Next week, Chevrolet is set to unveil a new mid-size pickup. For argument’s sake (and considering Chevy loves recycling spent names), let’s say they end up calling it the Colorado. We’re not sure what to expect out of it or if it will be a sales success, but the last Colorado was not exactly a pinnacle of engineering. Though the engines were dogs and the packaging was sub-par, owners enjoyed them. If there were actually more owners, the Colorado would have never gone away in the first place, but here are ten things this new truck need to do to stick around:
It Needs to Be Juuuust The Right Size:
Have you heard of the Toyota T100? It was Toyota’s first half-effort at a “larger” truck. The modern Tacoma is bigger than that T100. Mid-size pickups are huge, because full-size pickups are massive, but that doesn’t mean there is no room for a true compact pickup. Look at the international Ford Ranger. It is svelte and useful. A good smaller pickup needs to have space for stuff and people, but not so large that it defeats the point of being smaller.
It Needs the Right Engine:
Even if the Colorado is on the smaller side, it will have tons of safety equipment. Airbags, crumple zones and advanced safety tech all add weight, and in order for a truck to be capable even with this added heft, its going to need to have a small yet potent engine. This is a long shot, but the turbocharged V6 from the Cadillac CTS Vsport fits that description perfectly. Honestly, as long as the old inline-five from the previous Colorado doesn’t show up, we’ll be fine. That engine was deplorable.
It Needs to be Thoughtful:
The Ram 1500 may have won “Truck of the Year,” but it did so with complicated advancements like its airbag suspension. Meanwhile the Silverado 1500 could have won “head-slapping simple fix of the year” with the steps cut into the rear bumper, eliminating the need for the overly complicated retractable step-ups in other trucks. The Silverado also had LED lights in the bed and other little things that added up to a truck built by people who get how trucks are used. If any of that know-how makes its way to the Colorado, the truck will be fine.
It Needs to have a Visual Hook:
Like a catchy lick in a pop song, or like the instantly recognizable front maw of the Chevrolet Camaro, this new Colorado has to be visually fetching. It has to be a truck that is not over the top (all that extra sheet metal used fro bulging fenders would make the truck too big), but makes great use of the space it has. If it had more classic straight-line styling of older Chevy trucks that would be great, but GM could really put the truck market on its head by deriving styling from, say, the Impala or Equinox.
It Needs To Be A Legit Small Truck Alternative for Work Crews:
Work crews buy trucks because they need them for work. Kind of a simple statement but when you think about how much a truck CAN cost with all the goodies, you have to remember that the basic model is priced so that a small business can afford one that does everything it needs throughout a given work day. If they did not need the truck’s capability, there would be no way to justify that price.
It Needs To Be Priced Right:
What killed the small truck market was the fact that someone could go out and buy a full size truck for the same price as a loaded mid-size. A smaller pickup has to offer commercial buyers that don’t NEED the full-size truck, but want SOME capability, and offer it at an affordable package. Otherwise…
It Needs To Be an Attractive Daily Vehicle:
Mid-size pickups have never been extremely comfortable to live with. Folks that buy full-size pickups and drive them to work every day put up with its drivability shortcomings because of the large interior space and high driving position. A new small truck would need to be a very useful and sensible vehicle.
It Needs The Latest Tech:
Some automakers offer a backup camera as standard equipment. That needs to be part of the truck equation. If you want more buyers in pickups, you need features that would otherwise draw them out of other types of vehicles.
It Needs Sensible Alt-Fuel Options:
Diesel engines are big with work crews, and are more efficient than gas engines. Meanwhile some automakers have been developing Hydrogen fuel cell versions of trucks. These may not be huge-volume vehicles, but it would allow the Colorado to carry the “green driving” flag, which is always good for PR.
It Has to Reignite the Truck Market:
If Chevrolet sells a decent amount of the new Colorado, and covers its development costs, that’s great– but what it needs to do is light the market back up. It needs to be such a resounding success that other brands consider going back to building mid-size pickups (cough-cough-FORD-cough-RAM-cough).
Heck, who knows what’s going to happen with this new truck. Buyers have been going for vehicles that are less and less utilitarian than the vehicles before it. First it was the useful-if-unsexy minivans, then it was SUVs, and now everyone is on crossovers. The fact that car-based vehicles meant to LOOK like SUVs are some of the most popular cars on the road does not bode well for a niche vehicle like a compact pickup. Time will tell if it pans out for Chevy.