Most U.S. automakers took a break from producing compact pickup trucks for several years. Although the business case for this decision - declining sales and the advent of the SUV - made good sense, millions of buyers felt the loss. That’s why the midsize 2021 Chevy Colorado is such a welcome compromise: it’s smaller but not so small that it compromises the utility pickup truck buyers demand.
Chevy introduced a compact pickup truck at a time in history when gas prices were astronomical, and the market was tiring of compact hatchbacks. Buyers rewarded Chevy’s calculated risk, snapping up the then-named Chevy LUV (light utility vehicle) and the subsequent S10. The 2021 Chevy Colorado is a pickup truck made for buyers that don’t want all the bulk of a full-size pickup but still need the utility it offers.
The compact pickup truck segment continues to be popular due to the mix of capability and versatility that so many crave without the sometimes cumbersome size and price of a full-size truck. Starting at just $25,200 and available in an array of unexpected colors, like the bright Crush orange hue, the Colorado strikes a balance between affordable, fun-to-drive, and serious capability. With a max trailering capability of 7,700 pounds and a max payload of 1,550 pounds, it packs a wallop.
Who wouldn’t want to consider the 2021 Colorado, especially as the market is seeing full-size pickups travel into the $50,000 range. Pick from a wide selection of engines and interior and exterior finishes that feel almost custom-tailored while still staying at a reasonable price point. That’s the benefit of the Colorado.
The 2021 Chevy Colorado blazes a trail astride its bigger sibling, the Silverado 1500. Its smaller stature means easier maneuverability, but thanks to a range of powertrain options and cleverly equipped trims, this Colorado won’t leave drivers wanting for power and capability. And it’ll fit in your garage.
Pick from three engines to tailor the capability to your needs. The standard engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 200 horsepower and 191 lb-ft of torque. This engine comes paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and can tow up to 3,500 pounds, making it the perfect starting point to this engine lineup.
If you need more power and more capability, you will want to upgrade to the 3.6-liter V6 option that comes paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. This engine generates 308 horsepower, 275 lb-ft of torque, and can tow up to 7,000 pounds when properly equipped. Power and performance are rolled into one when you have this engine under the hood of your 2021 Chevy Colorado.
However, when you want the best towing and the best fuel economy, you are going to have to go diesel. When equipped with the optional 2.8-liter turbo-diesel motor, the Colorado turns out 181 horsepower, the most torque, at 369 lb-ft, and ups towing capacity to 7,700 pounds, rivaling that of lesser-equipped full-size Silverados. This engine also gets a six-speed automatic transmission. The diesel motor sips fuel, with MPG ratings of 20 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway when configured with rear-wheel drive, the best rating of all the options.
What we love about the Chevy Colorado is its dual-purpose capabilities: yes, it’s a mud-loving, off-roading superstar, but it carries off all that grit with an overlay of refinement. On the roads and the highways, the Colorado is a joy to drive. It absorbs the bumps evenly and keeps everyone in the cabin comfortable. The smooth-shifting six or eight-speed transmission contributes to an overall even ride, as does the standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control system.
The 2021 Colorado comes in four trims, including the base WT (Work Truck), the LT, the familiar Z71, and the jaw-dropping ZR2. The ZR2 will make your off-roading dreams a reality because it’s equipped with all the equipment necessary to keep you effortlessly crawling and climbing through just about any rough and gnarly terrain. The ZR2 starts at $41,600 and comes standard with the 3.6-liter V6 engine. The Duramax turbo diesel is available for an additional cost of just under $5,000.
The ZR2 adds a whole host of equipment that’s not available on other trucks in its category, like front and rear electronic locking differentials, which increase traction when engaged. The ZR2 is lifted an additional 48 mm for better ground clearance, too. Not enough off-roading goodies for you? Add the optional ZR2 Bison package, and you’ll get an array of specially-engineered skid plates that protect the fuel tank, transfer case, rear differential, and front end. Special 17-inch dark graphite wheels make the ZR2 even angrier, and fog lamps, a beefier rear bumper, and special wheel moldings enhance its aggressive stature even more.
The ZR2 Bison is equipped with features developed in tandem with American Expedition Vehicles (AEV), an aftermarket conversion equipment manufacturer. AEV is known for building the highest quality components for off-roading vehicles, which is why they made the perfect partner for Chevy when it came time to reimagine the Colorado. If extreme off-roading is in your driving future, take a closer look at the 2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison.
We love that upper Colorado trims are treated to a standard 8-inch infotainment touchscreen. In fact, Chevy’s connected services are among the most advanced in the industry. The Colorado is available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a powerful 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot and wireless charging. Chevy also incorporated Amazon Alexa into its current connected services suits, which means properly-equipped Colorados are capable of communicating with smart devices at home and stream music, create Amazon shopping lists, and more. The idea behind all this connectivity is convenience.
The MyChevrolet Mobile App offers next-level convenience, turning your smartphone into a virtual key so you can lock and unlock your Colorado, sound the horn, flash the lights, and remote start on those cold winter mornings. The app allows you to monitor key vehicle stats, like fuel range and tire pressure, which means you’ll have a quick way to stay on top of regular maintenance and repairs. On Colorado models equipped for trailering, your MyChevrolet app is a gateway to trailer monitoring, including offering a trailer light test and a handy load calculator, so you don’t have to guess on specs. The Smart Driver feature stores data on your driving behavior and provides insights to help you maximize safety and fuel economy. You’ll have easy access to a library of information about the features of your Colorado.