The 2021 model comes with slight aesthetic updates to keep the product fresh until the next-gen arrives

Chevy has tasted great success with the Colorado in the past years. The pickup truck is one of the most popular offerings in the pickup truck segment currently. It has had its fair share of wars with the Toyota Tacoma, but it still holds a strong foot in the segment. The current-gen Colorado has been there for a long time, and finally, the company has decided to introduce the 2021 facelift. At the onset, the truck looks really fresh and will surely spice up things in the segment. But, will it be able to inch closer to the Japanese in terms of sales figures? Also, what about its cousin, the GMC Canyon?

2021 Chevrolet Colorado Exterior

  • The ZR2 trim looks even sharper now
  • All-black grille with ‘CHEVROLET” embossment
  • Better approach angles
  • The hood features a huge power bulge
  • The wheel arches are wrapped in black plastic cladding
  • All trims embossed with ‘CHEVROLET’ on the tailgate
left right

The American automaker showcased the ZR2 trim in the images it revealed for the time being. The ZR2 was a smart truck, and it looks even sharper now. The company has introduced a new sand dune color on the ZR2 and the Z71.

Up front, the 2021 Colorado comes with an all-black grille with a slim bar that has ‘CHEVROLET” embossed on it.

I have always been a fan of this branding, and this time, it gets even better because the company has slapped a small bowtie underneath it. The details of the grille sure make it look busy, but it matches with the overall brute personality of the truck.

The bumper is almost eliminated on the sides, thus making the 2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2 all the more off-road friendly. The huge skid plate underneath will help protect the vulnerable parts from damage. Although the official specs are not out, the truck will boast better approach angles. Two tow hooks, painted in red, can be found here, slightly tilted downwards. There are no fog lamps here; instead, the housing is detailed with three horizontal slats. The hood comes with a huge power bulge that gives the Colorado a butch, macho feel.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado Exterior
- image 865469

The side is still the same old, plain-Jane. I have no idea why automakers don’t work on the profiles.

A much-cheaper MG Extender comes with a better side profile, even though there’s nothing extraordinary the company has done to it.

The window line rises from the bottom at the rear window. The door handles are body-colored in this trim but will be black in the base trim. The wing mirror is sized perfectly and is mounted on the frame attached to the window, unlike on the door that seems to be the norm these days. Offering something like a telescopic mirror would’ve been a game-changer in this segment. The door features Colorado badges next to the squared wheel arches. On the ZR2 trim, the wheel arches are wrapped in black plastic cladding that doesn’t just give it a rough, sporty look, but also prevents any damages or hits when you get too adventurous and protects the body.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado Exterior
- image 865468

The rear has gotten smarter this time around.

Chevy has parted ways with the bowtie here and instead embossed all the trims with ‘CHEVROLET’ on the tailgate.

It sits right under the nose of the tailgate handle. The truck’s moniker also features here. The bumper comes with a step-up. The taillights remain the same, albeit slight detailing. In the ZR2 trim, the spare tire sits in the truck bed, and it also receives new central bars. It looks better this time around. The truck is lifted in this trim, and more details about it are covered in the drivetrain section. Overall, the 2021 Colorado looks like a sexy beast, and it will surely garner attention on the road, especially in the performance trims.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado Interior

  • Don’t expect a lot of changes in the cabin
  • An eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
  • Hope it is offered with better safety features
  • Will the accessories list be better than the current model?
Chevy Colorado ZR2 Takes L.A. By Storm with Supercar Suspension High Resolution Interior
- image 695650

Chevy has not revealed any images of the cabin yet, but don’t expect many changes either.

The truck was recently updated with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system – up form a seven-inch screen from the 2019 models - and we don’t expect any changes in this department.

It supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The tweaks we can expect can include new upholstery, or different stitching, or minor things like this because, in all fairness, the Colorado doesn’t lack anything per se. I’d love to see the company get better with the fit and finish, and quality, however.

Also, will the automaker introduce bench seats for the front row in the base trims? Contrary to the popular opinion, it’s certainly missed in the work trims since a bench seat offers more utility than a blank space between the seats. There are two aspects where Chevy needs to improve when it comes to the Colorado. The safety list can surely do with some more features. The Colorado received an overall rating of four-stars from the NHTSA. These include an “Acceptable” small front-overlap rating and side-impact scores for the extended cab models. The crew cabs received “Good” except for the headlights which received ‘Poor’ and the Collision Warning Systems, which received “Basic.”

Chevy Colorado ZR2 Takes L.A. By Storm with Supercar Suspension High Resolution Interior
- image 695651

Currently, all the trims come with six airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, and a backup camera. From the LT trim, Chevy offers stuff like Forward Collision and Lane-Departure Warnings. I hope this is offered from the base trim itself, and the higher trims receive more sophisticated things like Automatic Emergency Braking or Rear Cross-Traffic alerts. Ram has shown us that a truck is also capable of scoring full marks, and this is has posed a problem for all the other automakers because people will automatically draw comparisons, irrespective of it being a compact or a full-sized pickup.

