2023 Chevrolet Colorado: Injecting Life into the Midsize Pickup Truck Segment, AGAIN!
The Chevrolet Colorado injected life back into what was a dormant segment when it was revived for the 2015 model year in North American markets. The midsize pickup segment is rather large and diverse in other parts of the world with offerings from VW and even Mercedes filling the space on the market. With that, it is of no surprise that when parent company General Motors identified an opportunity in its home market, it took a pickup from its Australian and Asian markets and sold it here.
As a product that had been around since 2011 in world markets by the time it arrived in the US, the Colorado (and corporate cousin GMC Canyon) we’re already aging by the time North American drivers got to sample it for themselves. However, it was a breath of fresh air when compared to the aging competition in the Nissan Frontier or the segment-leader Toyota Tacoma
which had been mostly unchanged since 2005. Other well-known rivals in the segment, Ford Ranger and Dodge Dakota, had been discontinued since the earlier part of the decade.
This new life and energy in the segment has caused Toyota to heavily revise the Tacoma for 2016, Nissan to update the Frontier for the 2022 model year, Ford to bring its foreign market Ranger to the US as a 2019 model, and Jeep to build the Gladiator as an answer to renewed interest in midsize pickups. Dodge/Ram has yet to bring a Dakota replacement into the market, with sales of the Jeep representing the answer from the parent company Stellantis. Ford has taken the market even further down the size ladder with the Maverick pickup which has been a sales hit for them since it’s introduction and which continues to remain popular in a segment with only one real competitor in the Hyundai Santa Cruz.
Given the age of the platform and the increased competition, Chevrolet has now shown us this 2023 model of the Colorado. Riding on a heavily modified and updated version of the old pickup’s frame, this 2023 version says goodbye to multiple cab/bed configurations in favor of a simplified approach of the crew cab being the only variant offered.
Trims range from the base work truck, or WT, trim to the Everyman LT, up to the near luxurious Z71. Off-road fans rejoice with an improved version of the ZR2 with its segment-exclusive DSSV spool-valve dampers that are essentially F1 tech in an off-road pickup. New for 2023 is a Trail Boss model that copies the playbook of the larger Silverado, adding a 2-inch lift versus a standard Z71 off road model. Trail Boss also gets a wider track giving it a more sure-fitted approach. Trail Boss has the best approach, departure, and break over angles as well as the most ground clearance of the model line (outside of the ZR2).
All models will receive some variant of the same 2.7 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that is also used in the larger Silverado. No more V6 option for this platform, though it is not really needed with the 2.7 offering up to 310 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque. Max tow ratings top out at 7,700, a competitive number for the segment.
We spent a majority of our time with this Z71 version as it is most likely the one we would buy were we in the market for a midsize pickup truck. It’s more upscale look and creature-comfort offerings appeal more to our needs as a family of 3, if we were to add this vehicle to our lifestyle. The Trail Boss trades many luxuries of the Z71 in favor of that off-road appeal and therefore comes in at a lower MSRP than the Z71.
Updated styling outside, 3.1 inches of increased wheelbase, and a much improved modern interior round out the big reasons to shop the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado. Available heated, ventilated, leather-wrapped front seats with a driver seat memory function make this Z71 a strong contender for many looking for a premium experience in a midsize pickup. The Colorado also offers a segment-leading 11.3-inch color touchscreen infotainment system paired with a standard 8-inch or optional 11-inch digital gauge cluster.
All seats were comfortable and supportive with the back seat having enough room for my 5’10” frame to fit nicely behind my normal driving position. The rear seat does fold up with the use of a lever revealing underwear storage while not giving rear passengers a thinly padded and uncomfortable seating surface. I was actually surprised at how cushioned the rear seat was for a pickup.
The tailgate wars have made their way down to the midsize segment. Colorado makes its tailgate stand apart from the rest with an industry-first in-tailgate storage solution. Hidden under a flap inside the tailgate, this storage cubbie is large enough for essential tools, jumper cables, or a tailgate cooler thanks to its drain plug.
Modern amenities abound in Colorado making it and the GMC Canyons market disrupters yet again. We are already seeing Toyota readying its first all-new Tacoma in almost 2 decades while Ford readies their next Ranger. Nissan just updated their Frontier and the Jeep Gladiator was all new just 3 short years ago.
2023 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Specs:
2.7-liter 4-cylinder Turbo Plus Engine
390 lb.-ft. of Torque
8-speed Automatic Transmission
Autotrac® 2-speed Transfer Case with Push Button Controls
Hill Descent Control
Automatic Locking Rear Differential
Drive Mode Selector
18-inch Android Dark Full-Gloss Aluminum Wheels (standard)
265/65R18 R18 32-inch All-Terrain Tires (standard)
20-inch Dark Android Aluminum Wheels
20-inch 255/55 R20 All-Terrain Tires
Red Tow Hooks
Power Adjustable Driver's Seat with 2-person Memory Function
Heated and Ventilated Front Seats
Leather Seating Surfaces
Dual-zone Climate Control
8-inch Driver Information Digital Cluster Display
11.3-inch Touchscreen Infotainment
Proximity Key with Push Button Start
EPA Fuel Economy TBD (city/hwy/cmb)
Starting Price: $41,395
Price as tested: $45,730 (est)
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