Spied! U.S.-Spec Colorado Seen Testing

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We just got these spy shots lat last week from our friends who make a pretty good living tracking down and getting pictures of prototype, pre-production test units, and these are the notes they sent along. From what we're hearing, the new Chevy Colorado is likely to be a 2015 model, but we can always hope it will get here sooner. For now, we know GM will have its hands full with the coming 2014 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra half-tons. 

Here's what Chris Doane Automotive wrote us: 

When the export-only, 2012 Chevy Colorado made its debut in the fall of 2011 in Thailand, a not-so-small portion of American truck buyers were miffed. With dwindling and dated midsize truck offerings in the current U.S. market, pickup customers wanted a chance to buy the new Colorado.

Fortunately, GM has heard their pleas, and we've just spied a pair of U.S.-spec Chevy Colorado crew cab pickup mules out on their first drive in Southeast Michigan, testing against a Toyota Tacoma.

Caught at the very end of last week, our run-in with the American Colorado was much too brief. In those few seconds, we still got a pretty good look before the two trucks disappeared through a gate and into a GM facility. Even though time did not allow for much of a view inside the new Colorado, one important thing we did see about the interior is that this Colorado test vehicle is lefthand-drive.

On the outside, it appears the greenhouse and the doors on the Colorado won't change much from the export model. We've heard the U.S. Colorado will get updated front and rear ends, with the front of this prototype appearing a little more upright and squared off than the current, export model.

That said, at least one source informed us that it was still quite early in the development process for the U.S. Colorado, and that these mules might not be wearing all the final, U.S.-specific sheet metal.

In Asia, the Colorado is sold only with diesel motors. That won't be the case in the U.S. Here, we're hearing it will get a 3.6-liter V-6, and a smaller, four-cylinder for the entry-level model. That four-banger could be the 2.0-liter turbo from Cadillac ATS, or the 2.5-liter from the Malibu. And it would be nice if a four-cylinder turbo-diesel could also be offered.

We've also been told by one of our sources that GMC fans will be happy to hear that a Canyon pickup is also said to be in the works, and quite differentiated from the Chevy.

While most were hoping for the new Colorado to go on sale in 2013, that's probably too much to hope for. Since this new Colorado was never originally intended for the U.S. market, quite a bit of engineering work needs to be done to update it for U.S. federal standards and regulations.

As reported earlier, the factory chosen to build the U.S. Colorado is GM's Wentzville, Missouri, plant. Since this plant currently builds the Chevy Express and GMC Savana full-size vans, it will require extensive retooling and expansion to build the Colorado. GM plans to spend $380 million to do just that.

The end result of the needed vehicle engineering, and plant prep, is that the U.S. Colorado likely won't be able to start down the line until very late in 2013 or early 2014. This could push the Colorado to a 2015 model year vehicle.

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I more squared nose would look better than the earlier model pictures, but I think this is wearing a padded bra.
Why do the rear wheels extend so far out past the body width? Will the production trucks have monster sized fender flares?

Also note how far the frame is hanging below the body. That looks like the 2500's.

Wow only two comments until the frame comment is made, and surprise suprise by someone who can't even use their first name but instead shows their fan boyness with a Ford name. Way to go there bud, how original.

Also just a thought on the tires sticking out, I thought I read somewhere that this truck was going to be made in two widths. I am guessing a wider version for the US market? Seems that may be true by the picture.

A ton of padding definitely. glad to hear about the front end being changed from the overseas models, I wasn't a huge fan but even with the padding I think these are some good looking trucks. does the body look lifted or is this likely to be the stance for the end product?

Tyler, calling someone a fanboy when they say something you don't agree - how original.

Hopefully it offers the 2.8L 4 cyl diesel or 2.9L V6 VM Motori diesel. Get rid of that stupid new corporate Chevy front end too!

FINALLY!... if it is diesel I will buy, saves me the trouble of trying to import a Hilux as a "farm vehicle"


It has to do with the name, not what they said. What he said was true, you can see frame.

Nice try...

I do agree with your comment though about the diesel, though it should be the 2.8 from over seas and not try to make a 2.9VM engineered to fit and work in it when there is already one in there. The front end is ok though I much prefer the Canyon drawing that was done previously!

