In the desert wasteland that is the mid-size truck market, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and 2015 GMC Canyon appear like an oasis. Summoned from overseas to be thoroughly re-worked for an American audience and stand beside decade-old options from Toyota (the Tacoma) and Nissan (the Frontier), the Colorado and the Canyon represent a gamble from GM: specifically, that there exists a portion of the truck-buying public who are underserved not just by current entry-level models but also by the full-size juggernauts that dominate the industry.
Neither Chevrolet nor GMC buy-in to the standard argument trotted out whenever the state of the mid-size truck industry is lamented. 'Who wants a pickup that can’t match the towing and hauling capacity of a larger model but offers very little additional fuel efficiency advantage or cost savings to compensate for its reduced practicality?' goes the old refrain. The answer, according to GM, can be found in the many customers out there who are shopping for a vehicle that fits their active lifestyle, one that drives more like a crossover than a truck but provides the versatility of an open pickup bed and the ability to tow the occasional trailer. They aren’t looking to get behind the wheel of one of the gargantuan land-monsters that modern full-size haulers have evolved into, and don’t have the space to park one even if they were.
It’s a compelling – and risky – position for a manufacturer to take. After having driven both the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon in and around the coastal community of Del Mar, California, it also feels like the right one.