Chevrolet Colorado 2023 First Look: Silverado Engine, Class Leading Power

Unfortunately, with its Silverado-derived frame, American market-specific powertrains, and cabin promise, the Colorado isn’t the beast put together. The outgoing pickup is one of the best midsize pickups out there—to be precise, it is is the best, despite his age. Seizing an existing truck from Thailand proved to be such a smart move that Ford essentially did the same when it brought back the once-compact Ranger from the dead as a larger midsize truck—and a Colorado competitor—for 2019. Given how the old Colorado was in some ways already It was several years old when it landed in the United States eight years ago, therefore, the novelty of the 2023 Colorado ground-up, therefore, is one of its biggest standout features.

New Like New

Just by looking at the new Colorado, the style clearly benefits from this redesign. Where the old Colorado was soft-eyed and fairly common, befitting a more budget-friendly global model, the new truck adopts a bold, bold new look that positively screams “America, truck ya!”

Chevy moves the front axle forward, extending the wheelbase by 3.1 inches in the process and shortening the front overhang. The net effect is a longer, more horizontal hood and a better approach angle for the nose, an off-road boon. The designers capitalized on this new plaid shape with a Silverado-like mug with sleek headlights and bold inserts that give the impression of a full-width, high-rise grille that evaporates from the bumper to the hood. (Also like on the Silverado, the mug is slightly different in almost every trim level.) Along the sides of the body, there are deeper channels cut into the door skin, which help to visually puff out the front and rear fenders.

Another big change? The previous generation Colorado entry-level cabin-extension body style was thrown in the trash. You can now only purchase the Colorado as a four-door crew cabin with a short bed (5ft, 2-inch bed). Chevy says the move simplifies things on the manufacturing side, but is especially in line with the configuration that most attracted buyers in Colorado last year.

One Small Machine That Can

Also simplifying the lineup is the Colorado 2023’s move to a single engine option. The 2.7-liter turbo I-4 engine replaces the old Colorado entry-level I-4 2.5-liter engine (which was limited to the base Work Truck model), the 3.6-liter V-6, and the I-4 turbodiesel option 2 ,8 liters. . This machine is not entirely new; it was introduced a few years ago on the larger Silverado 1500, and strategically it’s comparable to the Ford Ranger’s single 2.3-liter turbo I-4 engine.

Unlike the four-cylinder Ranger, the Colorado is available in three tone conditions, offering at least a few options. The entry-level Colorado Work Truck and LT models make 237 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. Optional on Colorados and standard on Z71 and Trail Boss models is the 310-hp, 390-lb-ft version. And limited to the top-of-the-range Colorado ZR2 (which we’ve covered in depth here), the main off-road iteration of the new truck, is the 310-hp, 430-lb-ft 2.7-liter I-4. Chevy says that, for the most part, the power difference is achieved through tuning the computer, though the lowest output versions have some minor hardware differences. Each Colorado pairs a 2.7-liter I-4 with an updated eight-speed automatic transmission.

Estimated fuel economy for the new engine is coming soon, but the story of its power—both compared to the old Colorado and its main competitors—is interesting. With 310 hp in its top guise, the Colorado ties up the V-6 Nissan Frontier in terms of hp, but crushes it in the torque department in its top two tone states, so we’ve dubbed it the most powerful mid-range pickup you can buy. Indeed, the old V-6 at one time held the same title (in the Colorado and its twin with the GMC badge, the Canyon), with 308 hp, before the current Frontier engine arrived for 2020; the now discontinued diesel engine makes a great 369 lb-ft of torque, but that figure is easily beaten by the medium 2.7 liters I-4. Even the new base model produces nearly the same torque as the old V-6, albeit at a higher rpm (5,600 vs. 4,000). The higher output 2.7s delivers its peak torque at just 3,000 rpm.

The 2.7-liter turbo is a continuous truck engine, which has been designed from the start for duty in the full-size Silverado (and plays an unusual secondary role in the Cadillac CT4-V). In the smaller and lighter Colorado, it should prove to be quite stocky. It also includes standard cylinder deactivation, which can shut off two cylinders under light loads. Yes, that means it will be the only (temporarily) two-cylinder midsize pickup you can buy.

