DETROIT -- Motor Trend named the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado pickup its Truck of the Year, edging out Ford's aluminum-bodied F-150.
The award from the influential magazine should give General Motors a marketing boost as it seeks to revive interest in the market for midsize pickups. It launched the Colorado and sibling GMC Canyon this fall.
"The editors were particularly impressed with Colorado’s handsome, clean-sheet design, 'right-sized' package, excellent handling, and overall capability," the magazine said.
“It’s a big day for us after a tough year,” Mark Reuss, head of global product development for GM, said in accepting the award.
The company’s ability to “create a true North American capable truck for this part of the planet and beat a serious new competitor is just spectacular,” he added.
Chevrolet plans to market a diesel version of the truck and Reuss predicted today the diesel variant and its fuel economy "will surprise people.”
For Reuss and GM, which have been dogged for most of the last 12 months with a recall crisis, it was rare opportunity to celebrate.
“There’s a lot of conceptions about what General Motors was over a long period of time … but we have to build a new view of this company and these brands," Reuss said. "We’re doing that with trucks like this, with strategies that people don’t think we can do and taking some risks -- well measured, but risks -- and succeeding."
Motor Trend editors tested seven truck nameplates and three variants of those competitors, for a total of 10 entries. They rated each on design, engineering excellence, efficiency, safety, value and "performance of intended function."
“Colorado is a smart, capable, and refreshingly honest truck that makes a strong value and efficiency statement," Motor Trend editor-in-chief Edward Loh said. "It’s perfectly sized and suited for the needs of many of today’s truck users.”
The magazine also praised the Colorado's "potent yet efficient powertrains," which include a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a 3.6-liter V-6.
The models tested included:
- Chevy Colorado WT and Colorado Z71
- Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD
- Ford F-150 2.7-liter EcoBoost and 3.5-liter EcoBoost
- Ford F-450
- Ford Transit 350 HR and Transit 150 MR
- GMC Canyon SLT
- GMC Sierra Denali 2500 HD
Editors put each truck through the paces in real-world road tests without payload or trailered loads, including a 0-60 mph and quarter-mile acceleration, 60-0 mph braking and maximum lateral grip tests. Testing with payload and trailers was done in the Arizona desert and at a proving grounds.