Although the Colorado has had only minor updates in the past several years, its vast list of configurations and budget-friendly pricing have kept it reasonably competitive in the mid-size pickup segment. Available options include two bed lengths, three engines, three cab styles of up to six seats, and numerous suspension arrangements. For 2012, though, the midlevel LS model has been dropped, leaving only two Trim Levels to choose from. WT, or work truck, models are as bare-bones as modern vehicles come; features such as power windows and door locks aren’t available, even as options. The top-level LT is lavishly equipped by comparison and comes in three sub-trims, each with its own standard engine, ranging from a fairly anemic 184-hp four-cylinder to a 5.3-liter V-8 that now ranks second in power and torque in its class, with 300 hp and 320 lb-ft, respectively. Both the WT and the LT can be outfitted with two- or four-wheel drive, but only the LT in extended-cab and crew-cab body styles can be equipped with the V-8. The Colorado comes up short in the transmission department, with the sole gearbox being an archaic four-speed automatic; both the Nissan Frontier and the Toyota Tacoma offer a five-speed. The interior of the Colorado is living in the past as well, with a flat, unsupportive front bench seat, an abundance of hard, ill-fitting plastics, and a layout that was designed before the origin of ergonomics. And although the Nissan Frontier and the Toyota Tacoma don’t offer V-8 power, they have the Colorado beat in towing capacity and fuel economy.

Drive: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim Levels: WT, LT
Body style: Pickup, 2- to 6-passenger
Engines: 2.9L I-4, 185 hp, 190 lb-ft
3.7L I-5, 242 hp, 242 lb-ft
5.3L V-8, 300 hp, 320 lb-ft
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Capacities: Towing 1900-6000 lb; payload 1168-1422 lb

The Colorado gets only minor packaging changes for 2012. The midlevel LS model has been dropped, leaving the WT and the top-level LT. The five-speed manual is no longer available on LT models, which means a four-speed automatic is the only transmission. An automatic locking rear differential is now included on 2LT, 3LT, and four-wheel-drive 1LT models.

Front and side curtain air bags are standard, as are ABS, traction and stability control, and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

All: 14-18 mpg city/19-25 mpg highway

  • Lots of configurations
  • Available V-8
  • Reasonably priced
  • Four-speed automatic is the only transmission
  • Fuel economy

A basic pickup in dire need of a refresh.

  • GMC Canyon
  • Nissan Frontier
  • Suzuki Equator
  • Toyota Tacoma

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