The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Chevrolet Colorado Uses Lightweighting to Create Efficiency

March 13, 2014

Through the use of lightweight materials and other engineering techniques, Chevrolet said that it expects that its new 2015-MY Colorado 4x4 Crew Cab will weigh between 880 and 1,400 pounds less than a full-size truck.

The Colorado will begin arriving in showrooms this fall at the same time as the new Ford F-150, setting up a sharp contrast between two strategies for reducing the weight of pickups.

In overall size, Colorado fits neatly below the Silverado 1500 in the Chevrolet lineup. The short-bed crew cab is 212.76 inches long, 17 inches shorter than a comparable Silverado 1500, making it an easier fit in many garages. Colorado’s overall width of 74.3 inches is five inches narrower than Silverado and two inches wider than the Equinox, providing easier maneuverability around town with a surprisingly spacious interior, according to the automaker.

Based on GM’s latest testing, Colorado is expected to have up to 6,700 pounds of available towing capability.

In creating Colorado, GM said its engineers chose materials that would make the most of the strength, safety and refinement of the truck, while balancing dependability and cost of repairs and total ownership.

Like Silverado, Colorado extensively uses lightweight, high-strength steels. Fully boxed frames formed primarily from high-strength steel reduce weight and increase stiffness for a quieter ride and better handling. Key areas of the body structure also benefit from high-strength steels, reducing mass and enhancing strength and safety. Overall, about 71 percent of the body structure is comprised of high-strength steels. The pickup box consists of roll-formed steel, which is lighter and stronger than traditional stamped steel.
Major aluminum components include the hood, front steering knuckles, and cylinder heads and engine blocks for both the 2.5L four cylinder and 3.6L V-6.

Reflecting the attention to weight savings found throughout the Colorado, the aluminum heads for the V-6 feature integral exhaust manifolds, which save about 13 pounds over traditional cast-iron manifolds, according to the automaker.

The front of Colorado features a composite grille opening reinforcement with active shutters that seals the front of the truck, reducing aerodynamic drag and improving cooling performance. Another weight-saving feature, electric power steering, also helps improve steering assist for easier maneuverability in tight situations.

Because of its mass-efficient design, Colorado engineers skipped the cost and complexity of turbocharging Colorado’s four-cylinder and V-6 engines.

In addition to the lightweight aluminum cylinder heads and blocks, both engines feature direct fuel injection and continuously variable valve timing for better performance and more-efficient operation. Based on current GM testing, the standard 2.5L four is estimated at 193 hp, while the available V-6 is estimated at 302 hp.

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