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Changing the Game with the 2021 Chevy Colorado

A tan 2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is kicking up sand in the desert.

In a world where cars are threatening to get smaller and less focused on power-delivery, Chevy pickup trucks continue to pull their own weight. Between models like the Chevy Silverado 1500 and the Chevy Colorado, you have pickup trucks that have managed to take advantage of fuel efficiency without sacrificing the amount of power you ought to expect beneath the hood. A significant reason for this is because automakers like Chevrolet realize that in dumbing down the performance of their vehicles, they risk completely alienating their base of drivers and consumers, which brings us to the 2021 Chevy Colorado. While this Chevy pickup truck is still a long way out from being released to the market, what we know so far is that Chevy has no plans to decrease the power-delivery of their famous mid-sized pickup truck. The 2021 Chevy Colorado is expected to be just as rugged and capable as models of the past, all while incorporating greater technology and even more off-road competence.

What We Loved in 2020

A closeup is shown of the grille on a tan 2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2 in a desert.

Before we delve into what we can expect from the 2021 Chevy Colorado model, we should first touch on what we know and love about the 2020 model. The 2020 Chevy Colorado is a mid-sized pickup truck starting at the low-low MSRP of $21,300. The latest model of the Chevy Colorado was released with various trims including, the Base, WT, LT, Z71, and ZR2. These trims offered a rather varied driving experience, ranging from the simple WT or Work Truck model, which is intended to satisfy the needs of those looking for a business fleet, to the ZR2, a true beast of power with plenty of gear to make it a competent off-road vehicle. The 2020 Chevy Colorado set the stage for a diverse lineup of engine variants, too, giving drivers several different performance options.

In that entry-level Base, WT and LT models, you can expect to find a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers a fairly reasonable 200 horsepower and 191 lb-ft worth of torque, utilizing the assistance of a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission and a rear-wheel drivetrain. While not necessarily impressive, this beginning powertrain isn’t half-bad, especially considering the Chevy Colorado’s smaller size. Although, don’t think that this is the ceiling for the Chevy Colorado.

Upgrade to higher trims or packages of this mid-sized pickup truck, and you’ll find powertrains equipped with dependable workhorse engines such as the 3.6-liter V6 engine. This V6 equipped pickup truck has some serious output of 308 horsepower and 275 lb-ft worth of torque, all through the assistance of an 8-speed automatic transmission and the option of a four-wheel-drivetrain. This V6 powertrain had some significant towing capacity, too, topping out at a maximum of 7,000 pounds.

Apart from the engine variations, drivers can also invest in a pickup truck with some serious off-road gear. The ZR2 trim option comes with equipment that’ll make your truck a master of the dirt, with things like locking differentials, a raised suspension, and unique dampers all working together to give you the most amount of stability possible.

Performance isn’t the only thing that made the 2020 Chevy Colorado impressive; the level of technology and comfort options that were packed inside are high quality too. No matter what model you decide to purchase, you’ll get the choice between a 5’1 or 6’2 truck bed, which is quite the sizeable difference. As can be expected of most vehicles in its class, the Chevy Colorado can be purchased with either cloth or leather seats. It can be fitted with a plethora of additional infotainment and safety features. Although, that leads us to what we didn’t like too much about the 2020 Chevy Colorado and possible areas of improvement as we move onward into the 2021 model.

Not Quite Meeting the Mark

The 2020 Chevy Colorado falls into the same trap that other pickup trucks within the same class fall into, a lack of safety and driver assistance technology as standard. Sure, the infotainment features are spectacular, giving Base and WT models a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration; however, some drivers expect more than just a well-sized touch-display. Auto technology is changing to the point where cars are proactive about protecting their drivers, using sensors and cameras to activate brakes, take control of the wheel, and provide some serious awareness on the road.

The 2020 Chevy Colorado comes with many of these features. However, they require a pretty steep entry price. If you’re looking for features like forward-collision and lane-departure warnings, you’ll have to upgrade up to the LT trim. And if you’re interested in taking advantage of automatic emergency braking, you’ll have to choose a different pickup truck altogether.

When it comes to safety and driver assistance, the 2020 Chevy Colorado could stand to improve by leaps and bounds. While there is still a lot we don’t know about the 2021 Chevy Colorado, we do know that Chevrolet has plans to expand on this aspect of safety technology moving forward.

What’s Next for the Chevy Colorado

A tan 2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is parked in the desert while a red ZR2 Bison races past.

The 2021 Chevy Colorado made its first appearance at the 2019 Method Race Wheels Laughlin Desert Classic on October 10th, with a completely new look. While what we know so far is rather slim, we do know that the 2021 Chevy Colorado will sport a brand new color, “Sand Dune Metallic,” which is only available on the Z71 and ZR2 trim models. We plan to learn more when the 2021 Chevy Colorado makes its official debut at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, which will run from November 3rd to November 6th of this year.

This sneak peek involved a showcase of the Z71 and ZR2 trims. This new mid-sized pickup truck will feature a complete redesign, including change-ups like updated center bars, front skid plates, and lower fascias. The logo will also get a redesign, opting for new colors and a slightly different look.

In terms of gear, we know that the ZR2 model is going to be more off-road capable than ever as it is getting a full spread of new equipment. For instance, the 2021 Chevy Colorado will get red tow hooks included as standard, as well as a 2-inch suspension lift, off-road rocker protection, an automatic transfer case, and a wide array of skid plates.

While we’re still waiting for further details regarding automotive technology, it is hard to imagine a scenario wherein Chevrolet pushes forward with a new mid-size pickup truck that doesn’t at least have some standard driver assistance and safety features. In an industry that is leaning towards vehicles that can partially pilot themselves, Chevrolet would be missing out on a massive market if they skimped in this area.

All that said, it is still too soon to tell what direction Chevrolet plans to go in when it comes to automotive technology. The 2021 Chevy Colorado is an ever-evolving mid-size pickup truck that is surrounded by anticipation. Until its official release, we’ll be standing by with our finger on the pulse of auto news, intending to figure out how Chevrolet plans to change one of its flagship pickup truck models.

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