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2020 Chevrolet Colorado Review

LIKES
  • ZR2 off-road prowess
  • Great infotainment
  • Strong powertrain options
  • Lots of options
DISLIKES
  • Dated interior
  • Lackluster safety scores
  • Prices climb quickly
  • Cumbersome ride
BUYING TIP
  • The turbodiesel is our favorite engine for the 2020 Chevrolet Colorado, returning massive torque and towing capability with less of a penalty at the pump.

The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado checks many of the mid-size pickup truck boxes, but leaves safety by the side of the road.

The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado mid-size pickup truck has plenty of capability and excellent powertrain choices. As new competitors enter the fold, however, Chevy’s smaller offering is starting to show its age. We give it 5.2 out of 10 overall.

The 2020 Colorado receives only minimal changes, including a tire fill alert system that honks the horn when the rubber is filled to optimal pressure. A remote-locking tailgate now is an option on the Work Truck (WT) trim and standard on everything above it. An upgraded touchscreen infotainment system is a new option.

The Colorado is well-proportioned and objectively handsome for a mid-size truck, but in the face of newer and flashier competition, its styling is starting to show age. The hardcore ZR2 model and even more extreme Bison dial up the off-road intensity and look the part, but garden variety Colorados are liable to get lost in an increasing sea of pickups on American roads. Interior styling is underwhelming, however, but that’s likely a non-issue for buyers using these trucks for work.

A 2.5-liter 4-cylinder is standard, as is rear-wheel-drive and a 6-speed manual transmission, but most Colorados leave the factory with a 3.6-liter V-6 and 8-speed automatic as well as four-wheel-drive. That 308-horsepower engine is plenty powerful for everyday use and towing needs, while a 2.8-liter turbodiesel with a meaty 269 pound-feet of torque takes the hauling and fuel economy crown, at up to 30 mpg highway. Four-wheel-drive V-6 models manage 19 combined mpg.

Trim levels range from the spartan Base model to the rock-climbing ZR2, with its 21-inch Goodyear all-terrain tires, raised suspension, skid plates, and wide stance. A touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard and can be upgraded with navigation and 4G LTE Wi-Fi.

The Colorado comes in extended- and crew-cab form with either a 5-foot-1 or 6-foot-2 bed, the latter as standard on extended-cab models and optional on the crew-cab. Towing capacity is up to 7,700 pounds with the diesel engine and 7,000 pounds with the V-6, while payload capacity is about 1,500 pounds at the top of the range.

Safety scores leave something to be desired for the Colorado, which manages just four stars overall from the federal government. Forward-collision warnings are available as well as other safety tech, but there’s no automatic emergency braking.

Styling
The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado looks fine, but newer pickups show how rugged’s done right.

The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado has handsome lines, but age comes for every vehicle. In hardcore ZR2 guise it’s rugged in the rights ways, but with its dowdy cabin, we give it a 6 out of 10 here.

While the Colorado has been on the market now for five years, it hasn’t changed much while other new pickup trucks have been introduced. Swoopy front styling and macho truck proportions make for a good-looking design, and in ZR2 guise, the Colorado looks the part of a Baja basher, and has the chops to match. But the Jeep Gladiator sets a new bar for rough-and-ready look, and the Colorado pales in comparison, no matter how high it sits.

The interior is boring, regardless of trim. The major controls sit in a shield-shaped area at the center of the dash, covered in a mix of plastics that look more durable than daring. At least the cockpit is functional; Chevy placed the excellent touchscreen infotainment system front and center, flanked by real knobs and buttons.

Performance
The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado has strong engine choices and a wild ZR2 off-road model, but it’s less keen on pavement.

The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado benefits from a wide range of capable powertrains, warranting a score of 6 out of 10 here.

Base Colorados come standard with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque, accessible through a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. That engine is the runt of the litter, literally and figuratively, and is adequate around town but breathless when towing or asked to work hard.

Almost all new Colorados come with a 3.6-liter V-6, complete with an 8-speed automatic and the option for four-wheel-drive. At 308 hp and 275 lb-ft, it’s no surprise this engine is so popular, as it pushes towing capacity to 7,000 pounds and drops highway passing times significantly.
A 2.8-liter turbodiesel is also available, the only diesel in its class aside from the one in its fraternal twin, the GMC Canyon. With 369 lb-ft of torque and a 6-speed automatic, it returns 10 percent more towing capacity and much better fuel economy, even if the exhaust sounds like a school bus.

