If you're reading this, you probably should know that I am not your typical pickup truck buyer. I'm Middle-Aged Suburban Guy. I have a spouse, a house, a part-time dog (don't ask), and a terraced, clay-soil back-40 that swallows mulch and Amend as fast as a bulldozer could dump it. Don't take care of the yard, and the shrubs and fruit trees whither. And I like my lemons, limes, and persimmons more than the raccoons who try to poach them.
Usually, I can get by with what fits in the cargo area of a SUV (actually minivans haul more stuff, but the idea of loading up a Chrysler Pacifica with two-by-fours ain't exactly masculine). But there is the occasional twice-yearly run when I need a proper pickup truck — say, when I need to get a quarter-ton of manure and I want the aroma of moo-poo to stay outside the vehicle.
Given that midsized trucks are the size and heft of what a full-size pickup truck used to be a decade or so ago, I'm fine with a Chevy Colorado LT, in 2WD Crew Cab, Short Box trim with a segment-topping 308-hp 3.6-liter V-6.
Why a Colorado? Well, there's a reason it won Truck of the Year in 2015 and 2016, as well as a more recent get-dirty segment comparison test. Actually, there are many reasons.
The Colorado is rugged (even before you get into ZR2 or Bison form), it's capable, and the ride is smooth, the steering predictable. The bed can swallow 1,500 pounds of rebar and cinder blocks for the new retaining wall. Thanks to its integrated bumper steps, loading and unloading the bed is a snap. With the tow package and a V-6, it can haul 7,000 pounds - more than enough to comfortably get the Capri 21 out to Lake Havasu for July 4 weekend.
Inside, the Colorado feels roomy, unlike the Toyota Tacoma that makes you feel like the Yogi Coudoux. And yet everything is in easy reach. The layout of controls, binnacles, and cupholders makes sense. The knobs and buttons are large — great for when you don't want to ditch your work gloves, or when you want to keep your mittens on during winter's chill. The seats - either in cloth or leather - are firm but forgiving. The intuitive infotainment system is one of the industry's best, and there are USB drives galore. And the a/c blows cold, right away, which is great after an August run to Home Depot for a couple dozen bags of black bark.
And the Colorado looks like a badass truck. Look, I may be a city slicker, but when I put on my ballcap and jeans, I want my truck to look the part too. The Colorado splits the difference between being a proper work truck and a lifestyle truck - it does both flawlessly.