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2023 Chevy Colorado Lead

2023 Chevrolet Colorado – First Look

Aggressive designs, larger tires, and more potent engines—Is Chevy the new mid-size benchmark?
At first glance, it’s hard not to be impressed with the new 2023 Chevy Colorado. First, let’s look at that styling. It looks tough to be sure. And we really like the prominent flares, large tires and underbody protection of the new ZR2. Does it look a bit like a Tacoma? Well, perhaps. But that’s okay with us because we’re more excited about what’s under the skin.

Chevy says the Colorado rides on an all-new chassis. Instead of offering multiple cab and wheelbase configurations, every Colorado will be a crew cab riding on a single (longer by 3.1-inches) 131.4-inch wheelbase chassis. That means the old crew cab, long pickup box is history as is the extended cab model. The new Colorado is offered in four trims, WT, LT, Z71, ZR2 and a new Trail Boss.

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The Trail Boss and ZR2 are the ones that 4X4 enthusiasts will covet. The Trail Boss features a two-inch lift and a wide-track chassis—three inches wider than WT and LT models. The Trail Boss and Z71 both ride on 265/65R18 (31.6-inch) tires.
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The top Colorado is once again the ZR2. It sits on a three inch taller lift and features an improved version of the Multimatic DSSV dampers as well as a wider track. All that makes room for big 285/70R17 (32.7-inch) mud-terrain tires.
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Speaking of wheels and tires, one very nice feature of the new Colorado is that Chevy decided to use the same bolt pattern as the full size Silverado. That it should be easy to swap wheels between full size and midsize trucks, depending upon offset. The aftermarket can now simplify the wheels offered for GM 4X4s too. Thanks to those large tires, ground clearance sits at an impressive 10.7-inches. And the ZR2 boasts an approach angle of 38.3 degrees, departure angle of 25.2 degrees and a breakover angle of 24.6 degrees—all markedly better numbers than the outgoing ZR2.
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A new Desert Boss version of the ZR2 comes with 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels, a new off-road front bumper and fascia, a bed-mounted sports bar, a roof-mounted light bar, underbody camera and special decals.
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The new Colorado has an expanded range of drive modes too. Depending upon the model, a Colorado 4X4 can come with as many as five: Normal, Tow/Haul, Off-Road, Terrain and Baja. And these are all accessed by a large knob in the center console. In other GM applications we’ve found that “Off-Road” and “Terrain” just aren’t as descriptive as they should be. Chevy doesn’t exactly clear that up here. They say Off-Road is designed for “Specific tractive and other dynamic performance features designed for general off-pavement driving”. We’re not exactly sure what that means. Chevy says Terrain mode is “designed for low-speed rock crawling, with specific throttle control, brake performance and other calibrations, with three settings.” That sounds like a rock crawl mode to us, but we’ll have to wait until we drive one to find out.
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Under the hood is further simplification. The old base four-cylinder is history. And so is the 3.6-liter V6 with 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque as well as the diesel four-cylinder with its 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Replacing all these motors is the new aluminum 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder from the Silverado. The good news is, the turbo four delivers more horsepower and torque than any of the old engines and comes in three different tunes.

The base 2.7-liter Turbo is standard in WT and LT models and develops 237 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. The 2.7-liter Turbo Plus makes 310 hp at 5,600 rpm and 390 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm and comes standard on Z71 and Trail Boss. It’s optional on WT and LT trucks. The top ZR2 comes standard with the Turbo High-Output with 310 hp at 5,600 rpm and 430 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. Every engine is hooked exclusively to an updated 8L90 8-speed automatic with new ratios including a slightly taller 4.56:1 First gear vs 4.61:1 in the old trucks.

Those horsepower and torque numbers are exciting. But consider that this new Colorado is no lightweight. Comparing old and new Z71 models, the 2023 truck is nearly 500 lbs. heavier. Still, payloads are about the same or slightly better on some new trucks. Colorados with the top two engines can tow 7,700 lbs, except the ZR2 which is capped at 6,000 lbs. And all Colorados receive larger disc brakes than the past models too.

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Inside, a great new interior features a huge 11.3-inch infotainment screen and a look that appears like a smaller version of what’s in the Silverado. That’s no bad thing. Chevy says the Colorado boasts the most camera views in class, including a new underbody view. And when you dig into the infotainment screen, there’s a new off-road performance display. The Colorado also carries forward some of the great trailering tech found on the Silverado, including Hitch Guidance. The only downside we can see to this new cab? There’s slightly less room depending upon where you sit. Rear seat passengers have the same headroom but about an inch less legroom. Is that a deal breaker for most? Probably not. But why wouldn’t Chevy at least maintain the same amount of rear seat legroom?
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In the bed, Chevy is offering a new in-tailgate storage system. The storage cubby is lockable, water—tight and is 4-inches deep with a drain. Colorado tailgates can be locked in a “mid” position too, which should help when hauling large items. Some models will come with a 110V power outlet too.
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Does the Colorado have what it takes to unseat Toyota as the leader in the segment? These specs are certainly impressive, but the Tacoma has some serious loyalty. One thing is for sure, this might be the Chevy’s best shot yet at out-selling Toyota. We can’t wait to get one in the dirt. The new Colorado goes on sale in early 2023.