A grey 2021 Chevy Colorado is shown parked in a city after being in the 2021 Chevy Colorado vs 2020 Chevy Colorado comparison.

Does the 2021 Chevy Colorado Improve Upon Last Year?

Many vehicles get updated every year, and while those changes aren’t always full redesigns, they are usually worth it. If you are comparing the 2021 Chevy Colorado vs 2020 Chevy Colorado, the changes that have been made aren’t anything drastic. There have been some changes, there’s no doubt about that, but these are the type of changes that you expect from an annual release and not one that you’d find when ushering in an entirely new generation of a model.

For years, Colorado has been a popular lineup of midsize pickup trucks made by Chevy. The first Colorado made its way into the marketplace and roads all over America in 2004. Since then, Chevy has added several game-changing features that can make a model from 17 years ago be nearly entirely obsolete by comparison. It’s not only with this vehicle, as many other models within the industry have seen major shifts in their design and features, and the 2021 Colorado is simply no different in this regard. The 2021 Chevy Colorado has a few neat tricks up its sleeve, however, but to first understand what has changed, we have to look closer into the available trim levels that you’ll explore upon starting your shopping.

Available Trim Levels

This year, the 2021 Chevy Colorado starts at an MSRP of $25,200 for the base trim, the Work Truck. Last year, Work Truck was the second available trim, right above the Base trim, which has since been discontinued. This is the first major departure from last year’s Colorado, but this is nothing but a positive thing for the newest model as the cheapest offering now gets you more than last year’s base model. With the choice between two powertrain configurations and a fully capable infotainment center in the base model derived from last year’s model, the 2021 Colorado is more enticing than the 2020 Colorado base model. The LT is the next available trim for the 2021 Colorado, and this trim comes with additions such as a power-adjustable driver’s seat for enhanced comfort. Those looking for an EZ Lift to allow for a quicker and easier way to access your tailgate can find it here.

The Z71 adds an HD Rear Vision Camera with a higher camera resolution than your average rear-view camera, and this helps to increase your visibility whenever your truck is in reverse with a crisp and clear video feed from the back end of your vehicle. This is then accompanied by Chevy’s Off-Road Suspension Package, which includes over ten distinctive features to help you better conquer the trail if you plan on bringing your truck off-road. Without this package, you’ll likely want to avoid off-roading, but by purchasing the Z71 or the even better ZR2 trim, then you’ll be ready for both the open road and when you’re traveling off the beaten path.

The ZR2 is better suited for more intense off-roading tasks as it takes the features found on the aforementioned Z71 but adds more features such as a dedicated off-road suspension, better ground clearance to avoid scraping the bottom of your vehicle, and a dedicated damping system, among others. The damping system that comes included with the ZR2 is courtesy of Multimatic, which many will agree is the king of automotive dampers, allowing more stability in events that call for it, such as off-roading.

A silver 2020 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison is shown from a high angle off-roading.

Does it Perform Identically?

Compared to last year’s model, there have been no changes made to the three available powertrains for the 2021 Colorado, and all of them perform identically to how they were last year. To bring in last year’s Colorado for reference, both it and the new model come standard with a 2.5L 4-cylinder that comes paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. 2021 Colorado models equipped with this engine, such as Work Truck, will produce 200 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque, and when properly equipped, this engine will help you tow 3,500 lbs. Additionally, EPA-estimated ratings for this 2.5L 4-cylinder engine are quite excellent, with two-wheel drive models earning 19 MPG city and 25 MPG highway.

It’s understandable if you’d rather something more powerful than a 4-cylinder engine, and that’s where you’re in luck as Chevy offers an available 3.6L V6 that you can opt for. This V6 is also available in the Work Truck trim but will cost extra. This 3.6L V6 comes paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission and creates 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque, which is a 54% increase to horsepower and about a 44% increase in torque output. Better yet, with this engine, the 2021 Colorado can tow up to 7,000 lbs when equipped properly, and it doesn’t lose too much fuel efficiency regardless of this performance boost. Although not identical with the base engine, this V6 earns rather similar EPA-estimated ratings with a two-wheel drive model earning 18 MPG city and 25 MPG highway.

With the 2021 Colorado, the same turbo-diesel engine from last year makes a return, this being a turbo-diesel 2.8L 4-cylinder that comes paired to the same 6-speed automatic transmission as the base engine. For the best towing performance, along with being the most fuel-efficient engine of the three that we’ve mentioned so far, there are many reasons why you should opt for the turbodiesel when you buy your vehicle. Like last year, this engine still creates 186 hp, and its 369 lb-ft of torque helps allow it to handle towing capacities that exceed 7,700 lbs, more than double the towing capacity of the base engine. As we’ve mentioned, this engine is the most fuel-efficient, and that’s because it’s both turbocharged and runs on diesel, which lends itself to EPA-estimated ratings of 20 MPG city and 30 MPG highway.

A red 2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is shown parked next to people on a beach.

Is It Time To Upgrade?

So, is it time to upgrade to the 2021 Colorado? Truth be told, this isn’t a one-sided answer, and the real difference-maker will depend entirely on the automobile that you’re currently driving. For the drivers who perhaps own an entirely different vehicle such as an SUV or a sedan, the Colorado is one of the best ways to get into the world of trucking, and it doesn’t really matter which year you choose. For the Chevy fan who can’t help but keep their eyes off of this latest take on Colorado, you might enjoy the added features that come with the 2021 model year. Either way, we don’t expect any major changes to the Colorado soon, so you won’t regret buying the newest pickup.

Will the upcoming generational leap be in 2023? Or maybe 2024? It’s hard to say, but the rumor is that a third-generation Colorado is in the pipeline a year or two down the road. It may be a bit of a wait, but we can’t wait to see all the new features and upgrades that it will bring. Until then, we think the current Colorado appeals to a very specific type of driver, offering a great mix of pickup truck versatility in a smaller and more economical package. Whether you pick the 2020 or 2021 model, you will be sure to enjoy driving one of the more capable midsize trucks on the market.