Cars.com's Best Pickup Truck of 2015 Winner

IMG_0699 II

And the Best Pickup Truck of 2015 is … the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado.

When PickupTrucks.com's sister site Cars.com chooses a Best Of award like this, especially when in a class of competitors that offers so much diversity, it can be difficult comparing brand-new vehicles with significantly improved ones or heavy-duty models with midsizers. But that's what we do here each year — make the hard calls and choose a winner. We review the entire lineup of pickup trucks in every segment, looking at each change and modification made by the truckmakers. We examine the impact those changes will have on the segment, and eventually we narrow our top choice to the one that most deserves to be called the Cars.com's Best Pickup of the Year.

This year the choices were exceptional, with vehicles in each of the three categories — midsize, half-ton and heavy-duty — represented, each offering a strong argument for why they should win the top honor. In the end, though, we selected the Chevy Colorado as the pickup that resets the bar not only in its segment, but possibly in the entire pickup truck arena when it comes to efficiency, quality and bang-for-your-buck value.

By re-entering the struggling midsize pickup truck segment with the 2015 Colorado, GM engineers accepted the challenge of aiming to be the segment leader — which they knew they had to do — along with needing to lure back buyers who had migrated to other segments like crossovers, sedans and full-size pickups. To call this an expensive risk would be an understatement — after all, GM had to rebuild an entire production plant that shares little with any other GM vehicle. If this truck is anything less than a home run, it could be one of the costliest experiments GM has ever conducted.

It's one thing to create a new and improved pickup that outperforms the vehicle it's replacing — just doing that is no small feat. It's quite another to birth a vehicle into a blank space that is required to reset the bar and send shockwaves as deep into the marketplace as possible. We have no doubt the Chevy Colorado — and sibling GMC Canyon — will send other truckmakers scrambling to the drawing boards as more people are lured back to midsize pickups, especially if the coming small turbo-diesel is a hit. We think this new truck will do that, forcing Nissan, Toyota and others to do more and do it better. It's for those reasons that we selected the Colorado as the truck that stands above the competition this year.

This award acknowledges the GM engineers who have made a solid product with a boatload of value for those who love traditional truck traits as well as for those just looking for functional transportation. Congrats to all involved.

Other eligible pickups for 2015 award were:

  • 2015 Ford F-150
  • 2015 Ford Super Duty F-250/350
  • GMC Sierra 2500/3500
  • Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro
  • Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

Cars.com photos by Mark Williams

 

Comments

@Big Al - "But, the point you are missing is, can the Colorado provide enough for a full size buyer to invest in one?"

Ummm........ nope.............. not missing that point.

I'm well aware of that point.

The Colorado offers everything that a full sized 1/2 ton does BUT the ultimate differentiation boils down to size.
The Tacoma was woefully outdated and sold because there wasn't much else out there in the small truck class.

Size matters or more specifically, the perception of size........... and capability.

GM should be congratulated for the new Canyon/Colorado. They are good trucks. The diesel will make them even better. To all the doubters:

1. The Feds will not allow $2.00 gas-the Highway Trust Fund needs money and they already are talking tax increase. Look for incremental 10 cent hikes throughout the last half of this year.

2. Some here dismiss them as "only" for weekend warriors or city dwellers. Why the contempt?? Not everyone needs a full size. What is the problem with using a truck for your hobby or household chores? There are a lot of suburbanites who would love the double cab.

3. Some larger contractors can use them for the boss. You don't need a RAM 2500 to spec a job. But you might want a 4x4 body- on- frame vehicle to spec jobs, and to visit on-going jobs. BOF handles ungraded terrain much better than unibody CUVs.

4. To all who said you can buy a full size for a few dollars more. I saw my first 2015 F150 Saturday. OVER $61,000.00 MSRP! (Are they serious?) I can order a Colorado double cab long bed 4x4 with the options I want for $32800.00 .So the "few dollars more is $28000.00 more. Oh, an F150 double cab optioned like the Chevy? $39000+.

@KeithCT,
I have never stated on any site that midsize pickups will outsell fullsize trucks, or for that matter come close in sales.

I really do think some of you guys really need to understand the written language. This isn't like texting SMS messages.

What I'm stating is the Colorado is offering a significantly refined pickup. Something you guys have never encountered.

