For once, we have an Ace of Base entrant whose trim level is actually Base. Not Sport. Not XL. Base. Tell it like it is, Chevy.

Not long ago I sampled the Colorado in ZR2 trim, finding it to be an agreeable alternative to some of the other factory-built off-road trucks on the market. Let's see how the base model treats its occupants.

The GMC Canyon went through our Ace of Base wringer nearly a year ago, proving that one can buy a small(ish) truck with rear-wheel drive and a stick shift in America. The base Colorado neatly performs the same trick, supplying an identical powertrain but with an added bonus: the Chevy is a full $885 less dear than the GMC. At this end of the price scale, that's not an insignificant amount of simoleons, especially when the two trucks are virtually identical.

Make no mistake: this is a two-passenger conveyance. The extended cab's rear seats have been binned in an Accountant-Approved(TM) penny pinching move, although economies of scale have dictated that the rear seatbelts remain, left to flap around like a forlorn windsock. It's just as well, though - my experience in an extended cab ZR2 while traversing the Colorado wilderness proved the rear seats are merely token gestures when the front chairs are adjusted to fit Large Persons such as myself. The upshot is that space up front is best measured in acres, encouraging one to splay their legs and consider buying cowboy boots.

A 2.5-liter direct injected four-cylinder is mated to a six-speed manual box. An even 200 horses present themselves at 6,300 rpm; a short 4.10 rear end gear set will ensure you shouldn't have much trouble reaching that level of revvage. Short gears mean quicker acceleration. Not much weight over the rear wheels mean burnout potential. Combined, these mean Very Fun Things.

Being part of the General's large supply chain benefits the base Colorado, endowing it with niceties such as a backup camera, locking tailgate, power driver's seat, and eight airbags. Recalling a time when base trucks were fitted with cardboard headliners (if they were lucky), the level of opulence found in the cheapest of GM trucks is remarkable. The mirrors might be manual folding but they are power adjustable, meaning one doesn't have to roll down the window and place a greasy thumbprint on the glass. Not that you'll be rolling down any side glass - power units, with an auto up/down for the driver, are standard.

Your color choices are limited to the greyscale. Get the black one. That shade will hide some of the unlovely expanses of black plastic on the base Colorado. Critically, air conditioning is standard, as is a hose-it-out vinyl floor. It should be noted that this utilitarian and practical floor covering is an extra-charge option on high-zoot F-150s. I kid you not.

Only $20,995 (including destination) for a handsome truck that has a more than a few creature comforts, can smoke the baloneys, and handily tow 3,500lbs? Sounds like an Ace of Base to us.