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2015 Chevrolet Colorado debuts at Car Craft Summer Nationals

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Here it is truck fans – the midsize you've been waiting for: the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado.

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We finally saw it live and in-person at the Car Craft Summer Nationals. So much so, that we crawled under and around this truck to get all the gory details.

After some nudging and repeated requests, the Chevy representatives were ever so kind and finally relented. The doors were flung open and hood unlatched. At last!

We were told repeatedly from multiple reps that this is only a pre-production model. As such, there is no window sticker, which unfortunately rules out determining the RPO (Regular Production Order) code options installed on this display truck. Currently the RPO codes released online are incomplete, to say the least. For instance, there’s only one suspension package available on that order list, an off-road Z71 configuration. Obviously not all buyers need to go off-roading. So all we can do is observe and guestimate this Colorado’s factory installed options to the best of our judgments.

As a matter of fact, this prototype truck is so new, it has been repainted! Yes, even show cars are quickly scuffed and sprayed to change things up… or hide something else. The engine bay still had the original green hue, which we’re willing to bet was the extra-cost option Rainforest Green Metallic, according to Chevrolet website. Remember, that cool green color was also prominently displayed on the ’15 GMC Canyon that debuted this past January at the 2014 Twin Cities Auto Show (see article link below). The repaint was almost a gray-blue, something that didn't seem to match the color options listed on the website.

That said, here’s an exclusive first-look of the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado.

Unlatched
Under hood several things stood out. One, the 3.6 liter V6 was in place, the more powerful, optional engine. The plastic “covering” was fitted, which really makes for an uninspiring engine bay. Too bad, because the direct-injected V6 motor makes 300HP and can tow 7000 lbs. (6700 lbs. according to the GM flyer we were texted). We also spied for the first time the electric steering system, a segment-first feature. There’s not much to see draping over the fender, so we went underneath to see it up-close. In the pictures, you can clearly see the difference electric power steering makes, as it eliminates the traditional belt and pulley configuration. While at it, we also spotted the new coil-over front suspension. At first glance we thought it was a strut, but upon review it is what GM has listed in its press releases, aluminum knuckles and all. Electric power steering will no doubt contribute to better MPGs and that’s the goal.

We tried hard to spy the automatic shutters in the grill, employed by GM to control and divert airflow to maximize MPGs. No matter how hard we looked, we couldn't see the mechanisms that activate when at a certain speed.

Down under
On our backs, we couldn't help but notice the huge driveshaft going to the rear axle. It had to be 5” in diameter and more suitable for a diesel truck. It also appeared to be constructed out of aluminum (weight savings?) Out back, we dug the new 4-wheel disc brakes behind the optional 18” alloys fitted with 265-60 rubber. This spec is the largest tire currently on the order sheet. We like the 60-series for handling, and these wheels are definitely better looking in person than in brochures or online. Still, we’re holding out hope for a Sport ZQ8 model with some 50-series rubber on 18” wheels sooner rather than later.

We also noticed – wait for it – no 4x4. Couldn't find any transfer case or torsion bars (if 4x4s are so equipped), so that pretty much designated the show truck a 2WD (2-Wheel Drive) V6 Crew-Cab.

We’re surprised by this 4x4 omission. Don’t get us wrong, we love 2WD and it’s fine for daily drivers. It’s just that having the show car be a 2x4 is contrary to what all press releases have shown or the website has promoted. All we have seen are Z71 4x4s in their off-road splendor. Obviously GM wants to endorse the highest trim models and fully loaded models. But even the show representatives weren't sure what they had at the show.

Another clue that points to this truck not being a 4x4 model is the lack of the dark grill and window channels along with Z71 badges. The LT trim has more chrome, which matches this display ride.

We had to keep searching to find out exactly what had GM brought to Car Craft Summer Nationals. That shouldn't be a total surprise, as most GM dealers have no information regarding these new trucks, either.

Styling
The ’15 Colorado sheetmetal is cool. We’re digging how it has its own distinct character, with design cues completely unique compared to its big brother Silverado. The GMC Canyon is its own model, but it is definitely going with a similar look to the Sierra (not a bad thing). But Chevy is going on its own path, which makes sense as it historically has outsold the Canyon.

The stance is a bit on the high side, especially for a 2WD model. It featured step bars under the rocker panels, probably an optional accessory made available through dealers.

Get in bed
Though we didn't play with it too much, the bed config is quite accommodating and looks to be a purposeful-built truck. There are plenty of tie down attachments and slots to make great use of the bed space. The OEM factory option spray-on bedliner felt similar to the touch as Linex and of good quality. The bedrails had molded plastic caps, something we think will be standard and a nice feature to have for extra protection.

The tailgate features an internal torsion bar mechanism that lowers it ever-so-slightly instead of the drop-clang that usually happens. The tailgate also featured a lock, something that we approved of and the CornerStep bumper did indeed help access into and out of the bed.

Sitting pretty
Okay, we weren't permitted to actually sit in the seats. But we poked and prodded the two-tone leather with neoprene-like material inserts and came away impressed with the sporty look. Chevy’s website lists 2 leather options, in all Jet Black or a Jet Black/Dark Ash combo available with the Luxury package. The new Colorado digs makes the old versions look like a Work Truck trim model. Still, we slightly preferred the ’15 GMC Canyon and its upscale leather All Terrain seating option compared to the Colorado.

3 trim models are offered: WT (Work Truck), LT and Z71. With that in mind, we figured this model to be an LT V6 model.

Lest you forget, the gear selector is now on the console between the buckets, too. There are plenty of spots to stow things and pack away gear. The center console itself is big and had a USB charging port, too.

The instrument panel contained a tach that had the V6 redlined at 6500 RPM. Alas, no volt or battery meter, just a fuel and temp gauge. Behind the wheel, the radio controls are on the steering wheel and looking out the windshield has some resemblance to the Camaro, with more room of course.

In review
Though the display was only a prototype, with changes and tweaks to be had on production models, the future looks bright for the midsize crowd.

We were informed of an October release date, contrary to a fall offering that had been originally planned. We have to admit, not having these trucks here to try on during the Minnesota State Fair next month would be disappointing. Especially for a brand new midsize poised to re-infuse the market.

Over the next few months we will continue to bring you the very latest info regarding the all-new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado as well as the 2015 GMC Canyon.

Check out the slideshow to see all the new details.

For more information on the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, visit the official website: http://www.chevrolet.com/2015-colorado-small-truck.html

For more information on Car Craft magazine, check out their website: http://www.carcraft.com/index.html.

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