2023 Chevy Colorado enters 3rd generation, becomes full 4-cylinder car and driver | Hot Mobile Press

  • The 2023 Chevrolet Colorado grows with an all-new and wider exterior design and a much-improved interior.
  • Chevy added a Trail Boss trim level for the 2023 Colorado, but the mid-size pickup’s previously offered V-6 and Duramax diesel powertrains get the trunk, replaced by the Silverado 1500’s turbocharged 2.7-liter inline-four with a horsepower of 231 to 310 horsepower with 430 pound-feet of torque.
  • Chevy says its third-generation Colorado will begin production in the first half of 2023 at GM’s assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri, where the current Colorado and GMC Canyon are built.

    If it were possible to use an Easy-Bake oven to cook up the perfect mid-size pickup truck, we’d hope the recipe included the following fixings: the Jeep Gladiator’s fun factor, the Honda Ridgeline’s ride and bed pan, the distracting good looks of the Toyota Tacoma and the friendly entry-level price of the Ford Ranger. A pinch of garlic salt wouldn’t hurt either.

    The new 2023 Chevy Colorado aspires to be that. This all-new, third-generation pickup, which will go into production in the first half of next year, struggles to have the best ingredients, starting with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that packs as much horsepower as the V-6 in Nissan’s new Frontier.

    Missouri’s first megalodon

    Chevy has tweaked most of its configurability for the 2023 Colorado based on the previous generation truck’s popularity, offering this new unit exclusively as a four-door crew cab with the shorter 5-foot-two-inch box. From the base Work Truck (WT) to the dust-free ZR2 SUV, Chevy has chosen to offer what most people want, even if that means giving some people more than they need by expanding the options with short cabin and long bed drops.

    LR: 2023 Chevrolet Colorado LT, Colorado Trail Boss and Colorado ZR2 with the optional Desert Boss Off-Road package.


    Proportionally, the new Colorado is 2.3 inches wider than the previous pickup. The new Colorado also uses a 3.1 inch longer wheelbase across all fairings and a shorter front overhang to improve approach angles. The new ZR2’s 38.3-degree approach is more than an upgrade from the last truck’s 31.8-degree angle; It’s also better than the current Tacoma TRD Pro’s 35.0-degree approach. In this segment, the Gladiator wins that metric with a gnarly 43.6 degree approach angle.

    Colorado wheels now use the full-size Silverado 1500’s 6.0 x 5.5-inch bolt pattern, which opened up aluminum wheel options as early as 1999. With bigger hubs come bigger brakes. The 2023 Colorado’s 4WD discs are now over an inch larger up front and almost an inch larger on the solid rear axle. It’s 200-300 pounds heavier in the 4WD configuration, but the biggest increase is for ZR2 models. The last crew-cab ZR2 we tested had the soon-lost 3.6-liter V-6 and weighed 4749 pounds, but the new ZR2 has grown in pant size to 5298 pounds, the largest increase we’ve seen based on the specifications provided.

    Goodbye glow plugs

    The old Colorado and GMC Canyon were once two of only three midsize pickups to offer a diesel powertrain, but no longer. The 2023 Colorado is powered solely by Chevy’s turbocharged 2.7-liter inline-four engine bolted to an updated eight-speed automatic transmission. Performance varies between trim levels.

    Base WT and LT trims come standard with 237 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque. The maximum towing capacity of this powertrain is 3500 pounds. The mid-range Z71 and new-for-2023 Trail Boss trim has 310 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque with 7700 pounds of maximum towing capacity. That is the highest in the segment. This powertrain is also available for the WT and LT stages. Finally, the big-daddy ZR2 has the same horsepower as the Z71 and Trail Boss, but with 430 pound-feet of torque at 3000 rpm. That’s a 121 horsepower and 61 pound-feet improvement over the outgoing diesel engine. Chevy says any trim can upgrade to the high-performance engine through their Limited Production Option (LPO) pre-order offer.

    Fuel savings for the 2.7-liter pickup have yet to be released by the EPA, but Chevy tells us it’s about the same as the 2.5-liter pickup’s 19 city and 25 highway EPA ratings of recent Generation. The turbocharged 2.7-litre engines feature start-stop technology and active cylinder management, which reduces combustion to just two cylinders when necessary to save fuel.

    Trail boss, hoss!

    Previously offered as a package on LT and Z71 models, Trail Boss is now its own trim level. It uses the same wide front end as the ZR2 model, but with a smaller 2.0-inch factory riser for 9.4 inches of ground clearance and 32-inch Goodyear Territory AT tires wrapped around 18-inch wheels are. The Z71 uses the same wheel and tire configuration, but with a more premium interior compared to the Trail Boss’s rugged cabin. When stepping up to the ZR2 model, things get even more serious.

    The Colorado ZR2 comes fully loaded with 10.7 inches of ground clearance, the biggest tires and the most LED lighting. Standard equipment includes Chevy Flow Tie front badging, a spray-on truck bed, 17-inch wheels with 33-inch mud tires, front and rear electronic differential locks, a 3.42” rear axle, and additional body armor underneath to prevent the inevitable.

    It also gets those pretty gold-and-blue Multimatic Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) dampers. This time, the rear shocks are mounted outside of the frame instead of inside, which Chevy says was necessary for the new truck’s size and architecture.

    The desert boss, which is specifically the boss of the deserts not hiking trails, gives the ZR2 even more off-road flair as an additional equipment package. It adds 17-inch beadlock-enabled wheels, a custom bash-bar front bumper, a roof-mounted light bar, an underbody camera, and decals that show everyone who the desert boss really is. It is still unclear what happens when two bosses meet in the wild. Maybe they’ll taste lunch.

    Standard on the ZR2 and available on other models is a new tailgate storage system that provides a lockable space 45 inches wide and 4.0 inches deep to store tools, beverages or your pet rock collection. That tailgate can also self-latch in the middle position, much like the Ford Maverick compact pickup, for loading items (up to 500 pounds) like sheets of wood or drywall flat into the bed.

    Much better interior

    The redesigned interior is another major improvement over the outgoing pickup. Each Colorado comes with a large 11.3-inch infotainment screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay wireless connectivity. This is the largest screen in the smaller truck segment – at least until the upcoming 2023 Ranger goes on sale later this year with an available 12.1-inch screen.

    Left to right: 2023 Colorado Z71 and 2022 Colorado interior.


    The shifter now favors the passenger side of the cabin, and the cup holders are located directly below and in front of the center console, rather than being hidden opposite the gear selector. A new instrument cluster and steering wheel complete the updated design. Dual-zone climate control with rear seat climate control is also available. Chevy will even sell you red or yellow seat belts for Z71 or ZR2 models if you need extra interior flair. A sunroof is also available.

    The new Colorado also gets an off-road performance display. Depending on the driving mode, the app provides information on vehicle tire pressure, pitch, roll, g-force, GPS and altitude. While the Colorado will not have a Sport mode, its Tow/Haul, Off-Road, Terrain and Baja options are tailored for situations where specific throttle control and shifting are required. Below the camera views – there are up to 10 of them – there is Colorado’s now standard Hitch Guidance software to help you align the hitch on the first try. An additional hitch view takes this camera a step further with a magnified view.

    Pricing should be announced later this year, and by then we expect to get behind the wheel of one. It will continue to be built by the folks at GM’s assembly plant in Wentzille, Missouri, with production scheduled to start sometime in the first half of 2023.

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