Holy camo, you ca barely see it!

I was not a huge fan of the front end, seems this is all but confirmation that it will be re-designed for the US market.

It will have to impress me a lot with MPG's and price to steal me away from a Tacoma, though.

So you agree with what I said but you attack me because of my name? How original.
I've used my screen name for many years on all sorts of forums. It identifies me much better than a generic first name that many share.

I still don't understand why all the small truck whiners didn't get the previous version of the Colorado/Canyon. It was a good looking small truck, but yet still didn't sell well. I wouldn't be surprised if this version turns out to be a flop in the U.S. as well simply because of lack of demand for small pickups.

@ CE

I'm not sure if it's lack of demand, or just a price overlap between models, low perceived quality, and a complete lack of marketing.

Even if this thing turns out great, GM would still have a hard time buying me back, just because of quality issues I've had with them in the past.

It looks nice but pretty big. Because of that I will probably just stick with the full-sizes. The full-sizes are a better value and you get more for your money.

Tyler, my point was you were calling people out on a lack of originality.

Anyway, the 2.9 VM unit is much more powerful than the 2.8.

2.8 177HP/ 347 lb-ft
2.9 245 HP/ 405 lb-ft.

I think Ford should have used the 3.0L V6 diesel instead of the 3.2L I-5 in the Ranger and Transit.

3.2 I-5 197 HP / 347 lb-ft
3.0 V6 240 HP / 443 lb-ft

The US is more competitive on power and torque outputs than other markets, so I think the V6 diesels would be better suited.

@CE --> Here is my take: When the Colorado/Canyon replaced the S10/Sonoma, the price went up significantly, like, 25%. Thus killing sales. If it was priced like a small truck, (Attention truck manufacturers!! We want cheaper small trucks!!) these trucks and other small truck would sell well. Stripped regular cab small trucks should start out at around $12K.

Dissappointed. The new Chevy Colorado is 210 inches long in Crew format!! Trucks getting bigger is not what we want! 200 inches long in crew cab format should be the goal. I wish they would of just updated the current truck which looks good. A 6 speed, disc breaks, better seating and telescoping steering wheels and improved crash tests. A diesel. Nope they are going for the bigger is better. So still we are waiting for a compact pickup. Ressurrect the Nissan Hardbody! I live overseas and my neighber had this crew cab hardbody that has perfect dimensions. If it was made today that would be my dream vehicle!!!

I'm glad to hear the 3.6 is going to be an option in this truck. I think the I-5 turned people off. Hopefully they offer a 6 spd to go with that, the mpg would be pretty decent, even for the 4x4.

Not sure about how much the frame sticks out below the body, but at least I don't see a t-case sticking down past it. I'd rather get hung up on my frame rails than bust my t-case.

And it almost looks like the bed doesn't have the body panels on it, explaining the too-wide rear track width appearance.

If they make a proper ZR2 or Z71 version of this, with the 3.6, 6 speed, crew cab, 4x4.... That would be my next truck. Heck, it would have 100 more hp than my 95 K1500!

I am glad to see GM still in the midsize market. I do agree with some of the comments that if there is not enough price difference in Colorado versus full size then the sales will be disappointing. The V-6 will be a good motor as will the base 4 cylinder. I agree with some of the comments that there needs to be a true compact truck more stripped down and better mpgs. I have a 2008 Isuzu I-370 with the 5 cylinder which has been very reliable but for the US market the V-6 is a better option. If most of the parts are made overseas and it is assembled in the US this would give it a price advantage so long as GM does not get too greedy and put too much markup on it thus make it less competitive. I hope for GM and for the midsize truck market that this is a success.

There are a lot of hateful people in this world. Yet, some of them complain why this world sucks.

@Classified, so true. Everything's amazing, and nobody is happy! A funny video of Louis C.K. explaining that.


