Come Hell or High Water — New Colorado Storm — No Fear!
by John K. Lindgren
“Blue Me Away” – it did! The new Chevy Storm 4×4 in fog, rain, gravel and mud roads from Bangkok to Mae Sot highland frontier town.
Design: Chevy Colorado High Country “STORM”. A facelift or some say minor changes. I say major impression! Our demo unit painted in metallic light blue color called “BLUE ME AWAY METALLIC”. The model name of this new flagship Chevy Colorado High Country is STORM with recognizable dual-port grille with the Chevy yellow bowtie, black hood decal, LED daytime running lights, a black sport bar on the cargo bed and cool 18-inch wheels matching the two-metric-ton and five-meter long body.
Interior: High Country is a premium four-door crew cab pickup. Fit and finish top-notch with comfy stitched brown leather upholstery, especially the electric pilot’s seat. The rear seats with armrest provide ample space in the roomy cabin. Colorado High Country Storm connectivity boasts Chevrolet MyLink 8-inch color touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android synchronization. Rear wide-angle HD parking camera with front and rear park assist sensors makes reversing easier.
Engine: 2.5-liter Duramax diesel boosted by a variable-geometry turbocharger pumping out 180 horsepower and 440 Nm of torque. Transmission: 6-speed automatic box providing smooth gear changes. Premium diesel fuel consumption reading the on-board computer average 8.3 and best 14.6 km/l.
Driving Experience: Bangkok-Mae Sot. Distance: 500 km on AH1 (Asian Highway 1) to Northern Mae Sot, Tak province bordering Myanmar. The old frontier town is fast developing. In the near future Mae Sot and the Friendship Bridge will be connected to the Greater Mekong Subregion’s East-West Economic Corridor stretching from Mawlamyine in Myanmar via Tak and Sukhothai provinces, Laos’ Savannakhet town to Vietnam’s Da Nang province.
The AH1 to the North is perhaps Thailand’s best highway. Now, with all the new service stations Esso, Shell, PTT offering clean toilets, convenience stores, food stalls and coffee shops: Shell’s Deli Cafe, PTT’s Amazon and McDonald’s Drive-Thru in Nakhon Sawan. The Colorado High Country is a highway cruiser, par excellence. Commanding view forward and huge wing mirrors for rear view. Hey, Speedy Gonzales, watch out! Speed limit is 120 km/h but the Storm can easily do 160-180 km/h.
Here the cruise control is needed. Click and set it at 115-120 km/h. Voila! But after a while “Tom Cruise” control is a bit boring. More fun to accelerate/overtake and enjoy the Storm turbocharger sound with fine throttle response. Chevy’s Storm is also loaded with sensors for safe highway cruising: forward collision warning, lane departure alert and tyre pressure monitoring system. The electric power steering has a good feel and feedback almost like a luxury SUV. Kamphaeng Phet and Tak highways provide long straights and fine smooth tarmac. No rain.
Four and a half hours drive and we approach Tak-Mae Sot intersection. Road 105. Only 20 minutes and road under construction. Detours! Yellow warning signs everywhere. No overtaking! Gravel and potholes and then the rain starts as we climb higher. Big 18-wheeler container trucks, left, right and center. Huge boulders in the middle of the road and more detours. Temperature dropping. The road is now muddy as the rain pours down. Visibility low. My wife says, “Let’s go back, please! Make a U-turn….!” Too many trucks behind. Impossible! Carry on. Negotiate the next steep serpentine. More blind bends and gut-wrenching twists. No turning back! But I trust our Chevy High Country Storm heavy duty pickup and engage the 4×4 traction mated to 180 horsepower and 440 Nm of torque. Fog light and headlights on! Wipers, too. On the road side a broken down old Toyota sedan with the hood up. No motorcycles, few passenger cars mostly commercial vehicles and local Tak-Mae Sot buses belching out black smoke of the exhaust. Hundreds of meters below verdant valleys and foggy mountain peaks above. No human habitation. Only the road and more hairpins. Higher elevation. This road is not for the faint-hearted (new driver) especially during the rainy season.
Finally, we arrive at the midway point Doi Muser Hill Tribe Market. The highest elevation. The rain has changed into thick fog with gusts of wind. The temperature drops to 23 degrees Celsius! This busy market is run by the Muser Hill tribe people selling their fresh fruits, veggies and coffee. Outside the road work carries on. Yellow excavators and bulldozers digging and moving earth. After cups of strong Arabica coffee we continue. More detours and then downhill. The sign: LOW GEAR! Here Storm’s Hill Descent Control is needed when the road down steepens. The HDC driving assistant automatically controls vehicle speed on steep downhill gradients.
As we finally approach Mae Sot municipality the fog disappears and the temperature rises to 28 degrees Celsius. The first traffic lights and a roundabout. I see passenger cars with Burmese black and white registration plates: Mandalay, Yangon and Naypyidaw heading for serious shopping at Mega Home, Big C and Robinson’s.
We have arrived! Safe and sound. A challenging and memorable drive which Chevrolet Colorado High Country Storm 4×4 has passed with flying colors.
Verdict: Of all the pickup trucks I’ve tested the Chevy Colorado Storm – powerful, robust yet refined. This is a pickup truck for all seasons and road conditions. A test drive is recommended. Especially, if you’ve never driven a modern pickup before. There are 94 GM/Chevrolet dealers nationwide. BTW. The cool paint job “Blew me Away…”
Chevrolet Colorado High Country Storm 2.5L 4×4
Engine: 2.5 liter turbo diesel
Power: 180 horsepower
Maximum torque: 440 Nm
Top speed: 180 km/h
Fuel consumption: 10 km/l (combined)
Price: 1.098 million baht