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2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Long-Term Update 1

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/28/2015 Scott Burgess
2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Long-Term Update 1

Our long-term Chevrolet Colorado was due for a road trip, as it had proven itself well as a suburban tool. Commutes, weekend projects, and the occasional trip to Lowe's were all dutifully handled.

Now, though, it was time to drive it from Detroit to the Big Apple. If it can make it there … well, you know how the song ends.

I didn't find the 1,228-mile round-trip journey totally inspiring. Our Colorado crew cab came with the off-road Z71 package, meaning its big Goodyear All-Terrain Adventure tires might bounce me all the way across Ohio. I loaded up with beef jerky and coffee and headed out. Although the ride is softer than most sedans, I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable the Colorado was during the trip.

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2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71

Used Onstar to load directions for NYC. Go south to Toledo. Turn left. Drive till you smell pizza -- good pizza.

The seat holds you snugly in place, and the driving position is excellent for long hauls. There is a good ergonomic feel while driving, as well as good lines of sight on the highway. Because this Colorado is also a mobile Wi-Fi hot spot, I was always connected during the trip and even downloaded some music. I also added an aftermarket phone holder that clipped to the vent so I could use Waze to stay ahead of any problems down the road. (The phone holder only lasted this trip and broke before I had recouped $10 of use out of it.)

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2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71

During the trip, I was forced to take surface streets in the middle of a freak snowstorm that dumped half a foot over western Pennsylvania. As I watched front-wheel-drive cars spin their tires and slide down hills, the Colorado never hesitated. I switched over to four-wheel drive and crunched through the heavy, wet snow. Because I was in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, I managed to pass a number of horse and carriages with flashing LED hazard signals strung to the back. They seemed to be doing much better in the snow than many cars. Once I got back on the highway, I cruised all the way to New York City.

2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71

Once again, the 3.6-liter, 305-hp V-6 provided plenty of power during the trip. At highway speeds, the Colorado can still quickly pass other vehicles with nice acceleration. The steering is also evenly weighted so that any sudden tugs on the wheel don't cause the vehicle to overreact. It also managed 22 mpg in mostly highway driving according to the instant readout. At first, I was only averaging 18.8 mpg, but when the weather changed, I had to slow down. The EPA number is 24 mpg on the highway, but, admittedly, I stopped often along the way. Knowing my driving habits, I found this number impressive.

Long hauls, however, are not just about mechanical performance. They're also about how well the cabin works for driver and passengers. The center console gave me places to hold two drinks in the cupholders and a place to collect other things. The passenger-side footwell became the receptacle for trash collected from various stops. The passenger's seat held my computer bag without setting off the seatbelt alarm because of the bag's weight. (This particular warning is becoming more commonly heard as seat sensors have become more sensitive.) There are four USB drives — one at the base of the center stack, one inside the center console, and two in the second row — so I was able to keep most of my devices charged.

2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71

Really, the cabin was a relaxing environment for the long trip. When I got back to Detroit, I didn't feel cramped or exhausted. The seats held up well and I didn't feel awkward when straightening my back after exiting the truck.

Although the new truck smell is beginning to fade in the Colorado, it still remains a great little pickup truck, ready to handle those dull around-town errands and long trips around the country.

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