First Drive: 2009 Chevy Colorado and 2009 GMC Canyon

Don Sherman

The top-shelf Colorado and Canyon interior trim doesn't wander far from pure molded plastic. Stuff you touch - such as the leather-wrapped steering wheel, the console top, and the armrests are thoughtfully finished in resilient materials. Spending a bit extra gets you leather seating surfaces, electric bun warmers, and power adjusters. Unfortunately, the front bucket upgrade (a 60/40 split bench is standard) brings seats that feel convex instead of concave. Driving stints longer than two hours will have you speed-dialing your chiropractor for relief.

A column shifter allows the center console to be fruitfully used for open storage areas and two cupholders. Two more beverage receptacles are cleverly integrated into the center area of the rear seat cushion.

It's a rare event when any car or truck leaps from the bottom to the top of its category six years into its lifespan, but this is precisely what the Colorado and the Canyon have achieved. The new V-8 and a few well-orchestrated upgrades have transformed this duo from lepers into love objects. For $30,000 (or less), it's hard to find a better combination of car charisma and truck work ethic in one handy package.

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