If you own a truck you probably notice that your popularity among the people around you increased exponentially upon they finding out you own a truck. This is because your truck could carry everything on the truckbed, or at least that’s what your stereotype friends and relatives think. Chances are that you’re the designated driver for the weekly cycling outings, and you probably get calls from them when it comes to transporting furniture or durians from the orchard.
I must admit that I never driven a truck prior to this. When I was tasked to review this black behemoth I wasn’t so keen on taking it for a spin as I always look at trucks as cumbersome, inconvenient, and definitely won’t stir any emotion from behind the wheel. Despite that I kept an open mind and went ahead to collect the truck and see whether will it change my perception towards it.
|Name||Chevrolet Colorado 2.8 LTZ Muscle Power|
|Segment||Double cab pickup truck|
|Engine||2,776 cc 4-Cylinder, Turbodiesel|
|Max Power||193 hp @ 3,600 rpm|
|Max Torque||500 Nm @ 2,000 rpm|
Chevrolet has been building trucks for close to a century, but they are somewhat late to join in the truck market here in Malaysia. Everyone knows that Chevrolet is an American brand, but the Chevrolet vehicles that are currently on sale here are more Asian than you think.
This second-generation Colorado for example, is assembled in the land of smiles, Thailand. The first-generation Colorado wasn’t sold here but it existed spiritually in the form of the Isuzu D-Max, as both were conceived from the same platform co-developed with General Motors.
While the current second-generation D-Max is powered by a huge 3.0-litre turbodiesel generating 175 hp and 380 Nm of torque, the Colorado trumps that figures by having 193 hp and 500 Nm of torque from just a 2.8-litre turbodiesel. With so much torque Chevrolet even dubs it as the Colorado Muscle Power. It may be the truck with the highest torque output at the time of writing, but how long will it stay at the top of the hill until the rivals catch up?
The Colorado is one dapper truck, it’s probably the only truck to wear a bowtie in Malaysia. Yes I mean the gold Chevy bowtie that it wears proudly on the center bar that splits the dual port grilles. The imposing and upright front end conjure a very confident and purposeful appearance but there’s an undeniable flair from the shapely projector headlamps.
Unlike some of the range-topping trucks currently on sale, the Colorado is refreshingly devoid of any add-on body cladding. The flared wheel arches flow seamlessly with the body panel but there’s a distinct rising character line starting from just behind the front wheels and continue towards the end of the truck bed.
Under those massive wheel arches are a set of chunky 17-inch alloys wearing road-biased 255/65 R17 Bridgestones. Side steps are essential for a vehicle this tall, on the Colorado they blend in nicely with the simple design of the truck.
You don’t get a roll bar on the Colorado but it comes with roof rails that will support up to 75 kg worth of load. Behind the lined truck bed is a separately lockable tailgate, obligatory chrome bumper with reverse sensors, and LED taillights.
Similar to the rest of the new trucks currently in the market today, Chevrolet has put in the effort to make the interior as car-like as possible by fitting it with many creature comforts. Climb aboard the driver’s seat and you will notice that it adjusts electrically. The seats on this top-spec Colorado are upholstered in grey leather although they’re not using the most supple of leather out there.
The steering wheel diameter is just about the right size, and comes complete with controls for the audio and cruise control. The dials in the instrument cluster sport an interesting design, and there’s a useful Data Information Center display screen in the middle. In an attempt to promote an environmentally-conscious trucker, there’s even an Eco menu display to rate how economical your driving style is.
The 7-inch touch screen for the Chevrolet MyLink is a great feature, but it is not without quibbles. During my time with the Colorado the unit failed and shut down itself a couple of times, but in terms of usability it’s pretty easy to navigate around the menu. Below that is a round cluster for the automatic climate control and further down you’ll find two 12v power outlets and a couple of buttons for the traction control and hill descent control.
