In this guide, we give you a comprehensive review of the Chevrolet Colorado’s best and worst model years, providing clarity for potential buyers.
Drawing upon extensive research, including sources like NHTSA recalls, Consumer Reports, and owner feedback, we’ve compiled a detailed analysis that reflects the Colorado’s real-world performance and reputation over the years.
Dive into the nuances of each generation, from the distinct characteristics of the best models to the challenges faced by the least favored ones, offering insights that go beyond surface impressions.
Let’s dive right in!
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Chevrolet Colorado Generations
The Chevrolet Colorado first appeared in 2004, marking Chevrolet’s foray into the midsize truck segment. This first generation was celebrated for its modern features and distinct appeal, ensuring the model’s success.
Here’s a brief table detailing the Colorado’s generations from 2004 to present:
|1st generation (GMT355)||2004-2012|
|2nd generation (RG)||2015-2022|
By distinguishing these generations, we aim to offer readers a comprehensive view. The significant shifts between them often play a pivotal role in a buyer’s decision-making process.
Chevrolet Colorado Best, Neutral, and Worst Years
In determining our rankings and categorizations, we consider a multitude of factors, including but not limited to:
- Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
- Annual maintenance costs
- Safety ratings
- Consumer Reports reliability scores
- Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
- NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
- Edmunds owner ratings
- JD Power owner ratings
- Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
- VehicleHistory owner ratings
- Cars.com owner ratings
Here is a graph representing combined ratings from all the aforementioned sources.
Following the graph, we’ve tabulated all model years and categorized them as the best, neutral, and worst years to avoid.
|Generation||Best Years||Neutral Years||Worst Years|
Neutral Years are years where the model exhibited neither exceptionally high nor low ratings. They provide a middle ground, suggesting a balanced mix of pros and cons.
Certain factors can negatively impact these rankings. For instance, NHTSA recalls: the higher the number of complaints and recalls, the lower the car’s reliability. Hence, its overall score will decrease.
Now, let’s dive into the specifications of the best, neutral, and worst years.
Best & Worst Years for Chevrolet Colorado 1st Generation (2004-2012)
The 1st Generation Chevrolet Colorado, introduced in 2004, marked Chevrolet’s ambition in the midsize truck sector. Combining American truck power with urban functionality, it aimed to strike a balance between work and leisure.
The Best Years: 2009, 2010, 2011
These years were highlighted due to significant improvements in powertrain and technology. By 2009, Chevrolet had incorporated a robust 5.3-liter V8 engine, offering 300 horsepower. This muscular addition greatly boosted the truck’s towing capacity and overall performance.
Technology-wise, advancements were notable: a refined infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, and a premium sound experience became staples.
Safety wasn’t neglected, either. These years made head curtain side airbags and stability control standard on all models, thus enhancing protection and driving confidence.
It is worth noting that the 2004-2009 Chevrolet Colorado models faced a recall over a brake lamp switch malfunction, hinting that even the best years had their challenges.
The Neutral Years: 2007, 2008
During these years, Chevrolet sought a balance between power and efficiency. They introduced the 2.9-liter four-cylinder engine and the 3.7-liter five-cylinder engine. These engines, more refined than their predecessors, offered decent fuel efficiency and consistent performance.
Tech enthusiasts had reasons to smile too. With the available OnStar navigation and an optional sunroof, Chevrolet hinted at luxury within the confines of a truck.
However, when it came to safety, these years lagged slightly behind, offering features such as dual-front airbags and daytime running lights but missing out on the comprehensive suite introduced in subsequent years.
The Worst Years: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2012
The early and late stages of the 1st generation faced pronounced challenges. The 2004 model bore the brunt of numerous issues: problems with its electrical system, a temperamental power train, and engine troubles.
It faced two NHTSA recalls concerning brake lamps. Owners lamented the malfunctioning airbag wiring system that led to ill-timed illuminations of the airbag light.
ABS activation became unpredictably intermittent, engines displayed a tendency to stall at low RPMs, and transmission failures weren’t uncommon.
Tragically, the 2005 and 2006 models inherited many of these issues, establishing a problematic legacy for these years.
And then, there was the 2012 model year. Surprisingly, it didn’t face a surge of recalls or complaints. However, it lost favor among consumers, evidenced by lukewarm ratings on Edmunds, VehicleHistory, and Consumer Reports, thus sealing its fate among the worst years.
