MVP: Chevy Colorado, Most Valuable Pickup, to World Series MVP

Chevy Colorado
If I'm going to drive a truck, make mine cherry red. The 2015 Chevy Colorado

Chevy Colorado wins accolades from soccer moms and baseball champs

Let me say right up front that I was worried about driving a pickup truck. I had never been in one, no less driven one and I had to drive one under the scrutiny of a fellow (male) car writer AND the truck’s designer.

Gmc Canyon

Not to be outdone, the 2015 GMC Canyon also shines in red

But when I got behind the wheel of a Chevy Colorado, the same midsize pickup truck that Madison Bumgarner, the San Francisco Giants pitcher extraordinaire and World Series MVP, I was a calm as a closer facing a cleanup hitter. The truck was also the winner of the best midsize truck award at the 2014 TAWA Truck Rodeo.

Gmc Canyon

The running board helps you step up into a pickup truck

The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, and its cousin, the GMC Canyon, is as easy to drive as an SUV, with gargantuan side view and rear view mirrors, a rear view camera, Wi-Fi hotspot and touchscreen with navigation, Sirius XM radio and heated seats.

In short, it sports the luxuries and technology of a new car married to the towing and transporting capabilities of a pickup truck. The trucks require a running board to step up into the cab, but they are shorter and narrower than full-size trucks, making them easier to park, garage and drive.

I was invited to drive both the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon up to Mohonk Mountain Preserve, a family favorite where we have spent a few weekends enjoying the spectacular outdoors. The midsize pickups are designed for adventurous families (or groups of friends) who want to throw JetSkis, downhill skis or mountain bikes in the back, or bring their boat to the lake – AND ride in comfort. The extended cabs in these trucks easily fit five, and if you have a big dog, bring him along, too – there’s plenty of leg room.

Gmc Canyon

The 8 inch touchscreen is easy to see and use

Quiet and refined

A big surprise was how quiet the vehicles are. I expected the truck to rattle, but triple sealed doors, sound deadeners and acoustic tweaks produced a quiet, smooth ride. The trucks were designed to feel and maneuver like a crossover, and they are a pleasure to drive.

The latest technology? They’ve got that, too

Chevy Colorado

You can’t tell if this is a luxury car or a midsize pickup truck from the cab

GM pickups sport a rear view camera, an 8 inch touchscreen, Bluetooth phone pairing, Siri Eyes Free so you can have your text messages read aloud, and OnStar with 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. If you are married to on elf those guys who can never ask directions – of a human – you can rest assured that you won’t get lost, with both OnStar destination and touchscreen navigation. Because getting directions in your truck isn’t really ‘asking’ for directions.

On our drive to the country, the W-Fi hotspot came in handy; it offers better reception than a cellphone. We almost ran out of gas on a drive this summer to a remote area, and had no reception or way to search for gas stations.

Fuel economy

Chevy Colorado

A comfy back seat in the extended cab of a Chevy Colorado

But the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon are also much more fuel efficient than you would expect; both get 20 mpg on the city, 27 on the highway, where you would likely do most of your driving. If you are towing a lot of weight, the fuel economy goes down, of course.

Pricing: a truck for every budget

The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado starts at $20,120, a two door model (but rear seats) with manual transmission. There are also versions that I drove with a ‘crew cab,’ a four door model with two wheel or four wheel drive, and another with a crew cab and an ‘extended box,’ or longer open cargo bed. Starting prices on these are $25,850 to $32,385.

The GMC Canyon starts at $20,955, with only in the two door, extended box option; other models have crew cabs and short or extended boxes and can start as high as  $37,250.

Judy Antell, who is's Free in 50 States editor, lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and... More about Judy Antell