Mid-Size Trucks? Chevy Colorado any good?

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3/1/2020 8:36 PM
Edited Date/Time: 3/1/2020 8:45 PM

Choices aren't that great for mid-size trucks. I know Tacomas are solid trucks but I'm tall and feel extremely cramped in those cabs. I'm towing a 2893-pound camper, a bike or two, gear, etc.. A V8 truck is way too much gas money and I do some city driving- parking a huge truck would be petty much impossible.
I personally like the look of the Colorado- very simple (maybe I'm getting old). I notice they even offer a 4-cylinder diesel that has a higher towing capacity than the V6s. That sounds crazy but you never know.
They have a longbed Xtended cab that is at a pretty good price point. I built one online starting $33k for the 2020 4x4.

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3/1/2020 8:49 PM

Do the Colorado's really get better gas mileage than the Silverados? I personally wouldn't buy a small truck like that. They really arent that much cheaper and as far as I'm aware they dont get that much better gas mileage. You can find some very lightly used 2019 model trucks for around $30k.

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3/1/2020 9:01 PM

agn5009 wrote:

Do the Colorado's really get better gas mileage than the Silverados? I personally wouldn't buy a small truck like that. They really arent that much cheaper and as far as I'm aware they dont get that much better gas mileage. You can find some very lightly used 2019 model trucks for around $30k.

Quick search tells me: Silverado: 17 MPG city, 23 MPG
Canyon:city: 16 - 20 mpg · Highway: 18 - 26 mpg

You might have a point there. I just assumed a V8 would chug gas. Some of these full-size trucks are astronomical, but would be more comfortable. Back to checking out Silverado's maybe.

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3/1/2020 9:01 PM

My 2018 Colorado gets around 19-20 general driving. It's got the V6. Plenty of power, though I don't tow with it.

Biggest problem I've had is a long wheelbase for a mid-size truck, and large turning radius. Our suburban parks way easier.

Visibility is a bit of an issue too. First couple months I just about merged into someone in my blind spot. Comes with blind spot mirrors, I just hadn't adapted to using them. Make sure you do.

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3/1/2020 9:07 PM

agn5009 wrote:

Do the Colorado's really get better gas mileage than the Silverados? I personally wouldn't buy a small truck like that. They really arent that much cheaper and as far as I'm aware they dont get that much better gas mileage. You can find some very lightly used 2019 model trucks for around $30k.

Moto Norcal wrote:

Quick search tells me: Silverado: 17 MPG city, 23 MPG
Canyon:city: 16 - 20 mpg · Highway: 18 - 26 mpg

You might have a point there. I just assumed a V8 would chug gas. Some of these full-size trucks are astronomical, but would be more comfortable. Back to checking out Silverado's maybe.

I love my Silverado. I know what the company will say the towing capacity is but I'm gonna warn you that the Colorado will struggle pulling a camper. Especially if you throw your bike in the bed, gas, tools, clothes, food, coolers, generator, firewood, fill the camper with water, etc. Even pulling a small camper I would want a full size truck. Would you be ok? Probably. But it's going to be really hard on the truck.

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3/1/2020 9:10 PM

agn5009 wrote:

Do the Colorado's really get better gas mileage than the Silverados? I personally wouldn't buy a small truck like that. They really arent that much cheaper and as far as I'm aware they dont get that much better gas mileage. You can find some very lightly used 2019 model trucks for around $30k.

Moto Norcal wrote:

Quick search tells me: Silverado: 17 MPG city, 23 MPG
Canyon:city: 16 - 20 mpg · Highway: 18 - 26 mpg

You might have a point there. I just assumed a V8 would chug gas. Some of these full-size trucks are astronomical, but would be more comfortable. Back to checking out Silverado's maybe.

Yeah, towing with a v6 vs a v8 (even 3000 lbs) the fuel milage difference will be huge. That v6 is going to be working hard, especially up your way.

