Chevrolet Colorado 4X4 AT LTZ Z71: Peeling out has never been so much funBy Botchi Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Chevrolet’s newest model offering, the Colorado, is an all-new design from the ground up that is now separate from its Isuzu D-Max pickup clone. It’s also more American in feel, despite being built at Chevrolet’s all-new $200-million-dollar Rayong Plant in Thailand. Thanks to the well-thought-out and well-designed interior. Performance-wise, you will run out of superlatives to describe the overall driving experience, sitting behind the 3-spoke steering wheel. And it looks mean as hell, with the butch tires, aggressive, in-your-face Chevrolet double grill and sheer size.
You might have noticed the title, and here’s why. A quick glance at the numbers shows an impressive specs-sheet: Chevrolet’s all-new 2.8-liter Duramax diesel engine produces 177.53 horsepower, a monstrous 470 Newton-Meters of torque fit for a small-block V8, mated to a 6-speed automatic 4-wheel drive system with Active Select, Chevrolet-speak for a sequential manual override control of the excellent and responsive 6-speeder and diminutive (for the Colorado’s size) 255/65R17 all-terrain tires. The engine is of course equipped with the latest in variable-geometry turbine technology and is intercooled as well.
The result? Floor the throttle from rest and the all-terrain tires leave about foot-long skidmarks on both tires, thanks to the limited-slip differential available on all three variants. I had so much fun peeling out that whenever the roads were empty, I’d peel out, rounding out of a corner, and when the roads were damp/wet, and enjoy a bit of drifting until it got a little scary for me. Larger, fatter, highway-biased tires MIGHT help tame the playful rear end better, but why? Besides, changing tires will also limit the Colorado’s off-road ability. A selectable knob that engages the transfer case to power all 4 wheels of the Colorado even at speeds of up to 100 kph round out the drivetrain specifications.
Speaking of off-road, the side-step boards, handy when climbing up the Colorado and particularly helpful for senior citizens (like my mom who found it useful getting up), it severely decreases ground clearance when doing some serious off-roading. Removing these, as well as fitting fatter M/T tires, will no doubt significantly help harness all the available torque. When it comes to flood-wading ability, the Colorado has an impressive 800-mm fording depth before you will need an amphibious vehicle.
Out on Edsa, the Colorado’s unladen bed, one of the biggest, probably second only to its arch-nemesis, the Ford Ranger, is bouncy, and keeps speeds in check. Going past 120 kph on a bumpy road is a challenge as you find yourself constantly correcting the steering to keep the Colorado going straight. Fully laden and the bed has a somewhat conservative one-ton payload capacity, but a very impressive 3.5 tons of towing capacity, beating even some of its American V8 petrol powered siblings. Makes for a perfect recreational vehicle, towing race cars, carrying spares, motorcycles and bicycles. To put that in perspective, that’s like towing two regular-sized cars, or three subcompact cars.
Inside, the Camaro-inspired interior and gauge cluster has the electric ice-blue lighting, with clearly displays speedometer and rev-counter dials. An onboard multifunction computer displays data such as average and real-time speeds, trip distance, range, external temperature and a stop-watch. Joining the in-car electronics is an excellent sound system that has MP3 connectivity via USB and aux-in.
The seats are covered with faux tan leather, and the dashboard is well designed, feeling very modern, a refreshing take from its rivals. The seating position is excellent: tall, commanding and gives drivers easy approximation of the Colorado’s exterior. The 3,096-mm wheelbase gives a very roomy back-seat accommodation ensuring the Colorado’s versatility of use. Admittedly, there are some minor disappointments and they all happen to be inside: the plastics feel low-rent, brittle, hard and harsh to the touch. Fit and finish still need a little work, and the Colorado, with only 10,000 km, feels like it’s pushing close to a hundred grand clicks already, as it is badly scuffed, scratched and dirtied. No amount of cleaning on me or my driver’s part could eliminate the scratches. The handsome alloy wheels also have a very shallow air valve-stem cap that makes topping up or adjusting tire pressure difficult at the average gas station. I went to three gas stations and all had a difficult time fitting their air hoses into the space around the air valve stems to pump up the tires.
Nit-picking aside, performance, as said earlier, cannot be faulted. Cruising at 100-120 kph is a breeze, and going faster on smoother pavement (NLEx, SCTEx, SLEx) is easily doable. The steering has decent feel and feedback, and the brakes are very strong, progressive and easy to modulate: no grabby or snatch, artificial-over-assisted feel here.
Despite the huge size that makes maneuvering a bit of a chore in tight parking slots, the Colorado has a surprisingly tight turning radius in the region of below 6.5 meters by my estimate. Given its size, (the overall length is over 5 meters and its width is almost 2 meters at 1882 mm) that is impressive as the Colorado has more in common with its Philippine predecessor, the Silverado full-size pickup from a decade past than its current Japanese-brand pickup rivals.
On the safety front, the Colorado has dual airbags and ABS-equipped brakes on all its variants. Regular halogen headlights load leveling adjustment plus fog lamps are standard on all models and an immobilizer, remote control lock/unlock and alarm controls are built into the OEM key fob. The 76-liter capacity fuel tank gives a theoretical range of just under 700 kilometers based on my 9 km/liter fuel consumption. Steadier drivers can no doubt hit 1,000 clicks before refilling with premium-grade diesel.
The really good part is that all this performance, power and space comes in at a relatively good deal of P1,538,888. So queue up, pick your colors and start peeling out on the road!
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