I think that there is a bunch of styrofoam hiding under the hood to make it look higher and more square than it actually is. It looks like you can catch a bit of outline of the "real" hood. I suspect that most of the global body is intact under there. The lights are down way too low for such a high hood. If the real American Colorado nose is under there, it would mean they are going with the Terradyne or GMC All Terrain HD we saw a while back. I hope not. That huge boxy nose would be out of place on a small truck. The rear wheels stick out because it looks like the truck outer box sides have been removed. The wheels could be borrowed from another truck with an offset that makes the truck look wider. Hard to tell under all that padding. A blind date with a girl in a winter parka is all we got here.

I don't post just to agree with something. I will post if I disagree. Hate is not the same as dislike. I dislike that the S10 has grown in price and grown in size to almost the same size full-size. For that reason I will just buy the full-size. The world isn't all sunshine and roses. Thank the good Lord in this country we still have a choice of big and smaller trucks and can speak on things we disagree with!

@bobby1971 - if that is the case, am I committing a fauxpas by saying I agree with what you said and that it was a great comment?

First the 1997 F150 rebirth and now wide rear stanced Colorados.
Whats next? A Chrysler 200 Ute?

The one I saw on US23*a few months ago was a white CC, with no camo and otherwise looked identical to the Global offering. Don't read too much into the shape of these trucks. The front end is severely padded, and the bed-side might not even have an outer skin. I can't see GM making a huge investment this time to change to look of the truck much, but since so much of it is a plastic facia, it may be flexible enough to allow for eas changes.
A CC 4x4 with the turbo 4 and 6speed auto would work great for me.
*for those from elsewhere, US23 is the direct connector from the Milford Proving Grounds to EPA MVFEL lab in Ann Arbor, where emissions and fuel economy testing is done.

@Alex- I think the 2 reasons for going with the 5cyl over the V6 was-
a. Cost- the 5cyl is built to be sturdy and cheap for commercial vehicles, while the V6 has a lot of cost involved in making it quiet and refined for LR's, Jag's and such
b. packaging- the 4 and 5 cylinder engines install almost the same under the hood, while a V6 packages completely different.

@bobby1971-I see your points and I am sympathetic. This could be a really good truck but if it is priced about the same most buyers will opt for full size. When they replaced the S-10/Sonoma they increased the price and size of the truck thus hurting what made the S-10 a success. The reason I bought an Isuzu was the sale price, at the suggestion retail price it was not too much different than full size. There is a market for smaller trucks if the price difference is much greater and the size is smaller than full size. I myself prefer a smaller truck but they need to be more competitive to sell yet not make the manufacturers fearful that they will lose too many sales on their larger trucks. The mpgs also need to be greater on the smaller trucks. With airbags and other safety equipment that makes this a more challenging feat. With lighter materials used and more efficient drivetrains this can be done but as with the discussions on the aluminum article the costs do go up. Makes for a good discussion.

looks bigger/wider - like that . Love the stance of it. On my wish list... unlikely.. but a a large roll down rear window.. a fold flat passenger seat.

@Lou - Back in the day we could buy a S10 for around $7995. Adjusted for inflation that is about $12,000. Today's Colorado starts at $17,500. More than double the price of the S10. That is $5k more than inflation and more a 60% increase in price. The next gen Colorado will be a little more! The 2015 will probably be around $20,000 by the time it gets here. Silverado is $22,195 and has more discounts! I will buy the most truck I can afford for around the same money as the Colorado.

Get in a Chevy s10 pickup for around 8 thousand dollars!

Hopefully the Canyon will not have the frond end of the butt ugly Terrain. I am now glad I bought a 2011 Canyon as Chevy had originaly speculated this would be out in early 2012, now they (at least on this blog)say 2015??? Plus it sounds like they are going to make it bigger like the Tacoma which if so I would not buy it anyway as I like the Size of the earlier Taco's and Colorado's I know they are working on adding a new building at the Wentzville plant...

@Mr Knowitall -Thanks. Interesting points about the 5 cylinder versus V-6. I see your point about the lower installation costs of the 5 because it is almost the same as the 4. The V-6 would have to have a different configuration plus to make it smoother and more refined costs extra. I always wonder why the 5 cylinder replaced the V-6 in the Colorado. I think that is another reason the Colorado is not as well received as the S-10. Good points.

