Midsize Chevy Colorado Bigger Than Full Size Trucks Of The Past

Greg Zyla
As most of my readers know, I also do Test Drive articles every week for many newspapers. And, while driving the second generation Chevy Colorado with the Z71 suspension recently, I realized just how big today’s midsize trucks have become.
Today’s modern Chevy Colorado pickups are available in either extended cab or crew cab design as no regular cab is available any longer. The Colorado can be ordered in long box (6’2”) or short box (5’2”) versions, the latter my tester version configuration. Since its debut back in 2004 as a compact pickup that replaced the S10, Colorado has grown in size and popularity.
Even under the hood, things keep progressing. From its initial Inline-4-cylinder power to a popular and sturdy Inline-5 cylinder (yes a 5-cylinder), the Colorado powertrains along the way featured several V6 designs and even the LS style 5.3-liter V8s from 2009 through 2012. Through the tweaking and re-tweaking, it was clear the designers at Chevrolet were serious about its Colorado and rightfully so.
Today the second generation Colorado and sibling GMC Canyon have settled on an engine lineup that includes the trusty Ecotec Inline-4, a GM exclusive Duramax Turbo Diesel Inline-4, or the most popular of the three engines that comes in a double overhead cam 3.6-liter V-6 design.
And to get to the point of this article, the Colorado wheelbase grew from 2004’s standard cab 111.2-inches to its current “midsize” platform 128-inches, and this chassis is now utilized for all Colorados be it extended or crew cab length. Unlike its first generation Colorado, the standard cab is no longer available.
So, it’s clear the new generation Colorado introduced in 2015 was a big topic when discussing stature, especially when compared to pickups available from 1972 to 1980. For example, a full-size 1980 Dodge D-Series pickup with a 6.5 ft. box rode on a wheelbase of 115-inches, more than a foot shorter than today’s midsize Colorado.
So, for all you Colorado enthusiasts that noticed a major move upward when the new generation arrived, you are correct that this is the biggest Colorado ever built. Noteworthy is the popular 1978-1979 Lil’ Red Express Dodge was a D-Series short box and rode on a 115-inch wheelbase.
As for sales, a record 134,842 Colorado pickups were sold in 2018. When combined with sibling GMC Canyon sales of 33,492, this overall record year came in at 168,334 units sold, besting the new model 2015 sales of a combined 114,507 units. These are very impressive results and really the only numbers that matter to those sitting around the GM Executive Board table.
To add icing to the cake, the Colorado is on the receiving end of the most prestigious magazine award given yearly, namely back-to-back Motor Trend Magazine “Truck of the Year” awards in 2015 and 2016. The previous best sales year was 163,204 combined units sold in 2005 when it was still a compact.
Colorado offers room for five in the crew cab and room for four in the two-door extended cab arrangement. Colorado continues to feature the Chevy infotainment system that boasts an 8-inch touch screen, 6-speaker standard stereo system, SiriusXM, Apple/Android capability, 4G WiFi, and easy to use stereo and accessory controls. It features all the modern conveniences of course.
But something that 1972 to 1980 Dodge D-Series trucks provide I applaud, that the 2019 Chevy Colorado also features; specifically an old fashioned ignition key to start your truck!
Unlike today’s push button start craze, you won’t accidentally leave your key FOB on the kitchen table after warming your Colorado up on a cold morning and then driving away. Or, something I’ve done a few times, your keys are in your jacket when you valet park resulting in the driver trying to track you down so he can park your car. If your Colorado is running, the keys have to be in the ignition! Yes, it’s that simple.
I’m not sure what the future holds, but I now know that the 1973 Dodge D-100 slant-6 pickup that was bought brand new by my dad was way smaller than the Colorado I just tested, and lower to the ground, too.
But they both had ignition keys…and this is good.

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