2023 Chevrolet Colorado: The next-gen midsize truck

Front 3/4 view of Colorado Trail Boss driving down a dirt road during golden hour. (Photos courtesy Chevrolet)

SAN DIEGO — This will likely annoy a lot of people, but I’ve never been a particular fan of midsize pickup trucks.

Midsize trucks include vehicles like the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, and the subject of this week’s review, the Chevrolet Colorado. The ride has been too trucklike, with a generally vague steering feel and lots of body roll. The engines don’t have enough oomph, and the pricing is far too close to that of full-size trucks like the Ford F–150 or Chevy Silverado.

The 2023 Colorado Trail Boss’ mid-position tailgate

When you decide to buy a midsize truck, I figured you might as well go big or go home and get the big boy full-size rig. Of course, that’s not to say no one should buy a midsize truck. I can’t count the number of people I know who adore their Toyota Tacomas, but for me, I’d rather spend my money elsewhere.

That might all be changing. The full lineup of midsize trucks is in the midst of a complete overhaul, with a new Tacoma and Ranger coming later in the year — but the Chevrolet Colorado is first up.

The rework starts under the hood with a new 2.7-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine that comes in three flavors depending on how much power and torque you want. The base engine, standard in the entry-level Colorado Work Truck, makes 237 horsepower and 259 torque and has been stripped of much sound deadening and other more “refined” attributes to keep costs down.

It appears to have worked, as the WT starts decently equipped for just over $30,000. It reminds me of the Ford Maverick in this way, not in size, but in that the least expensive variant is still a competent truck.

Step up to the Z71 or Trail Boss trims, and a more powerful 310 hp and 390 lb-ft variant is under the hood. Also available is a high-output motor that increases torque up to 430 lb-ft, which is nice but unnecessary.

The 2.7L has all manner of clever engineering fitted to it, and Chevy promises increased reliability and performance per dollar compared to the six-cylinder options in the prior Colorado. Truck purists will wail, I’m sure, about the “mere” four-cylinder engine, but progress comes for us all.

View of Colorado Trail Boss interior from driver’s perspective with forrest view through front windshield.

The interior of all Colorado models is a significant update, with a standard 8-inch dash cluster and 11-inch infotainment touchscreen, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto running on GM’s new Google Automotive platform. The new Silverado inspires it, and everything is thoughtfully laid out, with a wireless phone charger in front of the gearshift and well-placed dual cupholders in front of an ample center console bin. Two more cupholders sit behind the console bin for rear-seat passengers or folks making a coffee run for the rest of the landscaping team.

The Trail Boss adds a two-inch factory lift and a wider track for off-road adventures (or just a more aggressive look), and a Colorado ZR2 is coming later with a 3-inch lift and Multimatic DSSV dampers.

Finally, Chevrolet appears to have embraced advanced safety tech, with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking (with pedestrian detection), lane keep assist, and automatic high beams included in all trims. Blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise, a gorgeous 360-degree camera, and automatic rear collision braking are available. GM’s terrific Super Cruise hands-off driving system is notably unavailable in Colorado.

OnStar connectivity is standard, as is a 4G LTE data connection via AT&T ($20 per month for unlimited Wi-Fi hotspot). Hence, every trim of Colorado is ready to be your mobile office.

Rear view of truck bed with tailgate down.

The exterior design doesn’t push convention, but it’s been tweaked and fits the truck. The side rails in the bed have been lowered slightly to make it easier for shorter folks to load and unload from the sides. The tailgate has a cleverly hidden storage compartment that can be used to hide tools or for an optional speaker add-on that’s perfect for tailgating or camping.

If nothing else, the new Colorado excites me as the rest of the mid-size truck lineup awaits its revamp. Ranger has already been shown, and Tacoma is coming soon, as is Colorado’s sister truck, the GMC Canyon.

The new Colorado would be a perfect everyday driver for a weekend warrior or someone who wants to haul camping, hunting, or fishing gear regularly without needing to give up all those must-have creature comforts. Consider me a midsize pickup convert.

About Jordan Golson 183 Articles
Jordan Golson is North State Journal's automotive reporter. He covers cars - both foreign and domestic - from around the globe.