@Classified - You are right. Lets all be like dumb sheep and blindly buy into whatever the manufacturers make, no matter how dumb or bad it is. The world would be a better place.

A guy I talk to at work made a good point. "Trucks used to be the cheaper option over buying a car, now you can't afford one!"

I look around and see everyone upgrading and upgrading and getting more expensive, except Nissan. Look at the Nissan Versa sedan. Everyone is working on their subcompacts to make them bigger and better, and Nissan redesigns the Versa, and drops the starting price down to the floor. Sure the reviews aren't as good, but it's still a well made little car.

I see them doing the same to compete with their Frontier. I think they'll try to pick up some Ranger buyers by shrinking it a little bit (pretty much confirmed), and lowering the starting price. It'll probably be less capable than it's competitors, but money talks.

@MrKnowitall, @Jeff S @ Alex,
Cost is a big issue with these vehicles, so the more expensive i.e 265hp, 450lbs ft of torque engines go into more expensive SUV's. I guess that may change if they can reduce the price on engines like that.

It doesnt matter what price the small/ compact and midsize trucks are. No matter the price, they will affect the sales of full size trucks. As some fans of these smaller trucks like these other guys on this site, you do have a choice. However, your choice is narrowing, and eventually your needs will coincide with the removal of anything other than full size trucks. You can speak with your money, but you are just one person. One person alon does not make a difference. Embrace full size trucks and stop complaining about full size trucks being too big to park in the garage or too big to park. Stop saying that it gets miserable fuel economy or that its off road angle departures are terrible. Full size trucks are here to say, unlike their smaller brethens.

@Colin-I hope you are right that would be a smart move for Nissan. If Nissan did that they would gain a lot of sales and more people that wanted smaller trucks would buy a Frontier. They could gain and keep the number 2 spot and be nipping at Tacoma's heels. That would be a win win for the consumer. A right priced, more economical, and less capable truck would meet the needs of most especially the suburbanite who just wants something for light duty hauling.

@Allistar Evans-People said that years ago about compact cars. You should only buy a V8 standard sized car because it is a better value. Once upon a time that was true in the days of 15 cent to 30 cent a gallon gas and you could buy a good 10 cent cigar, a good house for 15 to 30k, and a nickle soda pop. We will get smaller trucks but not like we have today. They will share car platform, probably front wheel drive, and mostly made from Asian parts but assembled in NA. These will be higher mpgs, with less capablilities (most suburbanites just want something to pick something up in or light hauling). Smaller trucks will not replace full size trucks but will fulfill a market that is not being served and no not everyone who wants a small truck will buy a Toyota Corolla or a Ford Transit (they want a pickup). Buy as big as you want Allistar and don't try to tell those of us that like a smaller truck what to buy. If you hate smaller trucks that much read just the articles on the big trucks

As oxi wisely once said...

At least the Tacoma was designed in the U.S.

Care to keep commenting on the Tacoma's size anyone? GM is testing against a Tacoma! GM knows who the truck leader is!

Looks like the competition is waking up that compacts are a thing of the past and the Tacoma is here to stay!

I have no use for the tight dimensions of a compact for daily use YET I have no reason to own the dimensions of a full-size tank! The mid-size fits my bill as with many others out there!

I agree with team oxi...

Oxi, you would be more convincing if you didn't put your "I agree with Oxi" posts within a minute of your original posting. Isn't it great being able to select new identities so that you can agree with yourself?

I look forward to this truck. If I was in the market for a midsize truck, there's really only 1 truck to buy. The Tacoma. I'm not a fan of small trucks. They seem like deathtraps. I feel claustrophobic every time I get inside of an old S-10 or Ranger. Sometimes though, big trucks are a little too big for daily drivers and I prefer to drive a truck over a car. I'd buy a new Colorado if it looked good. A Canyon would be a total waste of taxpayer money. Nobody cares. It's a GMC. Yuck. I hope Chevrolet hits a homerun here.

@Alex - the Team Oxi bunch are a "troll continuum" who know that Oxi is a popular guy and they play off of his notoriety. It is doubtful that they are Oxi as there were some threads were the "continuum" even had our #1 Toyota fan wound up.

