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The Chevy Colorado And The Return Of The Small American Truck

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People have been predicting the death of the small American truck for a few years now. But there are problems with this line of thinking, and the return of the Chevy Colorado exposes a few of them, heralding the return of smaller American trucks, not their demise.

The Beginning

The Chevy Colorado was introduced in 2004 as a “midsized pickup” and replacement for the Chevy S-10 compact pickup. So these smaller American trucks are still not small. They have the midrange size necessary to be incredibly popular – so although truly small trucks virtually vanished from the market when Chevy and GMC made the switch, their replacements are back to stay.

Chevy Colorado

Chevy Colorado, looks similar to a Toyota. Image Credit: Carscoops.com

The second, bigger problem is that smaller vehicles are on the upswing in popularity and production. Chevy’s timing on the reintroduction of the Colorado, which was discontinued in 2011 and is being rolled out again starting in 2014, coincides perfectly with a big upswing in demand for more efficient, modest vehicles. Or at least, that’s what Chevy hopes the data means.

Fuel Costs Higher than Normal, but Comfort Prevails

Despite the cost of fuel, full-sized trucks and SUVs have continued to increase in popularity to the detriment of mid-sized trucks. However, Chevy and GM are looking at the recent, rapid growth of sporty sedans’ popularity, the so-called “lifestyle” vehicles that carry a ton of stuff, are roomy and comfortable, and are more affordable to own and use, as a sign that there is a market for the new Colorado. It offers a plethora of comfort and convenience features on the inside, and a versatile bed with several different tie-down and rack options for those who want to carry gear or a bike in the back.

Chevy Colorado

Sideview of Chevy Colorado. Image credit: carscoops.com

Chevy is also banking on international markets to help revive the mid-sized truck. In places like Thailand, vehicles like the Colorado sell very well because they are much more fuel-efficient and people use them to do actual work. Buyers concerned with fuel efficiency who want a truck that does a lot – haul gear, go to work, cart a family around – hopefully will be drawn to the Colorado, just as they are abroad.

Comparing Toyota Tacoma to Chevy Colorado

There is also a strong precedent for not-humongous trucks in the United States. The Toyota Tacoma is one of the most popular trucks in the country, and the base model before the huge cab and bed extension options is pretty close to a mid-sized vehicle. The Colorado will probably come in at a few thousand dollars more expensive, but with improved towing capacity, horsepower, and fuel efficiency compared to the Tacoma.

2015 Chevy Colorado Diesel. Image Credit: luxurycarslist.com

2015 Chevy Colorado Diesel. Image Credit: luxurycarslist.com

It’s interesting to note that at GMC and GM, which share basic model designs on many of their trucks, many of the executives and market experts share a belief that demand for mid-sized trucks didn’t dry up. It experienced a short decrease they say, but producers took them off the market and prolonged the mid-sized absence. They think this despite the fact that just over 200,000 mid-sized trucks have sold in the entire United States this year.

Chevy Colorado Still on Top

So the numbers go both ways. But sitting in the Colorado and looking at the numbers, it’s difficult to imagine that the car and truck-buying public won’t be swayed by this vehicles upgraded, rugged efficiency enough that the small American truck will see a great return, not a final death rattle.

Alex Gabriel

Alex Gabriel

Alex Gabriel is a writer at Reply! with several years of digital marketing and copywriting experience. A native of Portland and graduate of the University of Oregon, Alex has a passion for writing about new cars. To learn more about cars with the best tech features, see his price guide for new vehicles.

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