Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Review: 2018 Chevrolet Colorado 4x4 LTZ


With the new vehicle excise tax in place, pickup trucks may well be the new “people’s car.” It’s the latest in a series of transformations that’s seen it morph from no-nonsense workhorses to lifestyle playthings. And amidst the usual choices filled with Hilux, Rangers, and D-Max, there’s one that’s worthy of a closer look: the 2018 Chevrolet Colorado.

Why the Colorado never caught on locally remains a mystery, but if it’s because of the awkward looks, there’s good news: Chevrolet’s fixed that. This time, it’s managed to be in sync with its American cousin. Hard to believe the effect a new front-end would have, but it’s done wonders here. Gone is the oddly-shaped face and in comes something more masculine. The squared-off lights (with LED daytime running lights), large grille, bulbous hood—all work to make the Colorado look more Chevrolet. And that’s not all. The new front-end has actually managed to make this pickup look tidier, cleaner, and more proportioned. Toyota and Mitsubishi designers should take note: this is how a truck should look like.



Like its Trailblazer sibling, opening the door brings down the window slightly to relieve cabin pressure—a necessity given this pickup’s thickened front glass. From there, it’s also noticeable the work that Chevrolet’s done with the Colorado’s interior. Although the vast majority of surfaces remain something of a workhorse (hard and scratchy), they’ve been done in a way that makes it look presentable. In particular, the stalks and the new toggle-type switches operate with a nice, solid feel to them. The atmosphere is also generally airy thanks to the contrast provided by the gray-toned dash trim and seats.

As with any pickup truck, there’s nothing to criticize with the Colorado’s front passenger room. Leg and headroom, in particular, is excellent. The same can’t be said about the rear. Although fitting five adults should pose no problem, the seat cushions could use a bit more thigh support.



Compared to before, the ergonomics has been greatly improved. Aside from the chunky, well-placed controls, the straight-forward gauges receive high marks. Even the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system is intuitive with clean, crisp graphics. It also offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to boot. If there are areas for improvement it would be limited to just two areas. First is the steering wheel which always feels too far for comfort. Putting in telescopic adjustment would easily solve this problem. Second, the seats themselves still don’t feel comfortable for long drives. Though they’ve been improved, they feel too flat and unsupportive to be comfortable.

Under the hood, the Colorado packs the strongest engine in its class: a 2.8-liter Duramax 4-cylinder engine generating an even 200 horsepower and 500 Nm of torque. The figures suggest it’s basically a carryover, but turning the engine over tells a wholly different story. A raft of changes from the relocation of the balance shaft to injector insulators to a metal timing cover all do their part to deliver a quieter cabin experience. Chevrolet reckons an 8 to 10 decibel improvement, but whatever the figure is, it’s noticeable. Whether it’s at idle or at cruising speed, it’s now possible to carry a normal conversation.



Mated to the engine is a 6-speed automatic which gets a new torque converter to balance out vibrations. Although its generally smoother now, there’s still some noticeable thumping on gearshifts and on-off throttle applications. It has a manual shift override too, but it’s largely unnecessary thanks to the transmission’s responsiveness. With peak torque available at just 2,000 rpm, it makes the whole drivetrain feel relaxed. That said, with an overdriven fifth and sixth gear, the Colorado is best suited on the highway or light traffic. It easily does 8.33 km/L at 17 km/h. However, bring the speeds down by just 4 km/h, and the figures drop 15 percent.

It’s unlikely that anyone would expect a pickup to be dynamically pleasing as it is, so it’s fair to say that the Colorado impresses with how well it performs. The various tweaks done to the chassis—quicker steering rack, thicker front stabilizer bar, revised spring rates, new shock absorbers, and reduced amount of turns lock-to-lock—all make it feel like a totally different vehicle. Hitting road joints doesn’t result in scuttle shake, while the front-end tucks in more confidently during cornering. The steering’s new electrically-assisted rack also makes it much easier to drive across all speeds with none of the dead on-center feel.

In terms of negatives, the Colorado could use better brakes. As it is, the brake pedal feel is spongy and doesn’t offer enough reassurance.



Still, all these changes have effectively catapulted the Colorado to among the best vehicles in its class. The new ride and handling package delivers new levels of chassis communication along with impressive bump absorption. And while it still uses leaf springs at the back, the ride remains settled, even when unladen.

A dial on the center console controls the part-time dual-range 4x4 with a 2.62:1 low-range reduction and 36.4:1 crawl ratio. While this is generally alright, the most hardcore off-road aficionados won’t appreciate the lack of a “proper” locking differential.



Safety is often neglected in pickup trucks, but thankfully Chevrolet’s managed to address that concern too. Aside from 3-point seatbelts for everyone, the Colorado gets ISOFIX child seat anchors, three airbags (including a driver’s knee airbag), anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, tire pressure monitoring, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and front and rear parking sensors with camera. It would have sealed the deal if it only had some sort of vehicle stability or traction control.

Honestly, when Chevrolet first launched the Colorado, they simply underestimated the competition. Its obvious shortcomings meant buyers simply opted for other choices out there. With this update, however, Chevy has effectively struck back. It seems they’ve effectively pulled the Colorado apart, identified all the problem areas, engineer solutions to each of them, and put it all back together much better than before. There are just so many improvements over the original that it feels like a different vehicle. While no one knows what the new price of the Colorado would be post-TRAIN, one doesn’t need to wait to appreciate its return to pickup truck contention.



2018 Chevrolet Colorado 4x4 LTZ
Ownership 2018 Chevrolet Colorado 4x4 2.8 LTZ A/T
Year Introduced 2016
Vehicle Classification Pick-Up
The Basics
Body Type 5-door + 1 tailgate pickup
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/4WD, Part-Time, High & Low
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.8
Aspiration Common Rail Direct Injection
Fuel Delivery Turbocharged
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 200 @ 3,800
Nm @ rpm 500 @ 2,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel
Transmission 6 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 8.33 km/L @ 17 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 5,361
Width (mm) 1,882
Height (mm) 1,798
Wheelbase (mm) 3,096
Curb Weight (kg) 2,121
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Rear Suspension Leaf Spring
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Drum
Tires Bridgestone Dueler H/T 684 II 265/60 R 18 T (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 3
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control No
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear with Camera
Other Safety Features Limited Slip Differential
Tire Pressure Monitoring
Forward Collision Alert
Lane Departure Warning
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps Yes, Front
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Electric (driver)
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Automatic
Audio System Stereo
USB
Bluetooth
Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 7
Steering Controls Yes

3 comments:

  1. Same Dashboard with Isuzu D-Max.

    ReplyDelete
  2. this is a 2017 unit. 2018 models got a new remote and traction control

    ReplyDelete

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