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2024 Chevrolet Colorado Road Test and Review

Brady Holt
by Brady Holt
May 19, 2024
2024 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 ・ Photo by Brady Holt

To some folks, a mid-size pickup truck is an unnecessary compromise. When you’re going for a truck, their argument goes, a full-size half-ton is more comfortable and more capable for not much more money. And many folks agree. At the American Big Three carmakers, full-size trucks far outsell mid-size models. 

But mid-size trucks have their own supporters as well. They provide the utility of an open bed, better towing and payload capacities than the typical SUV, and lower prices and less bulk than a full-size truck. Plus, some mid-size truck buyers like the scrappy, rough-and-tumble feel you get of a smaller pickup. For this review, we tested one of the most popular mid-size pickups: the 2024 Chevrolet Colorado. Fully redesigned last year, then updated with a bigger digital gauge cluster this year, the latest Colorado aims to be a fully modern truck that remembers its hardworking roots. Keep reading to see if it lives up to that goal and whether it sounds like the right pickup for you. 

One Body Style, Two Engines

The 2024 Chevrolet Colorado is priced from $29,500. Every model is a four-door crew cab with a 5-foot-long bed. A turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder making 237 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque is standard equipment, but most Colorados use its TurboMax variant with 310 hp and 430 lb-ft. An eight-speed automatic is the only transmission, but you can choose between between rear- and four-wheel drive.

Trim levels are the base WT, the everyday-civilized LT ($31,900), and the off-road-focused Trail Boss ($37,300), Z71 ($40,200), and ZR2 ($46,800). Each trim level is available with thousands of dollars worth of options, so if you get carried away, you can spend a lot of money for a truck this size. Our Z71 test vehicle came to $46,475 with the TurboMax engine, four-wheel drive, heated and ventilated leather seats, and advanced safety technologies like automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping steering assistance, and blind-spot monitoring, along with the mandatory $1,595 destination charge. But it didn’t come with a sunroof, which would have been another $1,000.

2024 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Squared-Off Style

The previous-generation Colorado looked gentle by pickup standards, with a rounded-off front end rather than an in-your-face “look, I’m tough” vibe. Today’s Colorado aims to split the difference. The front end is more upright and chiseled, with high, squared-off headlights. Yet in our opinion, it stops well short of garish. Crisply sculpted wheel wells lend it some subtle character along the sides, too. And we appreciate the choice of bright colors that includes our test vehicle’s Glacier Blue along with red, yellow, and bronze. Our chief complaint is that the Colorado now looks much more similar to its GMC Canyon cousin; in the previous generation, the two trucks looked nothing alike from the front. 

The Colorado’s appearance varies by trim level. The WT and Trail Boss have gray plastic for nearly their entire front ends, from the bottom of the bumper all the way up to the high-mounted headlights. And the Trail Boss and ZR2 have extra attitude from a 3-inch-wider stance and 2-inch lift. 

2024 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Big-Screen Cabin

The previous Colorado’s interior was all about simplicity over style. It had extra-easy controls, but its casually rounded dashboard earned few points for its looks. It was neither luxury-dressy nor macho-tough. It was just... there. 

The 2024 Colorado aims to be noticed. Instead of the old model’s choice of 7-inch or 8-inch touchscreens and analog gauges, the Colorado pairs an 11.3-inch touchscreen with an 11-inch digital gauge cluster whose splashy graphics dance to life together when you get into your truck. (The bigger gauge cluster is newly standard this year; for 2023, it was included only on the top ZR2 model.) The dash itself is purposeful and angular, building the screens into a shape that recalls a Chevy Silverado from the early 2000s. And the big new gauge cluster lets you choose among a variety of configurations – you can mimic old-school dials or take a more digital approach. But you now need to go through the screen for more functions than before. Buttons and knobs still control the audio volume and most climate settings, but you’ll be diving through menus to reset the trip computer or even turn the headlights off. 

2024 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Compact Accommodations

The Colorado has more amenities than ever to keep the driver comfortable. Power-adjustable seats with heating, ventilation, and memory settings; a sunroof; and leather upholstery can be welcome upgrades. And the front seats are agreeably comfortable and spacious, though without the couch-like spread-out feel of a full-size truck. 