Five Classes, Mostly Off-Road

While the Colorado comes in the form of the Work Truck, LT, Z71, New-to-Colorado Trail Boss, and hardcore ZR2, all five models share key standard features, including a new 11.3-inch touchscreen (sharp-looking) with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. , an 8.0-inch full digital gauge cluster, eight strapped beds and a segment-exclusive electronic parking brake. Chevy says the base Work Truck and mid-range off-road Trailboss models share a “rugged, work-and-play aesthetic” in them, by which we mean more basic, abuse-resistant, more plastic cab materials. The LT swaps in silver trim, plush accents, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, while the Z71 gets a “sporty vibe” with black and red accents and a mix of fabric and vinyl on the seats.

Again, like the bold new exterior, the Colorado interior goes from uninspired to competitive, with the cheeky full-width dashboard panels and round outboard air vents giving us plenty of Camaro feel. The new touchscreen sits in the center, tombstone-style, but close to the steering wheel for what appears to be a comfortable reach. There’s more upscale detail, though most examples—the stitching on the dashboard and padded panels around the center console—are limited to higher trim levels. And like the Camaro, the central air vent is buried low in the dash; which pays off for the ergonomics of the climate control, which sits below the touchscreen, but may not be great for airflow above chest level for front seat passengers. A drive mode selector lives on the left of the console on equipped models (mostly off-road models), pushing the shifter to the right.

Other differences between the models are more obvious from the outside. The Work Truck gets an all-black-plastic face like the larger Silverado WT, 17-inch steel wheels, and that’s about it. The LT models distinguish themselves with more streetable 17-inch wheels and tires, more body color elements up front, and more chrome. Lastly, there’s a trio of off-road versions, ranging from the relatively tame Z71 to the Trail Boss (which gets a 2.0-inch suspension lift and burlier tires) to the ZR2 (which sits 3.0 inches taller than the WT/LT/Z71 model and have a wider path). Grille and bumper treatments go wild the closer you get to the ZR2, with the ZR2 outperforming the rest of the lineup with flared fenders, beefier bumpers, and even a bed-mounted roll bar with beadlock-capable lights and wheels via the special edition Desert Boss pack.

Off-road equipment varies from optional four-wheel drive on the WT and LT to the standard limited-slip rear differential (standard on the Z71 and Trail Boss) to differential front and rear power locking on the ZR2, which is also once again ridden on the multimatic DSSV spool-valve, frequency selective damper. Those fancy shocks passively eliminate the worst fields with valves that slow down input faster and handle slower amplitudes more gently. The end result is better wheel control over the washboard surface and more controlled bump stops. Ground clearance reaches an incredible 10.7 inches for the ZR2, with the Trail Boss standing 9.5 inches from the deck and the other Colorados perched at 7.9 to 8.9 inches.

If you thought Chevy’s inclusion of three off-road models and a switch to a more agro style and single crew cabin body style signaled its intent to pursue adventurous types with the new Colorado, you’d be right. The automaker also hopes the available 110-volt household outlets in the new truck bed, motorcycle tire notch in the front bedside wall, and newly available tailgate storage will appeal to weekend warrior types. The tailgate storage, in particular, carried a “luggage” smell to the Honda Ridgeline’s bedding, a watertight basement with a drain that doubled as coolant. The lockable, weather-tight hollow tailgate in Colorado may be less useful, but at 45 inches wide and 4 inches deep it might still be able to fill up with ice and some cold snacks.

If Chevy can maintain the road-worthy manners and roomy interiors in today’s trucks while improving things with the new 2.7-liter engine and expanded off-road offering, consider the Colorado 2023 a smash hit. But it will have stiff competition: Ford is on the cusp of launching the all-new 2023 Ranger, and sales leader Toyota Tacoma will also be redesigned. We’ll see how the new Colorado shakes when it goes on sale in mid-2023.

Specifications of the Chevrolet Colorado 2023
BASIC PRICE $28,000-$50,000 (approx.)
LAYOUT Front engine truck, RWD or 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door
MACHINE 2.7L/237-310-hp/259-430-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
WEIGHT OF STAIRS 4,750-5,300 lb (mfr)
WHEELBASE 131.4 inches
L x W x H 213.0-213.2 x 84.4 x 78.8-81.9 inches
0-60 MPH 7.0-7.5 seconds (MT est)
FOR SALE spring 2023

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