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Open Road

Chevy Colorado is Rockies tough

Chevy Colorado is Rockies tough

March 03, 2006|By KEN CHESTER JR. / Motor News Media

With crisp exterior sheetmetal that projects a modern, handsome and upscale image, the Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck continues to win converts since its debut in 2004.

Available in LS and LT trim levels, the Colorado crew cab is manufactured at the automaker's Shreveport, La., assembly plant. The midsize Chevrolet pickup is available in Z85, Sport and Z71 models and two- or four-wheel drive configurations.

Power for the pickup is delivered by two inline powerplants: a Vortec 2.8-liter four-cylinder and a Vortec 3.5-liter five-cylinder engine. Both engines share a common design as part of the same engine family, derived from the inline Vortec 4200 six-cylinder engine used in the Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV. Torque is communicated to the ground via the standard smooth-shifting Hydra-Matic 4L60-E four-speed automatic transmission, the only transmission available for Crew Cab models.

Chevrolet developed three different suspensions for the Colorado ? Z85 (standard suspension), ZQ8 (sport suspension) and Z71 (off-road suspension). For those motorists who like the high stance, imposing look and rugged suspension of the all-wheel-drive model but do not want the cost or complexity, Chevrolet offers the Z71 2WD off-road suspension option.

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The Colorado's solid road manners start with body-on-frame construction. A steel ladder-type frame serves as a rigid foundation. Cross members provide excellent overall stiffness resulting in a smooth ride.

On the road the Colorado crew cab equipped with the 3.5-liter five-cylinder engine delivers a performance that is solid, predictable and manageable at speed. Firm but not punishing, handling and control are safe and sure.

For those motorists who desire more, Chevrolet offers the Colorado Xtreme. Taking the Chevrolet midsize truck further into sportiness, the Xtreme combines the capable overall package of the Colorado pickup with sports car-like handling and contemporary sport truck styling. Available on the two-wheel-drive Crew Cab, the edgy pickup truck starts with a ZQ8 suspension, lowered 1.6 inches, with special exterior enhancements.

Suspension enhancements for the Xtreme include front and rear stabilizer bars, 18-inch alloy wheels and low-profile performance tires. Exterior design cues include a unique body-color front fascia with foglamps; rear fascia and rocker extension moldings; rear tailgate spoiler; new front grille, monochromatic paint scheme; and special badging. The Xtreme is available in the following exterior colors: Victory Red, Black, White, Superior Blue and Yellow. The Colorado Xtreme also includes special instrument cluster graphics and interior badging.

Inside the cabin Chevrolet engineers created a tastefully useful environment. The 60/40 split front cloth seats are comfortable, with a commanding view of the road. The center armrest doubles as storage space. The well-laid-out dashboard features large, easy-to-read displays and user-friendly controls and switches.

Dual powerpoints are located in the center of the dashboard, while dual cupholders are built into the center console of the front seat. The map pockets at the bottom of the doors are designed to hold a can or bottle.

Access to the rear seating is facilitated by two full-size doors. The split 60/40 rear bench seat folds down flat to yield additional space to haul cargo that needs to be under lock and key.

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