The Silverado’s smaller counterpart is the Chevrolet Colorado, one of several models comprising the rejuvenated mid-size pickup truck market. The Colorado offers strong engine choices, a comfortable cabin, and a wide range of options along with two cabin sizes.

Best Value

Chevrolet offers the Colorado in extended and crew cab body styles. We think the latter is the most sensible choice for anyone who wants to carry more than two passengers. The Z71, available as a four-wheel drive model, is our “best value” choice, as it offers a robust package of amenities along with off-road capabilities.

The Colorado Z71 with the long box starts at $33,970 (including a $995 destination charge). Standard features include a V6 engine, off-road suspension, an automatic locking rear differential, transfer case shield, and unique wheels set within all-terrain tires.

  • Model: 2018 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Long Bed
  • Engine:3.6-liter V6
  • Output:308 hp/275 lb-ft
  • Transmission:Eight-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain:Four-wheel drive
  • MPG:17 city/24 highway
  • Options: The Colorado Z71 comes well equipped, so we looked at individual options that make sense for most owners. The soft-folding tonneau cover ($595) and the Trailering Package ($250, trailer hitch and seven-pin connector) are two choices we think are most important.
  • Base Price: $33,970 (including the $995 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$34,815

Performance

The 2018 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 produces 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque from its 3.6-liter V6 engine. An eight-speed automatic transmission works alongside this engine.

The V6 is strong, delivering ample off-the-mark acceleration and passing power. Pulling power is 7,000 pounds and that’ll cover the needs of most pickup truck shoppers. Some customers may opt for the available 2.8-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. This engine has an output of 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Two benefits of the diesel engine are its 7,700-pound towing capacity and 30 mpg highway rating (28 mpg with four-wheel drive). On the flip side, you’ll pay $3,469 to make the upgrade and that’s the reason why it isn’t included as our best value model.

The Colorado with a V6 engine makes an EPA-estimated 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. That’s not too far off the mark from the diesel and nearly matches the standard engine’s 19/24 mpg city/highway rating.

Interior and Exterior

The Chevrolet Colorado looks very much like its larger sibling, and that’s a design pleaser for pickup truck buyers. An upright grille, square hood, and slab sides contribute to its rugged look. A CornerStep rear bumper supplies ease of access to the truck bed. The Z71 looks beefier than models below it, although it doesn’t peg the macho meter to the same degree as the ZR2.

Inside, the Colorado features a symmetrical dashboard with high-mounted controls, including helpful toggle switches. Cloth seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Chevrolet MyLink with an 8.0-inch color touch-screen, and a six-speaker audio system are among the standard features.

The Best and Worst Things

The Chevy Colorado in four-wheel drive guise is an off-road warrior. The Z71 package provides the body protection needed for serious off-pavement pounding. At the same time, your cost can rapidly increase, pushing toward $45,000 with every package option taken. Cheaper versions are available, but at some cost to interior trim and capability.

Right For...

The truck buyer who wants a pickup truck without the big footprint of a model such as the Chevrolet Silverado. The V6 does for the Colorado what a V8 supplies for the Silverado.

Wrong For...

Individuals whose payload and towing needs are above 1,500 and 7,700 pounds, respectively. Chances are, though, most people will find the Colorado meets their needs.

The Bottom Line

The current-generation Chevrolet Colorado is a strong improvement over the previous model and is a big reason why this truck and its GMC Canyon counterpart are helping spark new life into the segment.