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3/1/2020 9:22 PM

Also, be very careful with a manufacturer's towing capacity. You can have two trucks that look exactly the same and one could have different rear axle ratio than the other and would tow significantly less than the other. One could also have different suspension. If you have a package with softer suspension and your rear end is dragging you need to understand this will affect your front brakes. Front brakes are roughly 75% of your stopping power- which is obviously extremely important when pulling anything. Use the campers world towing capacity tool on their website. Type the VIN of the truck in and itll tell you the capacity. Dont get confused by the capacity either. Just because your truck has say 6,000 pound towing capacity it does NOT mean that's what you can safely pull. You have to factor in the weight of yourself and whoever else is in the truck, what you have in the bed of the truck, like I said before clothes, food, coolers, etc. All that stuff really adds up. Dont ever trust what a car salesman tells you the towing capacity is for a certain truck. They typically dont know much about it and go off of general numbers. Speak to a legitimate camper dealership and they can guide you with all of that.

Like I previously said, with your small camper I would go full size then you wont have to worry about any of this. Any full size truck will adequately pull a small camper like yours.

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3/1/2020 9:30 PM

You can get a used frontier v6 4x4 with like 20k miles for low $20k.

I went with a ridgeline after checking them all out last year. The hondas interior, ride quality, and features overall are just unreal for what im looking for. Its v6 awd and im averaging 24mpg while commuting to the city 5 days a week and all the bike duties.

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3/1/2020 9:45 PM

Solid advice bros. I'm watching all kinds of youtube comparisons. I think I do need a V8. I'll probably have to go a few years used.
This video shows the general info on the Chevy, Dodge, and Ford pretty well. Tundra is another option.


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3/2/2020 4:15 AM

Have you looked at the ranger specs

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3/2/2020 4:23 AM

Nissan Frontier if going smaller size truck. Mine as save some cash if going that route. There good trucks and can find good deals all the time on lightly used one

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3/2/2020 4:49 AM

Moto Norcal wrote:

Solid advice bros. I'm watching all kinds of youtube comparisons. I think I do need a V8. I'll probably have to go a few years used.
This video shows the general info on the Chevy, Dodge, and Ford pretty well. Tundra is another option.


Steer clear of the Tundra if you’re concerned about mileage.

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3/2/2020 7:46 AM

Moto Norcal wrote:

Quick search tells me: Silverado: 17 MPG city, 23 MPG
Canyon:city: 16 - 20 mpg · Highway: 18 - 26 mpg

You might have a point there. I just assumed a V8 would chug gas. Some of these full-size trucks are astronomical, but would be more comfortable. Back to checking out Silverado's maybe.

Two identical trucks, the V8 will usually get better MPG because it isn't working as hard to move the same load. That's standard V8 vs standard V6 and isn't including Ecoboost and all these fancy new engines with gas saving electronics and turbos to boost power on small engines.

The GM V8s actually shut down to 4cyl when cruising at highway speeds, then when it gets overloaded like towing or pulling out from a redlight, it goes back to V8. My mom has a 2010 Silverado and you can fumble through the dash display and pull it up to see if its running on 4 or 8 cylinders and watch it go back and forth while driving. Running 55mph down the highway it'll be in 4cyl mode, stab the throttle and it switches back to V8.

I love my Tundra, but if MPG is your concern look elsewhere. It's 13mpg, and if I baby it I can squeak out 15mpg. But you can't beat the reliability and resale value.

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3/2/2020 7:53 AM

My wife just got a leftover 2019 long bed Colorado 4WD after having a 2010 Avalanche that we bought new. Our kids are out the house now so we downsized somewhat and the Av with its AFM was starting to use oil which is a strong indicator that some of the cylinders are getting worn out.

We looked at the full size Silverado's and they really weren't much more expensive. They ride nicer and are roomier but they also sit higher and aren't as sporty as the Colorado's. The Colorado seems more like a car inside with the bucket seats, floor shifter and console. The full size has the split compartment HVAC controls and numerous other additional electronics; even the parking brake is electrically activated. I tend to like simpler stuff that may not be as prone to problems so some of those kind of features don't have a lot of value to me. It does have the DFM which drops it down to four cylinders at times. From what I read though it's a more sophisticated system that the AFM and less prone to causing engine wear out; but I wouldn't have it on there if I had a choice. It also has a tubular frame which, if its anything like Jeeps, may become a bad thing down the road due to corrosion in our IL climate and the use of road salt. I think the full size may still be a channel frame (?) so may be better in that regard.

