Chevrolet Colorado -- Photo Gallery: Small isn’t what it used to be. Today’s small soft drink from the fast-food joint is yesterday’s large, and the small cars and trucks of 2007 are equivalent to midsize models of decades past. The pickup truck segment, especially, has seen growth, literally and figuratively, with powerful engines and plentiful room for up to five passengers. Among them are the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins, attractive enough models that have suffered from relatively weak powerplants. Consequently, GM has added some gusto under the hood for 2007, though ultimately it’s not enough to compete with brutes such as the Nissan Frontier.
Last year’s Colorado/Canyon was equipped with either a 2.8-liter four-cylinder engine offering 175 horsepower and 185 lb.-ft. of torque or a 3.5-liter five-cylinder that put out 220 horses and 225 lb.-ft. of torque. Transmissions included a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. For 2007, the four-cylinder has grown to 2.9 liters and now boasts 185 ponies and 190 lb.-ft. of torque, while the five-cylinder jumps to 3.7 liters, registering 242 for both horsepower and torque. Transmission choices remain the same.
Each model comes in a variety of configurations, from basic rear-wheel-drive regular cabs to extended cabs and well-equipped four-wheel-drive crew cab models. In bare-bones guise, the Colorado/Canyon provides buyers with the utility of a truck and little else, though antilock brakes, a radio, a tilt steering wheel with cruise control, and air conditioning are standard. Options include upgraded sound systems, side curtain airbags, and extravagancies like rubber floor mats.
One notch up from the el cheapo model, the 2007 Chevrolet Colorado LS / GMC Canyon SL adds cloth upholstery and swaps 15-inch alloy wheels in for the usual steel rims. Little else changes, though the number of options increases. For 2007, LS/SL models can be equipped with XM satellite radio, a power sunroof, and more.
Buyers of the Chevrolet Colorado LT or 2007 GMC Canyon SLE will need to choose a specific trim (the two-wheel-drive Canyon regular cab, for instance, is available in SLE1, SLE2, and SLE3 trim levels). All versions get upgraded seat cloth and interior trim treatments, as well as improved sound quality and a standard CD player. The higher trims add items such as a sliding rear window; power mirrors, door locks, and windows; a leather-wrapped steering wheel; and an auto-dimming interior mirror with an exterior temperature gauge and compass. OnStar and various convenience packages are optional.
At the top of the crop are the 2007 Chevrolet Colorado LT3 and GMC Canyon SLT trims. Standard on the Colorado LT3 are 15-inch chrome alloy wheels, front fog lights, and carpeted floor mats. These are the only Colorado and Canyon models that can be fitted with optional leather upholstery.
If you’re interested in a 2007 Chevrolet Colorado, plan on dealing with a window sticker that reads at least $14,495. That’s the base price for a 2WD regular cab without any options, and includes a $685 destination charge. Prices gradually rise with the selection of higher trims, drivetrains, and body styles, with the 4WD Crew Cab LT3 coming in at $26,205, including destination but not any options. The base GMC Canyon is also priced at $14,495, though the top-of-the-line SLT starts at $27,070.
What makes the 2007 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon trucks worth discussing are the upgraded engines. During a short drive in a Canyon equipped with the 242-horsepower 3.7-liter five-cylinder engine, we found there was enough power for routine city driving and highway merging, though the five-banger’s inherent coarseness remains, and despite added oomph, it still feels sluggish compared to the V6-powered Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. Towing 4,000 pounds is likely far from effortless. Also of note, the ride is comfortable and controlled, the steering has a light on-road feel but is suitable for a light-duty truck, and the brakes require too much pressure before offering an adequate response.