First Drive: 2015 Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon

Updated Sep 28, 2014

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GM Opens The Doors On New Mid-Size Pickups

Sliding into heavy Sunday afternoon freeway traffic with a 21-foot boat in tow is a good test of a pickup’s mettle, especially a mid-size powered by a V-6.

But when there’re 305 ponies on call and a six-speed automatic to slip through the gears, getting to speed is a relatively easy task.

So it was on my first outing behind the wheel of GMCs 2015 Canyon Crew Cab 4Ă—4.

But what I have found thus far during my first half-day driving several different models of the GMC and Chevrolet  competitor to the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma, it’s readily apparent those nearly decade-old pickups have just been pushed to the back row.

GM has done a stellar job keeping the DNA of the Sierra and Silverado 1500s intact during the rebirth process of the smaller Canyon and Colorado; the smaller pickups have the look and feel of their bigger stablemates.

Crew Cab and Extended Cab Colorado/Canyon with V-6 are hitting dealers now.Crew Cab and Extended Cab Colorado/Canyon with V-6 are hitting dealers now.

If you are a current owner of either of the GM full-size pickups, you’ll feel instantly at home sliding behind the wheel of the mid-size entry. The interior treatment, the seats, the dash layout, the steering feel, the brakes, and all the other features are nearly identical. 

The only difference is the interior is about four inches narrower, or, as one of the GM engineers pointed out, it’s the same size as the Acadia crossover.

I found the interior noise levels to be just as quiet as the new full-size GM pickups, and with 7,000 pounds towing ability, just as capable. 

The V-6 is smooth and sounds considerably more robust than either the Nissan or Toyota V-6s. 

Said Duncan Aldred, U.S. vice president of GMC: “We have heard our customers loud and clear – they want a modern midsize truck that’s refined and capable. We’re excited to introduce them to the Canyon. We’re confident the Canyon will redefine the segment, with the latest technologies and premium materials throughout.”

Comparing the new Chevy Colorado to its closest rival, the Toyota Tacoma.Comparing the new Chevy Colorado to its closest rival, the Toyota Tacoma.

Both the Colorado and Canyon benefit from technologies like cabs and frames made with more than 72 percent high-strength steel, available active aero shutters to make the truck as aerodynamic as needed, and available OnStar with 4G LTE, creating a rolling Wi-Fi hotspot for up to seven mobile devices to connect to the Internet.

The duo’s available 3.6L V-6 engines return 18 mpg city and 26 mpg highway in 2wd form, making them the most fuel efficient V-6s in their class, offering three to five mpg better than their competitors.

I’ll share more ride details over the next few days.