On the center console there’s only one lever, which is for the 6-speed automatic transmission. Switching the drive from 2WD to 4WD is done by an electronic knob, not like some trucks that are still using a secondary lever placed next to the transmission lever. A conventional handbrake still exists, and yet there’s still ample space for a couple of cupholders next to it and a deep cubby with a USB slot and an Aux In port under the center armrest.
The dashboard design is pleasing to the eyes with the materials used feel robust and suits the image of the truck. Numerous storage space can be found on the dashboard alone, from the pull-out drawers below the aircond vents at each end of the dashboard, a shelf and a pop-down compartment just aft the driver’s knees, to the dual glovebox at the passenger side of the dashboard.
There’s also a lidded compartment on top of the dashboard like in the Hyundai Santa Fe but GC won’t be able to warm up his cupcake since the compartment is too shallow to accomodate a cupcake. Before returning the Colorado I literally had to double check every compartment just to make sure I didn’t leave anything for the next journos.
Chevrolet doesn’t call their truck as Colorado Muscle Power for nothing, it has torque figure to back that up. The 2.8-litre 4-cylinder Duramax engine is equipped with a Variable Geometry Turbo, pumping out 193 hp at 3,600 rpm and 500 Nm from a lowly 2,000 rpm. Chevrolet claim it will go from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 10.0 seconds, with a top speed of 180 km/h.
The diesel unit certainly feels lazy, but it’s definitely not shy to hide the fact it’s the torquiest diesel around by being audible from afar. You surely can’t miss the turbo whistle as the Colorado drives by. It can sound pretty rude with the grunting and whistling and your friends might think you arrived in a lorry, but fret not because you’re still the popular one among your friends because you own a truck.
For a person who never driven a truck before, the initial impression can be quite intimidating. Even though the elevated seating position is a plus you can’t really see where the bonnet ends, therefore navigating the truck in a multi-level parking lot for the first time was quite a challenge. Parking the truck is only aided by reverse sensors, so getting it right on the first try was a rather huge achievement for this novice trucker.
On paved tarmac the Colorado drives well, with nice heft to the steering that invokes a sense of confidence and solidity. Minor road imperfections and cats eyes are masked by the high profile tyres, but bigger potholes will send jolts to the cabin and it can get wallowy on winding roads.
I’ve been told that current generation of trucks are more refined than the trucks of yore but such refinement in a vehicle with agricultural and commercial background can only go so far. At least the Colorado is equipped with cruise control.
Powering down the highway with excess speed can put your senses on alert, bear in mind that even with good brakes you still can’t defy physics. For normal driving using 2H is sufficient, and it helps to save fuel as well. The Colorado averaged 8.3 l/100 km during my stint, which is actually better than the official claim of 9.2 l/100 km.
In 2H, even with the traction control switched on it is still possible to set the rear tyres scrubbing for grip when powering out from stationary, so exercise your right foot with caution. Full 4WD modes are better left when the going gets tough, as I venture off the beaten path…
Naturally when you have a truck you just have to take it off-road. Twist the knob to 4H, I took the Colorado for some mild (honest!) off-roading and it managed to tackle the gravelly and muddy terrain without breaking a sweat. Steep gradients were conquered with gusto and muddy trails were traversed without worry.
Towards the end of my off-road shenanigans the road-biased tyres had accumulated enough mud to cover the whole thread, and the inevitable happened. The Colorado was beached in a thick sludge of mud making the driver to break out in cold sweat instead. This wouldn’t happen if I didn’t stop the Colorado in the middle of the muddy path. Such foolishness of an urbanite trying to be an outdoorsman.
Thankfully a friend that didn’t mind to get himself covered in mud was willing to be my spotter. I turned the knob to 4L and fed the Colorado with some light throttle input while trying to calm myself down at the same time. With the help of my spotter and a little bit of physical rocking to the Colorado, we managed to slither out of the mud triumphantly.
All the dirty work was handled by the Colorado (and the friend outside) while yours truly was seating comfortably on the leather seat in the chilled cabin. It shows that the Colorado is very much capable of handling the rough stuff and the only limiting factor would be the driver behind the wheel.