The rear seat is more compact. It has shrunk a bit, in fact, from the previous-generation Colorado. We could fit back there, but without any knee clearance to spare. Room for your cargo is also limited. Every Colorado has a 5-foot-long bed, while the competing Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier have a choice of 5-foot and 6-foot beds. We did appreciate the Chevy’s optional dampened tailgate and the lockable in-tailgate StowFlex compartment. You can also lock the tailgate into a half-open position to eke out a bit of extra room for long items. Most Colorados can handle about 1,400 pounds of payload with the base engine and about 1,600 pounds with the TurboMax (varying slightly by trim level), while the ZR2’s suspension – optimized for off-roading rather than hauling – limits it to 1,280 pounds. That’s more than the Nissan Frontier and Jeep Gladiator and roughly equivalent to a Toyota Tacoma, though less than the newly redesigned Ford Ranger. 

2024 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Turbocharged Performance

As we mentioned, the Colorado has a choice of two tunes to its four-cylinder engine: 237 horsepower and 310 horsepower. This is a quick little truck, especially in TurboMax form. And it can tow a healthy 7,700 pounds (or 3,500 pounds with the base engine tune and 6,000 pounds in the ZR2). That ties with the Jeep Gladiator for best-in-class towing performance. And gas mileage is a decent 20 to 22 mpg in mixed driving on most trim levels (less with off-road tires). Our 4WD Z71 test vehicle gets an EPA-estimated 18 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined, and we matched that average during our weeklong test. 

Still, we missed the healthy sound of the last V6 Colorado we tested. Some other four-cylinder trucks also sound better, too. The Colorado is neither extra-quiet nor purposefully roaring, and it whirs when you unlock it to prime its fuel pump. All this fuss, and the old V6 was nearly as economical and just as quick, too. The four-cylinder Tacoma and Ranger edge out the Colorado’s fuel efficiency, and the V6 Frontier is just about as economical (though not as quick). 

2024 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Gentle Ride, Hearty Capability

Even in its off-road forms, the Colorado isn’t a rough-riding truck. It jiggles a bit on smooth pavement, but it’s easy to drive and cruises easily over bumps. The steering is light and natural, and this isn’t a clumsy truck to take around a corner. We remember the old Colorado having even better on-road ride and handling, though. 

Still, the Colorado is gentle when you consider its capability. In addition to its payload and towing limits, the Colorado is an off-road machine. The Trail Boss pictured here – in addition to its punchy name – lets you get extra capability from the factory without paying extra for unrelated frippery. In addition to the 3-inch-wider track and 2-inch lift, the Trail Boss brings you a front skid plate, an automatic locking rear differential, and 32-inch all-terrain tires. The ZR2 offers even more, including an adaptive suspension system, electronic locking front and rear differentials, additional underbody protection, and even bigger tires, along with a selectable “Baja” driving mode. We briefly tested the Trail Boss, and it’s just as good on the road as the Z71, whose main difference from the LT is off-road shocks and no two-wheel-drive option.   

2023 Chevrolet Colorado Trail Boss ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2023 Chevrolet Colorado Trail Boss ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Colorado vs. the Competition

The Chevrolet Colorado’s closest competitors are the newly redesigned Toyota Tacoma (now also with a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine) and the newly redesigned Ford Ranger (now with a V6 option as well as last year’s turbo four). Until now, the Colorado was the best to drive, the Ranger was the most modern, and the Tacoma had the most old-school character. Now, they’ve become more similar. As we’ve mentioned throughout this review, different trucks win on different parts of the spec sheet, or they might make it easier to find one feature or another. 

The Colorado’s other competitors vary more. The Nissan Frontier is an old-school truck with a simple dashboard, heavy steering, and a loud V6 engine. It won’t win a drag race or a towing and hauling competition, but it’s a simple and relatively affordable utility tool. The Jeep Gladiator has become a tempting value option due to frequent dealer discounts, and it has the cool factor of a removable roof and doors, but it’s a clumsier vehicle to drive every day. And the car-based Honda Ridgeline and Ford Maverick are delightful on-road vehicles that can’t do truck things as well as the Colorado. 

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2022 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X ・ Photo by Brady Holt

Mighty But Mild

The 2024 Chevrolet Colorado is a highly capable machine. It can tow, haul, and go off-road, and its widely available TurboMax engine makes it quick. And it looks tougher than ever. 

Driving the Colorado is a milder experience, though. When you’re on the road, it’s utterly unremarkable – for better or for worse. When capability matters less than personality, the Colorado belongs on your mid-size truck shopping list. 

2024 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 ・  Photo by Brady Holt

2024 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 ・ Photo by Brady Holt


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