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Chevy Colorado Tops Tacoma - Except In This One Critical Way

Chevy has created a detailed breakdown of why its new Colorado ZR2 is way more awesome than the Tacoma. The Chevy folks missed one important detail.

Chevrolet's new Colorado ZR2 is a fantastic new midsize off-roader. Its optional 2.8-liter turbo-diesel Duramax engine made by Isuzu in Thailand is an excellent alternative to the 3.6-liter V6 gasoline engine Chevy offers. Buyers can either choose strong low-end torque for towing, or opt for the 306 hp gas engine for speed and refinement. That the ZR2 is a great addition to the midsize off-road focused pickup market ins not in dispute. The question of which truck, the Tacoma TRD Pro or Colorado ZR2, is the "better" truck certainly is.

Chevy has created a detailed chart which compares its ZR2's advantages over the Tacoma TRD Pro. Some of them we question as reasonable advantages. Take the 4G LTE WI-FI. How is that an advantage in an off-road specialty truck? Perhaps to text AAA to ask for a tow if there are not Tacomas around to help out? We jest. There are some areas that the ZR2 seems to top the Tacoma on the list. For example, the tubular rocker protectors. Those can't hurt when rock-hoping.
- 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro vs. TRD Off-Road Explained In 1 Image
GM lists its 'Standard Eight-Speed Automatic" as an advantage over the Tacoma. Eight speeds are all well and good, but does the Colorado get better fuel economy from this transmission compared to the Tacoma, or even compared to the prior model year of the Colorado. Not in the case of the gas engine it doesn't. However, it's the lack of an available manual stick shift that GM is trying to gloss over that is the real story. GM is not offering the ZR2 with a stick shift. On an everyday car, or even a daily-driver truck that wouldn't be a big deal. On a sport truck built for off road fun, it is quite a big deal.

The Tacoma TRD Pro is available with a choice of a manual or automatic transmission, and a healthy 11% of buyers opt for the manual stick shift. For many buyers that one factor is the start and end of a comparison list. See Chevy's list here.


Steve (not verified)    January 26, 2017 - 6:40AM

Does it have the paddle shifters? I drove an Edge with one and frankly they work really well and serve the same purpose as a manual though are easier. I enjoy a manual in a car such as a Mustang GT, however the point in an off roader is being able to use the engine to control speed and I don't believe a third petal is the only way to achieve that.

Scott (not verified)    March 8, 2017 - 8:44AM

Well all I can say is enjoy it now while you can as the manuals are on their way out. They used to hold many advantages but the low take rate and the emissions are killing them. Even now many people do not even know how to drive one.

The Chevy is a truck for low speed rock climbing and technical trails and it does have a manual mode. The auto is well suited for this type of class 4 trails.

Can the Toyota do a 60% grade with only one tire with grip? didn't think so. Too bad they have no front locker or all the other modes the Z has.

Where is the power? 308 HP in the Toyota? Where is the Diesel and torque?

Where are the cast iron front control arms that are not only stronger but longer for a wider track. Toyota just gave a different back space on the wheels for the wider stance. Window dressing?

Wi Fi is great when looking for satellite images that can be found on the web even out on the trail.

The new transmission was not about MPG it was about more low end power and better drivability.
The new truck is much smoother and has more bottom end now.

While the Toyota is a very able truck they have to accept they are no longer the only truck in the market segment anymore and they will have to up their game as GM will. Competition is good as a company can get lax and leave out many things or take short cuts like just doing wheel off sets to widen the stance vs doing it the right way and redoing the suspension.

One has to remember the manual 11% of sales is only a percentage of the TRD sales that may only be 5-8% off all sales so we are speaking of a small number.

We should just be glad both trucks are here and they should drive each other to be better much like the Camaro and Mustang have done for decades.