The midsize truck market is heating up, with a new 2023 Chevrolet Colorado ready to join the recently overhauled Nissan Frontier and forthcoming Ford Ranger.
It's a tough segment, but the new Colorado has some interesting features in store like a new engine, new off-road grades, and a watertight storage compartment in the tailgate.
It's a pickup, so we'll start with powertrain and towing capacity. Last year, the Colorado offered 2.5L four-cylinder and 3.6L V6 gas options, and a 2.8L diesel engine option. This time around, there's just one engine: 2.7L turbocharged four-cylinder – the same one offered in the larger Silverado.
Chevrolet has three different versions of the 2.7L. There's a 237-hp version that can tow 1,588 kg (3,500 lb), which will be standard for the WT and LT trims. An upgraded version making 310 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque will be optional in those trims and standard in the Z71 and the new Trail Boss versions. Towing capacity increases to 3,493 kg (7,700 lb), which is about where the competition tops out. Meanwhile, a high-output version makes the same power but raises peak torque to 430 lb-ft –far and beyond best in class.
Combined with a new eight-speed automatic transmission, Chevrolet says the new engine should provide fuel economy numbers close to the old truck's four-cylinder with significantly more power and torque. No official numbers are available, but that truck's figure was 12.6 L/100 km in the city and 9.9 on the highway with four-wheel drive.
The 2023 Chevrolet Colorado will come as a crew cab with a short box, and that's all. Chevrolet says there are no plans for other cab or box sizes. At 5,410 mm (213 in) long, the truck is just 10 mm (0.4 mm) longer than before, but the wheelbase is 75 mm (three in) longer thanks to the truck's new frame.
A new box has more cargo tie-downs along with more stake pockets to let you use lumber to reconfigure the bed. It's also got the new party trick of a large storage compartment inside the tailgate. It can hold tools (Chevrolet showed a long level, jumper cables, and random tools), or it can be used as a cooler. The tailgate gets a mechanism to hold it halfway up to make transporting sheets of plywood easier.
A massive 11.3-inch touchscreen is standard across the lineup. It has built-in Google functionality for maps, music, and vehicle features. The screen has loads of off-road performance displays as well.
The Colorado offers up to 10 camera views, which Chevy says is more than any competitor. The camera views give you hitch guidance and a look around the truck. There's also a new underbody camera to show you the trail immediately ahead. That's offered with Z71 and ZR2 trims.
A sunroof joins the options list for the first time. Chevrolet is also giving the Colorado the same wheel bolt pattern as the Silverado, which should give more custom wheel options from the factory and the aftermarket.
Driver assistance features standard include forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and automatic high-beam headlights. Available features include blind-spot monitoring with evasive steering assist, rear cross-traffic braking, and rear pedestrian alert. Adaptive cruise control is offered, but the hands-free Super Cruise system feature won't be.
ZR2, Chevrolet's off-road trim, is upgraded with its own new interior colour, a spray-on bedliner, and a new fascia. It will have skid plates and rocker protection underneath. Crucially, front and rear locking differentials and Multimatic dampers are still standard. New is a Desert Boss package with yet another unique fascia and bumpers, sports bar with light bar, and Desert Boss graphics.
The Trail Boss is a new trim that gives the truck a smaller than ZR2 51-mm (two-in) lift. It's also missing the DSSV shocks but has 18-inch wheels for looks.
The 2023 Chevrolet Colorado will be offered in WT, LT, Z71, ZR2, and Trail Boss trims. Production of the truck is set to start in the first half of next year. More details and pricing will arrive just ahead of the truck's appearance at dealers.