2015 Chevrolet Colorado Saves Weight, But Is it Enough?

2015-Chevrolet-ColoradoZ71-005 (1) II

These are interesting times. Not only will the new midsize 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon go on sale later this year, but so will the new all-aluminum-bodied full-size Ford F-150; each offers a different strategy to the truck buyer looking for better fuel economy.

According to a recent press release, the 2015 Colorado will weigh up to 1,400 pounds less than a Toyota Tundra crew cab with 4x4, and it will be at least 17 inches shorter than the Chevy Silverado crew cab with a short bed. Of course, a pickup's actual weight has a lot to do with its options, trim packages and engine. We know this from weighing every one of our test vehicles for years, whether in individual testing or comparing a full segment in apples-to-apples road tests and finding that the actual weight of a given pickup can be all over the map.

It's no surprise that with all the attention Ford is getting from its extensive use of aluminum to cover its next full-size half-ton, General Motors feels like its coming pickup is being ignored by the truck world. Naturally, the automaker wants to reassure its customer base that it has a viable, lighter choice (actually, choices), as well.

"When it comes to building lighter pickups, there is more than one answer," said Jeff Luke, GM's executive chief engineer. "Building on our experience with the new Silverado, we engineered the Colorado to be highly mass-efficient, while still providing the performance, capability, dependability and features that midsize truck customers are asking for."

We've gone all the way back to our 2012 Midsize Shootout to put together some full-size and mid-size pickup truck weights, as listed from either the manufacturer's factory specification information or from our own as-tested Special Report truck tests like our recent V-6 Annual Physical. When compared to the full-size choices, there seems to be a good differentiation; however, when compared to vehicles in its own class, it looks like there might some more weight to shave.

To read the full press release on the slimmed down 2015 Chevy Colorado, click here.

 

2015-Chevrolet-Colorado-SteelStructure II

To download a larger version of this image, click here.

 

Midsize Pickups

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Full-Size Pickups

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* 4x4 Crew Cab not available with V-6

 

Comments

"Press Hardened Steel, "Ultra-High Strength Steel," "Advanced High Strength Steel," and "High Strength Steel." Why not just say "Steel of varying strengths?"

Just kind of a dumb image, is all.

Why would you compare the Colorado to the Tundra. It should be compared to the Tacoma. Oh my gosh, the Tacoma is lighter. PR at its best. Nice try Chevy.

After all of Ford's fanfair, the new aluminum 2014 F150 is still overweight.

Yeah it's funny they compare it to the tundra. How many people will cross shop it with a tundra? But in reality I don't think many people care how much it weighs as long as it gets good MPG. It may weigh more than a tacoma but will surely get better MPG.

Is it enough?

No, not until they add the fuel efficient diesel engine option. Why did they wait until 2016? GM could find a way to be late to their own funeral.

why is it that whenever we talk about the GM twins, the question is always, "Will it be enough?" oh that's right, its GM we talking about, they always fall short

The 2014 F150 is not the aluminum body model. That will arrive as a 2015.

All the people saying a fullsize truck buyer wouldnt cross shop the Colorado with any other fullsize truck are completely missing the point. Chevy makes the comparison because they are offering an alternative truck for people who currently buy a fullsize only because the midsize offerings are no good. those are people who would cross shop the two if the midsize segment offered a worthwhile truck. These are people who need a bed and more capability than the current midsize offers but don't fully utilize a fullsize truck By drawing this comparison is saying "hey look what we are about to offer, a midsize truck that is actually worth taking a look at, and heres how it compares to what you might be considering instead." Not everyone needs or even wants a fullsize truck and its pretty narrow minded to just assume people wouldnt cross shop because you wouldnt.

I'm sure the GM twins will do well, they will get full-size buyers who don't really need a full size as well as car and cross over buyers who really want a smaller truck with decent economy and technology but havn't been able to find it until now. As far as it being light enough, its fine it will be cheaper then an aluminum bodied truck.

Is it enough? As a first significant effort, sure. Weight reduction is the new big thing in domestic pickup trucks.

