Chevy Colorado for long trips - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-03-2018, 10:33 PM   #1
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Name: Andy
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Chevy Colorado for long trips

Hi,

Anyone using a Chevy Colorado as a tow vehicle for cross country travel? I'm 6'1" and my partner is 5'2". We would like a tow vehicle that will handle a trailer which might end up being a 21' Escape as well as being able to carry 2 canoes/kayaks, bicycles and the other miscellany that we'll end up with on a longer trip and be comfortable for that trip. I'll also use it at home for chores that are better done with an open truck than a van or SUV.

My current truck is an extended cab powerstroke F350XL. It works well as a chore truck on the farm and has more than enough towing capacity but isn't too comfortable for long trips. Plus, it is big and more truck like than I want for vacation travel.

The Colorados I've been looking at are 4WD extended cab long bed models with the 3.6L engine and the tow package.
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Old 01-03-2018, 10:43 PM   #2
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I have a 2016 Colorado crew long box. I haven't done any cross country but whole day trips morning till night pulling a Boler1700. If it wasn't for my rear mirrors I wouldn't even know it's there.
A 21 foot escape with bikes and kayaks would be heavier than what i'm pulling though.
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Old 01-03-2018, 11:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyF View Post
Hi,

Anyone using a Chevy Colorado as a tow vehicle for cross country travel? I'm 6'1" and my partner is 5'2". We would like a tow vehicle that will handle a trailer which might end up being a 21' Escape as well as being able to carry 2 canoes/kayaks, bicycles and the other miscellany that we'll end up with on a longer trip and be comfortable for that trip. I'll also use it at home for chores that are better done with an open truck than a van or SUV.

My current truck is an extended cab powerstroke F350XL. It works well as a chore truck on the farm and has more than enough towing capacity but isn't too comfortable for long trips. Plus, it is big and more truck like than I want for vacation travel.

The Colorados I've been looking at are 4WD extended cab long bed models with the 3.6L engine and the tow package.
Run the numbers. Here's a chart showing the towing capacities for such a truck, and another showing the curb weight and payload capacity as well. Expect an Escape 21 depending on equipment to be at least 4000 lbs going down the road, probably more. Lets err on the side of caution and say 4500 lbs. The 21 has a GVWR of 5000 lbs. The truck weighs 4495 lbs, with a max payload of 1505 lbs. That's a very respectable payload capacity for a mid-sized truck.

Using these numbers you have roughly 500 lbs of capacity for contents in the trailer. The 1505 lbs payload capacity includes occupants, fuel, cargo, etc, but you do have some headroom. Let's say the truck weighs 5700 lbs underway with two occupants, fuel, cargo, and all the gear you mentioned, totaling about 1200 lbs. You're still under your payload limit. Add the 4500 lb trailer weight, and you get 10,200 lbs. The GCWR is 12,000, so you're well under that.

Of course all of this is a guess depending on your cargo, etc, but I see no reason why you can't tow a 21 very well with a properly equipped Colorado. I must say, I've never looked at the actual capacity numbers for a Colorado before, but they are impressive for it's size.

Note that none of this addresses any weight distribution hitch, which may or may not be required.

You will get quite a wide array of opinions when it comes to towing capacities, but a simple way to determine suitability is to run the numbers. They either work or they don't. That way it's not opinion, it's math.
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Old 01-04-2018, 12:46 AM   #4
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fyi, my escape 21, build date October 2014, has a GVWR of 4600 lbs, at least thats what I get when I multipliy the 2090 kg on the GVWR plate by 2.2 lbs/kg.

kinda surprised by that, as I'd seen the 5000 lb number other places.
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Old 01-04-2018, 01:14 AM   #5
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fyi, my escape 21, build date October 2014, has a GVWR of 4600 lbs, at least thats what I get when I multipliy the 2090 kg on the GVWR plate by 2.2 lbs/kg.

kinda surprised by that, as I'd seen the 5000 lb number other places.
The newer models are slightly heavier, and the numbers did change slightly.
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Old 01-04-2018, 01:16 AM   #6
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Here's a snip:Click image for larger version

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Old 01-04-2018, 07:33 AM   #7
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Thanks for the comments.

For those who have actually driven the Colorado, how comfortable is it for longer trips? The cab is obviously tighter than my F350, but the ride is also better. I'm really curious how it feels if you drive 500-700 miles in a day in it.
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:47 AM   #8
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That will be an extremely personal thing, with age, what kind of shape you're in, genetics (things like arthritis and all kinds of other aches and pains that are unique to each person) etc.