It makes sense to test against the Tacoma as it is the sales leader and is probably the most up to date small truck of the bunch. That isn't saying much considering the Tacoma is an old design and the "competition" and Tacoma only sell slightly over 200,000 units a year. If the global Hilux came to NA I bet sales would climb very well but Tundra sales would suffer.

I'd like to see Nissan downsize the Frontier. I believe that in these tougher economic times they'd do well. The 70's were a decade of high inflation, high interest rates,and rising fuel costs, but that is the decade where economical compact trucks took hold and sold extremely well. I think that we are at a point in time where there is indeed a market for a truly economical small truck. As bobby1971 pointed out - why buy a compact if price and size are within reach of a full sized?

Here comes the Oxi fan club. Oxi has his own peanut gallery.

Robert Ryan--I have no problem with most of the smaller truck engines. I don't need a V-6 or a V-8. My Isuzu with its 3.7 liter 5 cylinder 241 hp is more than enough for me. Many S-10 loyalist were disappointed that the Colorado did not offer a V-6 and only offered a I-5 besides a 4 cylinder. I am ok with the I-5. Many European vehicles have used an I-5 including Volvo. If somethings have to be sacrificed to lower the cost of the smaller trucks and if they are priced more competitive as long as they are not totally inferior in quality then I think a lot of consumers can live with that. Toyota could come out with a small truck from the A-bat concept and it would fit the needs of a lot of consumers. Toyota and GM could keep the midsize and add a smaller line of trucks to the mix. Part of the trouble in America is that we think "bigger is better" whether it be trucks, houses, food portions, lawn mowers, etc. We as a country are slow to adapt and do not tolerate change too well. Change is inevitable and those that adapt are stronger. Not all change is good but not all change will last. One has to be flexible or risk becoming irrelevant. I choose to be adaptable.

What's up with the low hanging frame??? I thought this thing was supposed to be off road capable (Unlike the Chevy HD's). ?? What's Chevy's obsession with their frames dragging on the ground and through the mud and snow? My old 86 Chevy could offroad with the best of them. The Chevy's of the last 20 years or so are absolutely worthless on anything but smooth concrete. That ain't a truck. This is just one of the many reasons why Ford and Dodge OWN Chevy now.

@Jeff S - your I-5 has 241 hp whereas most V8's of the 80's and 90's weren't any more powerful. I had a 1990 F250 5.0 with 195hp, 5 speed, 3.55 gears and larger than stock tires. Seemed to haul a load of green firewood out of a muddy landing reasonably well. I suspect that if there were any super freeways around I'd be whining because that truck with a camperette in the box and my 14 ft utility trailer behind it with my 12 ft aluminum boat on top wasn't going to set any speed records. I traveled the Alaska highway and thousands of miles of backroads without any problems but I never once expected to travel at 80 mph with all that on board.
I do agree that we've gone astray with the "bigger is better" mentality. I could get by with something smaller but If the truth be known, I bought my F150 because it gives me a broader range of usage options for my family. Size does come with its own limits but crawling down narrow trails or the daily grind of a big city aren't things I need to contend with on a daily basis. I'd consider a small truck in the future if my lifestyle changed.


oxi has opinions that are shared by many others out there!

In the last photo you can see how low the frame is badly positioned the shock mounts are! This is no good for off-road use...

If you buy one of thse things please stay on those easy trails and leave the REAL off-roading for the REAL off-roaders!

@ Jeff S

I can speak for myself and say that a vehicle between a Frontier and a Hardbody would fit my needs perfectly. The price would really be the determining factor, though.

If I was to buy a new truck today, it'd be a Tacoma, because I plan on having my next truck for 10-15 years. But it should get interesting in the coming years with some competition. Maybe GM will force Toyota's hand and they will finally put the direct injected V6 in the Taco.

Glad to see they are thinking of a full frame rather than the unibody truck from Thiland.

George, (oxi)

Pretty sure most people will stay off road if they buy this, a good majority of trucks sold do their work on the road. Lou has opinions which are shared by many others out there!

I just had a look at some photos of the Holden Colorado and Izuzu D Max and I couldn't see any lower rear shock absorber mounts sitting as low.

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