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#8

in 2011 Compact Pickup Trucks

Avg. Price Paid: $12,127 - $21,684
Original MSRP: $17,145 - $29,075
MPG: 18 City / 25 Hwy
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2011 Chevrolet Colorado Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The Colorado has adequate performance for a truck, according to most reviewers, but the competition is more comfortable and car-like.

  • "The driving experience is also subpar, with a bouncy ride and plenty of road noise while traveling at highway speeds." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The Colorado's base engine is a 2.9-liter four-cylinder that makes 185 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. Slotted in the middle is a 3.7-liter five-cylinder that makes 242 horsepower and 242 pound-feet of torque. The top-of-the-line V8 engine makes 300 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard with the V8 and five-cylinder, while a five speed manual comes with the four-cylinder.  

While reviewers contend that the four- and five-cylinder engines are adequate for around-town driving, they're split on the V8.  While some like its performance (especially when matched with the ZQ8 suspension), others question the decision to release a larger engine in an era of fluctuating gas prices.  Others say that, with the V8, there's not much (including price) to distinguish the Colorado from its larger sibling, the Chevy Silverado -- except the fact that the Silverado is more comfortable and capable.  Some reviewers say that if you're looking at a V8 Colorado, trading up to the Silverado may be worth it.

Still some buyers may be downsizing to a compact truck from a full-size model to save on gas. The EPA rates combined fuel economy the for the four-cylinder Colorado as 21 mpg when equipped with the automatic or manual transmission.  The five-cylinder gets a combined rating of 19 mpg and the V8 achieves 16 combined mpg.  That's the same as what a Silverado with the same engine gets. 

  • "There's a pleasing amount of reserve power left at higher engine speeds for merging onto the Interstate or overtaking another vehicle on a winding two-lane." -- Truck Trend
  • "With either transmission, the four-cylinder has adequate power for around town driving." Consumer Guide
  • "It took a few dozen miles to adjust to driving the Colorado. The V-8 has lots of power, but there wasn't a way to truly test all of the horses under the hood. Acceleration was good, but other trucks feel faster."  -- Detroit News
  • "Colorado's inline four- and five-cylinder engines are reasonably smooth, though acceleration and hauling performance are lackluster compared to those offered by the larger V6s of competitors." -- Edmunds
  • "The 300-hp V-8 is the big news for performance enthusiasts and those with more demanding utility needs." -- Cars.com

Handling and Braking

In general, reviewers say the Colorado's ride and handling are adequate for a truck, but many buyers will want something better. Most reviewers, however, say the Colorado feels solid over different types of terrain. The optional ZQ8 suspension wins mostly positive reviews.

  • "The driving experience is also subpar, with a bouncy ride and plenty of road noise while traveling at highway speeds." -- Edmunds
  • "Still evident, however, are abrupt vertical motions over bumps and dips, with some jittery feel on badly broken surfaces. The base suspension furnishes the best ride. Colorado and Canyon's available off-road suspension grows tiresome on long trips." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The steering drew criticism for its high effort and numb feel." -- Car and Driver

Hauling and Towing

The Chevrolet Colorado has decent hauling and towing capabilities, though its exact capabilities vary widely depending on if you get a regular, crew or extended cab, two or four-wheel drive, and what engine you choose.  A regular cab Colorado with two-wheel drive can tow up to 3,400 pounds and haul 1,422 pounds. A V8 crew cab Colorado can tow up to 6,000 pounds and haul 1,250 pounds.

Next Steps: 2011 Chevrolet Colorado

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