Can a city girl used to hugging corners in a compact sports sedan enjoy driving a mid-sized truck? One with some trail-ready chops? That was the question I had for myself recently as I pushed the remote start key fob of the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 4X4 Crew Cab Short Bed. Whereupon I quickly discovered the Colorado’s allure.
2019 Chevrolet Colorado
Smaller than its big brother the Silverado, the Chevrolet Colorado is quite simply a truck that conquers suburban roads and urban parking lots with ease — and looks good doing it in the Z71’s trail-ready badging that gives it more appeal than your basic workhorse.
The Z71 4X4 Short Bed comes with a standard 3.6L V6 engine, but you can also opt for a diesel. (Check out our review of its sibling the 2018 GMC Canyon Diesel here.) The V6 mated to an 8-speed automatic delivers 308-horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. It felt just right for a truck this size.
The Colorado delivers a great, quiet ride and makes a comfortable daily driver. It’s somewhat surprisingly more car- than truck-like, which is perhaps why I felt at home behind the wheel, happily towering above the sedans beside me.. The ride quality is excellent and it tackled potholes with ease without being bouncy thanks to its just right suspension. (If you are so inclined for trail time, the Z71’s off-road suspension package with automatic locking rear differential includes gas-charged shocks, an underbody transfer case and hill descent control.)
New for 2019
Due for a refresh in 2020, the current lineup doesn’t see huge changes (which is unfortunate when it comes to driver assist features, but more on that later.) It comes with an infotainment upgrade, some new paint colors, wheels and skid plates. A new HD rear view camera is now standard on certain trims. Of course, the Colorado continues to offer multiple configurations for its trims: Base, WT, LT, my Z71 test vehicle and the serious off-roading ZR2.
The Z71 is a good-looking truck that looks appealing in new for 2019 Pacific Blue Metallic paint. 17-inch dark argent cast metallic cast aluminum wheels are a perfect complement. The whole look of the front end – with its projector headlights, daytime running lamps and front fog lamps – is sharp.
Body-colored mirror caps, door handles and rear bumper make it look city-slick. While my test vehicle didn’t have side steps, though they are available, it did have a standard CornerStep rear bumper beneath the locking EZ lift and lower tailgate, which as advertised, was easy to operate.
Comfortable (Mostly) Interior
The jet black interior of the Colorado Z71 isn’t terribly fancy, with no shortage of plastic surfaces, but it’s comfortable and succeeds in being somewhat stylish thanks to its two-tone cloth and leatherette seats along with some silver blue accents on the center stack. Chrome adorns the inside door handles. Heated front bucket seats are power adjustable with lumbar support as well. The crew cab is roomy in front and back, but be warned, the rear bench seat is pretty upright (ahem, not that comfortable), perhaps to discourage slouching.
The Z71’s manual tilt and telescopic leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel was basic, with the usual steering-wheel mounted controls. Its gear shifter on the center console easy to use. The tachometer was bright, colorful and easy to read. You could easily scroll through options on the center digital driver information display. A cool technology feature is a speed warning setting. You can set a speed, say to 75, and the system will alert you if you pass it. It lacks push-button start, but you can start it remotely with the key fob, or use a key the old fashioned way. A keyless entry pad is available. Another thing missing was a driver’s side grab handle. My 70-something dad could have used one to hoist himself up into the truck to check it out.
A new 8-inch HD color touchscreen comes standard on the Z71. It displays Chevy’s Infotainment 3 System Plus with impressive voice recognition that worked like a charm. The touchscreen, inset into the console, is responsive, but I would call the screen fairly busy. I had a frustrating time seeking out the time stamp, relegated to the lower right hand corner. The system features Bluetooth along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The Z71’s standard 6-speaker radio system is basic but you can spend $500 to upgrade it to a Bose Premium System. The Z71 comes with wireless charging, a 4G LTE Wifi Hotspot and multiple USB ports. Onstar and Sirius are available. My test model didn’t have standard navigation but it’s available.
I can’t figure out why there is an abysmal lack of standard or even available safety features in the Colorado lineup. Forward Warning Collision and Lane Departure Warning are only available as part of a $690 Safety Assist package on the LT trim. Not even an option for the Z71. It does come with standard Teen Driver and a new HD rear view camera with standard Rear Park Assist.
What You’ll Pay
The base 2019 Colorado starts from $20,500. My Z71, equipped with a $250 trailering package and a $135 exhaust tip, stickers for $38,280 with destination.
In the end, the Chevrolet Colorado proves you don’t have to be a die-hard truck person or need something to haul and tow in to enjoy a ride in a good ol’ pickup truck. The Z71 makes a great daily driver and I’ll admit that, for me, its badging gave it that little something extra special.