Chevrolet Colorado Muscle Power: Taming the Rapid Colorado

Published on March 18th, 2015

The Chevrolet brand in Malaysia is just in it’s infancy as it’s introduction to our shores are as recent as the early part of the Noughties. But with Naza Quest at it’s helm, the brand seems to be proactive in engaging the consumer with attractive model offerings.

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To further push the brand into the Malaysian market, GM through Chevrolet via its local importer and distributor Naza Quest Sdn. Bhd. are introducing models that are relevant to the local market and stands quite popular these days, which are pick-up trucks.

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To further pick-up on the trend here in Southeast Asia, Chevrolet has kindly loaned us the top-of-the-line global market Chevrolet Colorado 2.8 LTZ Turbodiesel 4×4 Muscle Power. Yeah, you read that right. Talking about American stereotypes but anyhow, let’s see if this Chevy offering really cuts the bread for us.

Exterior

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When you first laid eyes on the Chevy Colorado you would come up with many superlatives that would clearly represent it’s American roots as it is huge. Nothing can truly describe how big this is.

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In fact, it is one of the biggest pick-ups there is in it’s class in Malaysia. With the chunky styling of its front cab which comes in Extended Double Cab form, this pick-up can surely be classed as a supertanker.

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The no-frills exterior design clearly represents the workhorse nature of it’s intended use. The styling is truly an American stereotype as you have it with a blocky front-end that would make you feel as though the car comes with it’s own postcode coupled with it’s long bed that could potentially fit any cargo you can throw at it.

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The Colorado is certainly huge never mind the fact that in its home-market, it is only marketed as a mid-size pick-up offering. One wonders how big a full-size pickup truly is.

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As the car is the top-of-the-line model, the car comes with 17-inch rims as opposed to the others which gets 16-inch alloys as standard, with bedliners and the addition of roof rails and sidesteps for easy reach into the main cabin area.

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The pick-up comes with halogen projector headlamps with front foglamps and LED tail lights and power-operated side-view mirrors with LED repeater signals.

Interior

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The substantial size does pay dividends in the interior of this pick-up as it is unnaturally sedan like with how much acreage you can put in the passenger compartment.

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It is surprising with the amount of space in the cabin as we are used to the rugged nature of this segment that we seem to think that manufacturers tend to forget about passenger comfort. But in this, the car exudes a more car-like aura. Well, that’s literally what any car manufacturer would say and you readers would have heard this a lot.

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But in terms of passenger comfort in the Colorado I do agree with that statement. The interior would not look out of place inside a sedan, albeit a more budget sedan out there with the highest trim as tested comes with leather seats. The space as I have highlighted is quite spacious with room for five full-size adults inside as I have no trouble ferrying around the family during the time with the car. The back seats are spacious and commodious but back-seat passengers would complain on longer journeys as the rear seats are set upright but legroom and headroom is nothing to complain about.

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Come to the front, it is the same with ample amount of support sideways and electrically adjusted for the driver seat and manual adjustments can be had for the front passenger.

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Looking at the dash, you could be mistaken that you are in an Isuzu D-Max pick-up with the same design adorning everything there is. This came about as the Isuzu D-Max and the Chevrolet Colorado is developed side-by-side with the platform and interior is co-developed with GM’s sub-brand Isuzu. But the difference stops there as the running gear, dynamics and the apparent difference of styling is developed separately.

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As the test car is top-of-the-line product, it gets as standard a Chevrolet proprietary infotainment which is a Touch-screen MyLink connectivity with USB, Bluetooth with smartphone connectivity that could also handle CD/MP3 and WMA formats with 6 speakers. The sound coming out of can best be described as average with Bluetooth connectivity to the phone that is quite a hassle. The infotainment does come with an added navigation but we only found out late into the test drive so did not have the chance to test it out.

