Twins: Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon

Article From: 11/1/2003 Automotive Design & Production, , Editor-in-Chief from Gardner Business Media, Inc.

The Chevy Colorado crew cab and GMC Canyon extended cab.


Chevy Colorado Crew Cab (left) and GMC Canyon Extended Cab (right). Separated at birth.


The frame provides 250% more stiffness than the one it replaces. And no hydroforming.


A lost-foam block for casting the Vortec 3500.

Although the Chevy S-10 pickup has had a good run (22 years), today's truck buyers want something a bit more substantial, so the S-10 is going away to be replaced by the Chevy Colorado. While it is a midsize truck (with a wheelbase of either 111.2 in. or 125.9 in., depending on whether it is speced as a regular cab (the former) or an extended or crew cab (the latter), and while it has a cargo box that’s as long as 72.9 in. for the extended cab version, naming it after a slightly larger than mid-sized state may be a bit of an exaggeration (even though it is three inches wider and four inches longer than the truck it replaces).

Interesting fact number 1: Although the Colorado is “all new,” that’s really not the case. One percent of the ‘04 model is a carryover from the S-10. The seat frame.

Interesting fact number 2: The Colorado can be fitted with an inline five-cylinder engine, the Vortec 3500, or a four-cylinder, the Vortec 2800. Both of these engines are derived from the Vortec 4200, an in-line six cylinder engine (that’s used in the Chevy TrailBlazer). All of these engines are all aluminum, produced with the lost-foam casting process that helps minimize the necessary machining due to the casting accuracy (to learn more, see: http://www.autofieldguide.com/articles/030304.html). They have dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. More, the 3500 and the 2800 share 75% of their components with the Vortec 4200. And if looked at in the context of each other, the 3500 and 2800 share 89% of their components. (The 2.8-liter 2800 provides 175 hp @ 5,600 rpm and 185 lb-ft torque @ 2,800 rpm; the 3.5-liter engine provides 220 hp @ 5,600 rpm and 225 lb-ft torque @ 2,800 rpm).

Interesting fact number 3: The Colorado is being produced in the GM Shreveport, Louisiana, assembly plant. That’s where the S-10 had been built. But the Colorado is being produced in what is essentially a new facility, because when GM was planning on the new truck back in 1999, it announced that it would be making a more than $700-million investment in Shreveport. The truck goes into full production in the fourth quarter of 2003.

Interesting fact number 4: The S-10 isn’t the only truck that was built in recent time at Shreveport. It had been building the Isuzu Hombre in the facility. (GM owns about 48% of Isuzu). Those of you with long memories may recall that in 1971 there was a one-ton Isuzu pickup on the American market: the Isuzu KB, a.k.a., the Chevy Luv. At the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show, GM and Isuzu showed a concept for a midsize truck. It was to be a collaboration between the two companies. Although there was some shared engineering, the Colorado essentially isn’t that truck.

 
 

Interesting fact number 5: The truck is described by GM as a “midsize” pickup truck. It is in the EPA “compact truck category.

Interesting fact number 6: The truck doesn’t use hydroformed rails. There is a ladder-frame, H-configuration. Yet the truck is 250% stiffer than the S-10.

Although all of that has been said about the Chevy Colorado, the same can be pretty much said about another truck. The GMC Canyon. This is a new vehicle within the “professional grade” division’s lineup. Yes, the Colorado and the Canyon are the same vehicle. Trimmed differently. But the same truck.