The '15 F150 will be much more of a game-changer in the lightweight arena, due in large part to the economies of scale that have to perfectly align for it. Annual sales above 750K require a clear supply chain strategy. This is creating a massive ripple effect for suppliers and aluminum prices will come down.

- According to a recent press release, the 2015 Colorado will weigh up to 1,400 pounds less than a Toyota Tundra crew cab with 4x4 -

Memo to Chevy: stop comparing apples to oranges. Compare the Colorado's curb weight to that of mid-size segment leader Tacoma. Your comparison of mid-size to full-size would be like Ford comparing the curb weight of the aluminum 2015 F-150 to that of a 2014 Ram 3500 crew-cab dually 4x4 just to get an impressive four-figure weight-reduction number for news media consumption. Sheesh.

Who said GM thinks its truck is being ignored? I think that's a thought of PUTC since they drink the Ford Cool Aid.

I'm sure Chevy chose to compare it to a Tundra rather than the Taco (which makes a million times more sense) hoping nobody would notice...

My worry:

I live square on the buckle of the road salt belt (northern Minnesota). Since there is (presumably) less total material these fancy new "ULTRA HIGH STRENGTH" steels, does that mean everything is going to rust through (and fail) that much quicker? I mean, I lost my poor Tacoma to the frame rust issue (Toyota bought it back for about what I paid for it 5 years/60K miles earlier so I ain't complaining) and my poor old Chevy is almost gone:

http://tinypic.com/a/2nzfs/3

I predict these (thinner) high strength steel bodies are gonna rust through even faster up here.

If you compare the upcoming Colorado to current midsize trucks, keep in mind that the Colorado will have a higher level of content than current midtrucks (yes, we expect current entrants to up their game, too) and is engineered to meet safety standards that have been revised since current midtrucks were introduced. As for durability, the new Colorado and Canyon are engineered to the same standards as our big trucks. Real truck DNA here.

1.) You are 3 days behind the curve with this article. Why didn't you post anything for the first 3 days of this week?

2.) As has been noted everywhere else this has already been posted, the comparison is (very poor) chevy Propaganda. They compare poorly to their real competition so they instead compare to something larger.

3.) The weight of these trucks is far too high, and their fuel economy is not going to be great. The only way their weight will be acceptable is if they are priced *very* competitively.

4.) The crew cab/long bed option with the duramax is going to be absurdly heavy. Minimally it will weigh in at 4600 lbs, and likely it will weigh in at >4700 lbs. If this diesel only produces its rumoured 180-190 peak HP, it is going to be a fairly spectacular failure (unless it is a free upgrade). Those wanting a diesel will end up going to RAM instead.

GM's biggest problem right now is they are not going after the truck market. I spoke to a GM rep (basically local salesman fed all the talking points from corporate), at the auto show in my area recently - Chevy is targeting the 1500 as a lifestyle vehicle for families. Huh??? I buy a truck to be a truck, I don't give a damn who says what on comments "oh this truck or that truck too heavy..." Well, a truck isn't meant to be a tin can in my view, it's made to work, beat the hell out of it & make you money (if ur in business). GM has lost sight of this big time. the HD payloads & towing aren't anywhere near Dodge & Ford. Wanna plow? Better buy a 3500 bc that's the only truck they have that can hold one up. & you pay a premium to boot & for what? a cushy ride in a "wanna be" lifestyle vehicle.

Also, I felt the article was fairly well written & unbiased. Mark is in the industry & speak to people everyday behind the scenes, so if he mentions something about GM "feeling" their new truck is being ignored then that means he has some info gathered by doing hsi job. He did a good job with the list comparing the midsize market to the Colorado & pointing things out the GM PR didn't.

I have noticed everyone comparing a midsize to a full size.

The Colorado will take some full size sales.

Full size trucks have been quite refined and have become a SUV alternative, just like these will become midsize SUV/CUV alternatives. I wouldn't compare this Colorado to any midsizer available in the US.

