The Chevrolet Colorado Storm is under-rated but highly recommended
The pick-up wars continue to burn unabated. Coupled with the popularity of off-roading and the outdoor lifestyle, pick-ups are the new lifestyle vehicles of today. What was once the preserve of odd, eccentric hobbyists is now part of mainstream car culture thanks to today’s modern pick-ups. And of course, a pick-up doubles well as a daily-driver thanks to its fuel-efficient diesel engine, its 1-ton cargo capacity, plus tall ride-height for braving flash floods we now encounter annually. Automotive manufacturers have taken notice and have slowly but surely imbued these pick-ups with various features to enhance safety, stability on and off the road, and also, outright off-road prowess.
The pick-up war is headlined by the Toyota Hilux as the best all-around, the Ford Ranger, particularly the latest Raptor variant as the most sport truck performance oriented model, the Nissan Navara as the softest-riding and best value pick-up, the Isuzu D-Max as the fleet operator’s choice, and the Mitsubishi Strada who want a stylish left-field choice. Today we can add one more that list: the Chevrolet Colorado.
Spec for spec, the Colorado is mighty impressive: the Duramax Turbo Diesel engine is a 2.8 liter turbocharged CRDi powerplant with a variable geometry turbo that delivers 200hp and 500 Newton-Meters of torque, driving all four wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission in Storm variant. It’s got a mid-range-for-its-segment 6.1 meter turning radius, with an industry best 800mm of flood fording depth. The all-wheel drive system is activated by a knob on the center console and instantly allows you to explore places you can only dream about. The gearing is slightly short too, giving the Colorado a very responsive, almost overly-sensitive throttle response, which makes for a welcome change when you’re kneading through tough terrain or traffic. Absolute fuel efficiency doesn’t seem to be grossly affected, as the Strom still delivered a decent 12km/liter on my weekly drive to Tagaytay, and a decent 8.5km/liters in the city with heavy traffic.
The Storm would have fared better in the spec-sheet battle if it had a locking rear differential, and an off-road terrain response management system like Ford and Mitsubishi, but a simple suspension lift allowing more suspension flex, coupled with more aggressive tires should improve off-road performance massively. Nonetheless, equipped with Bridgestone HT tires, (instead of the A/T tires the Storm comes advertised with), I took it on my mini-trail of sharp, wet rocks, lots of knee-high wet grass, light mud and uneven surfaces for some impromptu crawling and the Storm definitely impressed despite its very pedestrian HT tires. Individual wheel articulation was good from both the front double wishbone suspension and the rear live-axle set-up, allowing me to stop atop a sharp pointy rock for some photos.
In terms of features and options, aside from the missing terrain response management software and an electronic locking rear differential, the Colorado Storm has it all: dual airbags, ABS-EBD brakes with emergency brake assist, traction / stability control, forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, hill-start assist, hill-descent control, trailer sway control, you name it, the Storm has it! The electronic assistance does help improve overall off-road performance especially when the tires start slipping, but a properly tweaked system maximized for off-road use would have made things even easier for the rookie enthusiast who wants to go exploring off the beaten path.
The Chevrolet MyLink multimedia system syncs fast and features both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless mobile phone integration too. You also get three 12-volt outlets to charge your mobile accessories.
On the open road, the Storm has truly attended, finished and graduated finishing school with flying colors. The engine, wind and tire noises are almost non-existent, ambiance is highly refined, ride is comfortable and pliant even for a pick-up, and space is very good, although I would have wanted more side bolsters and lower knee / thigh support for the front seats. Steering effort is light tanks to electronic power assisted steering, but still offers decent feel and feedback. A little more reach adjustment would have been welcome here as well. The throttle is a bit sensitive and quite aggressive, so you need a bit of readjusting to get used to it and avoid a jerky ride in traffic or on the trail. Brakes are strong but resistant to lock-up particularly the unladen rear, and visibility in and out of the Storm is good too. Rear space is par for the course, but I find the seatbacks quite upright, more so than say, the Hilux or Strada.
The somewhat tall and thin 245/60R18 tires on 18×6.5 inch wheels need a lot more width and girth, plus the halogen headlights fall short of the latest HID / LED headlamps offered by the competition. But add-in a front steel bumper, some PIAA LED lamps, a suspension lift (tough Dog or Dobinsons please) with chunky 285/70R17 hybrid mud terrain tires (otherwise what’s called a 33-inch wheel/tire combo), and you basically have an almost unstoppable zombie-apocalypse machine ready for any road or weather condition!
The modifications I listed are typical of what 4×4 hobbyists and enthusiasts will do to their pick-ups to make them more trail ready and capable, and the Storm, already highly capable in stock form, will level up even further (not to mention it will look much better). At P1,638,888 it’s not cheap, but it is ready to tackle the competition head-on with its class and refinement, plus the features it brings to the game truly makes it worth considering!
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