TechnologyTell

Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon say size matters

Sections: Chassis, Fuel Economy

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2015 GMC Canyon garage shot

This. This right here. (Photo courtesy General Motors)

In a world where the size of the truck too often — and stupidly, might I add — equates with the size of a man’s, well, manhood, it’s refreshing to see General Motors’ new midsize Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon twins making the case that size really does matter…just not in the way the Cowboy Cadillac-having crowd in hometowns across America would seem to think.

For a lot of us, especially those of us who own a business and/or a home, a truck is a necessary evil for 10% or less of our weekly chores. I haul garbage to the recycling center in mine every couple of weeks. Occasionally, I load my drumkit into the truck to go play a show or do some recording or practicing with a band. Downright rare are the times I’ve had to use the truck to haul stuff home from the home improvement store or tow a single-axle trailer with a lawn mower on it.

GM’s press release on the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon twins’ size compared to the full-size trucks available today was heartening for truck users like myself, who value trucks as useful tools and want the ability to choose the right-size tool for the job. Consider the following table from the release:

Model Length (in/cm) Width (in/cm)
2015 Canyon short box crew 4×4, 3.6L V-6 212.7 / 5403 74.3 / 1886
2014 Sierra 1500 short bed crew 4×4, 5.3L V-8 229.5 / 5829 80.0 / 2032
2014 Ram 1500 short bed crew 4×4, 5.7L V-8 229.0 79.4
2014 Ford F-150 short bed crew 4×4. 5.0L V-8 231.9 79.2*
2015 Toyota Tundra short bed crew 4×4, 5.7L V-8 228.9 79.9

*excluding mirrors
Source: Manufacturer press releases

Also consider the telling photos GM made sure to include in the press release. We’ve placed one at the top of this article that shows a new 2015 GMC Canyon parking easily within the confines of one half of a common two-car garage space while a full-size Ram 1500 appears too tall, too wide, and probably too long to fit inside. While camera angle may play a part in that perception, I can say with some authority that modern full-size trucks just don’t fit in the garage door spaces of yesteryear. My father’s two-wheel drive Ford F-150 won’t fit in the basement where a ’90s F-150 of the same configuration would fit just fine. The culprit is too much height and width, in his case — there’s plenty of length in the basement parking space, but no way to squeeze the truck through the opening to use it.

Those of us who don’t need to prove anything with our trucks, who aren’t obsessed with rollin’ coal on the hapless Prius next to us at the traffic light and who aren’t concerned with the “mine’s bigger than yours” philosophy that has run roughshod over pickup trucks in America in the last decade-and-a-half welcome the courage GM is showing by releasing the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon again after a brief hiatus and a major update.

GMC Canyon Chief Engineer Anita Burke said, “We engineered the 2015 GMC Canyon to be very capable and functional for mid-size pick up owners. We know customers have varied needs for a pickup in this segment, using their vehicle to commute to work during the week, transport children to school and other activities. But on the weekend, they have a very different set of needs that match their active lifestyles. The 2015 Canyon delivers on all these needs.”

If you’re thinking this all sounds a bit like the ranting of a disenfranchised Ford Ranger owner, well, you’re right. And that has nothing to do with car technology. But given all the technology we have, with engines more efficient and simultaneously more powerful than ever before and with chassis technology that engineers couldn’t even dream of 25 years ago when the bones of most of the last generation of compact and midsize trucks was being designed, surely we can have our cake and eat it too, at this point, right?  Midsize trucks can take all the fuel economy gains we’re seeing in full-size trucks and amplify them, while being more capable than the last generation of midsize trucks.

As the TV show used to say, “We can rebuild him, we have the technology…”

As someone who has always driven small pickup trucks and never saw a reason to own a full-size truck, I’m really looking forward to test-driving the new GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado.

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