Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Specs and Reviews

The Chevrolet Colorado Z71 is a mid-sized truck that has most of the capabilities of a full-sized one. It comes with a turbodiesel option, something that you will not find in many full-size truck lineups. In this Chevy Colorado Z71 review, I’ll go list all the specs and features of this popular truck.

The Chevrolet Colorado Z71 is powered by a 2.5L 4-cylinder gasoline engine capable of 200 horsepower and 191 lb.-ft of torque. This engine pairs well with the 6-speed automatic transmission. It gives this truck an impressive mileage of 25 mpg on the highway. If you need more power and torque, then there are two other engine options available.

Read on to learn more about the Chevrolet Colorado Z71 so you can decide if it is the right truck for you.

About the Chevrolet Colorado Z71

chevy colorado z71

The Chevy Colorado came out in 2004 to replace Chevrolet’s S-10, a midsized truck that lasted for three generations. It had large shoes to fill, and it did so magnificently. The Colorado model line has been in production for more than 17 years. To date, it is not showing any signs of slowing down.

The 2021 model of the Chevrolet Colorado Z71 comes standard with a 2.5L 4-cylinder gasoline engine. It has options for a 3.6L V6 gasoline engine or a 2.8L Duramax 4-cylinder Turbodiesel engine for a couple of thousand dollars more.

The base variant can produce up to 200 horsepower and 191 lb.-ft of torque. This is comparable to many full-size trucks from other manufacturers.

Aside from the engine, you can also choose three trim options – the standard crew cab/short box, crew cab/long box, and the extended cab/long box. Whatever use you may have in mind for the truck, you can be sure that the Colorado Z71 can provide it.

The 2021 Colorado Z71 is one of the best mid-sized pickups that you can get today.

Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Engine

The Chevy Colorado Z71 base model has a 2.5L 4-cylinder gasoline engine that can produce up to 200hp and 191 lb.-ft of torque. This engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The base model engine is slightly above-average in terms of capabilities for city and highway driving. However, it lacks a bit when it comes to towing capacity due to its rather weak torque.

Engine Options

It is fortunate, though, that the Chevrolet Colorado Z71 comes with two more engine options. One is a 3.6L V6 gasoline engine that can put out 308hp and 275 lb.-ft of torque. It is also bundled with 8-speed automatic transmission. The significant increase in horsepower gives this variant a higher top speed and quicker off the starting block.

If you want a bit more towing capacity, then the 2.8L Duramax Turbodiesel engine might be more to your liking. Although this engine has less power than the standard engine, at just 181 horsepower, it has almost twice the amount of torque at 369 lb.-ft. This gives the diesel variant a towing capacity of up to 7,700+ pounds, which is the best in its class.

Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Gas Mileage

The model Chevrolet Colorado Z71 with 2.8L 4-cylinder gas engine and rear-wheel drive provides exceptional gas mileage at 19 mpg for city driving and 25 mpg on the highway. The V6 variant does just a bit poorer with 18 mpg for city and 25 mpg highway driving.

However, the best fuel economy overall goes to the 2.8L Duramax Turbodiesel engine. This Z71 variant can get up to 20mpg in the city and 30mpg on the highway. Those are numbers that most sedans could not even get close to.

Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Handling

Because this is a mid-sized pickup, expect that you will have an easier time driving the Chevrolet Colorado Z71 through city streets than their full-sized counterparts. The most surprising thing about the Z71 is that it handles so smoothly that it is like driving a sedan.

It is easy to maneuver, and parking is relatively easy, especially with the onboard assistance features.

If you are taking this off-road, the Z71 will not disappoint. This truck has all the options that can give you an exciting yet still safe off-roading experience. These include the hill descent controls, a heavy-duty suspension, and locking front and rear differentials.

Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Interior and Seating Capacity

chevy silverado z71

As great as the Chevrolet Colorado Z71 is, it lacks quite a bit when it comes to its interior. Let us discuss the seating first. The Z71 Extended Cab can seat up to four persons, while the Crew Cab can fit up to five.

The front seats are comfortable and provide a lot of head and legroom. The driver’s seat also provides the driver with a high seating position. It provides a good high perspective on the road.

However, the back seats are not quite as accommodating. The Extended Cab’s rear seats are only slightly bigger than jump seats, so adult passengers will not find it that comfortable, especially taller folks.

The reason is that this option does not have that much legroom. The Crew Cab option is a bit more spacious at the back, but it still pales compared to its market rivals.

Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Reliability

When it comes to reliability, the Chevy Colorado Z71 is a mixed bag of sorts. According to Consumer Reports, the 2021 Colorado earned a paltry 2 out 5 rating in predicted reliability. In comparison, the 2020 model got a perfect score.

However, the 2021 Colorado somehow got a better rating than its 2019 predecessor, which only got a dismal 1 out 5 reliability rating.

On the other hand, RepairPal gave the Chevy Colorado Z71 an “Above Average” reliability score. Moreover, RepairPal mentioned the average annual maintenance cost of the Colorado Z71, which is approximately $600. This is right in the average median. Also, the Colorado Z71 usually did not need any major repairs.

Does this mean that the Chevrolet Colorado Z71 is not a viable purchase? Not necessarily. The Chevy Colorado is at par with most of its rivals in the market for a light-duty truck. If you get the Duramax Turbodiesel option, it will outperform most of the competition.

