Colorado comes to Chevrolet truck line as a mid-size pickup
Date Posted: 5/10/2005
SAN ANTONIO, Tex. -- Parked side by side on a blacktop lot in the suburbs of San Antonio, three versions of a new truck look sharp.
Bright sunlight reflects off a broad band of chrome that streaks across the bold front-end as edgy creases score the hood deck in multiple ways and muscular side panels show flared and squared wheelwells.
Some silvery letters, etched near at the bottom of each side door, reveal the label: Colorado.
That's not to be confused with that Rocky Mountain state, as the name's borrowed by General Motors to define the newest marque at Chevrolet for a pickup truck fitting in the line between a full-size Silverado and the compact S-10.
Actually, Colorado was developed to replace the S10, although in the 2004 line both S10 and Colorado are around.
Colorado measures slightly larger than S10 for external dimensions, but there's significantly more room in the cabin and boosted cargo capacity -- enough to describe Colorado as a mid-size model.
It's completely new from the size of the chassis to the design for three different cabs and two lengths for the truck box in back, and there are multiple variations with strong new in-line powertrain options.
Chevy's intent for Colorado is quite clear: Make it larger than all other compact-class competitors and pack it with more powerful engines and more comfortable cabins, but keep it looking tough like a truck.
Sheetmetal styling for Colorado employs design elements from the Trailblazer SUV and projects a powerful face dominated by the horizontal strip of chrome splitting in half the grille and corner headlamp clusters.
Overall shape of the truck is rather cubistic with squarish corners but aerodynamic concessions like a sloping front hood and canted windshield.
And there's a lot of ripples in hood and sides from chiseled body shapes and the protective moldings applied to flanks and fenders.
Linear dimensions vary due to the size of the cab and the length of the truck's rear box.
Cabs include a two-door Regular Cab, an Extended Cab with two rear-hinged doors set behind the two front doors, and the Crew Cab with four conventional front-hinged doors.
Colorado's Regular Cab has a bench covered in cloth and divided 60/40, but bucket seats are available.
Colorado Extended Cab gains extra space behind the first row with a flat-load floor. It stocks a pair of flip-down jump seats in the rear plus below-seat storage bins.
Colorado Crew Cab installs a rear bench with enough room to house three adults comfortably. Front seats in the Crew Cab consist of twin buckets clad in cloth fabric or optional leather hides.
The truck box for Colorado Regular Cab and the extended version stretches to 73 inches in length, while the box on a Crew Cab chops off 12 inches to keep the wheelbase at a reasonable length for easy maneuverability. Despite that abbreviated length, the briefer box maintains the same width as other trucks in the series and there's an optional U-shaped tubular stainless steel brace that flips out to form a bed-extending rail with tailgate folded flat for a floor.
To propel these trucks, two new engines were devised with in-line cylinder arrangement.
The standard plant is a Vortec 2800 four-cylinder unit displacing 2.8 liters and equipped with dual overhead cams, four valves per cylinder and variable valve timing (VVT).
It makes 175 hp at 5600 rpm plus 185 lb-ft of torque at 2800 rpm.
Optional is the first straight-five engine for the class in a design that generates the higher horsepower of a V6 but the fuel efficiency of a four-pack.
The Vortec 3500 3.5-liter in-line five-cylinder plant runs up to 220 hp at 5600 rpm with the torque peaking at 225 lb-ft at 2800 rpm.
Either engine works with a standard five-speed manual transmission by Aisin or optional GM Hydra-Matic 4L60-E four-speed automatic.
The manual shifter is new and has a high-torque-capacity, which enables it to work well with either engine.
Colorado has two choices for traction with either standard two-wheel-drive (2WD) with all engine torque directed to the rear wheels or a four-wheel-drive (4WD) system that sends the torque through an automatic active transfer case.
The transfer case has a dash-mounted switch and brings shift-on-the-fly convenience for switching from 2WD to higher gear ranges of 4WD or back again. Once in 4WD-Hi range and while the truck rests in neutral, use the index finger to punch up 4WD-Lo from the dashboard toggle to get good tire grip in mud, sand or snow.
An automatic locking differential is optional with 2WD or 4WD mode for either engine.
Chassis for all versions is strong and stiff in H-shaped pattern with cross bracing. A welded steel superstructure rises from the rigid chassis bed with body mounts tuned to enhance the frame's stiffness, absorb impacts from vertical movement and isolate noise.
All versions of Colorado employ an independent front suspension with coil springs. A live rear axle comes with any 2WD model while the 4WD has a torsion-bar suspension.
Three suspension packages apply with labels of standard, sport and off-road.
Colorado also has a quick-to-respond rack and pinion steering mechanism with power assistance. It produces a good on-center feel for steering with crisp movements, but also sets up a tight turning circle.
Safety mechanisms show anti-lock brake system (ABS) as standard and traction control system (TCS) optional for a 2WD Colorado or curtain-style air bags available on any.
There's a long list of standard features, even on the entry-level Colorado. The gear includes air conditioning and a sound kit with AM/FM radio and four speakers, a lock for the tailgate, passenger vanity mirror and four cupholders.
Packaged equipment brings power door locks, power windows, electronically-controlled outside mirrors and remote keyless entry, with other options like OnStar telecommunications and XM satellite radio service.
Expect MSRP points for various Colorado models to run from $15,565 to $27,960.
| Vehicle Specifications:
| 2004 CHEVROLET COLORADO Specs
||Mid-size pickup truck
| Model Options:
||Mid-size pickup truck
||Regular Cab: 111.3 inches
Extended Cab: 125.9 inches
Crew Cab: 125.9 inches
| Overall Length:
||Regular Cab: 192.4 inches
Extended Cab: 207.0 inches
Crew Cab: 207.0 inches
Box length Regular Cab: 73.0 inches
Extended Cab: 73.0 inches
Crew Cab: 61.0 inches
| Engine Size:
||DOHC 2.8-L I4
DOHC 3.5-L I5
||I4: Manual/5 AR-5
I5: Manual/5 AR-5
opt. TCS (2WD)
+ opt. 2 (side curtain)
| Gross Weight:
||Regular Cab 2WD: 4700 pounds
Regular Cab 4WD: 5150 pounds
Extended Cab 2WD:5000 pounds
Extended Cab 4WD:5300 pounds
Crew Cab 2WD: 5000 pounds
Crew Cab 4WD: 5300 pounds
||$ 15,565 to $ 27,960