This will gradually increase the sale of midsizers. Midsizers could double or even treble in numbers without to big a fallout for full size trucks.

I do hope the next Taco is refined to the point of the Colorado/Canyon. I think this is highly unlikely. The next Hilux will be.

Toyota will maintain it's market share. As I've pointed out previously in Australia our experience was Toyota maintained it's sales edge. The did a similar thing as happened to your US Taco and increased bling and made a few changes to a couple of body panels.

They also dropped the price of them significantly to remain competitive. I do expect this with you Taco.

It's a pity Toyota didn't have the balls to introduce the next Hilux into the US market.

As for your question regarding why full size pickups dominate the US market is affected by several variables.

1. Market protection of that segment of vehicles,

2. Economics, the ability to afford to operate those vehicles,

3. Infrastructure, a transportation network able to support those vehicles, and

4. Culture, a pickup culture, but don't forget that a midsizer is also a pickup and your culture will support it. Just like large BOF SUVs have become midsize/small unitary CUVs.

Your thinking and logic should understand the challenges confronting the US full size market. They are/will be huge.

The impact on the cost of a pickup will gradually force them well into the middle class. Even now with the Colorado there is a cost gap developing between it and the full size pickups.

People will buy a midsize if they consider it to offer better value. Initial purchase pricing is the most important aspect of buying a new vehicle.

As I've been pointing out look at how many pickups are sold as a car/CUV/SUV alternatives. 75%. This is the Colorado's main demographic, not the 25% who do require specific attributes in capability, ie, load, tow, etc.

In other words most pickups sold are toys. If they weren't how Ram 1500's would sell with their low payload.

@LouBC,
You seem to concentrate on the wants of the 25% of prospective pickup customers. That is in respect to require/want/need specific attributes. What this does is create a pi$$ing competition on hp, tow, load, acceleration, etc. But you guys focus on the margin of what is actually being targeted by the manufacturers.

Yes, you do have pickups with some great attributes and capability, but most don't need or want that. That is what I'm focusing on lately. This will remove much of the unproductive banter that goes on on PUTC.

Size is significant. But, so is cost and capability. Don't confuse size with capability.

Some (not you in particular) state how cheap full size pickups are. Or how poor the midsizers are, etc. But with the Colorado this isn't the case.

A Colorado will offer a family of four more than enough payload, tow, etc. All in a package as refined as a full size.

Not just myself, but Robert Ryan have been trying to tell you guys this for the last several years, but most still look at your Taco and Frontier as a benchmark and base you assumptions on them.

As I told you previously. The Colorado would not be getting the attention it has for no reason.

It is quite a revelation to you guys what can come out of a midsize pickup. You guys don't even have the "HD" variants we get with 420ftlb diesels. That would really be an eye opener for you.

The average midsize here has around 350-380ftlb diesels and can carry up to 3 000lbs and the average tow is 3.5 tonnes or around 7 800lbs, I even have trailer sway. Again, I'll see some dumbass comments regarding a comparison between it and a 12 000lb tow on a F-150. But not many in the US tow that much.

The Colorado will be as robust as most any "average" half ton sold, with the capability, performance, refinement to make it a very attractive alternative.

They aren't that small. I doubt there are too many cars as big as a midsize pickup as well.

I'm not just a midsize person. I do like all pickups, but I think you guys will start to rethink your paradigms, especially when the diesel comes out.

Congratulations on the Colorado for getting Cars.com's Truck of the Year award; personally I agree.

However, I don't believe it's going to be the success GM was hoping for. Why? Because it's not really mid-sized, it's old-school full sized and could easily serve as the 1 for 1 replacement for any 2000 or older full-sized truck--and gets better fuel mileage as well. This is going to make it unpopular with the mid-sized market because it's too large, and unpopular with the full-sized market because it's too small. It doesn't even come close to competing with its targeted SUV/CUV market whose vehicles are significantly smaller than this.

It's a pity too. I was really hoping the hype would be followed by reality; early pictures made it look significantly smaller and their auto-show displays somewhat helped that image by not letting anyone get close enough to really get a sense of scale. The reality came home when I had to actually climb into the truck instead of merely sitting down as I would a Chevy Traverse which would have been a much more reasonable size.

So congratulations on winning the award, but I expect it will ultimately be a failure simply because it's too large for its intended market.

