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New vs Used: Chevrolet Colorado

Steven Mitchell

It’s been a decade since the Chevy Colorado introduced itself to the world. Can a used model beat out a new 2021 Chevy Colorado?

Should You Buy a New or Used Chevy Colorado?

media.chevrolet.com | chevrolet.com
media.chevrolet.com | chevrolet.com

Every day a car buyer somewhere asks the question when considering a car purchase: “Should I buy a new one or a used one?” A new car generally loses 50% of its value in the first three years, meaning you could save thousands of dollars on the used version. But would you have what you truly want?

It’s been over a decade since the Chevy Colorado introduced itself to the world as Chevrolet’s mid-sized truck offering. The Colorado’s size is more comfortable to maneuver than Chevy’s full-size trucks, and it has always had a well-proportioned and handsome look. Given the small changes over the years, the best value might be with a used 2018 Chevy Colorado. Even with added safety features for 2021, the models aren’t that far apart in technology and, other than front grille changes, are virtually the same. Today we’re making some comparisons to help you get the best deal. Can the new 2021 Chevrolet Colorado beat out its used 2018 twin for your hard-earned dollars? Let’s find out.

Comparing 2018 and 2021 Chevy Colorado Specs

2021 Chevrolet Colorado V6 - carsforsale.com
2021 Chevrolet Colorado V6 - carsforsale.com

Before we throw our money down and load up the bed, let’s discuss each models’ price and features. A brand-new base 2021 Chevrolet Colorado will set you back $26,395, with the top-of-the-line ZR2 trim starting out at $42,795. Your engine choices are the base four-cylinder, a category exclusive diesel, and the powerful 308 horsepower V6. Every trim except for the base truck trim gets the standard 8-speed automatic transmission. The four-cylinder has the option of a 6-speed manual and all-wheel-drive is only available in the diesel and V6 options.

2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 - media.chevrolet.com

2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 – media.chevrolet.com |  Shop Chevrolet Colorado on Carsforsale.com

We checked out carsforsale.com and found that a used 2018 Chevy Colorado’s will set you back somewhere between $14,000 on the low end and around $40,000 on the high end for a low mileage ZR2. Because of the large difference in price and features, we’ll focus on the trim level that sets Chevy apart in the mid-sized truck category and gives you your best deal, the ZR2.

The 2021 model and the 2018 model are very similar in features. Both models use the same 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque 3.8L V6 engine and all-wheel-drive system. Other than some exterior design and driver-assist features, both trucks are relatively the same. Both have the expected gas mileage for this category, getting a combined 17 mpg.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 - media.chevrolet.com
2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 - media.chevrolet.com

The 2018 Colorado picked up a 4 out of 5 stars from the NHTSA, while the 2021 Colorado picked up the same four-star rating with the IIHS saying it was good. So, both trucks are the same in safety ratings. The 2021 ZR2 basically only beats out the used Chevy Colorado model because of the updated driver assistance tech.

Driving Experience

2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 - media.chevrolet.com
2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 - media.chevrolet.com

The ZR2’s amp up the aggressiveness in looks and makes you think they should have a punishing ride. The reality is that they ride on one of the most comfortable off-road suspensions in the mid-sized category. Both the new and used Chevy Colorado have the same Multimatic DSSV suspension. You won’t find a comparable suspension outside of the Grand Cherokee’s air suspension.

The V6 does an excellent job moving both Chevrolet Colorado ZR2’s to a respectable 0-60 in around 7 seconds. The downside is that you hear the raucous sound through the cabin when heavy on the pedal. Otherwise, the cabin is relatively silent while on the road. When required to tow, both will pull 7000 pounds when equipped with the Trailering Equipment package. Like other manufacturers, Chevy includes sensors that detect trailer sway and auto brake everything accordingly.

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2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 - chevrolet.com
2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 - chevrolet.com

Even with the platform’s age, these are still dynamically respectable trucks in any situation. Are there better pickups? Yes, but there are worse choices too. Between the new and used Chevy Colorado, other than age and miles, there’s no difference in how they drive or perform really.

Interior and Comfort

We want to tell you that interior comfort and design is one area that the two part ways, but what was hard plastics and unappealing design in the used Chevy Colorado is the same in new Chevy Colorado. There are still many good things inside, though. The front seats are reminiscent of a full-size truck, even though the back seat isn’t as spacious.

There’s also not a tremendous amount of interior cab storage in the either of Chevy Colorado models, but you do get the under-seat storage area plus a fairly deep center console for various tools or a smaller iPad. If your crew is more than three people plus you, you’ll want to look at a full-sized truck.

Neither year will wow you with soft-touch anything, but there’s leather in the new 2021 model and cloth in the used Chevy Colorado. Both model’s seats are comfortable and you’ll still have some softness in the older model’s gently worn seats. In the end, we give the interior comfort to the 2021, but just barely.

Trims and Features

2021 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 - chevrolet.com
2021 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 - chevrolet.com

The 2018 and 2021 Colorado came in 4 trim levels. All have the same engine options and the 2-wheel drive WT and LT trim come with a standard 4-cylinder engine. The LT, Z71 and ZR2 have available V6 and diesel engine options.

Both years have a responsive Apple CarPlay or Android Auto interface, but the 2021 has updated software. You don’t have standard Bluetooth on the used model, but most will have that option included and both models have the standard 7-inch infotainment screen. The 8-inch screen is optional on some trims and there’s standard LTE WIFI for both new and used models.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 - carsforsale.com
2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 - carsforsale.com

More critical are the comparisons of safety assists. There are no driver assistance technologies on any 2018 Colorado besides a backup camera, roll-over mitigation, and StabiliTrak control. The 2021 Colorado offers forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, and backup assists as options. 2021 Chevy Colorado secures the win when it comes to safety tech.

In This Case, It’s Better to Go New

2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 - chevrolet.com

2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 – chevrolet.com |  Shop 2021 Chevrolet Colorado on Carsforsale.com

We’ve found that relatively low mileage used Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 models have been going for sale at or below $40,000. Meanwhile, the new 2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is starting at $42,765. With a current $3,500 off of MSRP, you’d be ahead of the used model and have 0 miles on a new truck. If you were to score a dealer test drive model-driven less than 15,000 miles, you’d still have the “new” price, but get a discount for the mileage.

Even though they’re nearly identical, the 2021 Colorado has more safety assists, less mileage, plus a new car warranty and a potentially lower price. For those reasons, we’d pick the new 2021 Chevrolet Colorado over the used Chevrolet Colorado option in this instance.

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Steven Mitchell
Steven Mitchell

Steve's first car had pedals, and he's been filled with passion for four wheels ever since. He lives and breathes the car life as a technologist, futurist, and writer while keeping up with the whys, hows, and plans of the automotive industry. His automotive journey began with a fully restored Triumph TR3b that he sadly never appreciated until decades later. Ownerships of X-1/9's, BMW's, an SVT and a Dodge Ram Hemi have given way to the house of Audi Sport. You'll also find him as an endurance athlete on the bike in SoCal, but you'll know he's thinking about cars.

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