Chevrolet just unveiled a top-to-bottom redesign of its midsize pickup, colorado. With this third-generation model, Chevrolet had the opportunity to evaluate what worked for the Colorado, which was struggling to stand out in the midsize pickup segment — until the Colorado ZR2 came out of. The success of the ZR2 is clearly the force behind the new pickup, as the 2023 Colorado is all about off-roading.
For the 2023 model year, Chevy has reduced the Colorado lineup to five models, one body configuration and one single engine available in three outputs. The 2.8 liter turbodiesel is gone, just like the gasoline-powered 3.6-liter V6. All 2023 Chevy Colorado models will have the same engine, a 2.7-liter turbocharged inline-four borrowed from the Chevy Silverado, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine has a 30% stiffer crankshaft, stiffer cylinder block and fully forged bottom end.
Although every 2023 Colorado uses the same engine, horsepower differs quite widely based on trim level – WT (short for Work Truck), LT, Z71, trail bossand ZR2, in ascending order of price and fantasy. Some builds offer an upgrade engine option, but in the standard spec the outputs will break down as follows:
- Colorado WT and LT: 2.7-liter Turbo – 237 hp, 259 lb-ft.
- Colorado Z71 and trail boss: 2.7-liter Turbo Plus – 310 hp, 390 lb-ft.
- Colorado ZR2: 2.7 liter Turbo High Output – 310 hp, 430 lb-ft.
Note the huge power range, a difference of 73 hp and 171 lb-ft between the base version and the top version of the 2.7-liter engine. The Turbo High Output produces more torque than even the old Duramax 369 lb-ft diesel, while the mid-range and top-end engines match the output of the old V6. Towing capacity is 7,700 pounds with either upgrade engine, dropping to 3,500 pounds with the base 237hp engine.
The new Colorado will be available exclusively in a four-door, short-bed configuration, with the same 5-foot-2 bed length as before. The wheelbase is three inches longer, at 134.1 inches.
Different trim levels offer varying amounts of ground clearance and track width. The Colorado WT and LT have a ground clearance of 7.9 inches and a track width of 62.8. The Colorado Z71 gives you an extra inch of ground clearance. The Trail Boss adds a 2 inch suspension lift for 9.5 inches of ground clearance and adds about 3.4 inches of track width, at 66.2. The track width of the high-end Colorado ZR2 is a bit wider than Trail Boss, at 66.3 inches, but the ZR2 gets an even taller suspension of 3 inches (compared to the WT), giving it 10.7 inches of ground clearance.
Basically, what Chevy has done with the Colorado is create a hierarchy of off-road capability. The lowly Colorado WT 2WD is on the bottom, while the Colorado ZR2 4WD is on the top.
The ZR2 still has drawer dampers, as well as cast-iron control arms, front and rear power-locking differentials and a two-speed transfer case. The ZR2’s 17-inch wheels and 33-inch all-terrain tires seal the deal. But if that’s not enough, there’s a new special-edition Desert Boss pack, which includes bead-lock compatible wheels and other trail gear – even an underbody camera to see how bad the rocks are. big over there! The camera is available on Z71 and ZR2 trucks without the add-on package.
Camera feed is fed through a central 11.3-inch screen, but you don’t have to splurge on a Colorado ZR2 Desert Boss to get the right infotainment; the 11.3-inch screen comes standard, regardless of trim. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but the infotainment features Google Built-In, which brings native Google services to the system.
The new Colorado’s heavy tilt is hardly a surprise. The off-roader has gone and gained mass appeal after being a niche among truck and SUV fans. And that’s double for midsize trucks like the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, Nissan frontier and jeep gladiator. People pay a lot for off-road versions of these models.
Chevrolet has yet to reveal pricing information for the new Colorado. Production will begin in the first half of 2023 at GM’s Wentzville, Missouri plant, where the Chevy Colorado has historically been manufactured alongside the GMC-Canyon. Pricing will be revealed as we get closer to production. We’ll have to wait until then to see if the Colorado ZR2 will match the Long-awaited Ford Ranger Raptor in capacity and cost.