Drivetrain

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The big question that you readers out there must be questioning is probably whether there is any muscle to the claimed Muscle Power edition and I am really happy to say that it truly is. The stats on offer certainly revolves some big numbers coming out of the GM’s own VM Motori created Duramax 2.8 litre diesel engine.

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In this Muscle Power edition, the engine churns up 193 [email protected] and 500Nm of torque @ 2000 rpm that would certainly put every hot hatchback in the market a run for its money. The motor is of a Diesel Common Rail Direct Injection with Variable Geometry Turbo System that is specially developed and paired with a 6-speed Automatic transmission with Manual Shift mode that blip the throttle when a downshift is selected manually.

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The Chevy Colorado also comes with an electronic 4WD shift switch that would require the pick-up to be stopped when 4WD mode is selected. In default form the power would be translated through the front wheels. Towing/ carrying capacity stood at 1092kg although we didn’t have the necessary things to tow that amounted to that huge amount. It comes with a whole list of alphabets of safety with dual front airbags, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Panic Brake Assist (PBA) and specific to the Chevy Colorado Muscle Power Edition, Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Traction Control System (TCS), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Hydraulic Brake Fade Assist (HBFA), Hill-Descent Control System (HDCS), Hill-start Assist (HAS), Trailer Sway Control (TSC). That’s a hell lot of assist but come to think of it, with the amount of power, it does truly need it.

Driving Dynamics

With the overall looks and convincing stats on paper the package looks promising but alas, it doesn’t translate well in terms of on-road performance with the acceleration that could well be categorised as sluggish. This I assume maybe down to the ratios of the six-speed automatic gearbox that doesn’t translate the power well on tarmac with the claimed 0-100 times of 10 seconds feeling a bit off-the claimed mark. The transmission that is quite dumb compared to today’s standard with its rev-matching blipping action and slow response time make you feel that the power is a bit wasted.

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The steering also irks me as it has quite a lot of free-play into it that makes driving it at highway speeds unnerving at times with on-road handling that is average. But when you are in the market for a pick-up I presume that power and control are never important as what you really need is torque and hauling capacity and boy you will have a lot of it.

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Once or twice, I was caught off-guard with the amount of wheel-spin you can generate and once managed to oversteer myself turning into a junction. Not once but a couple of times if you are really gunning for it. It really is an easy thing to over-steer this as coupled with a long-wheelbase and a planet-ripping torque you can create some fun. Probably dangerous, but fun.

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All those are fine and dandy but this changes the moment the pick-up went off road. During the test we had a brief stint off-roading in a quarry, which I believe besides the countryside and a construction site is where the pick-up is in its most natural habitat. Now this is where the fun starts.

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The free-play nature of the steering wheel really comes into play with the rutted and bumpy nature of the hard gravel that litters the clearings that are roads or so it seem. The transmission comes alive with changes at the right moments when necessary.

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And top it all that, as Jeremy Clarkson would say, “powaaaah”, has been changed from prodigious to outright G.I. Joe with muscles flaring in just a flick of the hand to get those power slides on. With rooster tails coming from the back, this moment are truly what makes men turn to boys in an instant.

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Although with the traction control off, the amount of electronic nannies hovering around it does somewhat cut into the fun as sometimes the pick-up would suddenly rights itself trying to limit the inner child in you. Which is a bummer.

 Verdict

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When it comes to it, the Chevrolet Colorado in its Muscle Power guise is really gunning for the king of the pick-ups which is the Toyota Hilux and other pick-ups that are offered by other manufacturers in what it has to offer to potential buyers. Chevrolet could possibly have a formula that could beat the best and convince many existing and new pick-up owners into owning one.

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This really is quite an offering and somehow Chevrolet maybe has found a niche where it the Colorado could compete with having the biggest and largest everything including power. Coming at RM106,888 retail in the 2.8 LTZ Automatic Muscle Power edition , this could potentially be a winner for Chevrolet.

Words: Azri

Photos: Haznajims

 

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