The mid-size truck market is on fire, and the Chevy Colorado just might be the best of the bunch. From 2017 to 2018 the mid-size truck market increased 20% year over year. That’s a huge increase that will only continue to grow with the introduction of the Ford Ranger this year and the Jeep Gladiator next year.
The Toyota Tacoma still leads all mid-size truck sales, but according to Truck Trend the Chevrolet Colorado sold 69,875 units, resulting in a segment-leading 39 percent year-over-year change and 27 percent of the 2018 market share (up from 23 percent for the same period in 2017). The Colorado saw the biggest year-over-year growth.
These are promising numbers for a new truck trying to make inroads into a category dominated by the Tacoma. I’ve spent two weeks with the Colorado ZR2 and here’s why I think the truck should be considered for any off-road enthusiast.
The Colorado ZR2 is a purpose built off-roader that Chevy engineers designed to maximize the Colorado platform to its fullest. It all starts with the Multimatic DSSV shocks that were designed specifically for the Colorado ZR2, and draws on heritage from the Camaro Z/28.
This suspension is the first of its kind on a production truck and made to perform equally as well on-road or off. Truck Trend does a great job explaining the technology behind the shocks, which shows the lengths that Chevy went to build the best off-roader they could.
The front and rear tracks on the Colorado ZR2 are 3.5″ wider than a standard Colorado, which offers more stability when on the trails. A 2-inch lift and 31″ off-road tires add to the off-road prowess of the vehicle and provide greater ground clearance for clearing obstacles. The front and rear bumpers are also tapered to improve the approach and departure angles, so you can tackle steeper hills and you’ll be less likely to get hung up.
The Colorado is currently the only mid-size truck to offer a diesel option with a 2.8L turbo diesel which gets 18/22 mpg or a 3.6L which gets 16/18. I preferred the peppy V6 with it’s 308 horsepower compared to the diesel, but if I were doing any towing I’d opt for the diesel.
Locking differentials are the holy grail for off-roaders. With the differentials locked, your vehicle maintains equal amounts of power to each tire, so your climbing abilities are not hindered by tire slippage. Typically a rear locker is the first major upgrade that any off-roader will do to a vehicle, but adding a front locker just makes your truck unstoppable. The Colorado ZR2 has both! Which is class exclusive to this vehicle.
There are a ton of other upgrades with Colorado ZR2, but these are the ones that separate the Colorado ZR2 from the pack. The aftermarket has grown exponentially for the Colorado, so you can find basically any type of rack, bed cover, or rooftop tent to fit this truck. I predict the Colorado ZR2 will soon become a platform of choice for overlanders who spend weeks on the trail with their vehicles. The interior is much more refined and spacious than the Tacoma which is dire need of an update.
I spent a couple days at Rowher Flats off-road area near Los Angeles. Did some hill climbing, trail driving, and also played in the mud a bit. The Colorado ZR2 handled everything with aplomb, and was a pleasure to drive back home.
If you are seeking an adventure mobile that will take you and your family anywhere, but is also manageable as a city daily driver, the Colorado ZR2 should be near the top of your list.