Again, what does the Chevrolet Colorado Z71 offer? The Chevrolet Colorado Z71 has a 2.5L 4-cylinder gasoline engine giving this car 200 horsepower and 191 lb.-ft of torque. Together with a 6-speed, 6-speed automatic transmission, Chevy Colorado Z71 can reach an excellent 25 mpg mileage. If you need more, there are two engine options you can choose from.

Chevy Colorado Z71 Safety Ratings

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado garnered 4 out of 5 stars in overall safety. It garnered 4/5 in frontal crash tests, 5/5 in side-impact tests, and 3/5 in rollover tests.

The Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Extended Cab option got the highest marks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Chevrolet Colorado got a “good” rating after three crash tests. It also got the second-best rating of “acceptable” in the side crash tests.

On the other hand, the Crew Cab option also got a “good” rating in five crash tests. However, it only got a “marginal” from the passenger-side crash test.

The Chevy Colorado Z71 did fail the IIHS’s headlight test. It gained a “poor” rating due to its headlights not providing enough illumination in normal night driving conditions.

With that said, the Chevrolet Colorado Z71 has an average to above-average score when it comes to safety. This means you can trust this truck to keep you and your loved ones safe in case you figured in a traffic accident.

Which Chevy Colorado Z71 Model Should You Choose?

colorado z71

Aside from the three engine options and the choice between 2WD and 4WD, you can choose from either the Extended Cab and Crew Cab and short box and long box for the Crew Cab option.

Which variant is the best for you? It depends on your particular needs. Will you be using the truck for ferrying your family and not much for hauling cargo? Aside from the occasional pallets of gardening supplies, you might want to get the Crew Cab with the short box option. This variant gives the best handling while still providing a bit more utility.

If you are using the Colorado Z71 for work and for hauling a lot of heavy equipment, the Extended Cab with the long box will be the most ideal. However, keep in mind that a longer bed will make the truck a bit harder to maneuver. This is especially true when you are backing into a parking lot.

Chevy Colorado Z71 Creature Comforts

The Colorado Z71 comes standard with the Chevrolet Infotainment 2 system. It includes the following:

  • A 7-inch touchscreen,
  • Two USB ports,
  • Your choice of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto,
  • Satellite stereo radio, and
  • A six-speaker surround sound system.

These features are nothing new in most modern cars nowadays, so there is no surprise there.

However, the Chevy Colorado also comes with some neat safety features, like a rearview camera to assist you while backing up. However, the best, in my opinion, is the Teen Driver system. This allows parents to set volume limits for the radio, set a speed limiter, and the capabilities to monitor their teenage kids’ driving habits.

Aside from the flashing light in the gauge cluster, an audio message also reminds the driver and passengers to buckle beforehand. Other optional safety and driving features include cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and rear parking sensors on top of the rearview camera.

The Chevy Infotainment 3’s user interface is easy to understand and user-friendly. Even old-timers who are used to twisting knobs and pushing buttons will figure out how to use it with a bit of practice.

However, it would have been much better if the system had the same driver assistance features that rival pickups have. Overall, the Colorado Z71 is pretty much a basic truck as far as modern features go.

Other optional creature comforts not included in the standard trim of the Colorado Z71 include the following:

  • Remote start,
  • Capabilities for wireless charging of your smart devices,
  • An 8-inch touch screen,
  • A 7-speaker Bose audio system with HD radio, nav system,
  • Additional USB charging ports, and
  • The capability to turn the truck into a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Chevy Colorado Z71 Cargo Capabilities

The flatbed of the Colorado Z71 may not be wide enough to fit a sheet of plywood. However, keep in mind that this is a mid-sized pickup. This is a problem that other brands have. However, you have a choice between two flatbed lengths.

The Extended Cab model comes with a 6’2” flatbed, which is slightly larger than what comes with other mid-sized pickups.

The nice thing about the Colorado Z71 is you get to choose between the short box, which is 5’2” in length, or the long box when you get the Crew Cab model. However, you will be compromising maneuverability when you decide to go with the Crew Cab + long box option.

One nice touch about the Colorado Z71’s flatbed is that it comes with steps built into the rear bumpers and hand grips in the rails for easier access. You also have additional options like an EZ Lift & Lower tailgate.

Another issue that most owners have with the bed of the Chevy Colorado is that the walls are a bit too high. This makes it quite difficult to load items without having to open the tailgate. Inside the cab is a decent storage space, which you can extend by folding the rear seats.

Conclusion – Chevy Colorado Z71 Review

The Chevrolet Colorado Z71 is powered by a 2.5L 4-cylinder gasoline engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. This gives the Z71 slightly above-average gas mileage (19 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway).

There are two more engine options available if you need more power and towing capacity – a 3.6L V6 gas engine and a 2.8L Duramax Turbodiesel engine. The Chevrolet Colorado Z71 may not be the best mid-sized pickup truck in the market today.

However, it is certainly among the top ten, in my opinion. The Colorado Z71 certainly is one of the best in its class regarding handling and gas mileage. However, its interior and passenger seating space leaves a lot to be desired.

Related reading:

Chevy Truck Models – Silverado and Colorado [10 Types]

Chevy Reliability – Are Chevys Reliable? [Model Scores]

Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge – Which Truck Is Better?