FAST MOVER

Chevy’s low-riding 2WD Colorado Sport brings
a new performance dimension to mid-size pickups

By Bruce W. Smith special to GCN

It’s rare to hear the words “Little Deuce Coupe” uttered among factory truck engineers. So when Ron Kociba, the chief engineer of GM Powertrain inline truck engines, said the boys in his group affectionately called the 2004 Chevrolet Colorado Sport their version of the Little Deuce Coupe, my ears perked up.

He was referring specifically to the low-slung, two-wheel-drive mid-size pickup targeted toward the sport truck crowd. Apparently the engine guys found the 220-horsepower inline five-cylinder model with the manual 5-speed to be quite fun to drive.

It didn’t take me long to share their enthusiasm for the sport model of the newest GM pickup.

When my driving opportunity came along, Kociba’s words bounced around in my head until the urge to see the Colorado Sport’s performance first-hand was just too much to resist.

That first encounter came on mile of flat, deserted, straight highway in Vermont.

I stopped, brought the rpm up and dropped the clutch. There wasn’t any forward movement for a long moment. Then, as the limited-slip and the friction from melting tires overcame the weight of the 3,100-pound pickup, things started happening fairly quickly.

As I watched the Colorado’s tachometer needle whip toward 6,000 rpm, the tailend started drifting to the right and the wheelwells filled with white smoke. A touch of counter-steer halted the drift, but I did nothing to slow the spinning tires.

Moments after the 50-series Continentals, mounted on 17-inch rims, secured a good grip, I slammed the Colorado’s short-throw Aisin five-speed into second. The shift was effortless.

The second-gear powershift kicked the rearend back to the left with the tires once again protesting the brutal assault on the pavement with a pleasingly long chrip—and a sudden urge on my part to smile. Powershifting to third brought yet another chirping protest.

Yes, indeed. A Little Deuce Coupe of the pickup variety.

My smile broadened when I remembered that I was behind the wheel of the Regular Cab, 175-horse four-cylinder model. I could only imagine what the 220hp inline-five would be like at the local dragstrip. Can you say “sleeper?”

It hasn’t been all that long ago that Chevy’s pickup V8s were putting out 210-horsepower. Now it’s being done with a naturally aspirated five-cylinder. Such performance for less than  $20,000 definitely marks the beginning of a new era for Chevrolet pickups.—Bruce W. Smith

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