IS IT FOR YOU?
If you’re the type that doesn’t really like to show off the Colorado may be the truck for you. Even with the amount of grunt it has under the bonnet the Colorado looks very discreet without anything to indicate it’s the torquiest truck on sale. If you strongly believe that a truck should carry an American badge then the Colorado should also appeal to you.
The pickup truck market is quite crowded and you should able to find a truck that suits your specific preferences. Among the top-of-the-range trucks that are locking horns against the Colorado Muscle Power are the “brother from another mother” Isuzu D-Max V-Cross, the recently revamped Mitsubishi Triton VGT GS, and a fellow “American” rival Ford Ranger Wildtrak.
The D-Max V-Cross comes with a bigger engine but less power than the Colorado. Its equipment list is also shorter than the Colorado, with fabric seats and a simple audio system. Although you could have leather seats and a 6.2-inch touch screen with GPS navigation by opting for the “Safari Pack”. For RM 10,000 more it also includes truckbed lid and an all round bodykit and unique alloys.
The Ranger Wildtrak not only has the most horses under the bonnet, the 5-cylinder mill is also the most refined if compared to the rivals listed here. It’s the most expensive here and yet it doesn’t come with any touchscreen in-car entertainment system but it has a bluetooth-enabled sound system with voice recognition, leather seats, auto headlamps and wipers, and a reverse camera that displays the view on the rearview mirror.
The revised Triton may be looking a bit long in the tooth, but it still is one of the hottest selling trucks here. The Triton also packs a variable geometry turbo making the 2.5-litre mill more powerful than before. The Triton is fully decked with leather seats, touchscreen audio interface with reverse camera, security window tint, sunroof, powered back window, and the trademark RV Meter with compass.
Safety-wise every truck is equipped with ABS and EBD, traction control, and dual airbags but the Ranger Wildtrak adds four more airbags in the cabin. The Colorado is the biggest among the four but the Ranger has the longest wheelbase while the Triton is the most compact and it also has the shortest bed.
|Chevrolet Colorado 2.8 LTZ||Isuzu D-Max V-Cross||Ford Ranger 3.2 Wildtrak||Mitsubishi Triton VGT GS|
|Type||4-cylinder turbodiesel||4-cylinder turbodiesel||5-cylinder turbodiesel||4-cylinder turbodiesel|
|Max Torque||Nm/rpm||500/2,000||380/1,800 – 2,800||470/1,500 – 2,750||350/1,800 – 3,500|
|Transmission||6-speed Automatic||5-speed Automatic||6-speed Automatic||5-speed Automatic|
|Type||Double wishbone, coil springs / Leaf springs||Double wishbone, coil springs / Leaf springs||Double wishbone, coil springs / Leaf springs||Wishbone, coil springs / Leaf springs|
|Front||Ventilated disc||Ventilated disc||Ventilated disc||Ventilated disc|
|TYRE & WHEELS|
|Tyres||255/65 R17||255/65 R17||265/60 R18||245/65 R17|
|DIMENSIONS & WEIGHTS|
|Max Kerb weight||kg||2,062||n/a||2,118||1,870|
|Cargo area L / W / H||mm||1,552 / 1,534 / n/a||1,552 / 1,530 / 465||1,549 / 1,560 / 511||1,325 / 1,470 / 405|
|Consumption||9.2 L/100 km||n/a||8.9 L/100 km||n/a|
|0 – 100km/h||sec||10.0||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|PRICE||RM||106,888.00||104,468.40 (Safari 115,208.40)||117,488.00||107,809.60|
WILL I BUY IT?
I must say after driving the Colorado, it changed my perception of trucks. I appreciate it more now considering its ability and even think it’s a logical choice to have especially with our road condition and the occasional floods that we have. I still feel it’s cumbersome to drive but I did enjoy it in a different kind of way. I love the fact that the Colorado is not as showy as the other trucks but unfortunately if I’m in the market for one, it won’t be my pick due to the rough and noisy engine.