new vehicles. Just using it for hauling and Home Depot runs and will put 2k to 3k miles on it a year. I was going to wait next year for the new Ford Maverick compact pickup but it will only be available in a crew cab with a 1.5 turbo I-3 or a 2 turbo I-4 with the water pump inside the timing belt. If it didn’t have the water pump and timing belt enclosed together I might have waited but long term that could be expensive. Not going to put enough miles on it to spend 20k on a new truck and I wanted a smaller less complicated pickup.

    • 0 avatar

      Did the same, I got a beater Tacoma for $3,750 with 178k miles. Runs solid, mostly everything works including AC. There’s little reason to spend $20k+ on a base trim work truck unless you actually have a business fleet.

      When I am done with the truck, I’ll get most of my money back. I hope. I really like it though, I will keep it around as it’s my last manual vehicle left.

    • 0 avatar

      Rangers of that era are notorious for rear frame rust-out. That’s why half of the ones you see on the road no longer have the spare tire mounted there under the bed, because the entire thing has rusted and fallen off. Check that area very carefully and spray it with anti-rust treatment religiously.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    My Ranger has cold air and a decent stereo but it is an automatic. I am going to fix the cosmetics and keep it for many many years.

  • avatar

    The twins still have the A8 transmission which is very troublesome so I’ll pass.
    I know someone who had diesel Colorado and after just 8 months he had transmission issues and got rid of thing.

    The Ranger is currently leading the list of candidates to replace my aging Dodge Dakota Quad Cab. I don’t buy new so any truck sold today will be purchased next year.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Might be better to wait especially since the COVID-19 is making a resurgence and the economy will weaken. I would keep researching what you want especially look at Craig’s list which is where I found my 2008 Ford Ranger. In the past I would just buy a new vehicle but with the problems with many of the new vehicles and with the manufacturers going to more complicated engines and transmissions that are causing many additional problems I am buying used. To me its not just the price which is outrageous it is the potential for expensive out of warranty repairs.

  • avatar

    43 grand for that thing? The front fell off. I’d rather have one of the ones that the front doesn’t fall off.

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