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2018 Chevy Colorado: Release date, prices, specs, and features

2018 Chevy Colorado lineup ranges from basic model to desert runner

The 2018 Chevy Colorado ZR2 trim, the newest addition to the lineup in 2017, continues to garner the most notice this year for the midsize pickup model. The Colorado ZR2, equipped for serious off-road shenanigans, is already earning its keep as the Colorado halo model by scoring a spot as a Motor Trend Truck of the Year finalist.

In the end, the 2018 Ford F-150 full lineup won the Truck of the Year award, an honor the 2015 Colorado earned in the debut year of the Colorado’s third generation. A halo model’s purpose is to attract attention to the brand, with the assumption that sales of the lesser-equipped models will benefit also.

The Colorado was the second-best-selling midsize pickup truck in 2016, following the Toyota Tacoma. Including full-size trucks, the Colorado came in 7th place. So far for the 2017 calendar year, the sales rank order is the same.

The Colorado lineup for 2018 continues with five trim levels: Base, WT, LT, Z71, and ZR2. The ZR2 is the only trim with changes for 2018. The new ZR2 adds heated side mirrors and Active Tow, the latter of which isused to align a tow vehicle with whatever it’s hauling. There are also two new colors, Satin Steel Gray and Kinetic Blue.

2018 Chevrolet Colorado engines and transmissions

Colorados have three engine options, including two gas motors and a best-for-towing Duramax turbo-diesel mill.

The Base and WT (Work Truck) trims come standard with a 2.5-liter DOHC EcoTec four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. The motor is rated at 200 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 191 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm.

Optional for the WT and standard on the higher trim levels, the 3.6-liter DOHC V6 makes 308 hp at 6,800 rpm and 275 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm. The V6 is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

For towing and the most torque at lower speeds, the LT, Z71, and ZR2 can be ordered with the 2.8-liter Duramax turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine.  The diesel, which comes with a six-speed automatic transmission, produces the lowest horsepower — 181 hp at 3,400 RPM — of the three engines, but its 369 lb-ft at 2,000 rpm adds versatility to the full lineup.

2018 Chevrolet Colorado tech

Standard features on all Colorado trims include Teen Driver features, a rear-vision camera, StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation tech, trailer sway control,  tire pressure monitoring, and, for automatic transmission vehicles only, hill start assist.

An optional safety package available on the LT adds a forward-collision alert and lane departure warning.

Cab choices and box length

The five Colorado trims are available with two cab styles and two pickup box lengths; all trims don’t have the same choices. The table below breaks out the possibilities.

2-wheel drive Extended Cab Crew Cab
Short Box

(5-feet 2-inches)

 N/A  WT, LT, Z71,
Long Box

(6-feet 2-inches)

Base, WT, LT, Z71 WT, LT, Z71
4-wheel drive Extended Cab Crew Cab
Short Box

(5-feet 2-inches)

 N/A  WT, LT, Z71, ZR2
Long Box

(6-feet 2-inches)

WT, LT, Z71, ZR2  WT, LT, Z71

Which 2018  Chevrolet Colorado is best for you?

As you move up from the Colorado Base to the ZR2 trims, the added features provide more comfort, convenience, performance, and even fun for the extra money. The Base trim is well-named for a midsize truck with seats for two, a four-cylinder engine, and a 6-speed manual transmission.

2018 Colorado Base

The Colorado Base is true to its name — it’s a basic truck with minimal trim and not many options. The Base, is available only with an extended cab and long bed, comes standard with the 2.5-liter Ecotec engine, six-speed manual transmission, two vinyl seats in front, 16-inch steel wheels, an AM/FM audio system with six speakers, and power windows and door locks.

The Base trim has a 3.5-inch monochrome driver information center and a four-way power adjustable driver seat. Note that the Base trim does not have a back seat, nor does Chevy offer a rear seat as an option.

2018 Colorado WT

The Colorado Work Truck starts with the same equipment and features as the Base trim, with either the extended or crew cab and short or long box. The WT opens up Chevy’s options list so you can select the V6 engine, automatic transmission, cloth seats, alloy wheels, and a 7-inch color touchscreen with MyLink radio.

