While Ford is making big pickup waves with the aluminum bodied F-150 full-sizer, General Motors has been busy reviving the mid-size truck segment with an all-new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, and its companion, GMC Canyon.

GM put a lot of emphasis on aerodynamics with their new trucks, adding active grille shutters, a tailgate spoiler, and a low hanging front air dam which is removable for the really rough stuff.  

While the two trucks share virtually all mechanical parts, the Colorado and Canyon look quite a bit different:  The Chevrolet Colorado goes after a sportier style, looking little like big brother Silverado, while the GMC Canyon appears more upscale than Colorado and includes exclusive LED lighting.

Both are Extended and Crew Cabs only, with bed lengths of 5-feet 2-inches and 6-feet 2-inches with about 44 inches between the wheel wells. Convenience features borrowed from GM full-sizers include a useful CornerStep rear bumper, EZ lift-and-lower tailgate, and 2-tier bed with 4 permanent and 13 movable tie-down positions.

Interior materials are much nicer than rivals like Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. The dash is a good cross between car style and truck usefulness with deeply hooded gauges and big knobs and switches. Most trims include an 8-inch touch screen and all have a standard backup camera.

Standard power is a 2.5-liter I4 with 200-horsepwer and 191 lb-ft. of torque. A 3.6-liter V6 is optional, boasting 305-horsepower and 269 lb-ft. of torque, and a tow rating of up to 7,000 lbs. If you’re into diesels, next year a 2.8-liter Duramax arrives. Both 6-speed automatic and 6-speed manual transmissions are available. Nothing too exotic about the 4-wheel-drive system either; high and low ranges, electronic transfer case; with an optional automatic locking rear differential. 

Colorado and Canyon suspension consists of traditional coil on shock independent up front, and a leaf spring live axle in back.  The frame is fully boxed, with a design very similar to big brothers Silverado and Sierra. Turning radius is surprisingly tight, and the slow electric power steering has a very natural feel to it. 

Now GM knows these mid-size siblings will appeal more to the personal use crowd than workaholics, so they made them extra quiet. Ride quality, however is still firm enough to let you know it is a capable truck. Still, on both counts, they’re miles ahead of their aging rivals.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings range from 20-City, 27-Highway, and 22-Combined for an I4 2-wheel-drive, to 17-City, 24-Highway, and 20-Combined for 4-wheel-drive V6s. On this score the four-cylinder actually rates a little better than the most efficient aluminum Ford F-150. GM has also wisely priced their new mid-size trucks well below the full-size class.

For a comprehensive roadtest of the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3414 that begins airing on December 5, 2014. For a complete listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on the Velocity cable channel.

Like most good ideas, a smaller, more fuel efficient, easier to park pickup truck seems like a simple one, but GM is the only domestic builder that sees a business case for acting on it. In doing so, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon have revived a segment that was in desperate need of new blood.