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HELL, MICH..– Smaller, but not too small. Cheaper, but not cheap. More fuel efficient but not really gas-saving green machines. General Motors’ 2015 midsize pickups Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon hit a sweet spot, GM says.

They didn’t give us the ah-ha moment we expected, but that could be a case of too-high expectations. Our experience: MPG mid-20s highway, at best. Price, nicely equipped (that is, the one you want) $35,000 to $40,000-plus. Inside space, OK. Interior refinement, not so hot, except high-end models such as GMC Canyon SLT. Seats aren’t the most comfy, but the SLT’s are an exception. All the same under the upholstery, GM says, so should feel about the same. Not to us.

Hell is a tiny town on the banks of Hell Creek. Holding the North American Car and Truck of the Year drive at a motorcycle bar outside town provides two key things: big parking lot for all the contenders and an excuse for auto writers to get a dirty word into print.

GM hopes it’s the only Hell its new trucks encounter. Very loosely patterned after a GM truck sold overseas, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon are the automaker’s return to the market it left in 2012.

GM became convinced that it needed to jump back in because it believes many truck buyers prefer a smaller size, but haven’t had one available lately. Why buy smaller? GM says the reasons are lower price, better fuel economy, improved maneuverability and trimmer size, for those who live in urban confines.

To their credit, the Colorado and Canyon have full-size payload ratings, about 1,500 lbs. Towing is much …read more