Best & Worst Years for Chevrolet Colorado 2nd Generation (2015-2022)
The 2nd Generation of Chevrolet Colorado was introduced in 2015, marking an evolution of the brand’s midsize truck ambition. Modern design cues, advanced technology, and varied powertrain options define this generation.
The Best Years: 2019, 2020, 2021
The 2019, 2020, and 2021 models of the Chevrolet Colorado epitomize what many truck enthusiasts seek.
The powertrain was diversified with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, a 3.6-liter V6, and a 2.8-liter turbo-diesel engine available. The V6, in particular, offered impressive towing capabilities combined with smooth operation, making it a favorite among many.
Technology received a boost too. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto became standard, ensuring seamless smartphone integration. An 8-inch touch screen for the infotainment system, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a premium Bose audio system became available.
Safety was amped up with forward collision warning and lane departure warning introduced. The trucks of these years also had fewer recalls and complaints, making them some of the most reliable in the generation.
The Neutral Years: 2017, 2018, 2022
The 2017 and 2018 Chevrolet Colorado models built on the foundation set by the earlier years of this generation. The powertrain options were similar, and there was an emphasis on improving the cabin’s quality.
The Teen Driver safety system, which allows parents to monitor their children’s driving habits, was introduced during this period.
The 2022 model, being relatively new, had yet to fully prove itself. While it boasted of the latest tech and safety features, feedback from users was still trickling in, leaving it in the neutral category for the time being.
The Worst Years: 2015, 2016
The pioneering years of this generation faced some turbulence. The 2015 model was plagued by severe power steering issues, causing many an unexpected loss of steering assist, especially at low RPMs.
Such a critical flaw led to a significant recall in 2021, where General Motors LLC recalled over 60,000 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon vehicles due to issues in the steering gear assembly.
2016 saw a continuation of the problems that haunted its predecessor. Stabilitrak failures were reported, along with vehicle shuddering at low speeds, causing concern among users and affecting the overall reliability rating of the truck.
Chevrolet Colorado 3rd Generation (2023-Present)
Introduced in 2023, the Chevrolet Colorado, a stalwart in the midsize truck category, underwent a pivotal redesign. Focusing on streamlining its offerings while simultaneously upgrading its capabilities, this generation sees a blend of both simplification and modernization.
2023 Model Year
Chevrolet’s intent with the 2023 Colorado was clear: craft a more specific and targeted truck experience. Moving away from its diverse configurations, the Colorado now exclusively offers a four-door crew cab paired with a 5-foot short bed, catering to a specific audience seeking compact yet powerful performance.
Under the hood, the variety of engine options from previous years was consolidated into a singular turbocharged 2.7-liter inline-four engine. However, its power varies across trims:
- WT (Work Truck) and LT Trims: 237 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque.
- Trail Boss and Z71 Trims: 310 horsepower and 391 lb-ft of torque.
- Top-spec ZR2 Trim: 310 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque.
This potent engine ensures that the Colorado retains its commendable max towing capacity of 7,700 pounds.
Externally, the redesigned Colorado boasts a beefier and more assertive appearance. Three of its five trims – the Trail Boss, Z71, and ZR2 – are tailored for off-road escapades.
The Trail Boss, in particular, showcases a 2-inch lift, whereas the top-tier ZR2 goes a notch higher with a 3-inch lift, enhanced suspension components, and optional underbody cameras.
The ZR2 Desert Boss model even offers a distinctive roof light bar, cementing its off-road dominance.
The interior has been rejuvenated with a digital instrument cluster and a sizable 11.3-inch center touchscreen, emphasizing user interaction and technological advancement.
As Chevrolet’s answer to those seeking a smaller, more affordable alternative to the full-size Silverado, the 2023 Colorado successfully marries simplicity with modern upgrades, potentially setting new benchmarks in the midsize truck segment.
Chevrolet Colorado Average Resale Values
As we go deeper into the Chevrolet Colorado’s performance in the market, the following graph showcases its average resale values over the years, highlighting its financial longevity.
After navigating through the Chevrolet Colorado’s history, it’s clear that informed decisions will ensure the best ownership experience. The 2009-2011 Colorado models are budget-friendly choices while 2017 and newer models ensure modern features.
Based on our analysis and your personal preferences, which Chevrolet Colorado year resonates most with you and fits your needs?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!