Every once in a long while, release dates for a new class of trucks line up. This year that class is a generational update of several midsize pickup trucks. For 2023 the GM Twins, Colorado and Canyon, are new. Also, the new Ford Ranger is coming this year. We will see a new Tacoma from Toyota, though it will probably be released in 2024. Of these trucks, the Chevrolet Colorado is the first out of the gate, and I recently had a chance to drive it down in California.

Last updated in 2015, this mid-sizer has significant changes, starting with engine choices. There is only one – the 2.7L turbo I-4. The V6 and small diesel option is no more. The 2.7L is matched to a second-generation 8-speed automatic transmission. Despite only one engine, it is available in three different outputs, as shown below.

1. 2.7L Turbo

Horsepower: 237
Torque (lb.-ft.): 259
Max Trailering: 3,500 lbs.

  • Standard: WT & LT

2. 2.7L Turbo Plus

Horsepower: 310
Torque (lb.-ft.): 390
Max Trailering: 7,700 lbs.

  • Standard: Z71 & Trail Boss
  • Available: WT & LT

3. 2.7L Turbo High Output

Horsepower: 310
Torque (lb.-ft.): 430
Max Trailering: 7,700 lbs.

  • Standard: ZR2 & Trail Boss (with a max trailering of 6,000 lbs.)

How production streamlining changed things.

This engine strategy (one engine, three outputs rather than three separate engines) is just one example of a production streamlining I noted in the new Colorado. Another instantly obvious example was the 11.3-inch centre stack screen. This single screen comes in every version of the Colorado, from WT to top-of-the-line ZR2. So rather than changing up screens based on trim level, a single screen makes production easier. In fact, throughout the truck, I noted items that were common on all trims.

In conversations with on-site engineers, I questioned whether the pandemic shortages and shipping issues caused them to review how and where they sourced parts. Their response was yes. To keep the lines running without interruption, they eliminated potential bottlenecks by limiting the number of build variations.

Another big change is a move to a single chassis model – crew cab, short box model. Whatever you order, that’s the body your truck will be built on. All these changes add up to a simpler build in the factory, which (hopefully) also keeps costs and wait times in check.

The 2023 Colorado lineup is re-engineered with three distinct chassis setups for everyday tasks and off-road adventures:

  • Standard: WT, LT and Z71 trims
  • 2-inch Factory-Lifted, Wide Stance: Trail Boss
  • High-Performance 3-inch Factory-Installed Lift & Wide Stance: ZR2

All models are built on a new chassis that gives the 2023 Colorado a 3.1-inch-longer wheelbase than the current Crew Cab/short box model. A shortened front overhang contributes to a more aggressive stance and significantly improves the truck’s approach angle.

Within the trim packages there is also a shift.

An olive green 2023 Chevrolet Colorado parked in the driveway of a contemporary home with vertical wood siding and black trim.

Photo credit: Chevrolet

First, the Trail Boss version is built off the work truck trim. This makes for a much more affordable, yet distinctly competent off-roader. I expect this will be the meat of the market.

The Z71, which has long been considered Chevy’s mainline off-roader has migrated to a milder, luxury package.

Now at the top of the ladder is the ZR2; a legit dirt brawler that will cost you, with all the expensive add-ons like a 3-inch lifted suspension and upgraded Multimatic DSSV dampers.

Supported by up to five selectable drive modes.

A silver 2023 Chevrolet Colorado pulling a Jet Ski down a paved road toward the beach.

Photo credit: Chevrolet

The new Colorado’s off-road and trailering capabilities are supported by up to five selectable drive modes (depending on the model). Each is tailored for different driving conditions, accessible using a knob located on the center console. The five drive modes include:

  • Normal: A balanced mode for everyday driving
  • Tow/Haul: Transmission shift points, throttle response and additional calibrations for trailering and hauling
  • Off-Road: Specific traction and dynamic performance features for general off-pavement driving
  • Terrain: Designed for low-speed rock crawling, with three settings
  • Baja: Developed for high-speed desert running.

The interior on the Colorado has been fully updated.

A close-up photo of the dash and navigation systems of a 2023 Chevrolet Colorado

Photo credit: Chevrolet

A common layout runs through each trim model which I found made the WT nicer than before, while the upscale Z71 adds just enough to the interior appointments to set it apart. As you’ll see in the photos the sheet metal has also been bent to create an angrier look on the Colorado. It’s a striking design and certainly attracts attention. In fact, this seems to be the current trend.

New and Enhanced Electronic Technologies.

Colorado’s new 11.3-inch-diagonal infotainment screen is the gateway to new and innovative technologies — especially when trailering or driving off-road. Highlights include:

  • Customizable and configurable screens
  • Segment-first available Google built-in. With Google Assistant, Google Maps and Google Play you get access to hands-free communications, live traffic updates and more.
  • All-new Off-Road Performance Display: an available app that monitors real-time off-road performance with different readouts for Overlanding (altitude and GPS guidance), Terrain (pitch, roll and tire pressure) and Baja (g-force, wheel slip indicator and transfer case status) driving situations.
  • Up to 10 camera views accessible on the infotainment screen — including a segment-first available underbody camera on Z71 and ZR2.

Canadian Pricing

The new Colorado is now available for order at Canadian dealers, and we can expect trucks on dealer lots shortly. Here is the pricing for whole line-up.

Canadian MSRP Pricing (not including $2,095 DFC + $100 air tax)

  • 2WD WT $34,303
  • 4WD WT $38,203
  • 4WD LT $41,103
  • 4WD Trail Boss $43,603
  • 4WD Z71 $47,103
  • 4WD ZR2 $56,003

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