Midsized pickup trucks have always attracted buyers, though various manufacturers seemed to lose sight of their intrinsic appeal for a time. But ever since the Chevrolet Colorado first appeared in the middle of the last decade, it has sold steadily, gaining a legion of fans in the process.
Even as it grows older, the appeal of the Colorado, I suspect, has grown as full-size pickup trucks have gotten larger and more expensive. Trucks such as the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado 4X4 ZR2, which has been outfitted for off-road travel in rugged terrain, have gotten more consideration from people looking for pickup truck.
As a result, GM pumped $1.5 billion into its midsize truck platform a few years back to make certain it can compete with the likes of the Toyota Tacoma, Jeep Gladiator, Ford Ranger and the finally updated Nissan Frontier.
The fact the Colorado ZR2 offers potential buyers a lot, ranging from its rugged appearance to its versatility and overall capability, making it a suitable vehicle for all sorts of uses and adventures.
Midsized trucks have better proportions than virtually every one of their full-size siblings or competitors, which means they simply look better sitting at a traffic light or at the curb. The Colorado also comes with Chevrolet’s distinctive lettered grille and projector headlamps that help add to the truck’s overall look.
In addition, the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado 4X4 also has been beefed up to with a ZR2 appearance package and 17-inch graphite and oxide gold aluminum wheels as well as Duratrac tires for off-road travel that enhance this model’s bold appearance. There are other impressive features for pickup trucks such as the easy-to-use tailgate, a spray-on bedliner, rocker panels and a sliding window between the cab and the truck bed.
The cabin of a midsized pickup trucks such as the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 generally are not as lavishly furnished as some the latest full-sized pickup trucks designed around Detroit. But the interior of the Colorado ZR2 is still comfortable even when traveling over the 20 miles of bad roads, which about all you can ask from a pickup truck.
The driver’s seat has six different positions to maximize the comfort of the person behind the wheel and both the heated driver’s seat and passenger seat are faced in leather. There also is a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel with controls for the radio and cruise control.
The center stack is topped off with an 8-inch touchscreen. The controls for heating and cooling are within easy reach as are the controls for locking the front and rear differential. The rear seats in the cab give any extra passengers ample room.
The 2021 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD ZR2 is equipped with 3.6-liter V-6 with double overhead camshafts and variable valve timing that is matched to an 8-speed automatic transmission and a drive line with a 2-speed electric transfer case and differential in the front and rear that can be locked at the driver’s discretion depending on terrain.
This version of the Colorado also is outfitted with a trailer brake controller and trailer equipment package as well as hill descent control. Fuel economy is okay. The combined rating from the Environmental Protection Agency is 17 miles per gallon with a rating of 16 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway.
Technology and Safety
The safety technology packed into the Chevrolet Colorado 4WD ZR2 includes airbags for frontal- and side-impact crashes as well as Stabil Trak and traction control. In addition to OnStar, this version of the Colorado also comes equipped with wireless charging, 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, satellite radio connection, the Chevrolet infotainment system with the 8-inch touchscreen and a Bluetooth connection. It also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and voice recognition. There is also remote vehicle start and controls to help govern the vehicle’s use by teenage drivers.
Winter is always a great time for testing a truck. I did not get to go off-road but I did take it over more than 20 miles of mud- and snow-covered dirt road and it handled well even on the slickest part of the roads traveled. The truck’s rugged frame also helped. In addition, the ride, thanks to the heavy-duty MultiMate shocks, was relatively smooth over the uncertain surfaces encountered during the test run.
I also took the Colorado on a long freeway drive and found it handled well out on the highway with responsive steering and good brakes. With the 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque there was plenty of performance. The cab, however, was a bit noisy since it picked up the rumbling from the engine.
I generally liked the Colorado because the size is reasonable, and it can carry out virtually all the tasks expected from a pickup truck. This particular version seemed quite ready to go the distance on ground where the track is minimal or non-existent. But the off-road capability comes at a price, $44,890,00, which used to be the price of luxury car.
In addition, the interior seemed a bit dated in some respects – a common refrain when it comes GM’s truck interiors these days. The ignition required a key and the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel as could be sharper. But overall, it really is a right-sized truck for suburban and urban areas and whose business or job do not require a bigger vehicle.