REVIEW: 2015 Chevy Colorado Trail Boss 4×4 Packs a Lot in a Smaller Truck

Posted by

For years, Chevy has offered an off-road edition of their popular truck lines best known as the Z71 package. This package offers off-road specific styling and mechanical upgrades over the base model. Now, Chevy is going one step further and offering the Chevrolet Colorado Trail Boss. This “Z71-plus” truck combines great styling upgrades with Chevy’s legendary off-road equipment.  It isn’t just a styling Z71, it is a Trail Boss.

Chevy’s re-introduction of their mid-size twins, Colorado and Canyon, has challenged the conventional thinking of the smaller truck market. For years, this market has been dominated by the Toyota Tacoma and contains some of the oldest truck designs anywhere. Yet, a funny thing has been happening. This market has seen a resurgence lately lead by consumers who want an easier to drive truck which also fits in their garage. They also want something they can fit through tight, wood-lined trails and play around in the mud with. The 2015 Chevy Colorado Trail Boss fits this need in many different ways.


The Trail Boss starts with a Z71 Colorado and adds a slew of dealer-added options. For starters, the bed is upgraded with a spray on liner, cargo tie-down rings, off-road tire kit and a hard plastic cargo divider. The divider and liner are great add-ons and help keep items from slipping around as well as into each other. While the divider only splits the bed from sidewall to sidewall – not from tailgate to cab – I found it was pretty handy especially on a camping trip I took with the truck.

Next, wheel flares are added which really give the Trail Boss a much more aggressive look than the standard truck. These wheel flares not only add character, they are pretty handy for keeping dirt and gravel from flying up onto the hood.

Another great feature is the black bowtie emblem found on the front grille. The black bowtie look not only adds more character, it looks great compared with the consumer sprayed on Plasti-Dip. For example, instead of just being a black glob of paint over the emblem, the dealer installed version keeps many of the design lines.

Finally, there are off-road assist steps along the side of the truck. These steps are better than the metal bar variety since they are pretty rugged, yet if you do a lot of rock crawling, they are prone to get beat up quite quickly.

Note: New for 2016 are a Sport Bar with LED trail lighting, 17” Black painted wheels and black 3-inch round rocker steps. These steps help alleviate the rock crawling issue.


On the inside, most of the Colorado’s interior is carried over with just a few upgrades like 4-way power and heated driver/passenger seats, driver power lumbar, leather wrap steering wheel and the sport clothe/leatherette combination fabrics on the seats. For the Trail Boss edition, Chevy adds in all-weather front and rear floor mats.

These upgrades compliment a tidy cabin design which feels much more SUV-like than a pickup. With many of the buttons and knobs within easy reach, the various technology upgrades and the comfort, a truck is a lot less truck-ish these days.

IMG_6961_TSOne of my favorite features, which I would have told you before wasn’t a big deal, was the 4G LTE Wi-Fi. This feature was really nice when driving my family out for a camping trip. On the drive, my younger kids streamed movies on their Kindles giving us a much needed quiet break. While camping, it also provided handy in getting the kids to wind down with a movie after a long day in the water. Even though, we had to have the truck powered on and I would start it up from time to time to avoid killing the battery, it ran so quietly, I often forgot it was running.

IMG_6966_TSDriving Impressions

On the road, the 2015 Chevy Colorado Trail Boss takes a while to get used to. Why? If you have driven trucks for years, the feel of the Colorado will surprise you. It literally drives much more like an SUV than a truck. Everything from the steering wheel responsiveness, turning radius, throttle responsiveness and braking are much more SUV like than a truck.

The difference between the two comes down to an SUV being much more responsive to steering inputs than a truck. It is also a bit more sluggish with throttle input, more SUV like, than a typical truck would respond.

This isn’t to say, it doesn’t have the power and torque truck buyers want. Our model was equipped with the larger 3.6L V6 engine (a 2.5L four-cylinder is also available in base models) mated to a 6-speed automatic. This powertrain produces 305 HP @ 6800 RPM and 269 lb-ft of torque @ 4000 RPM. With a 3.42 rear axle, the Colorado can tow an impressive 7,000 lbs.

Fuel economy is also pretty impressive with a 2WD version of the Trail Boss returning an EPA-estimated 26 MPG highway. Our 4WD model was rated at 17, 24, 20 MPG city, highway, combined.




The all-new Chevy Colorado has been on the market for close to a year now and it has sold pretty steadily over that time. Consumers like the easier to drive truck with upgraded technology improvements that fits in their garage. Still, if money is your primary buying motivator, the full-size Silverado makes more sense to purchase. Yet, it is hard to beat the size and off-road fun to be had in the smaller model.  Throw in the great upgrades found in the Trail Boss and your weekends may never be the same.

Model: 2015 Chevy Colorado Z71 Trail Boss 4×4 Crewcab, Short Box

Engine: 3.6L V6

Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic

Fuel Economy: 17/24/20 city/highway/combined


  • Trail Boss Edition – $3,820 (bed liner, assist steps, pickup box cargo divider, black bowtie emblem, off-road tire kit, cargo tie-down rings, wheel flares, floort mats)
  • Premium Bose Audio System – $500
  • Chevrolet MyLink Audio System – $495
  • Trailering Equipment Package – $250

Price: $39,555 with $500 options discount and $85 Destination Charge


  • Exterior Styling
  • Driving Dynamics
  • Small Size


  • Cramped cabin feeling
  • Low hanging air dam
  • Side assist step


Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl

Hailing from Western Nebraska, Tim has covered the automotive industry for many years. He has written for a variety of outlets including Truck Trend,, and others. He is a married father of three and an avid golfer.