Midsize truck lovers, behold: The Colorado Z71 is an off-road machine in a daily driver package.
Sure, full-size trucks are great for hauling stuff and have more legroom and horsepower, but the small-truck category is an incredibly competitive and a fun genre to review. Chevy offers the Colorado, and now with the Z71 package, you can take it almost anywhere.
Under the hood is a 3.6L V6 engine making 308 horsepower through an 8-speed automatic and down to the pavement via available four-wheel drive. This V6 is super smooth from stop to highway speeds and the 8-speed auto really makes easy work of gear shifts. The Colorado also comes with an available 2.5L inline 4-cylinder, the 3.6L V6 I drove and lastly a 2.8L turbo-diesel for those that want a little more towing capability. I’ve always been a fan of the Chevy V6, this one is no different.
Exterior styling on this particular truck was a little different being the Z71 Midnight edition. Highlights include blacked out logos, black wheels, aggressive tires and overall black appearance. It’s a sharp-looking truck from all angles and with this Midnight edition, I found it to be especially cool. Up front are projector headlamps with halogen bulbs and fog lights below. This example was the crew cab so it has plenty of room for the kiddos or even adults. The short box in the back is ideal for a carpenter or tradesman of some sort but might be a little tight for larger construction jobs.
Jump into the driver’s seat and you’ll find a large touchscreen centering the dash and a cluster of HVAC buttons below. It’s really a neat and tidy design that makes for an easy-to-use dash layout. The driver’s instrument cluster is also easy-to-read and keeps the nostalgia with rotary gauges like the good ole days. A hammer shifter gets you into gear and is on the console not near the steering wheel. Rear seat legroom is a bit tight for taller adults but my kids had no issues sitting back there and my daughter’s car seat hooked up with no problem. Overall, the interior is useful and not cluttered with too much tech. I find it to be comfortable and easy to get in and out of.
On road the Colorado is very fun to drive. It’s a little bouncy but drives like a truck, like it should. I’m a fan of trucks of all sizes so the Colorado is not far off the list of favorites. I do like the interior space and the feel of the truck overall but the exterior appearance leaves me a little bored. Even with the Midnight edition, it lacks something I can’t quite explain. Maybe it’s the lack of special lighting or LED headlamps, but it just appears to be stuck in the past and not up to par with the Tacomas and Rangers of now. The Bison edition ZR2 is one that actually gets me a little more excited with the extreme off-road capability and overall exterior appearance.
That being said, while driving the Z71 Midnight edition I did get a lot of compliments from people and most truck fans like the idea of a Colorado. If you don’t need a full-size cab or bed, the Colorado is a really good option. I personally like the fancier models of Colorado but the Z71 midnight is a decent option for those looking slightly out of the box. GM estimates around 22 mpg average for the V6 and I was able to maintain similar results during my road test. MSRP for the Colorado starts at $21,495 and can climb quickly to $37,000 with the Z71, V6 and crew cab options.
Will Chamberlain is a local freelance automotive journalist and full-time Realtor with eXp Realty in Beaver and can be reached at email@example.com.