Nearly eight years after it helped kick-start the moribund midsize pickup truck market, the Chevrolet Colorado is getting a makeover for 2023.
The top-to-bottom update brings new styling, inside and out, a new 2.7-liter turbo engine, the addition of the new Trail Boss off-road package and new technology that includes an assortment of cameras meant to make it easier to park, tow or handle rugged trails.
“The all-new Colorado is enhanced in every way,” said Scott Bell, global vice president of Chevrolet. “With its rugged and sporty styling, enhanced capability, new technology and customization options, it’s designed to do more for discerning customers and still offer them great value.”
Back from oblivion
The Chevrolet Colorado — and its GMC counterpart, the Canyon, were pulled from production in 2012, the victims of declining midsize pickup sales. The two brands took a chance on redesigning the trucks, relaunching them in late 2014 as 2015 models.
They quickly scored with U.S. buyers, helping spur a 41% increase in the midsize pickup market in 2015, And they helped convince other brands to re-enter the segment, notably including Ford with the Ranger and then Fiat Chrysler with its Jeep Gladiator.
After nearly a decade, Colorado was due for a major makeover, and the 2023 model is meant to keep it viable in an increasingly competitive segment.
New look, inside and out
The overall dimensions of the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado are “relatively similar” to the outgoing model, though the wheelbase has been stretched 3 inches, noted Sam Zhao, the program’s design manager, during a background briefing. But the update was meant to give the truck a “more rugged appearance” even while adding more “sculpting” to what had been a mundanely slab-sided vehicle in its old incarnation.
The interior, meanwhile, has been upgraded a big notch, yielding a more refined and higher-tech appearance. All versions of the 2023 Colorado come standard with an 11.3-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, as well as a segment-first 8-inch digital gauge cluster.
That touchscreen serves as the centerpiece for new technology added to the 2023 truck, including an array of different cameras available as option or standard, depending on the particular trim package. The ZR2, for example, can offer up to 10 different camera views, including one looking under the truck, a plus while negotiating tough off-road trails.
The 2023 Colorado’s screen also adds special functions for different trim packages, such as an Off-Road Performance Display. A new trailering feature helps owners hitch up and then tow more easily and safely, Chevy claims.
The system now is powered by Google technology but also can be switched to either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
New off-road Trail Boss
There are now three off-road models available, including the ZR2 and the new Trail Boss package that takes things to a higher level. Both of those packages get upgraded Multimatic DSSV dampers designed to improve the pickup’s ride and capabilities, whether on-road, rock crawling or Baja racing, explained Colorado Chief Engineer Nick Katcherian.
The ZR2 and Trail Boss models ride 3 inches taller than the rest of the line-up and add additional width to handle the outboard-mounted shocks.
The Colorado will be offered in one body style: a Crew Cab with a 5-foot, 2-inch bed. For 2023, Chevy is upgrading the tailgate with what it calls a first-in-segment storage system. The bed also can be outfitted with an optional 110-volt power outlet.
New 2.7-liter engine
One of the most significant updates for 2023 is the addition of the new 2.7-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. Three variants are available, depending upon the Colorado trim package. In base WT and LT models, it makes 237 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque and offers towing capacity up to 3,500 pounds. That’s 18% more power and 36% more torque than the old base engine.
The 2.7L Turbo Plus package is standard in the Z71 and Trail Boss models — and optional on the WT and LT packages. Here it gets a boost to 310 hp and 390 lb-ft, with towing capacity upped to 7,700 pounds.
The ZR2 model is fitted with the beefiest version of the turbo-4, the 2.7L Turbo High-Output package punching out 310 hp and 430 lb-ft.
The new powertrain adds several fuel-saving features, such as displacement-on-demand, which lets it operate on just two cylinders while power demands are low, as well as start-stop. Chevy has not released final mileage numbers, however.
No more diesel
All versions of the Colorado use an updated 8-speed automatic.
Notably, Colorado no longer offers a diesel option, said brand boss Bell, because the 2.7-liter engine outperforms it without the added cost penalty.
Motorists will be able to choose between five different drive modes which automatically adjust a variety of vehicle settings. But that varies by trim package. Pricing will be released later this year, officials said.