2015 Chevy Colorado-15

When Ford ended the Ranger production run in 2011, Detroit’s Big Three officially gave up any claim to the mid-size truck in the U.S., and that market has slowly shrunk to be just a sliver of overall pickup truck sales. But General Motors is getting back in the game with the 2015 Chevy Colorado that recently debuted at the L.A. Auto Show.

colorado-lifeguradThe new Colorado was shown in a variety of configurations and engine options, as well as the beach patrol/life guard concept to demonstrate just how versatile and easily customized the new Colorado can be. While the concept is not a surprise, being that fleet purchasers have long been the vehicle’s largest customer, what was a nice surprise for the consumer buyer was that the new truck will be available in either extended cab or crew cab configurations.

Also a nice surprise were the options of power: a choice of a thrifty 2.5 liter four-cylinder or powerful 3.6 liter V6 engine. The four-banger will deliver 193 horsepower and 184 ft-lb of torque, while the V6 engine will be good for 302 horsepower and 270 ft-lb of torque, with a max towing capacity of 6,700 pounds.

The vehicle’s bed is designed with standards such as 13 tie-down locations throughout the bed for use with available, movable cargo tie-down rings. The cargo bed is also built to accept a variety of racks and other accessories that will make the vehicle especially attractive to a younger, more active buyer with an outdoor lifestyle. Racks that can carry items such as mountain bikes, canoes and kayaks are displayed in photos of the vehicle provided by Chevrolet in support of the company’s drive toward that customer with this vehicle.

Even more exciting is an optional 2.8 liter four-cylinder Duramax diesel engine, which will crank out 200 horsepower and more than 380 ft-lbs of torque, while delivering fuel economy that could rival some of Chevy’s own economy sedans. GM is also touting a much more premium-feeling interior loaded with technology, such as the Chevy MyLink infotainment system.

The 2015 Chevy Colorado will come in WT, LT, and range-topping Z71 trims, and for those who prefer shifting for themselves, the base four-cylinder engine will offer a manual, while a six-speed automatic is the more likely candidate for most buyers. There is also talk of off-road-specific models in the future with suspension options much like the Z71 package currently available on the full-size Chevy trucks. At this point Off Road Xtreme is just glad to see an American automaker get back into the mid-size truck market, and with a diesel engine option, to boot.