BAFO - You are maming my point. No family of 4 will buy a Colorado to haul the family, payload and or tow. Simply put, even as a CC there is not very good legroom and it simply lacks the payload. Families here aren't buying mid sized pickups. It is usually couples or singles and they get the CC for the extra enclosed storage space and to haul friends in a pinch. Heck, the Colorado ad shows a single guy leaving work to AC/DC's Back in Black looking like a cool guy, not a family of 4 going camping or to the lake.

Your comparison to the F150 is bogus as it overlooks one thing the Colorado will never out do the F150 or any other fullsize on. SIZE. Interior room, leg room, cargo room...... Lets also not overlook that the 2.7 Eco puts out superior numbers to go with better towing and payload. Even GM's own 5.3L V8 and 4.3L V6 aren't far off in mpg. So in other words the Colorado's biggest advantage as it is currently configured being smaller than a full size. That is about it. You say don't mention payload, FE, HP acceleration times in an arguement? How can you not? You've just made it clear you have no basis to justify your arguement other than "it's smaller" then. It makes no sense unless size is a need that cannot be compromised. How many people choose less over more if prices are comparably close? Almost no one.

To the folks quoting that a comparable F150 costs $50-61k, you really need to learn to use the build a truck feature on Ford's web page. $60k will get you a King Ranch or a Platinum that is far more pimped out than the highest Colorado trim.

@Big Al -
Big Al – I keep harping on “the wants of the 25% of prospective pickup buyers” for multiple reasons:
1. The other 75% are clueless
2. The fanboys pick and choose criteria that move their brand into 1st.
3. One needs to buy based on meeting the needs generated by the wants.
Let me explain that one – If you decide you want to tow a 7k camper trailer and have a family of 4 then you need to look at the capacities of the truck you plan to buy. That includes tow ratings, GVW, GCVW, tare weight, tongue weight, insurance, driver’s licence criteria et al.
I try to look at every truck I buy with that in mind. If I decide a Colorado is what I want and it lines up with my needs , I’ll buy the Colorado.
I'm not going to dumb that down because 75% of buyers are ignorant of those facts.
You keep arguing based on need. I agree that a Colorado or Tacoma would meet the needs of your mythical 75% BUT we are emotional creatures and therefor “desire” AKA “want” trumps “need”.
Try Googling Maslow.
4. Size does not mean capacity
I do not confuse size with capacity…..Case in point:
Ram 1500 Ecodiesel .
It has the size but p!zzpoor capacity due to that refined suspension and refined ride.
The engine is up to the task but the rest of the truck isn’t.
The PUTC shootout with the same truck but powered by the 5.7 proved that point.

The Colorado has the capacity at 1,500 lb (crew 4x4), price is on par with a lower end crewcab, mpg is similar so what is left?
Size.

As KeithCT pointed out, most will go with full sized. 90% of buyers do.

THAT MAY CHANGE. EVERYTHING DOES.

My last purchase decision boiled down to 3 trucks: Tacoma, Tundra, F150. The Tundra got ditched due to 5.5 box crew and price. That left F150 versus Tacoma...........
1. F150 cheaper after rebates
2. Similar mpg even with 5.4 V8
3. F150 superior cargo
4. F150 superior tow
5. F150 better interior room
6. F150 more options for price
The only negative was size but that was a trade-off for improved interior room and cargo volume.

Like I've said over and over again, I look at everything out there.
Next time around, who knows. My needs generated by my wants might be covered by a smaller truck.

@LouBC,
Again, it seems to be your wants and the basis of your comments assume most are just like you.

This isn't the case.

How many tow 7 000lbs in the US with a light pickup? I can tell you I actually don't see that many towing those kinds of weights on my travels. I'm also stating not many do tow those kinds of weights. But I do believe you are overestimating the use of a pickup. This is where your subjective views might not be very accurate.

Again, I'm not stating that the smaller pickups will reign. This is another argument that must be understood by yourself and others.

My comment is, 75% of pickup owners really don't have the requirement for the large full size trucks. I'm not stating they will not buy a full size. What I'm stating is the newer midsizers will offer a lot more competition in the race to sell pickups.

I've always stated this.

Look at cars as an example. People in the US once thought a car must be six and half foot wide and twenty foot long. This is no longer the case. This was driven by CAFE. The change in the US car market was impacted significantly by regulatory changes.

