Though it appeared the sport truck segment was all but dead after Ford discontinued the F-150 Tremor, Chevy is showing that it’s not about to let it go down without a fight. Two new special edition models of the Chevrolet Colorado will be available this fall that could reenergize the dying segment — the murdered-out Midnight, and all-terrain Z71 Trail Boss.
With an all-black appearance making it nearly invisible after dusk, the Colorado Midnight is the closest sport-truck offering from Chevrolet since the high-performance Silverado SS was discontinued in 2006.
No, it won’t be powered by the same 340-horsepower Vortech High-Output V8 that transformed the Silverado SS into a pavement pounder, or any other V8 engine for that matter. But don’t get emotional on me just yet — there are two potential powertrain options that equally as intriguing.
If you’re strictly looking for the highest-output offering, a dual overhead cam 3.6-liter V6 with 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque is the way to go. While those numbers fall well short of the Silverado SS, the Colorado Midnight is a midsize pickup that weighs more than 1,000 pounds less and will launch nearly as hard with its performance-geared 3.42 rear axle ratio.
Sure, the naysayers will continue to say that a sport truck shouldn’t be offered with anything other than a V8 under the hood. But the Ford Tremor and GMC Syclone have already proved that a high-output six-cylinder is more than enough to get the job done. But if you really want to upset the purists, forgo the 3.6-liter V6 in favor of GM’s new 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder turbo diesel engine.
That’s right, you can now get a direct-injected “DirtyMax” in your Colorado Midnight so the smoke can match the truck’s blacked-out appearance. With better fuel efficiency to boot, how could it possibly get any cooler?
While you’re not likely to win any highway roll-races with only 181 horsepower, your Colorado will be a stoplight champion with an unreal 369 pound-feet of torque at only 2,000 RPM. Like the V6, the turbo diesel engine will be available in two-or-four-wheel drive depending on your intended use.
If you’ve ever been to a truck pull, you’ve likely already witnessed the incredibly power potential of a Duramax V8 firsthand. With enough torque to uproot an oak tree, a Duramax-equipped Silverado 2500 is much more than a utilitarian work truck. In case you’re unfamiliar with diesel performance, it’s actually a potent sleeper with a bit of tuning. You can bet its little brother under the hood of the Colorado will be much of the same with untapped potential just waiting to be unleashed.
Regardless of your powertrain choice, you’re sure to turn a lot of heads with a Colorado Midnight featuring a black grille, black Chevrolet bowties and black 18-inch five-spoke wheels. A spray-on bedliner and soft folding tonneau cover complete the package.
If stealth sport trucks aren’t really your style, perhaps the off-road Z71 Trail Boss is the better choice. With 17-inch exclusive black wheels wrapped in Goodyear Wrangler DuraTac tires that provide enhanced traction in deep mud and snow, this trail-ready pickup is ready for any terrain. Off-road inspired appearance enhancements include black Chevrolet emblems, black fender flares, three-inch round rocker steps and a new sport bar with LED lighting.
Like the Midnight, the Trail Boss will be available in two- or four-wheel drive with the potent V6 or Duramax engine under the hood. Though these aggressively styled trucks deserve better, a fuel-efficient 2.5-liter four-cylinder with direct injection and variable valve timing is also available for the conservative-minded.
After being named Motor Trend Truck of the Year in 2015 with the most horsepower, best fuel efficiency, and highest towing capacity in its segment, there didn’t seem to be much room for improvement. But with the Midnight and Z71 Trail Boss now in the fold, the Colorado is even more appealing for consumers looking for a sport truck with striking looks and the performance to match.
Follow Derek on Twitter @CS_DerekS