Compact pickup trucks these days have a new sense of value, but established rivals here still have an advantage. The Toyota Tacoma, first updated in 2016 and this year introducing new standard features, actually holds the top spot in compact truck utility rankings. The Chevrolet Colorado, which starts at number three, is in a range that goes back to 2015, but has since undergone some minor updates to the powertrain and trim level. If you are looking for a new small pickup truck, either of these models is a fine choice, although each version has distinct advantages depending on your needs. Using scoring results from the U.S. to help determine the winner in this head-to-head match. Media reports comparing the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma in the most critical pickup truck buyers groups.
In the price category, the Chevrolet Colorado is the clear winner. The Colorado starts at only $20,200 and is one of the class's most competitive cars. On the other hand, the Toyota Tacoma is one of the most expensive small pickups on the market, carrying at least $25,200 in sticker prices. That said, the Tacoma base is much better equipped than the Colorado base, so the Tacoma doesn't have to be a bad choice. However, if you shop primarily on the basis of price, Chevy will be your winner.
The Toyota Tacoma has one of the class's highest ratings for reliability and comes out on top in this category Based on J.D. Power, the Tacoma has an unbelievably good quality rating of 4.5 out of a possible five points. The score of Chevrolet Colorado, three out of five points, reveals quality on average.
A 3-year/36,000-mile extended warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty cover all vehicles.
Both the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma earn the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) four-star overall rating. Nonetheless, in the NHTSA rollover check, the Tacoma scores higher than the Colorado, winning four stars to the three of the Colorado, which serves to give the advantage in this class to the Tacoma. All trucks earn good ratings on all five tests they have done in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) research.
When it comes to standard safety gear, the Toyota Tacoma also has an edge over the Chevrolet Colorado. All trucks have a camera for the rearview. Chevy also introduces the Teen Driver feature of the company, which helps the owner of the vehicle to set speed and sound restrictions for other vehicles. Nonetheless, Toyota upped the ante by adding to every Tacoma for 2018 the Toyota Safety Sense kit. This package includes features such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, warning of lane change, and pedestrian detection. Many of these apps were sold by Colorado, but they cost extra.
Both the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma offer two bed length options, meaning customers can get as much cargo space as they need. These trucks also offer a variety of features for freight handling.
Chevy provides 5-foot-2-inch and 6-foot-2-inch beds for the Colorado, or 5-feet 6-feet for the Tacoma's available bed sizes. All trucks are fitted with a locking tailgate and both models are equipped with features such as storage compartments, cargo dividers and cleats. The Colorado has a slight advantage over the Tacoma as its total bed lengths are only a few inches longer and because the floor of the Colorado is extra wide, offering more cargo space overall.
The Toyota Tacoma also wins a mark for its advanced engineering features in addition to the excellent cabin performance. The standard features of Tacoma include a 6.1-inch touch screen, USB port, Wifi, and Siri Eyes Free intuitive and easy-to-use infotainment system. The Tacoma also features a regular GoPro camera mount on the windshield for those who love capturing their adventures. Features include an upgraded infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, Toyota's own mobile connectivity and an app setup (not supporting Apple CarPlay or Android Auto), premium audio, automatic dual-zone climate control, navigation, satellite radio, HD radio, wireless charging of the smartphone, proximity key and push-button.
The standard features of the Chevrolet Colorado include a 4.2-inch screen, Ethernet, and a USB port. Features include a 7-and8-inch touch screen infotainment system, mobile connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, two USB ports, automatic climate control, navigation, premium audio, satellite radio, wireless phone charging, and a hot spot for Wi-Fi. While these standard and optional feature lists may seem similar, Toyota has an edge because its standard infotainment system is more comprehensive than the standard display from Chevy and is one of the class's most user-friendly systems.
Both the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma are available with options for four-cylinder and V6 engines. The Colorado really shines here, though, because its engines provide more energy than the Tacoma's, and the Colorado even throws into the mix a torquey turbo diesel alternative. Starting with the Colorado, which comes standard with a4-cylinder 2.5-liter, which produces 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet torque.
Choices for transmission are a six-speed manual or automatic six-speed. For everyday driving, it's great, but the improvements are more brawny. Find out the 3.6-liter V6, which produces 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet torque and is only available with an eight-speed automatic, or the 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbo diesel rated 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet torque. Turbodiesel is equipped with an optional six-speed.
The Tacoma base packs 159 horsepower from its 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine and 180 pound-feet torque. With 278 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque, the 3.5-liter V6 checks in. Both are immediately suited to a six-speed. In select models fitted with the V6, a six-speed manual transmission is available.
The Chevrolet Colorado features two of the compact truck category's most successful powertrains, making it the fuel economy's clear winner. Equipped with a four-cylinder engine, the base model gets 20 mpg scores in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. Check out the available four-cylinder turbo diesel version, which will return 22 mpg city and 30 highway if you need even better fuel economy. The V6 finally arrives at 18 city and 25 highway.
The fuel economy of the Toyota Tacoma is below average compared to other small vehicles. The Tacoma four-cylinder base engine earns 20 mpg EPA scores in the city and 23 mpg on the highway, and the optional V6 is equivalent to the Colorado V6 at 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.
The Chevrolet Colorado is a towing capability class leader and takes this point easily. A Colorado that is well equipped can tow up to 7,700 pounds. There is also an incredible peak weight of nearly 1,600 pounds in the Colorado. The Tacoma nearly beats the weight of the Colorado, weighing in at 1,620 pounds, but at 6,800 pounds the overall tow value of the Tacoma falls a little short.
The Toyota Tacoma is one of the most powerful off-road vehicles in the world. Toyota sells the Tacoma TRD off-road trim level, which features improved suspension, skid plates, crawl control, rear differential for automatic locking, and the Terrain Select drive mode selection system. The TRD Pro version provides the table with even more functionality and better ground clearance.
The Colorado offers, the Z71 and ZR2 trims. When driven off-road with a rear locking differential, transfer case protection, and off-road suspension, both are extremely capable. While both vehicles are more than capable, though, we are offering the Tacoma this class.
The Final Winner Is…
It's a close match, but the ranking of the Toyota Tacoma is telling the story as the top-ranking compact pickup truck. The Tacoma tops the list with excellent safety ratings and class-leading performance, and its impressive interior amenities help seal the deal. The Chevrolet Colorado is also a great choice, though, and you can't go wrong with the Chevy when you prefer reliability, performance, and towing power.