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Niu's on Silom

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Land Rover
Test Drives
07 Sep 09 12:12
The new Chevrolet Colorado 2.5L 2WD by GM
Land Rover ... the classic name in cars for the extraordinary driver...

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My teenage daughter
not really impressed by pick-up trucks or standard mainstream family sedans. But she likes the small, compact funky looking Kawasaki KSR motorbike and the powerful chilli red MINI Cooper (S) avec stick shift, manual transmission and clutch-gas combination.

But upon seeing the new Chevy COLORADO C-CAB she says immediately, it looks cool, big front. Look there - it's wearing a golden bowtie, too. Wow!

The Frenchman, Burgundy born Louis Chevrolet (Chev-RO-leeh) 1878-1941 a daring racing driver and a master car mechanic was one of the co-founders of the legendary Chevy.

Chevrolet is a global a car & truck brand produced by General Motors. And the American GM brand is known for building tough and durable pickup trucks.

And those Chevrolet trucks that have even made it to the everlasting pop songs: "took my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry"

The vehicle in the song was probably a signal red flat bed Chevrolet pick-up truck driven by young Don McLean, the singer and songwriter. And later come the tag line: "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pies and Chevrolet� with a strong Americana connotation.

The CarSanook! demo unit was a shining Black Sapphire painted CHEVROLET Colorado 2.5L 2WD C-Cab MT Z71 or a 2.5 Liter two wheel drive (rear wheel drive) C-Cab manual transmission Z71. The C-Cab sometimes called space cab, double cab, king cab etc. A popular concept with two rows of seats and four doors. Voila! Here the pick-up truck has almost become a passenger vehicle.

The looks; The Chevy Colorado stands tall, with a high ground clearance a radiating solid, heavy duty, no-nonsense image. Tons of sheet metal, big protruding wheel arches. A large headlight cluster in front and big crimson red, modern sporty rear lights plus an additional roof break light sitting high in the center of the cab.

The drive: The 2.5 liter common rail Diesel turbo with inter-cooler comes loaded with 116 hp and 280 Nm torque at 1,800-2,200 rpm. When you fire up the engine with a little Diesel vibration, a shudder and there after a smooth comfortable running. And when the turbo charger kicks in at 1,500 rpm it's pure fun to shift to 3rd, to 4th gear and onwards to 5th gear. Left hand on the shifter. Right foot clutch and gas pedal. The power is intoxicating.

We are going NW leaving Bangkok on hitting the motorway, Fashion Island, Lamlukkaa, Rangsit, Ayudhuya. N1 the main highway the Nakonsawan and Chiangmai the trunk road to the north. Our cargo, the bicycles, crates and flowerbeds are safety secured on the bed.

My wife, daughter and mother-in-law are happy campers inside in the beige colored, spacious, ergonomic and comfy cab. Plenty of room. The texture and the fabric of the upholstery is top notch for a pick-up or rather a commercial vehicle turned in to a comfortable passenger vehicle.

Riding passenger in a pick-up used to be a bumpy and shaky ride. The suspension was rudimentary blade suspension and the Diesel engines were clattering, shaking and often emitting black smoke.

This has all changed with Chevy Colorado's new CRS (Comfort-Ride Suspension) an intelligent suspension system which is standard on all C-CAB models.

The gas shock absorbers are finely tuned to correspond with the flexibility of rear leaf springs.

And the Diesel engines are �no oil burners� any longer but high-tech fuel injection common rail power plants smoother and quieter than ever before.

The resulting ride therefore is not only firm but also as comfortable as that of a top-class saloon car with plenty horse power and torque on the tap.

Our Z71 Hi-Ride Colorado comes with an elevated stance, high ground clearance and a commanding view which gives you a clear advantage when overtaking.

The rear mirrors almost the size of notebook computers incorporate turn indicators for additional safety.

I get a good cockpit sense in the drivers seat. The height adjustable 4-spoke steering wheel with a thick rim provides good grip. The instrument cluster is clear and easy to read.

Here I am in control, driving a 1,800 kilogram truck At 150 km/h overtaking small Japanese sedans and big blue Scania Intercity buses.

It feels good to drive a pick-up. And for the in-car entertainment for driver and passengers in the center console sits a 6-CD and MP3/WMA player with radio AM/FM radio. Even a handy overhead sun glass for your RayBans and convenient map lights.

As we approach Nakonsawan bypass and bridge. Further and further from Bangkok and more �bann nork� Thai country side. And on the road there are more pick-ups, buses and trucks than four door Japanese saloons.

Bangkok-Nakonsawan. Four to six lanes. Smooth black, tarmac all the way. The petrol pumps are clean and plenty of convenience stores. The US Jet franchise pumps are are now operated by the Thai giant blue and white PTT (Petroleum Authority of Thailand)

Towards Klong Lan national park. Road 117 left turn by the police box. Past the market end of the asphalt road and far from the madding crowd � far from Bangkok Mahanakorn we stop by a lake in the Thai hinterland next to Karen refugee village.

It is time to enjoy the scenery and the sunset.

The Colorado cuts a fine picture with the intense verdant chlorophyll jungle as a backdrop � a god looking, a heavy duty, yet comfortable truck � a pick-up truck for all seasons.

Our test drive was a manual transmission Colorado but these days more and more of the pick-ups sold in Thailand with automatic transmission. However for me the stick-shift is more fun to drive.

In case you have never driven a pick-up truck. I can truly recommend a Chevy - Colorado test drive.

'Took my Chevy to the Levy...'
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