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Chevrolet Colorado with ZQ8
A Pony Pickup?

With its sport suspension, the Colorado is a truck even a tuner could love
AutoWeek
By LARRY EDSALL
(08:30 March 22, 2004)

If you believe the midsize Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck should be shopped against the Nissan Frontier, Dodge Dakota or Toyota Tacoma, Chevy officials would like you to think otherwise. Equip a rear-wheel-drive 2004 Colorado with the ZQ8 sport suspension, and Chevy believes the Pontiac Vibe GT, Ford Mustang V6 and Chrysler PT Cruiser GT are the proper competitive set.

Riiight: A pickup that handles like a pony car?

"I picked the Vibe as a target vehicle," says Joe Taverna, the engineer who sets up the suspension and handling characteristics of General Motors' midsize pickup trucks-the Colorado and its cousin, the GMC Canyon (which does not get the ZQ8 setup).

At GM's Desert Proving Grounds in Mesa, Arizona, laps click off every 50 seconds or so around the vehicle dynamics road course. Taverna promises the ZQ8-equipped Colorado is within two-tenths of a second of the Vibe GT's best, and beats the Mustang V6 and Cruiser GT. Of course, the people at Ford and DaimlerChrysler might like their own shot at setting the pace...

What makes up the ZQ8 setup? For around $1,500, depending on the specific model, it includes:
A quicker steering gear that reduces the effort to 2.92 turns, lock to lock, vs. 3.20 or 3.31 for other versions of the GMT355.
Revised shocks and springs, and a rear stabilizer bar. The setup lowers the truck and yet, according to Taverna, maintains ride comfort under normal conditions. The engineers aimed to enhance control when driving aggressively around cones or corners.

Colorado with ZQ8 suspension has Mustang and Vibe in its sights.

The ZQ8-remember, this is a suspension-only package, there are no power modifications-transforms the pickup's handling at the track and through tight curves on mountain roads, but without sacrificing ride comfort when cruising around town.

Except for its ride height, the Colorado might well act like a pony car on the track. We flogged it with a 3.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine that produces 220 hp and 225 lb-ft of torque, but also did laps with the base 2.8-liter four that makes 175 hp and 185 lb-ft. The Mustang V6 generates 193 hp and 225 lb-ft, so it about split the difference.

Chevy's five-cylinder engine is strong enough that its tires have trouble keeping power flowing through fast sweepers on the test track. There is room in the wheel wells for more rubber, and you can be sure aftermarket tuners will lower the truck further, bolt on fatter rubber and, if they so choose, lap quicker still.

By the way, those tuners likely won't be alone. Chevy is working on a business case for a Colorado SS, a factory-built hot rod that is lower and more stiffly sprung, has bigger brakes inside larger wheels, a set of rally-style seats and other interior goodies. That version would get some powertrain modifications that we can only imagine would boost output to 300 hp. Stay tuned.



See Full, uncut Article at AutoWeek
 

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I think I read something about the 4200 I6 not fitting into the Colorado/Canyon engine bay. Truly ridiculous! The I4 & I5 are nice engines, but the I6 would be perfect.
 

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I sure hope GM takes to the aftermarket with this. Honda already has such a huge aftermarket behind the Civics that they're eventually gonng go after trucks. GM has just gotta beat em to the punch.
 

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The I6 is too long to fit...for the 50284023740723047230480 time. :rolleyes:

A V8 would probably fit better.
 

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if you want a truck, buy a truck. if you want a car, buy a car. there is no comparison between the two. i would only buy a truck if i needed it. i don't need a truck that handles like a sports car. cheesy.
 

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Originally posted by SUPERBADD75@Mar 24 2004, 01:24 AM
if you want a truck, buy a truck. if you want a car, buy a car. there is no comparison between the two. i would only buy a truck if i needed it. i don't need a truck that handles like a sports car. cheesy.
I bet you if the L had that kind of handling, you would be all over it saying that GM cant make a truck that can handle like the L can :rolleyes: .

Dont get upset when a truck can outhandle your beloved mustang. Pop a Midol and get over it.
 

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I just need a truck to tow jetskis to the lake, carry my
mountain bikes or kayaks, and maybe a load of dirt.
No hills, mountains, off road trails, or whatever here.
Why would I want some jacked up 4x4 for doing this?
That is where a "street" truck excels. Handles decent
and is able to handle all the "truck" jobs that I require.

I want to really confuse people. I want a ZQ8 with 20s.
Then add on Smitty tubular bumpers with a front winch!
That will have people wondering... :)
 

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All I can say is that the Colorado Sport is much, much better than my 2003 S10 (equipped with the ZQ8 pkg.) Everytime I see a Colorado sport it reminds me of how dumb I was for not waiting......
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Originally posted by SUPERBADD75@Mar 23 2004, 08:24 PM
if you want a truck, buy a truck. if you want a car, buy a car. there is no comparison between the two. i would only buy a truck if i needed it. i don't need a truck that handles like a sports car. cheesy.
I'd rather buy a RWD "street truck" that handles well than a car/minivan/jacked up Accord station wagon that pretends to be a pickup (Upcoming Honda FWD pickup - that will no doubt get praised for how well it handles and rides "like a car").

;)
 

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The "sport truck" category is not appealing to me. But if I were to buy one, I'd buy the upcoming Toyota Tacoma X-Runner. 250HP is just a far better deal than 220HP...
 

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Hopefully the Colorado will be available with the turbo I5 by then.
 

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a turbo 5 is exactly what it needs. Turbo 5, 300 HP, in the tradition of the syclone. That would be about as hot as it comes. The will call it the SS though, not the Syclone. Not sure how I feel about that. I love the SS badge, and it gives them continutity with the same performance badge, but a Syclone would just rock!!!
 

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Originally posted by GM_Guy81@Mar 25 2004, 04:30 AM
a turbo 5 is exactly what it needs. Turbo 5, 300 HP, in the tradition of the syclone. That would be about as hot as it comes. The will call it the SS though, not the Syclone. Not sure how I feel about that. I love the SS badge, and it gives them continutity with the same performance badge, but a Syclone would just rock!!!
the Sy/Ty's were GMC anyway.
For an SS, Id like to see a strong A4 so you can build boost, larger dia. brakes, lower and stiffer suspension then found on the ZQ8's, SS front end much like the Silvarado, white face guauges, hard cover for the bed, larger 18 inch rims. Price of this truck would probably be high, around 26-28k.
Not to mention the 300hp in a 3400lb car would be very much like the LS1 fbodies in 1/4 times, and since the ZQ8 is very much like the Z28, a strong suspension could pull similar times around a track? Plus, you could probably build the boost up off the turbo to make over 400hp. This could be a very sweet, very powerful truck for GM. I hope GM makes a forged rotating assembly. Crank, rods, pistons... need to be forged.
 

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Colorado SS and Canyon Denali. 300-hp turbo I5 (underrated) and A4.
I agree with more aggressive suspension than the ZQ8 and larger rims.
Probably 18s or 19s. The 20's on the Silverado SS should still be bigger.
But -please- make it available in Ext Cab! Reg and Ext Cab... no Crew.
 
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