mini review 2016 Colorado ZZ1 4WD Ext. Cab
I'll try to keep this going for a bit as I get more miles on the truck, but wanted to post some information after the first couple of days I've had to drive the truck under a wider range of conditions.
The first few days I had the truck I wasn't able to do anything other than drive back and forth to work. Yesterday was the first day I was able to get off road, and overall the conditions were just much more variable, but typical for me.
I'll start by saying that every time I drive this truck it makes me smile, partly because I'm thinking of all the negative posts as I'm driving along, amazed at how great the truck feels. So far I can't really say I've encountered any of the problems people complain about. My TPW was 2/22/2016, so maybe a lot of problems have just been fixed.
Based on all the negative posts, I've paid particular attention to how the engine and transmission perform. My initial impression was that both were way better than I expected, but yesterday was the first real test. I drove so many hills and many miles on state roads where the speed was constantly up and down. The truck shifted intelligently and near flawlessly. On hills it kicked down immediately and smoothly, one gear, unless I pushed the pedal down much more. It was absolutely effortless to get the truck to shift when I wanted it to. Shifts were sometimes slightly harder under load, such as going up a steep hill, but I mean slightly in that I could obviously feel them, whereas on flat roads, the shifts above 20mph were barely felt at all. Downhill was the same. I didn't test the hill descent control, but I did notice how the truck will automatically downshift if you break going down a hill. That worked flawlessly and was a nice surprise.
The engines performance was great. I'm still trying to gently break my truck in, so I haven't accelerated too hard yet, but the engine is powerful enough and the truck rides smoothly enough, that it's easy to be way over the speed limit before you realize it. I've had no issues passing on hills, merging in traffic, etc. I've actually tried to create shift problems, and have not found any issues. Doing stuff like starting up a hill and then letting off the gas mid-grade, before putting it down again...doing odd things while going in or out of turns, just to see if there would be hesitation, poor downshifts, anything like that. The truck has no problem handling even intentionally stupid driving like that!
Ride quality is just excellent in my opinion. My only complaint so far is that I feel there's a bit more lean in turns than I like, even for a truck that sits up a bit. I drove a lot in state forest yesterday, through areas I've driven for years. The ride was amazing, despite paved roads that are absolutely terrible. Potholes everywhere on winding and hilly roads, and whenever they do manage to try to fix the roads, they just throw down little spots or strips of blacktop, not making it much better. In this truck it was the smoothest ride I've ever had on these roads.
The gravel roads were uneventful. The one section that surprised me was a stretch of washboard, mostly dirt with some gravel, downhill and curved road. Usually it makes no difference what speed I go down that hill, it's incredibly rough. At anything but a crawl, the back end of an unloaded truck will bounce so much it vibrates sideways towards the edge of the road. Going up it's easy to bounce enough that you are gaining and losing traction, but it's just a rough ride, not very challenging as far as traction or grade. When I drove down it in this truck yesterday, I though they must have smoothed the road out! I couldn't even feel the washboard and figured it was just gone. When I drove back up I had to look carefully and I was able to confirm the road was as rutted as ever. Very nice performance both up and down that stretch and that's pretty much what I saw all day long on gravel and dirt roads. Thinking back on the day I can't think of a time I felt the rear-end bouncing, which is very unusual for an unloaded truck offroad.
The worst road I drove on was a very heavily rutted dirt road. This section is much more like a trail, it dead ends at a campground in the forest. The ruts are deep and do a good job of twisting the body (often turning all or part of the truck at nearly 45 degrees on a side), testing articulation, ground clearance, etc. At times it's a better test for traction (snow or deeper mud), but the mud wasn't very deep on this trip. The truck handled the incredibly uneven ground very well, no problems with traction in the wet clay (with stock tires), but with a brand new truck I was taking it very slow. I never even had to switch to 4WD.
Several stream crossings were uneventful, including one where I have to drop off a small rock ledge into the creek and then come up out of the creek over something similar, while going uphill. The air dam was a bit of a problem, I rubbed it several times, and it made me especially careful about approach angles. I was thinking about it every second down this road and I just didn't like having to be so careful about the front end. I didn't do any damage, but I'm going to have to think more seriously about removing it if I notice the clearance is a regular issue. On one hand I think it is a bit of a reminder and a warning, but I could also see it preventing me from getting by something that would otherwise be trivial, and/or pushing it so hard through or into something that it does damage the bumper. I'd rip it off in a second if it wasn't for that slight improvement in mpg that it adds, but that was one of the reasons I upgraded from my last truck so I don't really want to give up even 1-2mpg in daily driving.
No hood flutter, another issue I've watched for.
No problems with seats, very comfortable. I'm only 5'9" and 160 so I could see where larger people would have problems with the seats though, since they fit me just about perfectly. I am anxious to get my seat covers though, as there is a lot of rub on the outside edges getting in and out of the truck.
One other thing I almost forgot to mention, the truck is so amazingly quiet, at least with the windows up. With windows down there is a lot of wind noise, but that's not much of a surprise. With windows up I feel like I'm driving a luxury car. It's been a while since I've been able to comprehend voices on the radio, at low volume, while driving at high speed...lots more road noise on my last truck. Even though the truck itself is less noisy, it's also very clear how well they did with soundproofing, because even outside sounds like the sounds of other vehicles are greatly reduced.
Not much more to add yet. With the conditions I've been driving my gas mileage has been all over the place, but I'm still hanging above 19mpg with no highway driving yet. The only high speed driving I've done so far has been on state roads where there was still a lot of stop and go.
I didn't think to take pictures yesterday because I was concentrating so much on not ripping the air dam off, but I'll try to get some pictures of some of these conditions I'm driving in as I'm out over the next few weeks. They aren't extreme by any stretch of the imagination, but they are definitely the kinds of places you want a capable 4x4. I also haven't hauled anything in the bed yet, but pretty soon I'll be making some trips for mulch and will be able to get a sense of how the truck performs with a heavy payload.
2016 Chevy Colorado Ext. Cab Z71 4x4 Red Hot