Trucks at Work

Taking a midsize spin

I got to put a couple of different versions of GM’s new 2015 GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado on the road this week in and around the extremely picturesque town of Del Mar, CA. And I think one of the main things fleets that decide to add those trucks to their operations will notice can be summed up in one word: Nothing.

The act of driving a 2015 GMC Canyon crew cab 4x4 long box model equipped with a 3.6 liter V6 gasoline engine mated to a 6-speed automatic as well as a 2015 Chevrolet Colorado extended cab two-wheel drive long box model equipped with a 2.5 liter gasoline-fired I-4 also mated to a 6-speed automatic almost became an afterthought as I focused on the narrow, winding stretches of road snaking through the Los Penasquitos Canyon region outside Del Mar. Ditto for city streets, tight residential roads, and concrete environs of the I-15 and I-5 highways all located north of San Diego.

[To view more photos, click here.]

I didn’t need to think about adjust foot pressure on the brakes of throttle, adapt to any vehicle steering idiosyncrasies, or hunt around for the hazard flasher switch on the dashboard when popping out of those trucks to take pictures.

In fact, I deliberately avoided leafing through the vehicle’s instruction manual ahead of my drives in order to divine just how “intuitive” the new Canyon and Colorado are to operate.

In three words: no big deal. Hopped in, adjusted the seat, mirrors, and steering wheel, clicked the seat belt, made sure the fuel gauge stood above half full, and off I went.

Stan Ludlow, program engineering manager for the Colorado (and who you can see in the background in the photo above), noted that “no big deal” and “nothing” feelings are part of a deliberate focus by GM to make its new midsize pickups feel no different to operate than the cars, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), and crossovers consumers now operate.

“They won’t be giving up the comfort, technological accessories, and operating characteristics of the vehicles they drive now in order to obtain the capability and utility a midsize pickup offers,” he told me.

The same goes for full-size pickup operators, who expect to get the same trim packaging in midsize have in their full-size models.

[Back at ride and drive HQ, Ludlow highlighted some key features for Fleet Owner of the new chassis underpinning GM’s new Canyon and Colorado midsize pickups in the video below.]

The folks that should notice a difference, he stressed, are those currently operating older midsize pickup models.

“They’ll step into our new Colorado and get a lot of things they haven’t had before, such as a standard back-up camera system, in-dash display, and the ability to turn their truck into a wifi hotspot,” Ludlow noted. “Now they’ll be connected to the Internet wherever they go – and their truck is what’s providing that connectivity.”

From a work truck perspective, though, he believes midsize pickups like the new Canyon and Colorado function best when they are in the background; delivering workers, tools and materials either carted in the bed or towed in a trailer to jobsites in all manner of locations without a second thought.

“If the customer performs whatever work they need the truck to do, if they arrive to the job site and back home safe every day, and all without the customer noticing a thing, then we’ve done our job,” Ludlow told me. “These trucks are tools that are supposed to do what you need, when you need it, in the most efficient and comfortable way possible.”

And it’s why a whole lot of nothing is now poised to go a very long way in the midsize pickup truck world – and a whole lot more efficiently than ever before as well.

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