A white 2018 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is shown from the rear off-roading in a muddy field.

The Last Five Years of the Chevy Colorado

Whenever a new model year is coming out for a vehicle, it can be fun to look back at years prior and see how it’s changed. Even within the same generation, manufacturers often tweak things here and there to make the vehicle more competitive. The newest Chevy Colorado is debuting in 2022 and will be offered with one of Chevy’s most well-known off-roading packages for the first time. Since it first found itself in the hands of drivers, the Chevy Colorado has been lauded as the full package. It fills out the midsize segment of Chevy’s truck lineup, offering a hard-working alternative to full-sized pickups that’s easy on fuel (and the eyes, too). The second generation of the Colorado debuted for the 2015 model year, and it’s done no wrong since, making any recent year a solid choice for buyers in the market for a certified pre-owned Chevy truck. Over the past five years, the truck has gone through changes big and small, amounting to a vehicle that gets better with each passing year.

2017 – Introducing the ZR2

2017 was a big year for the Chevy Colorado, with several upgrades that elevated the truck to a new level. Most notably, it is the first model year to offer the ZR2 trim level in its lineup. ZR2 is the designation for vehicles that have been made ready for off-roading straight out of the factory. Vehicles like the Chevy S-10 and the Chevy Tracker donned the ZR2 moniker in the past, while the Chevy Silverado 1500 will be getting the ZR2 treatment in 2022. In the Colorado’s case, it means the inclusion of several trail-friendly features, including an upgraded suspension, tough skid plates, and a factory lift to boost the vehicle’s ground clearance.

The 2017 Chevy Colorado ZR2 further solidified the Colorado’s reputation as a dynamic performer. Also, for the first time in 2017, the Colorado was offered with an all-new 8-speed automatic transmission, a step up from the 6-speed automatic transmission previously offered. The same year ushered in upgrades to the Colorado’s interior, with a new 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system – compatible with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto – becoming available on the entry-level WT trim.

A popular Certified Pre-Owned Chevy truck, a silver 2018 Chevy Colorado is shown from the side.

2018 – Chevy Celebrates 100 Years

The Chevy Colorado went mostly unchanged for the 2018 model year, aside from the inclusion of a few new towing features. One of which is Chevy’s “Active Tow,” which utilizes the rear backup camera to assist drivers when attempting to align the hitch with a trailer. New colors got added to the mix, as did heated exterior mirrors for customers fighting frosty weather. The 2018 Chevy Colorado became a part of Chevy’s celebration of its 100th anniversary via the offering of a commemorative Chevy Colorado Centennial Edition. Most of what separates this Colorado from the pack are style differences, like its Centennial Blue paint job, heritage Chevy bowtie emblems, and a “100” badge on the door.

2019 – The Bison Hits the Trails

In 2019, Chevy upped the ante again with the all-new Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison package. The result of a collaboration with American Expedition Vehicles (AEV), the Colorado ZR2 Bison is quite literally a beast. It has all the off-roading chops of the ZR2, wrapped in an even tougher shell. Steel front and rear bumpers, courtesy of AEV, do double duty, offering extra durability and a different look from the standard ZR2. The Colorado ZR2 Bison also swaps out aluminum skid plates for steel, offering even more protection for the fuel tank, oil pan, transfer case, and differentials. AEV badges pepper the interior, namely on the floor mats and headrests. Other upgrades for 2019 include six-way power seats for the driver in certain trim levels and USB ports in the rear.

2020 – Tech and Convenience Additions

With a big redesign coming in 2021, 2020 was another year where the Chevy Colorado went relatively unchanged. However, there were some nice quality of life upgrades. Aside from the 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system becoming standard, there is now an option to upgrade to an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation. There’s also the addition of a nifty tire-fill alert that lets the driver know when to stop putting air in the tires, as well as a remote-locking liftgate.

Speaking of liftgates, the EZ-liftgate also became a standard feature on LT models, which essentially makes the heavy liftgate easier to close and softer to open. Unfortunately, the 6-speed manual transmission offered with the 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine was dropped in 2020. This left the Toyota Tacoma as the only pickup truck on the market with a manual option.

An orange 2021 Chevy Colorado Z71 is shown from the front driving on an open road.

2021 – An Aggressive New Face

Most of the changes for the 2021 Chevy Colorado were largely to do with its appearance. The front fascia was given an overhaul, with an updated grille and new badging. The rear tailgate changed out a large bowtie emblem for a stamped “Chevrolet” logo. The “Chevrolet” logo can also be spotted as a flow-through detail on the grille of the Chevy Colorado ZR2 as well.

Chevy made efforts to ensure the higher-level ZR2 and Z71 trims visually stood out from the rest of the lineup. Red recovery hooks are standard on the former, while the latter has a black Chevy bowtie emblem upfront (opposed to the traditional gold). Both are offered in Sand Dune Metallic paint, a new color for the 2021 model year. Having dropped the Base trim level in 2021, the Chevy Colorado is offered in four trim levels: WT, LT, Z71, and ZR2.

2022 – The Trail Boss Arrives

The Chevy Colorado continues going strong in 2022. The largest change to this midsize truck is the inclusion of a factory-installed Trail Boss kit, available in the LT and Z71 trims. “Trail Boss” is the designation used by Chevy for their off-roading package that’s more toned-down than the ZR2. In the Colorado’s case, it means the inclusion of front and mid skid plates, red recovery hooks, and a 1-inch lift. Trail Boss trucks set themselves apart visually with black bowtie emblems and a black “Colorado” logo on the tailgate, while the air dam is removed for improved ground clearance.

Aside from the Trail Boss package, the Chevy Colorado is fairly unchanged for 2022. It will have the same three engine options it has had for years: the standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that gets 200 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque, the 3.6-liter V6 that gets 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque, and the 2.8-liter Duramax turbo-diesel that gets 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The 2022 Chevy Colorado is also still offered in WT, LT, Z71, and ZR2 trim levels.

A Used Colorado is a Great Deal

No matter the model year you’re looking for, there’s a certified pre-owned Chevy Colorado out there that can get the job done, whatever the job happens to be. Are you looking to maximize fuel economy with a vehicle that can tow? A Colorado outfitted with the Duramax 2.8-liter turbo-diesel can get up to 20 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, with a towing capacity of up to 7,700 lbs. Are you trying to go fast? A Chevy Colorado with a 3.6-liter V6 will give you plenty of pickup. Finally, for enthusiasts of off-roading, there are more options than ever for factory Colorado’s, whether it be tacking on the Trail Boss package or going all out with the ZR2 Bison.