Anticipation for a Chevrolet Colorado refresh was rampant until a few weeks ago, when we discovered that a mid-cycle enhancement is not in the cards for the 2020 model year. Let’s examine the lay of the land, and have a look at what to expect from GM’s midsize truck in the near future.
The State Of Affairs
The Chevrolet Colorado, along with its corporate cousin – the GMC Canyon, has been around since the 2015 model year in North America. GM sold a combined 168,3334 units of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon in the United States and roughly another 20,000 in Canada during the 2018 calendar year. These results make GM the second-best-selling midsize truck maker in the U.S., second only to Toyota, whose Tacoma delivered 245,659 units. The next best-selling model was the Nissan Frontier with 79,646 deliveries.
Sales Numbers - Midsize Mainstream Pickup Trucks - Q1 2019 - USA
|Q4 18 / Q4 17
|Q4 18 SHARE
|Q4 17 SHARE
|YTD 18 / YTD 17
But the Colorado and Canyon now face new contenders in a revitalized segment, with the new Ford Ranger and all-new Jeep Gladiator, as well as the upcoming redesign of the Nissan Frontier. There’s also a potential new entry from Volkswagen. But GM isn’t afraid of the newfound competition, as it’s keenly aware that it has a highly attractive product that occupies a sweet-spot in the segment. Sure, one can nit-pick about the Colorado’s shortcomings, but they’re all relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, especially as the truck is selling well while winning comparison tests left and right.
That said, the latest sales report for the second quarter of 2019 does show a 23 percent decrease in Colorado sales volume, while the Canyon jumped 23 percent. For the time being, let’s attribute that to a temporary anomaly.
No More Refresh
We have learned that GM is planning to skip a Chevrolet Colorado refresh altogether; the same holds true for any rumored refresh of the Canyon. Instead, The General plans to dedicate resources to overhaul (redesign and re-engineer) the duo for the next generation, while giving the current trucks small tweaks to the fascia for the 2021 model year.
From what know at this point, that overhaul is set to take place on or after the 2023 calendar year. We’re heard of two vastly different ways in which GM will treat the future Chevy Colorado and future GMC Canyon.
The first is that the duo will ride on a slightly updated variant of the same GM 31XX platform that underpins the current models. Potentially called 31XX-B or 31XX-2, our sources tell us that improvements to the architecture would be more along the lines of production efficiency, given that the architecture is far from a problem area on the current Colorado and Canyon, and therefore needs the least amount of improvement.
The second direction that we have heard is under consideration in regards to taking the next-gen Colorado and Canyon is to completely re-engineer the duo on the upcoming GM VSS-T architecture/vehicle set. The platform is also expected to underpin all next-cycle GM body-on-frame vehicles, including pickups and SUVs. Note that the GM’s all-new 2019 Silverado and 2019 Sierra, along with their upcoming SUV variants – the 2021 Tahoe, 2021 Suburban, 2021 Yukon and 2021 Escalade – do not ride on VSS-T, but rather on the T1 platform.
From what our sources tell us, The General is currently leaning toward the former option of updating the existing 31XX platform rather than overhauling the pickup on VSS-T, but that could still change.
No matter which platform it ends up riding on, the future Chevrolet Colorado will become a more global vehicle as a result of the dissolution of GM’s partnership with Isuzu. While the Colorado sold in North America will likely continue to differ slightly from the model sold overseas (in Southeast Asia, Australia, and South America), the two versions of the next-gen truck will be more alike than the current models.
Electrification On The Table
One rather interesting question is whether the next-gen models, will have some form of electrification. Given GM’s strong commitment to a zero-emissions future, we wouldn’t be surprised to see some form of a hybrid system, at least in one way, shape, or form. As of this writing, we have heard whispers of a mild-hybrid setup being on the table.
For now, here’s to hoping that GM’s decision to forego a Chevrolet Colorado refresh will allow it to remain successful in the segment as it fights the wide batch of newfound rivals from Ford, Jeep, and Nissan.