2018 Colorado LT

The Colorado LT bumps up the truck’s standard equipment with further options. The LT starts with the V6 engine and automatic transmission, 17-inch alloy wheels, cloth seats, keyless entry, and an 8-inch color touchscreen with MyLink radio, SiriusXM satellite radio, and OnStar with 4G LTE Wi-Fi. LTs can be ordered with either cab style and box size.

LT options include the 2.8-liter diesel engine, remote starting, upgraded Bose audio system with seven speakers, and integrated navigation with an 8-inch display. The LT’s driver information center has a 4.2-inch color display, and the trim includes cruise control and USB ports.

2018 Colorado Z71

Add a black front grille, distinctive aluminum alloy wheels, and vinyl-cloth seat trim to the LT, and you get the Colorado Z71, which is available with either cab style and box size.

2018 Colorado ZR2

The ZR2 equipment list reveals this truck’s purpose — off-road fun. All ZR2s have leather seats, trim-specific wheels, and 31-inch off-road tires. You can have either an extended cab style with a long box or a short box with the crew cab. Engine choices include the V6 with an 8-speed automatic or 2.8-liter diesel with a six-speed automatic.

The ZR2 has a 2-inch lift and 3.5-inch wider track than other Colorado trims. Body changes, in some cases to prevent parts from being bashed or knocked off, include front and rear bumpers and front grille with more extreme angles; wider fender flares; rock sliders; skid plates under the radiator, oil pan, and front differential; and front and rear electronic locking differentials. With one-touch terrain select for desert, mud or mountains, the ZR2’s engine calibration, transmission, and traction control adjust for the best performance.

The star of the ZR2 show, other than the whole package itself, is the Multimatic Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) Dampers. The DSSV system adds suspension travel and recovery to handle jumps and climbing over rocks and other obstacles. As mentioned in our First Drive Review of the 2017 ZR2 on the trim’s introduction, the DSSV is sweet on the street as well, so you won’t feel like you’re riding in a tank while running errands around town.

Trim  2018 Colorado Base 2018 Colorado WT 2018 Colorado LT 2018 Colorado Z71 2018 Colorado ZR2
Base price 4×2 $21,195 $24,675 $28,070 $30,665 Not available
Base price 4×4 Not available $29,445 $31,955  $34,425 $41,355
Base engine 2.5L EcoTec 4-cylinder 2.5L EcoTec 4-cylinder 3.6L V6 3.6L V6  3.6L V6
Base horsepower 200 horsepower @ 6,300 RPM 200 horsepower @ 6,300 RPM 308 hp @ 6,800 RPM 308 hp @ 6,800 RPM 308 hp @ 6,800 RPM
Base torque 191 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 RPM 191 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 RPM 275 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 RPM  275 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 RPM 275 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 RPM
Transmission 6-speed manual  6-speed manual 8-speed automatic  8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic
Fuel  Regular gas Regular gas Regular gas Regular gas Regular gas
Fuel capacity  21 gallons 21 gallons 21 gallons 21 gallons 21 gallons
Fuel economy 4×2 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway Not applicable
4×4 Not applicable 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway 16 mpg city/18 mpg highway (gas), 19 mpg city/22 mpg highway (diesel)
Maximum towing weight 4×2 3,500 pounds 2.5L, 7,000 V6 3,500 pounds 2.5L, 7,000 V6, 7,700 pounds diesel 7,000 V6, 7,700 pounds diesel 7,000 V6, 7,700 pounds diesel Not applicable
Maximum towing weight 4×4 Not applicable 3,500 pounds 2.5L, 7,000 V6, 7,600 pounds diesel 7,000 V6, 7,600 pounds diesel 7,000 V6, 7,600 pounds diesel 2,268 pounds V6, 5,000 pounds diesel engine
Base wheels  16-inch steel 16-inch alloy  17-inch alloy  17-inch alloy  17-inch alloy
Cab styles Extended Cab Extended Cab, Crew Cab Extended Cab, Crew Cab Extended Cab, Crew Cab Extended Cab, Crew Cab
Box lengths Long box Short box, long box Short box, long box Short box, long box Short box

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Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
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