The 2021 Chevrolet Colorado is a truck of many talents. If you’re looking for an affordable work truck, the Colorado is a great choice. Or maybe you need to go off-road and conquer some trails or dunes. There’s a Colorado for that. If you want a family hauler that can handle the occasional weekend away with the boat or trailer, well there’s definitely a Colorado for that. The versatility of Chevy’s mid-size pickup, combined with its capability and affordability, make it one of the best trucks on the market. If you’re in the market for a new truck then continue reading to learn everything you need to know about the new 2021 Colorado.
New For 2021: A Bolder Design and a New Entry-Level Trim
The Chevrolet Colorado was given a slight redesign for 2021, with all trims sporting a revised front Chevy “bowtie” emblem and a new tailgate design. The front end of the WT, LT and Z71 trims was also redesigned and features an updated center bar, a lower fascia and a skid plate. However, it’s the ZR2 trim that has received the most radical redesign. It features a revised front end highlighted by a massive new grille.
Also, the “base” trim has been dropped for 2021, which makes WT the new entry-level trim.
Exterior Styling: Rugged Across the Lineup
The 2021 Colorado doesn’t really stand out among a crowd, unless you’re in the ZR2 trim, which commands attention. That said, the rest of the lineup has fairly pedestrian styling, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing as truck owners aren’t known for being all that picky when it comes to looks. That said, the Colorado does have some neat tricks up its sleeve in the form of appearance packages. The LT and Z71 trims can both be had with the “Redline Special Edition” package, which blacks out the truck and adds 18-inch wheels. The ZR2 can be had with three different appearance packages, two of which also make the Colorado a more capable off-roader.
What’s Under the Hood: Engines for Every Need
The 2021 Colorado offers three engine options. There’s a four-cylinder, a DOHC V6, and finally a Duramax four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine. Entry-level Colorados are equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine good for 200 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque. The next step up is the 3.6-liter DOHC V6 that produces 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. Finally, there’s the Duramax 2.8-liter turbo-diesel engine that kicks out 181 hp and torque of 369 lb-ft. The four-cylinder engines send power to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission, while the V6 is mated to an eight-speed automatic.
The Colorado is no slouch in a straight line when optioned with the V6. For example, the Colorado ZR2 will do 0-to-60 mph in just 6.1 seconds with the V6 under its hood. Reviewers have also praised the Colorado’s on-road manners, particularly the way it behaves through corners and its suspension, which keeps the truck planted even when the bed is empty.
However, very few people buy trucks because of how fast they can go or how they handle. Payload and towing are more important, and in those areas the Colorado posts strong numbers. With the diesel engine equipped, the Colorado can tow up to 7,700 pounds, while payload capacity maxes out at 1,550 pounds. When it comes to towing, only the GMC Canyon, the Colorado’s corporate cousin, can match its capabilities.
Despite being a pickup, the Colorado isn’t exactly a pig at the pump. The least economical trim is the ZR2 equipped with the V6 engine and 4WD. It averages just 16/18/17 MPG (city, highway combined) according to the EPA. The ZR2 equipped with the diesel fares better and records 18/22/19 MPG.
The best fuel economy comes from a combination of the diesel engine and RWD, which earns 20/30/23 MPG. Between those two markers, you’ll find the 4WD diesel rated at 19/28/22 MPG. The base 2.5-liter four-cylinder averages 19/25/22 MPG and 19/24/21 MPG when optioned with RWD and 4WD, respectively. The 3.6-liter V6 is quite thirsty and averages just 18/25/21 with RWD and 17/19/24 MPG with 4WD.
What’s Inside: A Comfortable Cabin That’s a Bit Short on Space
The Colorado boasts a spacious cabin with front seats that look like they belong in a full-size truck, according to reviewers. A power-adjustable driver’s seat and vinyl upholstery are standard. Available features include cloth upholstery, leather front seats, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, and leatherette rear seats. As expected, the second row of seats on the extended cab models are cramped. They can only really fit children (but function well as extra storage space). The back seats are much more comfortable on crew cab models. However, adults will still find themselves wishing for a bit more room.
The Colorado is available with two different bed sizes. There’s the long box, which measures 6’2” and the short box, which stands at 5’1”. The long box is available in both the extended cab and crew cab body styles. The short box is only available on the crew cab, though.
Apple Carplay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and a six-speaker audio system all come standard on the 2021 Colorado. A 7.0-inch touchscreen is featured in the base truck, while other trims receive an 8.0-inch display. Other available tech features include a Bose sound system, Wi-Fi hotspot, and GPS navigation.
The Colorado is a bit lean when it comes to standard safety features. They are limited to a rearview camera and Chevy’s Teen Driver system. Available safety tech includes rear parking sensors, a forward-collision warning, and a lane-departure warning. The Colorado’s lack of available safety tech is one of the truck’s few, yet biggest, blemishes.
Pricing and Trim Levels: Going Off-road Will Cost You
Both the extended cab and crew cab models are available in four trim levels: WT, LT, Z71 and ZR2.
Although it’s not the cheapest mid-size pickup on the market, the entry-level trim is priced competitively at $26,395. The WT can be had with both 4WD for $30,295 and with the available V6 for $27,880. A Colorado WT with the V6 engine and 4WD runs $31,780, while the crew cab WT has a starting price of $28,295.
The LT trim adds 17-inch aluminum wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an EZ lift power locking tailgate, a six-way power driver seat and an eight-inch touchscreen. The LT starts at $28,895 for the extended cab with the base four-cylinder engine. Notably, the most-expensive cabin and bed combo (crew cab long box) can be had for just $33,095 on the LT trim.
At an MSRP that starts from $36,695, the Colorado Z71 definitely isn’t cheap. However, that price tag also buys the available V6 engine and 4WD, along with an automatic locking rear differential, fog lamps, projector-beam headlamps and leather seating that’s designed to be easy to clean. The Z71 can also be had with the available diesel engine, but it does add a few thousand dollars to its sticker price.
At the top of the pyramid sits the ZR2 with a starting price of $42,795 (extended cab, long box). The V6 is standard, but the diesel is also available, although optioning it pushes the Colorado’s price tag to an eye-popping $46,295. Standard features on the ZR2 include an off-road suspension and damping system, fully locking front and rear differentials, and leather front seats.
The Last Word
The 2021 Chevrolet Colorado is one of the best buys in the ultra-competitive mid-size pickup segment. It offers solid pricing across the board, is incredibly capable, and can be had in a variety of cab and bed styles. If you’re looking for a pickup that does a lot of things well and one thing — towing — exceptionally, you definitely need to take the ‘21 Colorado for a test drive.