Review: 2015 Chevy Colorado pickup comes with a side of Wi-Fi
I've been driving a 2015 Chevrolet Colorado pickup for the last few days, which is very cool, but you're probably wondering, "Why?"
My colleague and auto writer Terry Box usually reviews the automobiles, but I'm reviewing the technology inside the Colorado.
The 2015 Colorado has the option of being equipped with 4G LTE Wi-Fi, so up to seven devices can access the Internet whenever the truck is running.
I took my wife out to lunch the day I got the truck, and one of the waiters at the restaurant spied the bright red pickup and asked if it was mine.
When I told him it was borrowed and that I was testing its Wi-Fi hotspot feature, his first reaction was, "Isn't that dangerous to use while you're driving?"
I assured him that I had no plan to surf the Internet while driving but that others in the car might like to go online.
Actually, General Motors offers Wi-Fi in more than 30 models, including the compact Spark, the electric Volt and the Corvette, as well as many SUVs and pickups.
On the window sticker for the Colorado there were two entries for the audio system, one for $500 for the Premium Bose system and one for $495 for the MyLink Audio System with 8-inch color touch and navigation system.
MSRP for the Colorado, including destination charge, is $36,535.
The Wi-Fi is accessed through the OnStar system, and it's powered by AT&T's 4G LTE network.
Once you're connected, the Wi-Fi is speedy enough (my speed tests around town showed an average of 12 Mbps download speed), and I didn't experience any drops when playing streaming videos.
So what does Wi-Fi service cost?
There are a variety of plans. The first three months are included free (up to 3 gigabytes of data).
Monthly plans start at $5 for 200 megabytes of data and top out at $50 for 5 gigabytes.
You can also opt for one-time purchase plans. You can pay $5 for one day with a 250 Mb limit or $150 for 10 gigabytes with up to 12 months to use it.
Those prices are for OnStar subscribers. If you don't subscribe to OnStar, some of the options cost a bit more.
Most of us already carry smartphones with Internet access, so why do we need the Internet built into our vehicles? Convenience.
I love the one-time purchase options, as my wife and I both have iPhones, but we use Cricket, so we can't use the iPhone's hotspot feature.
I'm not sure how often I'd need to use the truck's Wi-Fi, but I could see ponying up for a day or even the $150 for the 10 gigabytes, which would last quite a while if you were not streaming audio or video constantly.
The entertainment system in the Colorado is impressive.
The truck has four USB ports, which you can use to charge your device, as well as to connect your phone to the system to play your songs or access Pandora.
The system's 8-inch touch screen is clear and easy to use.
There are onscreen icons for your phone, radio (AM/FM/satellite), Pandora, navigation and weather.
The truck comes with six months of OnStar's Directions and Connections service and five years of OnStar's basic service, which lets owners connect their smartphone to their car to remotely start the engine, lock or unlock the doors and more.
I like a lot of gadgets, and I have a place in my car to mount my phone so I can use Pandora or Waze (for traffic and navigation) when I drive, even though I have a built-in navigation system in my car.
When I first sat in the Colorado, I wondered where I would mount my phone.
Then after 20 or 30 minutes of trying out the audio system, I realized the phone could stay in my pocket or computer bag.
There is traffic information in the navigation system, but I can still see a use for Waze, especially if I'm stuck in traffic and want to know why.
The Colorado and other GM models with the MyLink system offer plenty of cool buttons and features that will keep even gadget-heads like me satisfied.
The addition of Wi-Fi is welcome, even if it's only used on occasion.
Pros: Cool audio/navigation system. Great Bose sound. Speedy Wi-Fi. Variety of data plans.
Cons: Monthly data plans can get expensive.
Bottom line: Top-of-the-line technology and great sound.
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