The full size sales the Colorado takes from full size are the people who really didn't want a full size, but were unhappy with the agricultural midsize trucks offered.

GM should get off their a$$es and provide a diesel on the launch of the Colorado.

In defense of GM, the Colorado seems to be roughly the same size at the fullsize trucks from the mid 90s... so, maybe they are trying to say something here????? I'm sure the taco is lighter due to it's plastic bed.

@ ken, "After all of Ford's fanfair, the new aluminum 2014 F150 is still overweight."

The 'new aluminum' F150 is the 2015 model, not the '14 as you suggest. Good effort though!

@ken

The 2014 F150 is the current Gen truck. The 2015 F150 is the new aluminum truck. That is why its weight is so high

It makes no sense to compare a "crew cab" midsize to a "crew cab" full-size. Yes they sound alike in text, but it's like comparing a 4-door Yaris to a 4-door Camry. Yup, same thing...???

Luckily full-size trucks come in 'extra cabs' which compare directly with midsize crew cabs, as far as combined front/rear legroom is concerned. Then it looks like the next F-150 will weigh about the same or slightly less than the Colorado, when comparing similar vehicles, like the extra cab Colorado vs reg cab F-150.

DenverMike, you don't make any sense. Comparing Crew Cab to Crew Cab makes perfect sense. Extended/double cabs whether full or mid size are not meant for carrying people on a regular basis, Crew Cabs are. I looked at the double cab ram and Chevy and I would have to sit cross wise to sit in the back but in a crew cab Tacoma I can sit fine.

Hey, Denver Mike, don't worry--I got this one.

@Joe

How are you going to drive your truck while sitting "cross wise' in the back seat?

Don't tell me you're going to sit in the back and let your wife drive--doing that would require you to sit side-saddle, which is very different from sitting crosswise.

Warning: If you've never been to a rodeo you won't get it.

This appears to be an attempt to show that this is a different alternative to the lighter weight 2015 F-150. They are obviously not going to go out of their way to compare the Colorado's weight to the Taco, but what they will compare to the Taco in the future will be performance and efficiency.

It looks like even though the '15 f-150 will be at most 700lbs lighter than Thier current f-150, it will only be class leading by a very small margin.

On a side note, I went to a local ram dealer yesterday to inquire about ordering an ecodiesel 1500. It turns out that they have halted all orders due to "configuration issues" and will not accept orders until early July!! This is just way too many setbacks and ultimately has me looking elsewhere.

@big o

that's quite a story. We haven't seen other examples of that here yet, but I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt.

I have not be confident in the way Fiat/Chrysler has handled the entire discussion of the VM diesel in their RAM half ton trucks. They should have either chucked the diesel idea or stuck with a reliable partner like Cummins.

@kmac1036
I'm not sure if a salesman counts as a GM rep of if they have any real GM info. Now as for the 1500 being a lifestyles vehicle I am not sure I buy that for several reasons.
1. The V6 is better suited for fleet use than other pickups V6.
2. The 1500 has the highest tow rating.
3. This is when a truck is being marketed as a lifestyles vehicle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0VX_s7-xCw, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzSCtQo2KaM not this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asLiTaweuIM.

People buy 1/2 ton trucks as lifestyle vehicles all the time. I'm sure 80% of crew cab short bed half ton trucks are life style vehicles. People how need a real truck usually go 3/4 ton or above

@Mo
That is somewhat true as a lot of 3/4 tons are now becoming that way as well. It is really the 1 ton dually that I see working majority of the time.

@Big O - Ram really did that? First I've heard of that... Now on the 2015 F-150, they are looking at being class leading on payload & towing. They pretty much are now (on the 1/2 tons. the SD is getting tweaked for '15 as well). Add 700lbs in payload & towing they are even further ahead. Personally, I don't care if they're class leading in weight, as long as the mpg is competitive & it's still a capable truck, then I could care less on weight. If they hit 30mpg with the new EB it will be icing on the cake.

Lol, papa Jim, you're just upset GM doesn't have a diesel in anything but an HD. Yet.

