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I’ve never understood the appeal of a pick-up truck, to be honest – let alone these ‘lifestyle’ ones. They’re big, cumbersome, somewhat vulgar vehicles with the equivalent amount of sex appeal to that of a dinner plate. Need the cargo capacity? Get a wagon – they look better and, more importantly, drive better.

Which is why I was a tad angry at myself – not disappointed, angry – when I picked up the (inhale) Chevrolet Colorado 2.8 LTZ AT Muscle Power. Aesthetically, it’s not the best-looking of the lot – that accolade still lies with the Ford Ranger T6, in my opinion.

If someone held a gun to my head and told me I had to drive one forever, I’d probably choose the bullet. Or get them to order me a Ford F-150 SVT Raptor (might as well go for the full OTT treatment).


Assembled in Thailand, the second-generation Chevrolet Colorado, launched in 2012, was initially offered with a choice of either a 2.5 or 2.8 litre engine, paired to a manual gearbox – an auto was only available on the higher-spec 2.8 LTZ trim.

With the introduction of the ‘Muscle Power’ trim, the lineup has now been streamlined to feature only two variants. Prices begin at RM95,888 for the manual-equipped variant while the automatic version, tested here, starts at RM106,888, on-the-road sans insurance.

The sole engine on offer is a 2.8 litre, Duramax XLDE28 four-cylinder turbodiesel with VGT (variable geometry turbo) – paired to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic pushing power to all four wheels. Simple? Not so fast as here is where it gets slightly muddled in terms of power output.

With the manual gearbox, the engine puts out 440 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm. Bringing in the auto unlocks a hilarious 500 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm, with 193 hp touted for either transmission options. Officially, the truck goes from 0-100 km/h in 10 seconds flat, tops out at 180 km/h and returns 10.9 km/litre – again with either gearboxes.

Suspension layout consists of independent double wishbones up front and multi-leaf springs at the rear, with the braking system comprised of ventilated discs and drums, fore and aft, respectively. Apart from the unhinged torque figure, my thoughts of a mundane test weekend were further cemented when I first laid eyes on the Colorado.

Fortunately, the bold, split-grille in front does lend it some identity while the additional chrome accents found on the side mirrors (power-folding, by the way) and fog light surrounds add a touch of drama to an otherwise ubiquitous shape. The 17-inch alloy wheels, wrapped in 255/65 Bridgestone Dueler H/T 840s, looked meh at best.

Step inside, and while the interior materials employed are as utilitarian as one would expect, the general layout and presentation does give it another edge over the competition in my books. The turquoise hue emanated from the instrument cluster and centre stack adds to it, I suppose.

Befitting its workhorse nature, cubby holes and storage spaces are aplenty while the plastics featured throughout will no doubt last the entire lifetime of the truck – in other words, cheap and hard. Exclusive only to this top-spec Colorado, is Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system with reverse camera.

Though it adds a touch of flair, using the seven-inch touchscreen is another story as the system is rather unintuitive and isn’t as sensitive as the best touchscreen systems out there. Selecting anything from the menu requires a firm, precise push on the screen – not exactly what you want when you’re on the move.

As usual, the infotainment system features MP3/WMA compatibility along with USB, CD, Bluetooth connectivity and navigation. Safety wise, the Colorado gets two airbags, ABS, EBD, traction and stability control along with Hill Descent Control System and Hill Start Assist as standard.

Then came the part where I would find out whether or not the Colorado and its accompanying torque figures were enough to help shift my view towards the genre. As expected, the lorry-like clatter upon startup was enough to make me grit my teeth as I clambered aboard.

Slamming the door shut revealed the first (and thankfully, not only) positive aspect of the Colorado. It’s quiet – not just for a truck. On the move, refinement was more than adequate and drivers will be pleased to know that the Colorado will play the role of the long-distance cruiser quite convincingly.

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Tyre noise was apparent but only when the speedo was pointing towards the national speed limit – keep it well under and everything remains relatively serene. No complaints on wind noise as well – there was nary a hint of it throughout my highway jaunts.

It was only when the road got a bit twisty that I found feedback lacking through the Colorado’s (slightly too thick) steering wheel. Naturally, I hadn’t expected it to handle like a car but the fact that a significant amount of body roll made itself apparent even in slower corners meant additional points against the Colorado were chalked up.

Hitting potholes and road imperfections further revealed a ride that was at odds with its refined nature. At times, the four corners of the truck felt like it was pointing in different directions when I rolled over an expansion joint – larger potholes unravelled the ladder frame chassis completely.

Just when all hope was lost, it started pouring – and this had nothing to do with the truck’s all-weather, go-anywhere abilities. No. The Colorado redeemed itself when I pulled up to a set of lights. When green lit up, I did what any self-respecting, responsible driver would do considering the lack of traction on wet roads and 500 Nm – apply a fair amount of throttle.

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What happened next was something that scared the living lights out of me and at the same time, made me feel very inappropriate things. The truck lurched forward, spinning its wheels as the Bridgestones valiantly struggled for traction before taking off like a bull on a summer’s day in Pamplona.

If you happen to be that very motorcyclist next to me at that very moment – I am so, so sorry for scaring you. It wasn’t (entirely) my fault. Following that episode, I decided to revert back to an even more unruffled driving style for fear of leaving the next set of lights with a scared and/or angry motorcyclist in tow.

With the Colorado falling short of expectations, I figured that maybe – just maybe – that its polished nature would be its saving grace as I crammed the cabin full of passengers. Big mistake. As with most other pick-ups, the ones in the rear were begging to be let out after some time.

The upright and ergonomically-flawed rear bench was just too much for them. Coupled to the unsettling ride, said group of passengers actually alighted the truck and walked the next half kilometre to our destination. Too harsh? Well, let it be known that said experiment was conducted on a stretch of pockmarked roads.

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“I think it’s better if you drove this in the jungle-lah,” said one of the passengers. So, there you go. The Chevrolet Colorado summed up in one sentence. Despite its upmarket-looking interior and lack of wind and tyre roar, it’s a truck best experienced on the highway and probably off the road – where its true abilities and character would be much appreciated.

Has the Colorado convinced me that pick-up trucks are not as uncultured as they seem, then? No. Despite possessing road manners that are acceptable for this genre, this is one example of a Doolittle that won’t be working in a flower shop anytime soon.