Secondly, the bowtie needs to start offering a lot more accessories on the Colorado. It has two off-road trims in its lineup, so why not capitalize on it? Jeep recently revealed that it sells $1,000 worth of accessories on an average on every Gladiator. This is roughly $200 more than what Jeep sells for the Wrangler. There is no hiding that automakers earn big, fat profits on accessories. So, why is Chevy falling behind? Even Ford has tied up with Yakima, an aftermarket company, to take on Mopar (in a way). Also, AEV has announced it will start selling products at its standalone stores for the Colorado Z71. Does that hit Chevy’s aftermarket sales?

2021 Chevrolet Colorado Drivetrain

  • 3.6-liter, V-6 gasoline mill
  • 308 horses and 275 pound-feet of torque
  • 2.8-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged diesel mill
  • 186 ponies and 369 pound-feet of twist
  • 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine
  • 200 horses and 191 pound-feet of torque
  • ZR2 now features a two-inch suspension lift, a 3.5-inch wider track, etc.
  • The best-in-segment towing capacity of 7,700 pounds
2021 Chevrolet Colorado Exterior
- image 865470

Chevrolet did not announce any changes to the powertrain, but the ZR2 will feature a few mechanical changes. Before we get to that, let’s talk about the engines on offer currently.

The Chevrolet Colorado is currently offered with a 3.6-liter, V-6 gasoline mill that makes 308 horses and 275 pound-feet of torque.

Power is sent to the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The other engine on offer is a 2.8-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged diesel mill that churns out 186 ponies and 369 pound-feet of twist. This mill is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. There’s also a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine that makes 200 horses and 191 pound-feet of torque. This un-inspiring engine is targeted at fleet owners.

The current off-road trim features stuff like front and rear electronic locking differentials, Autotrac transfer case, Multimatic DSSV position-sensitive dampers, and rear axle with a 3.42 ratio. This time there are a few changes. Apart from these, the truck now features a two-inch suspension lift, a 3.5-inch wider track, off-road rocker protection, cast-iron control arms, and multiple skid plates. The towing capacity is expected to remain the same at a massive 7,700 pounds, which happens to be the segment-best.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado Pricing

2021 Chevrolet Colorado Exterior
- image 865467

There is no word on the pricing yet, but we don’t expect to see big changes here. A hike of a few hundred dollars would be fair, but anything breaching the four-digit mark will make it a costly buy since we don’t see any substantial differences. The prices for the current crop is as follows:

Base $21,300
WT $24,800
LT $27,700
Z71 $33,900
ZR2 $41,400

2021 Chevrolet Colorado Competition

Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator Exterior
- image 806950

While it is considered an off-roader strictly, he Gladiator is all the rage right now. In fact, so much so that I am obligated to pit it against the more family-like Colorado. Jeep has successfully revived the moniker, and people have pounced on the company’s first pickup truck in three decades. It turned out to be more versatile than expected, and Jeep couldn’t have gotten it any more right. It is good enough to be a daily driver, a work truck, or an off-roader.

It comes with a 3.6-liter, V-6 engine that develops 285 ponies and 260 pound-feet of twist under the hood. Power is sent to all the wheel via a six-speed manual gearbox, while an eight-speed automatic transmission is optional. The output figures may not make you go ’wow,’ but Jeep has focused on low-end torque and a broad torque range to begin with. Jeep Gladiator can tow up to 7,650 pounds and haul up to 1,600 pounds. The Jeep Gladiator starts at $33,500.

Jeep Gladiator specifications
Engine 3.6-liter, V-6, Pentastar engine
Power 285 Horsepower
Torque 260 pound-feet
Transmission Six-speed manual gearbox
Towing Capacity 7,650 pounds
Price $33,500 onwards

Read our full review on the 2020 Jeep Gladiator

Ford Ranger

2019 Ford Ranger Exterior
- image 761492

The Ford Ranger pickup truck was launched in 1983, and it did quite well for almost 20 years before disappearing from the States in 2011. However, realizing the potential of the truck, Ford decided to revive the moniker in 2018, and it has its eyes set on the Tacoma, the Colorado, and the Gladiator. Ford has released a swarm of Rangers in the market, catering right from a budget customer to a buyer with loaded pockets. You can have it with stuff like an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats, and keyless entry, to name a few.

Under the hood is a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder EcoBoost mill that packs 270 horses and 310 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission system that covers up for the lack of engine options in the lineup. The Ranger can be availed in an all-wheel-drive version as well. It comes with a locking rear differential and independent suspensions at the front and rear. However, the Ranger is not an off-roader by any means. You can opt for the FX4 package, but it lacks the punch of a, say, Colorado ZR2 Bison, or Tacoma TRD Pro. The Ford Ranger starts at $24,300.

