The Chevrolet Colorado redefined the midsize truck market and took it by storm. Colorado currently accounts for 23 percent of the midsize segment, tracking for more than 160,000 units sold in its first two years.
“Customers made the Colorado an overnight success and it remains one of the industry’s hottest-selling products,” said Anita Burke, Colorado Chief Engineer.
Since the Colorado arrived in September of 2014, the total midsize segment has nearly doubled. The numbers solidify Colorado’s vital position in Chevy’s lineup.
“That fast success has justified our continued investment in midsize pickups,” Burke said.
The Colorado is part of Chevy’s three truck strategy, alongside Silverado 1500 and Silverado HD. Like its HD counterpart, the Colorado also features a Duramax option. The 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel, new for 2016, creates 369 lb-ft of torque (500 Nm) and gives Chevrolet an edge in fuel economy.
“The Colorado is currently the most fuel-efficient pickup truck in America, with an EPA-estimated 31 mpg highway when equipped with the diesel engine,” said Stan Ludlow, Chief Engineer for the 2017 Colorado.
On the heels of strong sales numbers, the engineers went to the drawing board for 2017, according to Ludlow.
“We focused on improving everyday driving performance,” he said.
An all-new V6 engine for the Colorado arrives in 2017. While it’s the same 3.6L displacement as the current Colorado V6, the second generation of Chevy’s double-overhead-cam architecture is present. Variable Valve Timing response improves, the direct injection process is more refined, and for the first time, Active Fuel Management enters the picture. The technology, sometimes called cylinder deactivation, disables two cylinders under lighter load and throttle conditions. When more demanding situations surface, such as heavy acceleration, the cylinders activate again.
The Silverado 1500 utilizes Active Fuel Management.
Horsepower and torque of the new V6 is SAE-certified at 308 horsepower (6,800 rpm) and 275 lb-ft of torque (4,000 rpm).
The new 3.6L V6 is paired to an eight-speed automatic, a first for the midsize truck segment. Like the Camaro’s extensive transmission development, Colorado’s Hydra-Matic 8L45 is of similar size and weight as the outgoing 6L80 six-speed automatic. The aluminum and magnesium construction, plus clever packaging, allows it to occupy the same space without incurring additional weight.
The new eight-speed offers a wider 7.0 overall gear ratio spread compared to the six-speed’s 6.0 ratio. With a now numerically higher first gear ratio, the Colorado moves quicker off the line, particularity when pulling a trailer or carrying a payload. Conversely, the numerically lower rear axle ratios provide better fuel efficiency at higher speeds.
The 2017 Colorado will vary greatly from the current 2016 model.
“Drivers will immediately notice that it pulls harder when accelerating from a stop or passing on the highway; it is more confident pulling a trailer up a steep grade and it is more refined cruising at a constant highway speed,” Ludlow said.
The 2017 Chevrolet Colorado arrives in the fourth quarter of this year.
*Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.