If you had a brother who was the same height and size as you and in the same physical fitness shape, that would give a decent, but still limited, idea.

A Chevy Colorado is a modern vehicle with modern conveniences and comforts. I've driven farther than 500 miles in a day in a 78 Toyota pickup and was fine. People do more miles than that in tiny little cars.

I don't think anything is comfortable to sit on/in for more than an hour or so. But I guess my point is that a Colorado is as good as anything. Many people never drive a day in a vehicle as large as an F350.
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:37 AM   #9
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Seating comfort has too many objective and subjective components and each person has there own idea of comfort.
A one hour ride may be great but the same seat after 8 hours may be hell. My wife loves driving her Pontiac G6 , I hate riding in her G6
My BIL bought a new Highlander, he loves the ride , I thought it was highly uncomfortable ( Seats felt cheap and under padded )
One thing I would suggest is getting the upgraded power seats with lumbar support , then you can set your seat to a position that is comfortable for you.
To me the Colorado / Canyon is the best small / midsized truck on the road but if you plan on purchasing an Escape 21 in the future run the payload numbers very carefully.
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:37 AM   #10
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Watch for payload on that Colorado. It should be listed on the door jam. Every option you add comes out of the payload. Then if you had a bed liner, camper top, etc., all of that comes out of the payload too. Passengers, gear, tongue weight, hitch, all these come out of payload. 4WD tend to have lower payload too.

Everyone tends to focus on tow rating, but in my experience, you will run out of payload long before you run out of tow rating. My truck has a 9,800 pound tow rating. I run out of payload with a 5,500 pound trailer......

Myself, we are very comfortable with our F150 super cab on long trips. And we tend to drive pretty far in a day.
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:03 AM   #11
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I don't have a Colorado but I do have a Canyon. I am 5'7" hubby is 6'1". Our first trip was the length of California twice all in a day (about 700 miles). He had no complaints.

Why not go the Colorado diesel option? It's tow capacity is 7700 lbs.
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:30 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by thrifty bill View Post
Watch for payload on that Colorado. It should be listed on the door jam. Every option you add comes out of the payload. Then if you had a bed liner, camper top, etc., all of that comes out of the payload too. Passengers, gear, tongue weight, hitch, all these come out of payload. 4WD tend to have lower payload too.

Everyone tends to focus on tow rating, but in my experience, you will run out of payload long before you run out of tow rating. My truck has a 9,800 pound tow rating. I run out of payload with a 5,500 pound trailer.......
TRUER WORDS WERE NEVER WRITTEN. !!

My truck has a tow capacity of 10, 250 lbs , yet I ran out of payload capacity towing my 17 ft Casita
PLUS the payload numbers shown on the internet do not take into account all options purchased or added to the vehicle
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:40 AM   #13
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Colorado's are an expensive "Mid-Size" truck.

Depending upon the Colorado you are considering you can buy a full 1500 Half ton Chevy truck for same money or cheaper and have a more capable tow vehicle. Fuel mileage is not the much different. Vehicle comfort is a personal decision.

With a 1500 truck you would not have to ask your original question of tow vehicle capability.

Something to consider!
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Old 01-04-2018, 11:39 AM   #14
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Just my 2 cents worth, but if your Powerstroke is in good condition, I would stick with it. I used to pull a 25' Airstream with a Chevy Duramax and many times I was glad to have a little extra grunt. I pull a 17' Casita now with our Tahoe 5.3 and am wanting to upgrade to a 6.2 gasser or even another diesel. Even on flat highways, it is always looking to down shift on over passes, etc. Bugs me. Can't beat the extra get up and go as far as I am concerned.
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Old 01-04-2018, 07:53 PM   #15
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This got me thinking and made me re-check my Tacoma. My manual doesn't list "payload", but it lists "cargo weight rating". It shows I have a 1,100lb cargo weight rating, "with 3 occupants".

If payload and cargo weight rating are the same, I should be safe. I have a topper, which is likely around 200lbs. I rarely have anyone but me in the vehicle, so I'll be on the safe side and just say 2 people cancel out the weight of the topper and I still have 1,100lbs payload. I probably carry 100lbs in tools, plus a 40lb dog, around 100lbs of gas, just to be on the safe side say 100lbs of whatever other gear. I haven't measured my tongue weight but 17.5' Bigfoot trailers (mine is a 17') seem to weigh in no higher than 380lbs, and that's for newer, heavier models. I'm guessing I'm closer to 300 but let's just say 380.

So...1,100-100-40-100-100-380=380lb to spare. Would we say that's a safe margin? Considering an occasional additional occupant, and a canoe.

