Compact pickups take the Goldilocks approach to delivering utility. The just-right size of the 2012 Chevrolet Colorado and its full-sized work ethic meet the needs of buyers looking for a cargo box atop a rugged frame without the space consumption of a larger vehicle. The Colorado is available in a variety of flexible configurations to help you truly find a truck to call your own.
Efficiency is a continual theme for the Colorado. The standard Vortec four-cylinder is a brawny 2.9 liters. That’s big for a four cylinder, but the payoff is 190 lb/ft of torque peaking at a low 2,800 rpm. Putting the muscle low on the tachometer makes this engine perfectly suited to truck duty. Horsepower for the four-cylinder peaks at 5,600 rpm with 185 hp, and this engine teams with a five-speed manual transmission to return a frugal 25 mpg EPA highway estimate in two-wheel drive configuration. Adding four-wheel drive results in a still frugal 24 highway mpg. A four-speed Hydra-Matic 4L60 automatic transmission is also available.
More power is available from the optional 3.7-liter Vortec inline five-cylinder that brings 242 hp and 242 lb/ft of torque to the party. A classic Chevrolet small-block V8 is also available in the Colorado. The 5.3-liter Vortec V8 pumps out 300 hp and 320 lb/ft of torque from a legendary engine configuration that’s compact and strong while still returning up to 20 mpg on the highway. The V8 power drops the zero-to-60 acceleration time under seven seconds, exceptionally zippy for a pickup truck that can turn around and effortlessly shoulder a 6,000-pound trailer.
Beneath the Colorado lies a strong ladder frame that features hydraulically assisted rack-and-pinion steering for accurate handling. Two-wheel drive Colorado models use coil-over shock absorbers in the independent front suspension, and four-wheel drive versions employ torsion bars, which are also shared with all Z71, Z85 and V8 versions of the Colorado. The rear axle is supported by two-stage multi-leafsprings to capably handle whatever you throw at it.
The Colorado has three cab configurations: Regular, Extended and Crew Cab. Regular and Extended Cab models have a six-foot one-inch bed with best-in-class volume thanks to bedsides that are taller than most competitors. Crew cabs use a shorter, five-foot one-inch bed, and in all versions, the tailgate has a handy 55-degree position that is level with the top of the wheel wells inside the box, creating a handy platform for carrying four-by-eight-foot sheets of material or supporting longer items.
The Colorado can be outfitted to carry up to six people, and Crew Cab models feature a rear seat that’s split 60/40 for versatility. Chevrolet uses specially tuned mounts for the powertrain and body to lower noise and vibration in the cabin, and there’s the safety and security of standard StabiliTrak® electronic stability control and front and head-curtain side-impact airbags are standard.
There’s plenty of standard equipment inside every Colorado including air conditioning, an audio system with three months of SiriusXM Satellite Radio free (except Work Truck models), cruise control and Bluetooth. The controls were designed to be operated even with gloves on because Chevrolet knows owners will take advantage of the work ethic built into the Colorado. Optional equipment is a deep list that features audio system upgrades, remote keyless entry, tinted windows, even heated leather seating. The Colorado is also the only model in its segment to include OnStar. Buyers receive six months of complimentary Directions and Connections service with Turn-by-Turn Navigation as well.
There’s a Colorado setup for every use from the ZQ8 sport suspension that lowers the ride height and makes the Colorado look like a tuner-massaged truck with 18-inch wheels and sporty reflexes to the highly capable Z71 off-road suspension that comes with 17-inch chrome-clad wheels and off-road tires to go along with its distinctive exterior changes. Going anywhere and doing anything is easily accomplished behind the wheel of a 2012 Chevrolet Colorado.