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A tan 2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is shown from the front while racing through sand.

The 2021 Chevy Colorado Gets a Refresh

The 2021 Chevy Colorado is being debuted at a time in which it finds itself as one of the most popular trucks in the midsize segment. With a refresh for the upcoming model year, you can understand the buzz surrounding the most recent performance upgrades. The Colorado was launched with the 2015 model year, and immediately it took charge of the segment, kick-starting a midsize truck renaissance as competitors were forced to try and keep up with the Colorado’s unreachable versatility and elite performance.

One of the aspects the Colorado has that allowed it to gain popularity so quickly was its emphasis on off-road capability. Of course, the Colorado is much more than a stout off-roader. It’s always been among the leaders in towing capacity and is just as comfortable running the school carpool as it is charging up a mountain. Pick-up trucks have to be versatile these days, and no other midsize truck has proven more useful to the modern family than the Chevy Colorado.

So what should you expect from the Colorado’s 2021 refresh? The upgrades will focus on improving off-road capability while also drawing a more apparent line between the different trims. You can expect this model of the Colorado to continue on the path of its predecessors—on a steep trajectory to the top.

Exterior Styling

The grille of a tan 2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is shown.

The 2021 Colorado has been designed to better reflect changes to Chevrolet’s overall line of pick-up trucks. With more aggressive stylings, the Colorado now resembles its older brother—the Silverado. Of course, the redesign also better suits the Colorado’s spirit as an off-roader. There really is no equal to the Colorado’s off-road capabilities, and this new look feels more in line with the Colorado’s capabilities.

Specific changes include a bold grille and a tailgate with the Chevrolet name stamped on it. Adding to its fierce and imposing looks are going to be standard 17-inch wheels. With new badging and three new colors to choose from, the Colorado commands attention regardless of the terrain it finds itself in.

Beginning with the lower-end trim models, the Colorado will see the WT and LT models given a new gold bow-tie emblem, while Z71 models will have a blacked-out logo. All three trim levels will be given updated center bars, along with reworked lower fascias and front skid plates.

There will not be any changes to the cabin for the 2021 model year, so you don’t have to worry about Chevy messing up something that’s not broken with this refresh—you will still have room for everyone. Luckily, Chevy recognizes a good thing when they see one because the interior needs no change.


The entry-level trim will likely follow to 2020 Colorado and come standard with a 2.5-liter inline-4 that makes 200 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque. With this engine, you can expect to get a respectable 20/26 mpg, and there is a manual transmission option for rear-wheel-drive models. This is an excellent engine for a standard powertrain as it offers a combination of power and fuel economy that is competitive in the segment.

The next option will probably be a 3.6-liter V6 that provides a significant bump in horsepower at 308. With 275 lb-ft of torque, you will appreciate the extra muscle. Add the Trailering Equipment package, and this engine can tow 7,000 lb. That’s a high number for the midsize truck segment, which is one of the reasons why the Colorado is so popular. Its versatility allows it to compete with the full-size segment, especially if you don’t need to tow super-heavy loads.

If you do need a little extra in the towing department, the Colorado has a powertrain option just for you: a 2.8-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder that makes an impressive 369 lb-ft of torque. You don’t necessarily expect to see a number like this in the midsize segment, so if you don’t need a full-size truck, this engine makes the Colorado an incredibly practical and affordable option.

Trailer-sway control is standard on all Chevy Colorados. This feature can apply the brakes of both the truck and trailer if the system senses too much swaying. And with the diesel powertrain able to tow up to 7,700 lb., you will be able to tow your boat to the lake with no worries. Your family will definitely appreciate you finding a vehicle that is up to any task, without having to spend more on a full-size truck.

With the diesel powertrain, you can also expect impressive fuel efficiency at 20/30 mpg, along with its towing prowess and backcountry chops. The boost in torque will not only give you confidence when towing, but it will let you take your Colorado down roads you might not venture down in other midsize pick-up trucks.

A tan 2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is racing in sand and kicking up a dust cloud.

Off-Road Ready

Speaking of off-road aptitude, the Colorado will feature sophisticated Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) position-sensitive dampers, which will keep you moving in the worst (or best; however you want to look at it) conditions. You can attack the road or the trail—no matter the conditions—with this technology. Amazingly, they provide a smooth on-road ride while also providing exceptional off-road control. First used on the 2014 Camaro to handle intense track conditions, these smooth both compression and rebound damping, allowing you to feel confident even during intense off-road conditions.

You will also benefit from standard locking differentials for both the front and rear. You’ll want to look for the ZR2 trim for this and even more off-road features, such as a 3.5-inch-wider track and a suspension that’s lifted 1.6 inches on crew cab models and 1.9 inches on extended-cab models. For additional protection on the trail, the Bison trim adds boron steel skid plates for the fuel tank, transfer case, and rear differential.

If you are looking for a pick-up truck but do not need the capability of a full-size or heavy-duty truck, look no further than the Chevy Colorado. While there are lots of options in the midsize truck segment, the Colorado is near the top of its class in every category, earning the coveted jack-of-all-trades designation from many drivers and experts. With a wide variety of trim levels and available powertrain options, there is an option for every lifestyle.

While its payload and towing capacity might not be as high as its bigger brother, it competes well above its class, and its off-road chops and maneuverability make it one of the best options on the pick-up truck market. This is one to look out for and jump on once it debuts with the 2021 model year. The combination of off-road readiness—straight off the assembly line—and quiet on-road sensibility make for a lethal combination. Other truck manufacturers will be sure to take notice of the Colorado’s refreshed look and performance updates.

When can you expect to see these exciting changes for yourself? The 2021 Chevy Colorado will be available late Spring of this year, so you will get to take it for a spin in no time. This is a vehicle that you have to experience to believe; whether you find yourself on the road or somewhere off of it, you won’t be disappointed with its refreshed demeanor and stylings.