Ford Ranger specifications
Engine 2.3-liter, four-cylinder, EcoBoost mill
Power 270 Horsepower
Torque 310 pound-feet
Transmission 10-speed automatic gearbox
Towing Capacity 7,500 pounds
Price $24,300 onwards

Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Ranger

Toyota Tacoma

2020 Toyota Tacoma
- image 822399

How can we talk about midsize pickup trucks without mentioning the Tacoma? Toyota Tacoma has been around for almost 24 years now. Despite the competition, Tacoma has managed to hold on to the crown for 14 years straight. In fact, in 2018, Toyota sold 245,659 examples of the Tacoma, that’s roughly 75,000 examples more than Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon combined. In terms of features, it comes with stuff like a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, Toyota Safety Sense P on all trims, keyless ignition system, and surround-view camera system, to name a few.

The Tacoma comes with the two engine options – an age-old 2.7-liter, naturally aspirated, four-cylinder mill that makes 159 horses and 180 pound-feet of torque, and a 3.5-liter, V-6 unit that churns out 278 horses and 265 pound-feet of torque. Both the engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission system as standard, but the larger V-6 mill can be mated to a six-speed manual as well. Most of the Toyota Tacoma trims come standard with a rear-wheel-drive system, but it can be had with a four-wheel-drive system as well.

Toyota Tacoma specifications
Engine 3.5-liter, V-6 engine
Power 278 Horsepower
Torque 265 pound-feet
Transmission Six-speed automatic transmission
Towing Capacity 6,800 pounds
Price $28,310 onwards

Read our full review on the 2020 Toyota Tacoma

Final thoughts

2021 Chevrolet Colorado Exterior
- image 865468

The 2021 Colorado sure seems fresh, at least in the ZR2 avatar. The exterior looks fresh and justifies the ‘facelift’ tag. There is no word on the updates on the inside, but we hope to see better safety features. The drivetrain, as expected, has not received any updates either. The mechanical changes on the ZR2 trim could command a higher price variation, but GM needs to be wary of this and make sure it doesn’t feel like an overpriced product. And, like I mentioned, it needs to build its aftermarket parts portfolio as soon as possible and make the Colorado a mod-friendly truck.

The 2021 Chevrolet Colorado is all set to make its debut at the 2019 Method Race Wheels Laughlin Desert Classic on October 10. The Colorado ZR2, on the other hand, will make its public debut at the 2019 SEMA show in Las Vegas, starting on November 5. The sales of the 2021 Colorado will commence in 2020, and the company will announce the pricing closer to the launch date. The Colorado’s GMC Canyon twin will likely get some updates as well, possibly including a new AT4 off-road variant. All the 2021 Colorado models will be built at GM’s Wentzville Assembly Center in Wentzville, Missouri. Will this iteration boost the sales of the Colorado? We’ll have to wait and watch to see how it fares.

  • Leave it
    • The same drivetrain will not entice a new customer audience
    • Will the interiors be any different? I don’t think so
    • Safety is not Chevy’s strong suit

Further Reading

2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Exterior
- image 795062

Read our full review on the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison.

Chevy Colorado ZR2 Takes L.A. By Storm with Supercar Suspension High Resolution Exterior
- image 695642

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.

2015 Chevrolet Colorado High Resolution Exterior
- image 532896

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
About the author

DETROIT — Today, Chevrolet debuts a new look for its Colorado midsize truck franchise. The 2021 Chevrolet Colorado will make its first public appearance at the 2019 Method Race Wheels Laughlin Desert Classic on Oct.10, driven by Hall Racing. The 2021 Colorado ZR2 will then debut at the SEMA show in Las Vegas.

The Colorado lineup will now feature greater differentiation from trim to trim and the addition of the new “Sand Dune Metallic” exterior paint color option available on the Z71 and ZR2 models. All Colorado variants will also include revised front Chevy “bowtie” emblems and embossed “Chevrolet” tailgates in place of the traditional Chevy bowtie on the rear end of the vehicles.

“We’ve sold 520,000 Colorado pickups in five years through a relentless, foot-on-the-gas approach to product and feature updates,” said Bob Krapes, director of marketing, Chevrolet Trucks. “With its new-look front end and tailgate, Colorado will now have a more aggressive appearance to match its award-winning capability.”

The WT, LT and Z71 Colorado trim levels will all receive updated center bars, lower fascias and front skid plates for 2021. WT and LT will feature all-new gold Chevy bowtie logos, while Z71 receives a black bowtie logo.

The ZR2 off-road performance variant will receive a new appearance to match its standout capability. ZR2 will be the only Colorado model to feature the all-new, lettered, flow-through “Chevrolet” front fascia. ZR2’s new front end provides drivers with improved visibility and looks even more aggressive, which adds to its dynamic, “segment of one” appearance.

ZR2, with its revolutionary, segment-exclusive Multimatic DSSVTM position-sensitive dampers, standard front and rear electronic locking differentials, 2-inch suspension lift, 3.5-inch wider track, off-road rocker protection, cast iron control arms, Autotrac transfer case, and multiple skid plates, will now come equipped with standard red tow hooks as well.

The 2021 Chevrolet Colorado goes on sale next year. Pricing will be announced closer to production. All 2021 Colorado models will be built at General Motors’ Wentzville Assembly Center in Wentzville, Missouri.

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