By on July 29, 2020

gm

Keeping its lucrative full-size pickup lines chugging along has proved a challenge for General Motors, what with workers in Indiana and Michigan shying away from factories due to COVID-19 testing, contraction of the illness itself, or fear of it.

The problem isn’t solely the domain of big truck and SUV plants. The automaker also has a problem with its midsize pickup plant in Missouri, but a solution is underway. (Read More…)

By on July 3, 2020

2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison

On paper, a midsize truck with a diesel powertrain and bad-ass off-road gear sounds like a recipe for fun.

And based on our first drive of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison, it is – provided you actually get an opportunity to leave the pavement behind.

On road, however, in an urban environment — well, you get a truck that’s not much fun at all.

(Read More…)

By on June 24, 2020

gm

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. (Read More…)

By on May 12, 2020

Image: FordThe arrival of a reincarnated Ford Ranger in 2019, along with the debut of the Jeep Gladiator, caused midsize truck market share to climb to a 13-year high in America’s pickup category. In fact, over the span of six years, midsize trucks nearly doubled their share of America’s truck market.

The primary cause of those market share gains, the new Ranger, ended its abbreviated first sales year on the midsize podium roughly 33,000 sales back of the Chevrolet Colorado.

In the early days of 2020, however, the Ford Ranger is running nearly dead even with the Colorado. But no longer is the Ranger driving the midsize pickup truck market forward. The segment’s share of the truck market is backsliding.  (Read More…)

By on May 7, 2020

Image: GM

With General Motors aiming for a May 18th restart of North American vehicle production, powertrain components, in some cases, need a head start. That’s why May 11th will be the first day back to work for many employees of GM’s St. Catharines Propulsion Plant, home to much-used V6 and V8 engines, as well as a transmission.

The gradual return to work ahead of GM’s restart date comes after the Canadian labor leader Jerry Dias expressed concern over workplace safety. (Read More…)

By on August 19, 2019

2006 Isuzu I-280 in Colorado wrecking yard, RH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsSome guys dream of finding a Blower Bentley or Hemi Super Bee in a dusty barn. I get excited when I find an obscure example of badge engineering in a big self-service junkyard.

No Suzuki Equatoryet— but here’s something just about as rare: the Isuzu-badged version of the Chevrolet Colorado, found close to Pikes Peak in Colorado. (Read More…)

By on April 10, 2019

Yes, the ZR2 is far from a base truck. But based on a suggestion from the peanut gallery  (*waves at PrincipalDan*) we thought it would be a good idea to see if a “base” off-roader is a healthier bet than upgrading to the full meal deal.

In fact, calling the ZR2 a base truck – with its DSSV dampers and other gonzo off-road kit – seems like heresy to your author. Jumping a Colorado ZR2 at 40 mph over an obstacle on a trophy truck track proves just how capable the thing is.

(How’s that Ranger Raptor coming, Ford? Oh, it isn’t? I see. Thanks for the mobility scooter, then.)

Chevy has, however, added another layer onto the ZR2 cake. Called the Bison, is its extra gear worth the cash? Or are gearheads better off with a “base” ZR2 and spending the money on mods of their own? Let’s see.

(Read More…)

By on December 6, 2018

2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison

How much would you pay for a midsize truck that was just as capable off-road as Ford’s full-size Raptor?

I am not asking about a Ranger Raptor, since that seems unlikely to be sold here for the moment. So if you want to boulder-bash in size medium, it’s either the Toyota store or the Chevy dealer down the street that will tempt you. One with the Tacoma TRD, the other with the Colorado ZR2 Bison.

Tempt Chevy stores will, but for $50K, is it worth your monthly payment?

(Read More…)

By on November 20, 2018

2018 chevrolet colorado red - Image: Chevrolet

Advice time. My friend wants (though she might say “needs”) a truck, and the choice is narrowed down to two prospects, each competing for midsize pickup supremacy.

Can you help her make a decision? (Read More…)

By on November 10, 2018

As we told you earlier, midsize pickups are enjoying a healthy upswing in sales this year — a trend that’s sure to continue in 2019 after the release of the Ford Ranger. It’s generally agreed that this segment is not an afterthought, and might be something worth investing in for automakers lacking a less-than-big truck model. Ram’s got one on the way, too.

For General Motors, which enjoys major segment share via its Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, the sky seems to be the limit for its midsize clan, and that goes for price, too. With the Colorado ZR2 Bison, the automaker has a truck that more than doubles its entry price. (Read More…)

By on October 25, 2018

2019 Ford Ranger at MAP - Image: FordJust ahead of the launch of a new Ford Ranger, production of which began earlier this month, midsize trucks’ share of the overall U.S. pickup truck market is up to a respectable nine-year high.

