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What Are the Differences Between the Chevrolet Colorado and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500?

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Front side view of 2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 driving off-road in cloud of dirt
The Colorado’s ZR2 trim is right at home in off-road situations
Photo: Chevrolet

The 2021 Silverado 1500 gets most of the attention in Chevrolet’s truck lineup, but the smaller 2021 Colorado is a solid option as well. If you’re thinking about a Chevy truck purchase or just looking to learn more about how these two models differ, this comparison will equip you with the information you need.

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Front side view of 2020 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trail Boss on dirt road
The Silverado 1500 is much heftier than the Colorado
Photo: General Motors


Classified as midsize, the Colorado is currently the smallest truck in Chevrolet’s lineup. Overall, it’s shorter, lower, and narrower than the full-size Silverado 1500. This makes it a little less capable for towing and hauling, but also more agile when it comes to adventuring off-road, driving in the city, or pulling into your garage or driveway.

The Colorado comes in short and long bed sizes, and both of these have a smaller cargo volume than the Silverado’s short, standard, and long sizes. The Colorado’s crew cab and extended cab models are also a little smaller on the inside, with the Silverado offering more second-row legroom and headroom in both.

Front side view of 2020 Chevrolet Colorado parked in city
The Colorado offers three different engine options
Photo: Chevrolet

Engine lineups

The Colorado’s engine lineup offers three mostly lower-powered options compared to the Silverado’s six. There’s a base 2.5-liter engine that puts out 200 horsepower, a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 308 horsepower, and a 2.8-liter Duramax turbodiesel that delivers 369 lb-ft of torque to go with 181 horsepower.

The Silverado 1500’s engine options range from a 285-horsepower 4.3-liter V6 and a 310-horsepower 2.7-liter turbo to a pair of 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V8s. For even more capability, you can opt for a 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 or a 3.0-liter Duramax turbodiesel that packs 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque.

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Side view of 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 towing a trailer
The Silverado 1500 can tow a max of 13,300 pounds
Photo: Chevrolet

Tow/haul capabilities

As the smaller truck, the Colorado comes with somewhat lower tow/haul ratings compared to the Silverado 1500. At its peak, the Colorado can tow up to 7,700 pounds with a turbodiesel under the hood. When equipped with the crew cab/short box configuration, 4WD, and the V6 engine, it can handle a payload of up to 1,550 pounds.

Meanwhile the Silverado is rated for up to 13,300 pounds of towing when you opt for the Max Trailering Package and 6.2-liter V8. Its payload capabilities top out at 2,280 pounds with a regular cab/long bed setup and the 2.7-liter turbo engine.

Front side view of 2021 Chevrolet Colorado on dirt path
The Colorado will get a major redesign in 2023
Photo: Chevrolet

Available features

The Colorado won’t receive a major redesign until the 2023 model year, while the Silverado 1500 just got a comprehensive makeover in 2019. Because of this, the Colorado can’t quite match the range of newer features provided by the Silverado. For example, the Silverado tops the Colorado with a larger package of available safety features, a 15-camera trailering system, and features like the Multi-Flex tailgate and wireless Android Auto/Apple CarPlay. The Silverado also offers a wider variety of trims and styling choices.

Diesel Chevrolet Silverado driving down road
The Silverado 1500 has a higher starting price than the Colorado
Photo: Chevrolet


The Colorado is, by far, a less-expensive purchase than the Silverado 1500. Its base WT trim starts at $26,395, while the Silverado’s base WT trim starts at $30,995. At the high end, the Colorado’s most expensive trim is the ZR2, beginning at $43,795. The Silverado’s priciest trim is the High Country, starting at $55,595.

Want to know more about these trucks? Catch up with what’s new for the Colorado and Silverado 1500 by checking out our coverage at The News Wheel.