After spending a week with the 2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison, taking it off-roading, sampling its road manners, enjoying the full plethora of toys AEV has grafted onto the truck, and wondering why our Bison tester doesn’t have a snorkel air intake, we’re realizing how competitive the Colorado still is even if it’s coming of age.
The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado now faces newfound rivals like the Ford Ranger and Jeep Gladiator. Meanwhile, the Honda Ridgeline, Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier are still hanging in there. Yet, the small Chevy is still a great proposal, outranking its competition in the areas that matter. Let’s begin by comparing available engines. Our test unit is powered by the 3.6L LGZ V6 engine mated to the GM 8-speed automatic transmission, but the Colorado comes with two other engine choices, something none of its rivals currently offer. Have a look:
Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon engines vs competition
|Truck||Engine Choice 1||Engine Choice 2||Engine Choice 3|
|Chevrolet Colorado||2.5L I4 - 195 hp / 191 lb-ft||3.6L V6 - 308 hp / 275 lb-ft||2.8L turbo-diesel I4 - 181 hp / 369 lb-ft|
|Ford Ranger||2.3L turbo I4 - 270 hp / 310 lb-ft||N/A||N/A|
|GMC Canyon||2.5L I4 - 195 hp / 191 lb-ft||3.6L V6 - 308 hp / 275 lb-ft||2.8L turbo-diesel I4 - 181 hp / 369 lb-ft|
|Jeep Gladiator||3.6L V6 - 285 hp / 260 lb-ft||3.0L turbo-diesel V6 - 260 hp / 442 lb-ft (avail. 2020)||N/A|
|Honda Ridgeline||3.5L V6 - 280 hp / 262 lb-ft||N/A||N/A|
|Toyota Tacoma||2.7L I4 - 159 hp / 180 lb-pi||3.5L V6 - 278 hp / 265 lb-ft||N/A|
|Nissan Frontier||2.5L I4 - 152 hp / 171 lb-pi||4.0L V6 - 261 hp / 281 lb-ft||N/A|
We can clearly see in this table that the Colorado not only offers more diversity in engine selection, but its naturally aspirated V6 pumps out more horsepower than the competition. Only the Nissan Frontier churns out more torque at 281 lb-ft. Special mention to the Ford Ranger’s 310 lb-ft of torque from a turbo four!
The Chevrolet Colorado, along with its GMC Canyon corporate cousin, are currently the only trucks in the segment to offer a diesel option – the 2.8L LWN four-cylinder that’s part of the Duramax engine family. It is however important to underline that Jeep will introduce a turbo-diesel V6 to the Gladiator by the end of the 2020 model year.
Now, let’s have a look at maximum towing ratings for each truck. Since the Colorado is currently the only small truck to offer both a gasoline and turbodiesel engine, we decided to split towing ratings for each engine.
Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon Towing Ratings vs. competition
|Truck||Max Towing Rating|
|Chevrolet Colorado V6||7,000 lbs / 3,175 kg|
|Chevrolet Colorado Duramax||7,700 lbs / 3,492 kg|
|Ford Ranger||7,500 lbs / 3,402 kg|
|GMC Canyon V6||7,000 lbs / 3,175 kg|
|GMC Canyon Duramax||7,700 lbs / 3,492 kg|
|Jeep Gladiator||7,650 lbs / 3,470 kg|
|Honda Ridgeline||5,000 lbs / 2,268 kg|
|Toyota Tacoma V6||6,500 lbs / 2,948 kg|
|Nissan Frontier V6||6,490 lbs / 2,930 kg|
We can observe that the V6-powered Colorado is slightly outgunned by its fresh competition – the Jeep Gladiator and Ford Ranger – but the Duramax-powered truck is still the segment leader. That said, even if it’s been on the market since 2014, the Colorado V6 still outperforms the Tacoma, the Ridgeline and the Frontier in towing.
Add to that a choice of two cabin and box choices, something not offered by Jeep, Ford and Honda, as well as a very capable ZR2 variant which will outperform all other trucks in this category in a muddy trail, except for the Gladiator, and the Chevrolet Colorado comes through as the Swiss army knife of the midsize truck category.