Pickups now are confronted with CAFE changes, not as severe as the car encountered. So, there will be an impact as well. This impact will be proportional to the severity of the regulatory changes. It can't be otherwise.

It's like telling me the Chicken Tax of 25% has no impact on the pickup market.

You claim to be in some form of management position. So, you would have noticed just how slight procedural and/or regulatory changes impact productivity/morale. Any change has an impact. The CAFE changes to full size pickups isn't slight. It's actually quite significant.

Your Ram 1500 comment is of little value as Ram has shown how much capability is required by many pickup owners. Again if this was otherwise why is Ram increasing market share at the rate it has?

Your comments are in direct relation of what Ford is producing. As I also stated the aluminium F-150 is a good pickup, but again the Colorado was choosen. You will state ti was by a car magazine. But again 75% of pickups are used as a car.

As I've also stated, you will see an upset of the US pickup market. It will not be as in the past. That is how many, including yourself are viewing the pickup market.

The reality is Ford will drop into second spot, with a chance of going into third. This is hard for some to adjust to, but this will occur.

Al, you cannot play both sides of your arguement. It can't be mid size will offer competition AND not threaten full size sales dominance. They will either compete or not. Here in the US midsize will not compete. Look no further than the Dakota. People figured out why pay full size fuel costs for a smaller less capable truck. Same applies here. The success of the smaller trucks was back in the late 80's early 90's when they are actually compact and got 20mpg around town and many had sub 4.0L engines. GM will find out that the market for the mid sizers is small and the rturn rate on sales will be even smaller. They will watch 1500 sales dip as well. They are splitting the pie into too many pieces.

It is like you are trying to argue that you would spend marginally less money on a smaller house ratheer than get a slightly larger one withthe same practically the same heating and cooling costs for slightly less money. Who is going to choose the smaller house? Very few. That pretty much sums up the mid and fiull sized truck sales in a nutshell. The smaller trucks currently have no real advantage other than fitting in a smaller garage bay. At resale time the small trucks are harder to sell as well.

@Big Al from Oz - yup, you scratched that record and the song keeps repeating over and over and over and over and over and over and over and you still haven't understood the words.

I AM NOT advocating that EVERYONE buy a max cargo/max tow pickup.

I AM ADVOCATING BUYING THE RIGHT TOOL THAT DOES THE JOB based on wants and desires.

It sucks to be you because most buyers do not feel baby diesels or small trucks are what they want or desire.

Get over it.

I've owned every class of pickup and have driven various 1 ton van conversions and class 8 trucks.
I'm not confining my view point to any one class.

Caveat Emptor - a fool and his money are soon parted.

That applies to buying a F450 to haul a golf cart or buying a Colorado to tow 10K.

I don't want or need a big truck or car regardless of how cheap gasoline is at the present time. Long run cheap gas will not last because production will be cut and the Federal and State governments will raise the fuel tax to pay for roads and bridges. I do see a time when the full size half ton trucks lose some length along with weight and if and when that happens that could become the new global size. There will always be a choice of heavy duty trucks which by their very nature will be bigger.

As for the success of the Colorado/Canyon I think it will be enough for GM to make a profit especially since these trucks were globally designed and the cost of development is not as high as if they were specifically developed from scratch for just North America. As for the new F-150 it has not been out long enough and full production has not been reached in all plants to judge if it is a hit or if it is just lukewarm. I do think Ford is going to have to do some aggressive discounting to compete with Ram and GM since both have gained market share and both are aggressively discounting. This will be a great time for the buyers of new trucks in that they have newer products that will be very competitive.

@Lee,
Thank you very much for your response.

But, I do think many of the debates on PUTC since I've been blogging have been lacking. That is it's been mainly about manufacturer data.

Like I told you previously; a big amplifier doesn't make for good music or a good guitar.

I do think your much of your previous input into PUTC, along with Lou has been just Ram bashing.

The reality is Ram is gaining in sales far quicker than any other manufacturer. And, as you say it has a low payload.

The other area which makes it harder for yourself and others to argue is he magazine articles and manufacturer data. You can't debate any subjective issues with the use of data to support yourselves. Just look at what is the most popular segment within 1/2 ton full size pickups. I'd bet it isn't any pickup that can carry 2 000lbs and tow 10 000. There will be some who want this capability, but most don't.