If the Ram 1500 used a big diesel, you would gripe more about the less difference in mileage. They tried the 5.0 Cummins, 23-24 mpg. A 2500 Ram 4x4 Cummins gets 20.

As for the 4x4 Laramie crew that Diesel Power tested @ 75 mph in a combination of flat and hilly terrain, and got 28.47 mpg. That's a 500 mile loop, up to about 5,000 feet elevation, four times. In cruise control.

This month they posted results from driving in flat terrain and better conditions, about 31 mpg.

That's a crew 4x4 3.55 geared Laramie. I wonder what a 4x2 single cab (6'4" bed if made) would get, on 17" wheels? Well over 32.

Doesn't look like a GM midsizer will beat that mileage without a diesel. Granted that was a heavy truck, with all but the kitchen sink weighing it down (still wonder why this site and Diesel Power got two different weights, on the same type truck??) If a person got a quad cab- as much room as this mid size will have for cab space- and didn't get all the weight adding options such as Ram Box, (about 150 pounds) 20" wheels, console, heated double power seats, dvd player, air suspension (100 pounds) thumping stereo with speaker under back seat, sunroof, it all adds, and most won't be available on these midsize trucks. Order it in a comparable way, and the Ram will have as much or more capacity, well, unless Chevy pencil whips payload like they do tow ratings!

So who would buy the midsize? 1. Those that park in garages and don't have space for a full size, 2. People not wanting to spend as much, and no, it won't cost 55K for an Egodiesel, because that was the "as tested price" of a loaded one. You can get them at 29K MSRP (who pays MSRP?) to start, and nicely equipped for 40K. MSRP, again.

Or 3, Somebody like Road Whale that always complains about size of trucks (but yet won't buy the existing Frontier or Tacoma) and says he "wants a club cab for the dog, that doesn't have space in current single cab" lol. The ones always going on about the sides of beds. Some people are NEVER HAPPY.

Or 4, somebody wanting a smaller truck for a trail that most people don't go down anyway. "once in a blue moon, we might go somewhere offroad"

Or, people that want to just say " we have a truck!" To go camping with just pull a boat.

By the way, papa jim, gas keeps going up, diesel has come down.

@Trx4tom

Show me ONE EXAMPLE of me EVER bitching about FE in my truck.

I always say that people should buy the CAPACITY that they need. Let the FE chips fall where they may.

Don't bow up on me. I've got this covered.

Some people buy for the size not necessaryily the capacity. I like the full size truck for the interior room, do I need the capacity not even close but I do need a truck.

Unlike *some* of you, I don't buy a new car or truck every three or even 5 years; I tend to make my vehicles last as long as I can so I can afford to do other things with my money. With my Jeep as my prime mover and the truck as...well, a TRUCK, I haven't yet had the need to swap either vehicle. On the other hand, this situation will change later this year as the truck is going to get a lot more use as a "car". (The wife can't drive a stick--yet.) This also means that my desire for something a little more comfortable and a little more roomy in the cab as a truck while being notably shorter than my current 18' Road Whale is increasing. The Colorado as an extended cab will trim the length a bit making it easier to maneuver for someone who has trouble maneuvering her current vehicle.

Of course, with the potential for a 50% fuel mileage improvement over the existing truck, it could get used a lot more as the prime mover in the house, too.

Really I'd like to see a truck like the old 9/10ths scale Tundra that was the perfect size truck and now nobody makes one.

@kmac & papa jim

Yes, it surprised me as well. The manager even showed me a printout that said "due to configuration issues...."

I would imagine that the 700 lb weight saving in the F150 is body and chassis weight. The 2.7 V6 should also weigh less than the 5.0 V8, though CGI might be heavier (but stronger) than aluminum, obviously it's also smaller.

@devilsadvocate - it isn't so much about people saying there isn't going to be cross shopping but a case of PUTC regurgitating a GMC press release. GMC wants to single out the heaviest 1/2 ton on the market at the time of release to make their small truck look small.

