All-new as a replacement for the S10 in 2004, the Chevrolet Colorado moves into 2005 with only cosmetic changes. There’s a new Superior Blue Metallic exterior shade, and a Power Convenience Package for Crew Cab models. New to all models is an Xtreme package, featuring a lowered suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels with low-profile performance tires, monochromatic appearance, rear spoiler, new grille and new instrument cluster graphics. This will let you join the mini-truckin’ craze without the bother of running to the aftermarket shop.

The Colorado is the same truck as the GMC Canyon, but the new platform the two share is exclusive and found on no other light truck or SUV. Three configurations are available: a regular cab, an extended cab with two small, rear-hinged access doors, and a crew cab with four independently-opening doors. All are available in two- or four-wheel-drive. The base 2.8-litre inline four-cylinder can be optioned up to a smooth-running 3.5-litre inline five-cylinder. The base five-speed manual can be optioned to a four-speed automatic, and all but the Crew Cab can be ordered in base or LS trim (the Crew Cab is LS only), making for quite the buffet of combinations.

Depending on the configuration, features on the base trucks can include vinyl floor covering, cloth seats, variable intermittent wipers, AM/FM stereo, 15-inch steel wheels and chrome bumpers; all come with four-wheel disc brakes with four-wheel ABS.

LS models can add deep-tinted rear windows, aluminum wheels, air conditioning, colour-keyed carpet, tilt wheel, cruise control, power windows, power locks with keyless entry, and CD/MP3 system. Numerous add-ons are available, including a bed extender, side steps, a sport tent and air mattress for camping, tonneau cover, rear sliding window and leather interior.

The Colorado is an immense improvement over the model it replaces, and its choice of body styles makes it useful for a number of uses, especially since it’s available with an easy-clean vinyl floor for muddy jobs. In the overall race for bigger and bulkier, the Colorado is more mini- than midsize truck; it’s smaller than the Toyota Tacoma, and its extended-length models are considerably smaller than the massive Dodge Dakota. But not everyone needs or wants a big “mini” truck. And of all of its compact and midsize rivals, the Colorado, along with its Canyon sibling, is the only one offered in all three bodystyles.

The Colorado is built in Shreveport, Louisiana.

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