History of the Chevy Colorado

July 3rd, 2015 by

2015 Chevy Colorado

The Chevy Colorado has only been around for a little over a decade, but it has already become one of the most popular trucks for sale at Chevrolet dealerships. The compact pickup comes at an affordable price and provides agile performance. It is powerful enough to handle most loads that the average driver would need to haul, and it can get out of tight spots like a muddy ditch or a snowed-in driveway with ease. You get all that in one stylish package.

The Colorado has a unique history that is shared by a few other models made by other brands. Understanding that history can help you gain an appreciation for the truck and everything that it has to offer.

Shared Platform

2004 Chevrolet Colorado

The Chevy Colorado was introduced in 2004 as a replacement for the Chevrolet S-10. General Motors, which owns both Chevrolet and GMC, used the same platform to produce the Colorado and the nearly identical GMC Canyon, which was introduced at the same time.

If twin trucks aren’t confusing enough, add in that the Isuzu i-Series is also nearly identical.

No, there wasn’t a game of corporate espionage going on. GM teamed up its North American and Brazilian operations with Isuzu to come up with the design that spawned these three trucks. All three models were built on the GMT355 platform, which was also used as the basis for the design of the GMT 345 that was the platform for the Hummer H3.

The first Isuzu model didn’t come out until 2005, and it included two separate versions for North American and global markets. The North American version of the truck was identical to the Colorado and the Canyon. The i-Series was only in production for three years, and it had poor sales during that time.

First Generation Colorado

2004 Chevrolet Colorado LS Z71

The first generation of the Colorado ran from 2004 to 2012. You can still find some of the very first models when you are shopping for trucks for sale at local Chevy dealerships. Who knows? If you pick up a model from that first year, it might even become a collector’s item one day.

Colorado’s first models featured diverse offerings. You could buy a truck with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, a manual or an automatic transmission, and a standard, extended or four-door dab. This diversity explained the popularity of the Colorado in part since buyers had more control to get just what they wanted.

The base model Colorado first came with a 2.8-liter LK5 Inline 4 engine that put out 175 horse power and 185 pounds per feet of torque. Those numbers might seem low in today’s market, where some muscle cars have a whopping 707 horse power, but they were impressive enough at the time for a modest-sized pickup that didn’t need to do any serious hauling for commercial or industrial applications.

Those who wanted a more powerful engine could opt for the Z71 package available on the four-door models. The package came with a 3.5-liter L52 Inline 5 engine that put out 220 horse power and 225 pounds per feet of torque. The engine was also available as an option on other models.

The first year of the Colorado also included a special ZQ8 edition that was built for more extreme or off-road driving conditions. The model included a sport suspension, low profile fender flares, 17-inch wheels and body modifications like a color matching bumper and grille. There was even an “extreme” version of the ZQ8, which included more design changes, side skirts and larger wheels.

The first generation of the Colorado got a refresh in 2007, when it was redesigned along with the GMC Canyon. Some of the design updates included a new grille, new tires, a new interior and new exterior paint colors. The 2007 model also got new engine options: a 2.9-liter LLV Inline 4 and a 3.7-liter LLR Inline 5.

Another refresh was issued in 2009 with some minor updates.

Second Generation Colorado

2015 Chevy Colorado Front

The second generation of the Colorado was introduced in 2012 in Australia, but it took a two-year hiatus in the United States. Production began in late 2014, so technically, the second generation began with the 2015 model year.

The 2015 Chevy Colorado kept some of the same options as the first generation, including either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive and cab options including standard, extended and four door. A five- or six-speed manual transmission is offered, as is a six-speed automatic.

The new Colorado comes with either a 2.5-liter Ecotec Inline 4 engine or a 3.6-liter LFX V6 engine. The V6 puts out 305 horse power and 269 pounds per feet of torque. For 2016, the Colorado will feature a 2.8-liter Duramax Turbo-Diesel engine, as well. It will be the only midsize pickup in North America to offer the option.

The V6 engine option gets an impressive fuel economy of 26 mpg on the highway, and the Ecotec engine gets 27 mpg on the highway. The fuel economy is bolstered by features such as Spark Ignition Direct injection, a system that shuts off fuel to the engine during braking, and aero shutters that reduce aerodynamic drag.

An off-road Z71 package is also available in the second generation, and it includes an upgraded suspension system, automatic locking rear differential, and a skid plate. The Z71 package is the top trim level, but three other trim levels are available that offer different perks.

The new Colorado features a design that resembles the Chevy Silverado, with a more bulky front end and profile that makes it seem like a more substantial truck. The interior is like that of a sedan, with refined materials, comfortable seating, plenty of convenience features, and a quiet cabin.

If you are looking for trucks for sale, now is the perfect time to check out the Chevy Colorado. The newest generation of this dependable pickup has a great design, advanced features and an affordable price tag. Visit DePaula Chevrolet to take a test drive and learn why so many others have fallen in love with the Chevy Colorado.

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