Thanks to significant year-over-year improvements from the two top sellers in the segment plus meaningful increases from the third and fourth-ranked midsize pickups, category-wide volume has grown by more than 60,000 units during the first nine months of 2018. Compared with the same period in 2017, volume in the much larger full-size pickup truck segment hasn’t even grown by half that much.

If you’re a pickup truck buyer, you remain far more likely to acquire a full-size F-150, Silverado, Ram, Sierra, Tundra, or Titan than a Tacoma, Colorado, Frontier, Canyon, or Ridgeline. But the slice of the pie afforded to the five-strong midsize sector is above 18 percent for the first time since 2009.

Could the new Ford Ranger push midsize trucks over the one-fifth mark for the first time since 2006? (Read More…)

By on September 6, 2018

Image: GM

Chevrolet has finally unveiled the production version of a model bearing a name it trademarked quite some time ago. The Colorado ZR2 Bison is an extra-brawny variant of Chevy’s off-road truck — a collaboration between General Motors and aftermarket manufacturer American Expedition Vehicles (AEV).

It was clear to everyone and their mother that GM was prepared to further plumb the butch end of the midsize truck market. Recall the Colorado ZR2 AEV SEMA concept from the 2017 SEMA show. Certainly, with Toyota planning upgrades (including a snorkel) for its 2019 Tacoma TRD Pro, the domestic automaker wasn’t about to see the Colorado positioned as an also-ran.

Looking at the Bison, it seems GM took Ford’s 2018 Detroit auto show put-down to heart. “Real trucks don’t have fascias,” said soon-to-be-ousted North American president Raj Nair. (Read More…)

By on August 24, 2018

Here’s that Ranger day
They told me about
And I laughed at the thought
That it might turn out
This way

Apologies to the Chairman Of The Board on that one, but I couldn’t help myself. You see, I never truly believed that the Ranger would return to this country. I absolutely did not believe that it would come back as an American-made product in a newly configured factory, during what amounts to the endgame senescence of its platform. This is the kind of against-all-odds urgency that one typically associates with desperately needed products like the K-car or the first-generation Ranger — vehicles that had to be rushed into showrooms because the dealerships were screaming bloody murder and the Japanese had moved from mere flensing to actual bone-eating.

This Ranger, on the other hand, will arrive in the market to find itself lined up against a few equally superannuated sluggards from Nissan and Toyota, the indifferently-received Colorado/Canyon twins, and… is there anybody else? The unibody Ridgeline? Is it even possible to make money in this segment? Why bother doing it, particularly when the Rangers could have been rushed over from Thailand in a matter of months in the event of another oil and/or confidence crisis?

Ours is not to reason why; ours is but to do and buy. Truth be told, I’m kind of excited about the Ranger, because I saw a bunch of pumped-up ones in Thailand and I was more than mildly impressed. If you could get it with a 3.7-liter V6 in addition to the 2.3L EcoBoost I don’t know if the Chevy dealers would even bother to order any Colorados for stock in 2019. There’s only one little problem: it’s far from cheap.

Which brings us to an unpleasant topic: How much is a compact pickup worth?

(Read More…)

By on August 8, 2018

2016 Chevrolet Colorado Duramax

Until an automaker comes along with something better, your cheapest bet for highway fuel economy in a pickup is the Duramax diesel-powered Chevrolet Colorado and its GMC Canyon twin. The full-size Ford F-150 with 3.0-liter diesel V6 matches it in economy, but not price.

Boasting a 30 mpg EPA rating for highway consumption, the oil-burning midsizers command a premium over their lesser siblings, but make up for it with thriftiness and heaps of torque. The 2.8-liter inline-four generates 369 lb-ft of twist — far more grunt than the 275 lb-ft on offer from GM’s 3.6-liter V6.

However, there’s a mystery afoot. The EPA ratings for the newest Colorado and Canyon diesels show a drop in city and combined efficiency for the 2019 model year, despite the powertrains being a carry-over. (Read More…)

By on April 11, 2018

Image: GM

With its jacked suspension, cutaway front fenders, and upgraded rubber, the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 appeals to midsize pickup buyers who aren’t in the habit of staying on dry, safe pavement over the course of a weekend. But, while the ZR2 is the General Motors vehicle most cut out for Oregon Trail work, there’s always room for improvement.

In a bid to satisfy these adventurous customers, GM appears ready to offer a better off-roader. (Read More…)

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