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Most Chevy Colorado model years have been reliable throughout its history. There are very few major patterns of consistent issues based on owner complaints and the NHTSA. A few model years, however, should be avoided entirely if possible. They’re the ones that have received a tremendous amount of complaints from previous and current owners. The issues with these vehicles are consistent enough that it isn’t worth owning one, so avoid buying these Chevy Colorado model years at all costs.

The 2015-2016 Colorados are the worst model years

A 2016 Chevy Colorado is best avoided if you're buying a used truck. ,
2016 Chevy Colorado | Todd Korol/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Not only do the 2015 and 2016 Chevy Colorado model years receive many complaints, but the issues are often significant. According to Car Complaints, for example, the 2015 Colorado has a lot of transmission, steering, and engine problems. Moreover, they’re all expensive problems to fix, which no owner wants to deal with. Those issues didn’t improve for the following model year, either.

As a result, the 2016 Chevy Colorado received many reports of the same transmission, engine, steering, and other problems. All of these issues, and more, are also reported to the NHTSA. Most frequent to the NHTSA are steering, engine, drivetrain, and electric problems. Multiple sources reporting the same recurring issues usually point to a significant reason to avoid buying these Chevy Colorado model years.

In 2017, it got slightly better

A red 2017 Chevy Colorado midsize truck is a model year to avoid buying used.
2017 Chevy Colorado | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

The 2017 Chevy Colorado received loads of similar reported problems. The NHTSA noted 84 drivetrain problems, even worse than the previous model year. However, the engine and transmission issues seemed to have died down in 2017. However, they’re still very present and probably best avoided. CC users reported over 30 instances of significant transmission problems; however, those numbers are not backed up by NHTSA complaints, which sit at one.

Furthermore, other issues surfaced with the 2017 model year. For example, the NHTSA received reports of seat belt/airbag, electrical, and other miscellaneous issues. Nonetheless, the 2017 Chevy Colorado remains a better option than the two before it. However, we’d still recommend avoiding buying it if possible.

2018 Chevy Colorado: More problems

A 2018 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is displayed. It's one of the worst model years to avoid buying.
2018 Chevy Colorado | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

After minor improvements for the 2017 model year, the Chevy Colorado lost its way again. Moreover, the 2018 Colorado has nearly as many reported issues as the 2015-16 models. CC users noted transmission, drivetrain, engine, and other problems frequently. Next, the NHTSA reports a similarly large number of complaints about the Colorado’s drivetrain and engine again.

Contrarily, other problems are not as frequent with this model year. While the engine, transmission, and drivetrain are significant, expensive repairs, other problems don’t occur often. The previous model years always had other things buyers had to worry about. However, in 2018, it seems that Chevrolet smoothed out the Colorado.

Used Chevy Colorado model years to buy

Over the past ten years, the Chevy Colorado has had plenty of models that were relatively unproblematic. Some of the highlights are 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2020. These model years received far fewer complaints from owners and the NHTSA alike. As a result, we’d recommend sticking with these and more recent models, if possible.

Not to mention, they didn’t have a laundry list of recalls every year. Each of the worst versions of the Colorado had a few recalls in addition to the other mechanical issues. With all those necessary repairs, the added hassle of taking your truck into dealers for a recall is not worth it.

In conclusion, the Chevy Colorado is an excellent midsize truck. It provides everything you need, from luxurious trims to off-road-capable models. However, newer ones are better than old, other than the 2013-2014 model years. Outside of those, it’s best to avoid buying many used Chevy Colorado model years to ensure you won’t run into the many problems previous and current owners have warned us about.


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