So, throwing information beating your chests stating that a F-150 must be better than a Ram because it can carry whatever more is a lost argument.

I can state a road train prime mover is a far superior truck because they can tow 450 000lbs. But it is irrelevant, just like your argument.

I do believe many do want a full size V8, there are also many who are happy with a NA V6. But I do think that is the extent of what most want. Most any of the pickups available in the US market will fulfill the requirement of the majority of customers.

By and large the US pickup has become a car alternative.

If they weren't do you think Ford would have made the F-150 out of aluminium? Do you think the US government would of went down the path of CAFE regulations?

If they were truly "trucks" like yourself and Lou try to put across then they would be regulated like HD's. But they aren't.

Like I stated you and Lou can't/won't give me your reasons for the takeup of Ram pickups. Why?

Because it defeats your arguments in propping up Ford.

Lou, Yes Ford and G.M. have max packages that exceed Ram 1500. These packages don't come FREE. So if I don't need to tow 12,000 lbs in my 1/2 ton I get class leading ride and handling with the Ram loaded or unloaded. Out perform Ford while towing. Instead of paying for max tow I can get class exclusive options in the Ram ie: Ram box, air suspension and great interior quality and better warranty than Ford.

Wasn't it you that stated your brothers company tried saving money by replacing 3/4 ton trucks with 1/2 tons? The 1/2 tons were not living as long as the heavy duties?

"I AM ADVOCATING BUYING THE RIGHT TOOL THAT DOES THE JOB."

G.M. simply makes Ford look silly when towing with that 6.2L
G.M. has the same towing as Ford but puts it to shame.

Remember Ram has a 2500 that can tow 10,000 plus,plus. With class leading ride and more capability than Ford.

1/2 ton =Homeowner life style.

3/4 ton = R.V. work truck.

pop quiz. What truck will last longer?

A. A 1/2 ton that tows at it's max?

B. A 3/4 ton that tows at minimum?

The "class leading ride and handling" is an opinion that is not shared by everyon."

Posted by: Lee | Jan 18, 2015 2:15:56 PM

It has been well documented that the Ram 1500 has the best ride in caparison tests.


"The Ram 1500 is the 2013 Rocky Mountain Truck of the Year, as chosen by the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press, for class-leading ride and handling,"


" The 2012 Ram 1500 is among the top again, as it was named A Consumers Digest Best Buy+ in the automotive category for the 2012 model year. Calling the Ram 1500 ride and handling first-rate,"

continue here...........

http://www.ramtrucks.com/en/ram_1500/awards/

"The winner of the empty autocross was the Ram 1500, with a time of 46.0 seconds. Our test driver made note of how well the suspension was able to dive and hold the corners and keep the rear end controlled better than any other in the test, especially in tight hard-right, hard-left transitions."

http://special-reports.pickuptrucks.com/2013/06/2013-light-duty-challenge-autocross.html

" In first place after the loaded runs, the Ram posted a loaded best time."

Ram 2500, "The Ram definitely offered the best interior and had the best ride of the three, comfortably traversing just about every smooth and broken tarmac surface."

Ford 250, " we found the most problems surrounding the truck were underneath in the form of the suspension's challenged ride quality, both when loaded or empty. None of the other trucks sagged as much as the F-250, which showed a pronounced droop in the rear end when loaded. Likewise, when loaded, the ride was floaty and wobbly — especially when taking corners."

You can lead a horse to water but you can make them drink it.

Stay thirsty my friend. lol

I really don't get the hype of the new Colorado/Canyon. I do believe it is too big for the mid-size class when it's basically an older full size truck. I think the Colorado's interior looks great, but the exterior looks like Nissan designed it. Then you get either the Malibu 4 cylinder or Impala 6 cylinder engines to choose from. Wow.

The Tacoma won't be challenged by these trucks because GM's mid size trucks seem more like cars with beds on the back. They will give people something different to drive, but once the hype is over, the full size will still be great sellers because there is just more truck for the money. Unless all you want is a 3/4 size Silverado for the same price?

i am asking a legitamite question about GMs HP claim on this truck where max HP is above the redline and the owners manual says not to operate the engine above rted line because any damage my void my warranty?

why do you guys keep deleting this comment? i am an owner of this truck and I have a genuine need for information...please give GM a call because their dealers and 800 line keep giving me the run around.



The comments to this entry are closed.