@Jason H. - it would depend on the metallurgy. High strength steels are alloys of some kind so depending on the blend of metals they may be less prone to oxidization.

@Mo, @Ad - 1/2 of pickups are sold for personal use. That would mean that 1/2 of trucks are lifestyle vehicles. If it is used to put food on the table it is not lifestyle.

@big o
You have a point about the f-150 only being class leading by a small margin in weight savings, but as Jason H. pointed out the use of thinner high strength steel to save weight can be a real problem for durability. That was one of the reasons ford engineers said they decided to go with aluminum rather than thinner high strength steel to save weight. I think the advantage of the aluminum will be the panels are both lighter and a lot stronger since they are much thicker than steel panels. So not only should it be class leading for weight reduction but also for durability and corrosion-resistance. I've read a few reports where journalists say the sheet metal on the aluminum f-150 feels more sturdy and strong than the current steel bodies. I sure hope that's true. The move to aluminum is risky though. I read that ford actually developed a steel body for the next f-150 in case they have problems with the aluminum body. They said they could switch the f-150 back to a steel body for 2016 or 2017 model year if need be.

@papa jim - you made the mistake of sounding like a GMC fan. That alone is enough to incure the wrath of "Ram coils replace Crown Vic".

I do agree that 1 or 2 mpg isn't going to sway my purchase choice if I feel the rest of the vehicle isn't going to meet my needs. The Ram Ecodiesel is a prime example. It could get 60 mpg and I still wouldn't touch it with its rated capacity (unless i was replacing my wife's minivan).

@Beebe - I read that the biggest problem for Ford with aluminum is the fact that it reacts differently to moulding. You can't use molds designed for steel. There was a report that Ford might not be able to release a truck for the Detroit auto show. They must of sorted things out since they had new trucks on the floor for that show.

@ RoadWhale™ - you are comparing a new truck to a 24 year old truck. If economy is your ultimate goal keeping the 24 yr old truck and eating the fuel costs will put you further ahead than 25-30K for a new one even with a 50% mpg improvement. It would make more sense to ditch the Jeep and keep the turck if you really need a truck.

@papa Jim,
Cummins does not do fairly small diesels all that well Fiat and the company it now owns VNMotori do.It will be interesting to see if there is any holdup as they are now about or are currently selling them.

@LouBC

for me the calculation is really easy:

Me and the wife drive less than 10-12k miles total per year. It make zero sense to buy cars or trucks as specialty items, so I need the most versatile vehicles I can buy. I can't compromise on capacity so having a half ton pickup might be a bit over cap, but it satisfies all my truck needs.

If you drive less than 20k miles per year with the sort of fuel prices today, FE is not that big a deal.

@Ram coils replace crown vic -


"Egodiesel" - Freudian slip??????

@papa jim - Agreed. I tend not to put huge miles on my trucks. They tend to be for used for poor weather and back country use or toy hauling.
I'd rather hover around 55-60 mph which does about the same as getting a higher mpg truck and cruise at 65-70 mph.
I keep an eye on fuel consumption in the back country but I am not too worried there either. A 30 gallon tank gives me a decent fuel range even if I have to use 4x4.

@Joe - I know some people on this blog will play dumb and act like midsize and full-size crew cabs are similar vehicles and obviously it's in the interests of midsize truck marketing to compare the two, but consumers aren't so easily fooled. Not when it's there hard earned money they're not.


Combine the front and rear legroom of crew cabs in each class of trucks and you'll see midsize crew cabs are equal to full-size "extra cabs". Still, full-size extra cabs offer seating of up to 6. Or consider midsize crew cabs 2+2's, perfect for 2 small kids in the back, or tiny adults.

Like I said, consumers know what they're buying, and obviously a few don't mind paying more for less. That's why it's a niche market. Most consumers don't see the value of a small truck, unless it's a stripper regular cab. It starts making less $ense with the extra cab midsize trucks and almost no $ense at all for midsize crew cabs. Especially after aggressive full-size pickup rebates that midsizers can't come close to offering. The profit margin is just too low.



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