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WHEELS OF THE WEEK

2005 CHEVROLET COLORADO: The Colorado once again comes with a choice of regular cab, extended cab or crew cab body styles, plus two pickup bed lengths, three suspensions and two inline engines.

Standard on most models is a Vortec 2800 2.8-liter, four-cylinder engine rated at 175 horsepower. A Vortec 3500 3.5-liter, five-cylinder engine with 220 horsepower is standard on the Crew Cab Z71 and ZQ8 models, and it's available on all other models.

Both of these new engines have dual overhead camshafts, variable valve timing, electronic throttle control and other features that contribute to operating efficiency and fuel economy.

The Colorado is about 3 inches wider than its S-10 predecessor. Other features: hydraulically assisted rack-and-pinion steering; large front disc brakes with twin-piston calipers, coil-over front suspension on 2WD models, torsion bar front suspension on 4WD models, and specifically tuned body mounts to reduce interior noise and vibration.

The Colorado can seat up to six. All cabs are about 4 inches longer than the S-10, improving leg room and storage space. Regular and extended cab models have a pickup bed of 6 feet 1 with tall sides. Crew cab models have 5-foot-1 bed lengths. Both beds offer two-tier cargo loading, plus tailgates that are both lockable and removable. The Colorado's tailgate opens to almost 90 degrees, and can be set at a 55-degree opening.

Manufacturer's suggested retail price (for extended cab version): about $21,000.

_ FRANK R. HOTCHKISS

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