Ride quality is so-so for a body-on-frame truck, far outclassed by the unibody Honda Ridgeline. Steering is vague and squishy, but this is no sporty coupe, and on the ZR2 it’s as precise as you could want for off-road driving.

The Colorado comes into its element off-road, if properly equipped. The Colorado ZR2 is one of the best trail-bashing trucks we’ve ever tested. A raised suspension, unique dampers, a limited-slip rear differential, and locking diffs combine with Goodyear Duratrac tires for a go-anywhere experience. For those looking for occasional off-pavement driving, the top-trim Z71 package includes mild off-road upgrades, while the Bison model adds even more extreme styling and gear like a snorkel intake to the ZR2 basics.

Comfort & Quality
The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado’s uninspiring interior is not as big or comfortable as it could be, especially in back.

The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado shows its age inside more than out, with less room than some other mid-size pickups and less comfortable rear seats to boot. We give it 5 out of 10 with consideration for its versatility. 

Available in extended- or crew-cab and with a 5-foot-1 or 6-foot-2 bed, there’s a Colorado for nearly every buyer, save those looking for an interesting interior. Base and Work Truck (WT) trims get vinyl or cloth upholstery for the twin bucket seats up front, while LT, Z71, and ZR2 models can be had with leather and heated front seats with power adjustment. The front seats are shaped decently, but the narrow Colorado cockpit means everything’s slimmer than some drivers will like.

Rear should and leg room are tight too, even on crew cab models, which have upright seat backs that make long journeys cumbersome. Material quality is better than average with soft-touch plastics and smooth leather, but the design is uninspiring overall. 

Safety
The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado disappoints in its crash-test scores and in its safety equipment.

The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado has room for improvement in the safety department like many pickup trucks. As such, we give it X out of 10 here.

The most recent crash-test scores from the IIHS give the Colorado “Good” scores save for a “Marginal” in passenger-side small-overlap tests, and a “Poor” for its headlights. 

The NHTSA has given the Colorado a four-star overall crash test rating, with one star knocked off the frontal crash score and two off the rollover rating. Couple that with a distinct lack of active safety features, and the Colorado is a less-than-desirable family vehicle in terms of safety alone. Only the LT trim and above get forward-collision and lane-departure warnings as an option, and no Colorado has automatic emergency braking.

Features
With everything from a fleet model to an off-road special and numerous configurations, the 2020 Chevrolet Colorado is one of the most customizable new vehicles.

With five trims, three body configurations, three engines, three transmissions, two drivetrains, and a slew of options, the 2020 Chevrolet Colorado is as multi-faceted as most vehicles come. We give it 8 out of 10 for features. 

For 2020, the only changes to the Colorado are the addition of a standard tire fill alert system that honks the horn to let you know when the tires are at optimal pressure while filling. An updated optional infotainment system also joins the fold, but other than that, the Colorado is largely the same.

Base and Work Truck (WT) models are meant largely for fleet use, and come with either vinyl or cloth seats, air conditioning, a four-way power driver’s seat, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
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Most buyers will start with the LT trim, which includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen, an additional USB port in the rear, cruise control, leather steering wheel, and the option for heated seats, leather upholstery, Bose audio, a sunroof, and more.

The Z71 trim is the top of the standard Colorado range, and includes beefed-up suspension for better off-roading capability, a limited-slip rear differential, and improved styling tweaks.

Finally, the crazy ZR2 trim adds a wider track, raised suspension, locking differentials, skid plates, a chopped front bumper, a built-in light bar, and more, while the Bison package turns that truck from 10 to 11 in terms of factory off-road features.

Fuel Economy
The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado is helped by its diesel offering in the fuel economy department, but the popular V-6 isn’t so bad either.

The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado’s fuel economy hasn’t changed much from last year. We give it 4 out of 10 for fuel economy thanks to a thrifty diesel and a not-so-thirsty V-6.

Base inline-4-equipped Colorados manage 20 city, 26 highway, and 22 combined mpg regardless of whether you choose the manual or automatic 6-speed transmission. Those numbers drop to 19/24/21 mpg with four-wheel-drive equipped (automatic only).

Stepping up in power to the V-6 doesn’t carry much of a fuel economy penalty, however, with rear-wheel-drive models managing 18/25/20 mpg and four-wheel-drive models making 17/24/19 mpg.

The diesel is the efficiency star of the bunch, reaching 20/30/23 mpg in two-wheel-drive form and 19/28/22 mpg with four-wheel-drive.

Opting for the ZR2 with either the V-6 or diesel drags those numbers down with all the off-road goodies added, and gas-powered models get only 16/18/17 mpg while the diesel manages only 18/22/19 mpg.


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