We like it so far. We got it in November and haven't really have put a lot of miles/time on it yet. It had a defective battery develop in the first couple of weeks which caused various driver warning messaqges to pop up randomly. They said it had a bad cell in it but it never gave trouble cranking slow. I think we're getting 19-20 MPG in the mixed driving we do here in rural IL (no interstate yet). I haven't hauled a bike in it yet.

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3/2/2020 8:08 AM

I've had all kinds of Toyota work trucks, 4 cylinders, 6 cylinders, and now a 2000 Tundra with a V-8. (340K mi.) My mileage is always within 1 or 2 mpg on each truck. I like the V-8 the best and it's lasted the longest because I don't have to flog the thing hauling around all my work crap. It just torques around at low rpm, but will still haul ass if needed (the 4 and 6 wouldn't) I say go big. Plus for me the bed height on the "Midsize" trucks are just as tall as the full size. Besides easier parking I don't see the advantage of the smaller trucks.

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3/2/2020 8:28 AM

We would of bought the Colorado last week if it didnt have the moulded floor for the seats. Our big dogs couldn't fit with the seats up. We ended up with the Frontier. The Colorado is a great vehicle though. I rented a 19 recently and was impressed with the drive. Looks cool as well. Not sure of the towing but my Silverado diesel pulls effortlessly and I have had fords and suburbans in the past. My 1/2 ton suburban pulled like a dream but my 3/4 with towing package was horrible. It was definitely not geared correctly and just seemed to labor. Interesting situation though.

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I don't have to be as smart as you hope to be some day anymore. wink

3/2/2020 9:19 AM

I have a 2018 Colorado crew cab 4x4 I purchased new and love it, but it's been years since I had a full size truck to compare it to. I pull a 6x10 enclosed trailer with up to 3 bikes loaded, and while the MPG really drops when towing (as any tow vehicle does), I like being able to maneuver around it when parked in my garage during Michigan winters. A full sized truck wouldn't even fit with my lawn mower and bike stored in front of my mid-sized like it is. I'm nearly 6 feet tall and have ridden in the rear seat which is WAY more comfortable that any extended cab full size truck where you have to sit sideways and be cramped the entire time. A full size crew cab is massive and no comparison, but way more $$$ as well. As already said the mid-size doesn't get much better MPG than a full size, but it's easy to drive (even my wife likes driving it) and park. I have a hard time buying into Hman144's claim of a Suburban parking easier. I've driven my son's standard Yukon and while his is a 2008 it's no where as easier to park due to its girth... maybe he's speaking of a newer 'Burban, but they are wayyy longer than a Colorado...

I got as much as 30 MPG on an easy-going road trip, but it was back-country roads and 55-60 MPH (and probably a tailwind hahaha)

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3/2/2020 10:27 AM
Edited Date/Time: 3/2/2020 10:29 AM

MX114 wrote:

Nissan Frontier if going smaller size truck. Mine as save some cash if going that route. There good trucks and can find good deals all the time on lightly used one

I currently have a 2011 Frontier SV 4x4 (there is another thread about it). As soon as I got my new camper the thing started frying sensors. I fix it, then it breaks down again as soon as I tow. I have driven Frontiers since '94 but it doesn't like towing this camper. It's very mountainous where I live, and with 150k miles I guess this truck just won't take it.
There is always a trade-off with these trucks. I am close to a Tundra but I see the mileage isn't that great. I might check out the Ford too.

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3/2/2020 10:35 AM

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I love mine, it's a 2019 with the V6 and has the towing package. Got it new for 27k. I wouldn't have any worries pulling the camper you mentioned.
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3/2/2020 2:08 PM

Motomad724- I was speaking from my "seat of the pants" experience- rarely ever have to back up the Sub and take a second whack at parking- Colorado almost always do; body panel and window sill heights make visibility a bit of a challenge sometimes too.

Then I looked up the numbers. 2003 suburban: wheelbase 130", turning radius 43" 2018 colorado: wheelbase 140", turning radius 44.6'. Honestly, that suburban handled like a car. Loved that thing.

I do have the 5.5' ft. bed, so it's a little longer than some others.

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