4 Things to Know About the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71

If you have ever wanted to own a pickup truck, but can’t justify the expense or don’t need the full-size power and towing capability, Chevrolet has a solution for you.

Introducing the 2015 Chevy Colorado, dubbed the “little big truck.”

Targeted towards a new class of crossover consumers, the Colorado is considered an urban truck, a narrower version of its muscle-bound siblings, almost like an SUV with a cab attached to it.

Technically a midsize truck, the Chevy Colorado was just named Motor Trend’s “Truck of the Year,” and has been a serious seller for Chevy dealers everywhere.

Let’s find out why.

Size Matters for the Mid-Size Truck

2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71

Addressing a considerable gap in the truck market, Chevy returned to the long-abandoned mid size truck model in order to present an option other for consumers besides “bigger.”

The American supersize society has witnessed an increase over the past decade or so in what has been termed, a “truck bloat” trend.

Trucks just keep getting bigger to the point where today’s midsize truck is actually yesterday’s full-size truck.

Although 5.7 inches narrower than the Silverado 1500, the 2015 Colorado isn’t really all that small.  In fact, in that same comparison, the 2015 Colorado is 212.7 inches long, while the Silverado is only 205.6 inches in length.

As a class, trucks are distinguished and compared according to their Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, determined by the U.S. federal government’s truck classification system. A truck’s GVR is the maximum operating weight a truck can manage while driving, including the weight of the truck itself.

Small or midsize trucks are categorized as Class 1, able to tow a maximum of 6,000 pounds. Until the release of the 2015 Colorado, Class 1 trucks were basically limited to the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma.

Full size trucks like the Chevy Silverado are Class 2, able to tow between 6,001-10,000 pounds.

Regardless of its classification, the 2015 Colorado actually looks like the full size Chevy truck from 2000.

But by virtue of its narrower frame and tighter turning radius, the 2015 Colorado is easier to maneuver into and out of tight spots, especially in cities.

The Colorado Beats the Competition

Awarded Best in its Class for fuel efficiency, power, towing, payload, and warranty, the 2015 Colorado has some sharp specs.

Equipped with a 3.6-L V6 engine producing 305 horsepower with 269 lbs.-ft. of torque at 6,800 rpm – a higher rotational speed than its aging competitors, the Nissan Frontier at 261 horsepower and the Toyota Tacoma at 236 horsepower, the four-wheel drive crew cab Colorado is also available equipped with a 2.5-L four-cylinder engine able to produce 200 horsepower with 191 lbs.-ft. of torque.

Boasting 26 miles to the gallon, to the Tacoma’s 21 mpg, the 2015 Colorado is able to tow 7,000 pounds, an extra 500 over the Tacoma, and has a payload of 1,590 pounds to Tacoma’s 1,500.

The Tacoma only gets 236 horsepower, puny compared to the Colorado, and the Tacoma is priced at MSRP $21,650 to the Colorado’s base $20,995.

Gassing up will set you back about $55, just about half of what it takes to fuel up the Dodge RAM 1500 EcoDiesel, which averages about $100.

Though there isn’t much in the way of real competition for the midsize truck class, the Chevy Colorado 2015 is the best around.

The exterior paint palette includes a ten-color variety, including: Red Hot, Red Rock Metallic, Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White, Black, Cyber Gray Metallic, Rally Yellow, Brownstone Metallic, Laser Blue, and Rainforest Green Metallic.

Ultimate passenger comfort and convenience in mind, the 2015 Colorado is roomy, with heated sport cloth/leatherette front seats and spacious rear seating.

Technology is convenient and easy to access. There are four USB ports, two in the front and two in the back, which makes charging devices quick and easy.

The entire truck is equipped with 4G LTE high-speed WiFi, with connectivity for up to seven devices.

Safety upgrades include rear-view camera, Lane Departure and Forward Collision Warning.

Though already designed for off-road adventures, the 2015 Colorado comes in four trims, with the Z71 the most exciting off-roading machine.

The Colorado Z71 is Ready for Off-Roading

2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 - Offroad Truck

Though it still drives with the comfort and smooth handling expected of SUVs, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 is the official off-road package, equipped with additional off-road features.

Off-road Suspension

Although all Colorados feature coilover front shocks and rear leaf-spring shocks, the Z71 has “specially-calibrated twin-tube shocks,” according to GM. These shocks help the Z71 driver conquer bumpy terrain with a smoother ride.

4.10 Axle Ratio

This allows for more aggressive power from the throttle input, helping you ascend and reach the peak faster.

Hill Descent Control

Ideal for mountainous terrain, the Hill Descent Control automatically runs the brakes when descending hills or reversing at speeds under 20 mph.

Front Recovery Hooks

Not that you ever would, but in case you ever did get stuck on one of your adventures, these hooks are just the thing to pull you out of jam. Literally.

Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure Tires

The interior of which contains two high-tensile steel belts supported by a spiral-wrapped layer of Kevlar cord for added rigidity and strength, while maintaining the comfort of the ride.

The Z71 was really designed for off-roading explorations and starts at the base MSRP of $31,660.

Looking for even more off-road power?

Check out the Colorado Z71 Trail Boss edition, available in extended or crew cab with two or four-wheel drive and choice of long or short bed.

Upgraded to the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac 265/65R17 All-Terrain tires, wrapped around 17-inch wheels, the Trail Boss also has GearOn moveable cargo tie-down rings, load bed, and cargo divider.

You can also tell it apart from the original Z71 by its black fender flares and black Chevy bowties on the front and the back of the truck.

It’s Already a Top Seller

2015 Colorado Z71 - Fuel Efficiency

With all these bells and whistles, and award-winning praise, it comes as no surprise that the Colorado 2015 is a top seller.

The question then is why did it take Chevy so long to deliver?


Specifically, the fear that manufacturing a mid size truck model would potentially draw consumers away from its larger, and therefore, more lucrative full size truck line.

Remember, bigger is better, and certainly more expensive. Chevy wisely wanted to protect its best-selling bottom line, but seeing an opportunity, took a chance and released the mid-sized Colorado, anyway.

Turns out, Chevy had nothing to fear, other than meeting the overwhelming demand Chevy dealers have experienced since the Colorado’s release in March.

So far, Chevy has sold approximately 7,000 Colorados per month. Sales have surpassed Suburban, Chevy’s monster-sized SUV, making us wonder if maybe less really is more.

Even more impressive is the fact that 40 percent of the 2015 Colorado buyers are completely new to Chevrolet.

These numbers bode well for Chevy if it can turn these first-time consumers into faithful Chevy drivers, who specifically seek out the brand if and when their driving needs change.

Whether you’re a long-time loyal or among the growing prospective Chevy drivers, it’s worth your time to visit any of your local Chevy dealers and scope out the new Chevy Colorado, maybe even test drive the Colorado Z71.

See for yourself why this “little big truck” is such a powerhouse.