Am I missing possible other "options" that would weigh more on my truck? I can't think of any that would add more than a couple pounds.
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:59 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyF View Post
Hi,

Anyone using a Chevy Colorado as a tow vehicle for cross country travel? I'm 6'1" and my partner is 5'2". We would like a tow vehicle that will handle a trailer which might end up being a 21' Escape as well as being able to carry 2 canoes/kayaks, bicycles and the other miscellany that we'll end up with on a longer trip and be comfortable for that trip. I'll also use it at home for chores that are better done with an open truck than a van or SUV.

My current truck is an extended cab powerstroke F350XL. It works well as a chore truck on the farm and has more than enough towing capacity but isn't too comfortable for long trips. Plus, it is big and more truck like than I want for vacation travel.

The Colorados I've been looking at are 4WD extended cab long bed models with the 3.6L engine and the tow package.
Hi Andy:
We're about 300 miles north of you in Ontario. We'll be towing our 13' Boler with our 2017 Colorado - Crew Cab, short box (with Bak-Flip cover), 6 cylinder gas, off-road pkge, tow pkge, etc. Like your mate, mine is also 5'2", but, I'm just a mere 5'6". We've had 1/2's, 3/4's (gas & diesel), 2 Suburbs, an Avalanche, and most recently, a Terrain through the past 50 years of vacation camping and trailering (all Chevies) through 49 of your 'states' and 9 of our 'provinces'. Although our Boler is in 'renovation-mode' at present, it should be back on the road by spring. We are thoroughly impressed with our 'newest tug' - the Colorado, for comfort and size. We're truly amazed at the Colorado's mileage - with a distinct 24.7 mpg (CDN gallons !) average through this first year. Leave the 350 on the farm, and enjoy the Colorado. Best of luck and 'great camping' to you two.
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Old 01-05-2018, 04:49 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by ZachO View Post
This got me thinking and made me re-check my Tacoma. My manual doesn't list "payload", but it lists "cargo weight rating". It shows I have a 1,100lb cargo weight rating, "with 3 occupants".
.
look at the sticker on the door frame.

mine says payload 1205 lbs INCLUDING OCCUPANTS. thats a 2008 Tacoma 4x4 Access Cab TRD Off Road.

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Old 01-05-2018, 08:48 AM   #18
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Run the numbers. Here's a chart showing the towing capacities for such a truck, and another showing the curb weight and payload capacity as well. Expect an Escape 21 depending on equipment to be at least 4000 lbs going down the road, probably more. Lets err on the side of caution and say 4500 lbs. The 21 has a GVWR of 5000 lbs. The truck weighs 4495 lbs, with a max payload of 1505 lbs. That's a very respectable payload capacity for a mid-sized truck.

Using these numbers you have roughly 500 lbs of capacity for contents in the trailer. The 1505 lbs payload capacity includes occupants, fuel, cargo, etc, but you do have some headroom. Let's say the truck weighs 5700 lbs underway with two occupants, fuel, cargo, and all the gear you mentioned, totaling about 1200 lbs. You're still under your payload limit. Add the 4500 lb trailer weight, and you get 10,200 lbs. The GCWR is 12,000, so you're well under that.

Of course all of this is a guess depending on your cargo, etc, but I see no reason why you can't tow a 21 very well with a properly equipped Colorado. I must say, I've never looked at the actual capacity numbers for a Colorado before, but they are impressive for it's size.

Note that none of this addresses any weight distribution hitch, which may or may not be required.

You will get quite a wide array of opinions when it comes to towing capacities, but a simple way to determine suitability is to run the numbers. They either work or they don't. That way it's not opinion, it's math.
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Old 01-05-2018, 09:00 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by dmad1 View Post
Just my 2 cents worth, but if your Powerstroke is in good condition, I would stick with it. I used to pull a 25' Airstream with a Chevy Duramax and many times I was glad to have a little extra grunt. I pull a 17' Casita now with our Tahoe 5.3 and am wanting to upgrade to a 6.2 gasser or even another diesel. Even on flat highways, it is always looking to down shift on over passes, etc. Bugs me. Can't beat the extra get up and go as far as I am concerned.
Driven a few F350 s, unless I was hauling a 40 ft fifth wheel it would be the last vehicle I’d want to take cross country. They ride rough by anyone’s standards.
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Old 01-05-2018, 09:05 AM   #20
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Driven a few F350 s, unless I was hauling a 40 ft fifth wheel it would be the last vehicle I’d want to take cross country. They ride rough by anyone’s standards.
A brick with wheels. Try driving an F450 dually about 1000 miles. Did that once, never again.
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