Even though full-size trucks are Detroit's bread and butter, the midsize segment is booming, too. That's why it's so important for the 2023 Chevy Colorado to land on its feet as it competes against the next-gen Ford Ranger as well as the Toyota Tacoma, which will also be new soon for the first time in forever. The Chevy should be able to hold its own, especially with its potent 2.7-liter turbo four-cylinder that replaces all the old engine options; sadly for some, that includes the Duramax diesel.
The 202The 2023 Colorado carries over the WT, LT, Z71, and ZR2 trims while adding a new Trail Boss model to fit between those last two. It's similar in a lot of ways to the Silverado Trail Boss, which packs more off-road kit than the Z71 including a two-inch factory lift and a front track that's three inches wider. It's not on the same level as the ZR2, though, mainly because the Multimatic DSSV dampers are still reserved for the top trim.
The overall design is more angular than the outgoing Colorado's with sharp creases on the hood, front fenders, doors, and bed. They're everywhere, really. The scowling front fascia looks more aggressive as well, presenting the truck as more hardcore about off-roading, working, and what have you. How you see it here in crew cab, short bed form is the only way it'll come, too, as Chevy says it has no plans for a long box or an extended cab.
Now, that 2.7-liter is available in three different states of tune. The entry-level WT and LT models come standard with a version that produces 237 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque, though those numbers go up significantly in higher trimmed trucks. What Chevy is calling the Plus engine powers the Z71 and Trail Boss trims, packing 310 hp and 390 lb-ft. Finally, the ZR2 gets a high-output tune that makes the same horsepower number but bumps torque to 430 lb-ft.
Chevy decided to stick with its eight-speed automatic transmission, though it's been tuned to provide smoother and quicker shifting, especially when dropping a gear. The WT and LT are both rear-wheel drive to start with, though four-wheel drive is optional. From the Z71 up, 4x4 is standard.
In its most off-road-capable ZR2 trim, the Colorado has an approach angle of 38.3 degrees, a breakover angle of 24.6 degrees, and a departure angle of 25.1 degrees. This generation's front axle has been moved forward, which helps with approach angle and gives the truck a 131.4-inch wheelbase. In all, that's about three inches longer than the old truck in the same cab and bed configuration. A new ZR2 Desert Boss package further improves its four-wheeling aptitude with beadlock-capable wheels, a front safari bar for grille and radiator protection, and a bed rack with a rather high-mounted light bar fixed to the top.
Without the 2.7-liter Plus power plant, the Colorado's max towing figure sits at 3,500 pounds. It quickly jumps up to 7,700 with it, however, and that's also the rating for the ZR2. This remains unchanged from the last Colorado, but since it's already best-in-class for the midsize pickup segment, it's not like Chevy necessarily needed to go for more.
Inside the truck, it's nicer than ever as General Motors continues to up its interior game. This had long been a pain point for GM pickups, no matter what size they were, but it's finally improving in a tangible way. The WT and LT trucks are still fairly basic, which is all right, while the flagship Colorado ZR2 mirrors its Silverado stablemate with yellow accents and trim-specific badging.
An 11.3-inch screen displays up to 10 camera views, including a segment-first underbody angle. Off-road info is also shown here as it serves as command central, helping you view pitch, roll, tire pressure, g-force, transfer case status, and more. The gauge cluster is also completely digital on more premium models, and I've gotta say, it looks pretty sharp.
Even with these big-time upgrades in convenience and usability, the new Colorado doesn't come with GM's Super Cruise hands-free driving assist. It just became an option on the Silverado last year, and it'll apparently be reserved for the manufacturer's half-ton truck and full-size SUVs.
The 2023 Colorado will enter production during the first half of next year at GM's Wentzville assembly plant in Missouri. Pricing hasn't been announced and neither has fuel economy, though Chevy says the 2.7-liter turbo delivers better gas mileage than the old truck's naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder. It ought to drive way better with all that extra power, but we'll save our impressions until we actually get behind the wheel.
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