The team at Motor Trend spent 370 days with their 2015 Truck of the year, the Chevrolet Colorado Z71. They logged in 31,069 miles during their yearlong loan. While that seems like a lot of mileage for a year, it’s not uncommon in MT’s garage.
Here’s what the experienced team at Motor Trend found during their year with the Chevrolet Colorado Z71.
The road trips
It started in Detroit. A 2,700-plus-mile road trip was made by a former photographer for the team and her father. The staffer planned to drive to Detroit with her father, attend a wedding in Wisconsin, and visit family and friends across the midwest on the return trip.
The photographer found the truck useful in carrying floral arrangements for the wedding and gifts back to her aunt’s house from the wedding. After visiting family in Madison for a few days, they continued on to Dubuque, Iowa, Cedar Rapids, then headed for Des Moines on I-80. They traveled through Omaha and Nebraska after that before hitting I-76 to Colorado.
When they traveled through the Rockies in Utah, they took Highway 50 in Salina, Utah all the way across Nevada until they reached I-80 once again. There the photographer visited family in Grass Valley before continuing back to L.A. on I-5.
How did it do?
The staffer herself did about 80% of the driving over more than 2,700 miles. She had no major complaints. And she made note of some high fuel economy numbers on the trip. She got 23.7 mpg on the last tank of gas that got her to L.A.
The fuel economy the team noted averaged at 19.5 mpg which was lower but on par with the 20 mpg combined estimation the Colorado Z71 received from the EPA.
Another staffer, Benson Kong, explained that he found Colorado to be the only midsize truck he didn’t think he’d get tired of driving for 100,000 miles.
Low maintenance and versatile
The Motor Trend team acquired a Colorado Z71 with the top LTZ trim and a 3.6-liter V6 engine that registered 305 horsepower. In the year they had the truck, it needed no repairs and there were no other maintenance expenses either. There were four recalls requiring trips to the dealer, one vital as it involved a wiring issue in the airbag system.
While the Colorado Z71 is smaller in stature when compared to previous fleet trucks MT has evaluated, it performed very well as a work truck. The team added a lockable roll-up bed cover and bedliner that was softer but rugged to the truck, enhancing its flexibility. The photo and video crew found it useful because pelican cases filled with their equipment could be stored out of sight to keep them secure. Other gear like light stands and supports could be tossed in without worrying about the items sliding around or scratching.
One of Motor Trend’s video producers drove the Colorado Z71 for the entire Truck of the Year program held in Arizona. Cory Lutz explained the 12-volt and USB charging outlets and 4G LTE Wi-Fi very helpful for those who work in production. The built-in steps at the bumper helped him grab stuff from the bed of the truck without having to futz with the tailgate.
He was also happy with Colorado’s ability to switch to off-roading easily. Even with the truck loaded with gear, he said the ride was smooth both on and off-road with plenty of power.
Not perfect but reliable
One drawback for the team was the absence of Apply CarPlay integration in their 2015 model. They’d sampled Apple CarPlay in 2016 Chevys at Truck of the Year and the lack prompted them to contact the PR department at Chevrolet. They learned that CarPlay couldn’t be added to older models through either hardware or software updates.
Still, the team found Colorado to be a highly reliable midsize truck. One staffer compared it to the trucks, S-10s and Tacomas, his friends had in his college days. Despite its older tech and the fact that it’s not built for luxury or speed, the truck seemed to the team like a keeper. A truck that one could count on for years of dependable service. The option to enable 4WD for snowy days was also cited as a bonus.
The truck Motor Trend proclaimed their 2015 Truck of the Year earned their vote of confidence during their yearlong loan.