The Redesigned 2023 Chevrolet Colorado Midsize Pickup Truck: What You Need, Not What You Don’t 

2023 Chevrolet Colorado Featured Image

A well tailored edit for life and adventure.

You know who you are: You want a pickup truck but not the commitment that goes with it. You want one that is easy to drive, easy to park and won’t take up your entire driveway. Towing is a must and now that you see so many people living the #offroad #adventure #overland life, you want to try that out, too (and yes, glamping counts).

A midsize pickup truck keeps popping up in your thoughts. A stylish, well-outfitted, off-road capable truck like the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado.

First introduced in 2004, the Colorado, which has a history of being developed and designed by women, quickly became a popular option for buyers who needed a smaller truck for light work, daily driving and weekend adventure. People found it was just easier to load bikes into a truck bed than hoisting them onto the roof rack and easier to climb narrow off road trails in a smaller truck. And also, fewer scratched wheels and door dings.

Related: The Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Packs a Punch with Color and Performance

The Dashboard Of The Chevy Colorado Looks And Feels Fresh And Modern

The dashboard of the Chevy Colorado looks and feels fresh and modern. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The Customer Edit: Luxury, Convenience or Adventure, Take Your Pick (or Have Them All)

For 2023 Chevrolet has completely rethought the Colorado with a fresh new design, new features and an edited set of features in each model. This keeps the truck affordable yet well equipped, but it’s still customizable: customers can add factory or after market options for things like upgraded seats or bed organization. 

Then, all models have 4 door, 5 passenger cabs and a 5’ long bed. As a mid-size truck, the Colorado has lower ground clearance than a full size pickup truck such as the Silverado—at about 8” vs 10”— similar to an average SUV (though the off road models have a bit more ground clearance). This means even short drivers and passengers shouldn’t struggle to climb in; running boards can be installed but are not included equipment.

Related: Why Girls Love Trucks, and How the Best Trucks Make Us Feel

The Multifunction Truck Bed Includes This Box Built Into The Tail Gate

The multifunction truck bed includes this box built into the tail gate. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Some Great Features, Standard on All Models

This is probably the best news of all: The very premium looking and feeling 11.3” touch screen with Google’s lovely multimedia system, “Hey Google” voice activated assistance, HD rear view camera and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard. This is a big bonus, especially in the entry-level WT edition. 

The touch screen houses a lot of functions, depending on your trim, from 4 wheel drive information screens to navigation (an option or standard, depending on the model) and is where you’ll find things that you may need only occasionally, like the multi-view camera system (again, depending on trim). 

Then, the multi-function truck bed is standard: built in bumper steps, a storage box with a drain (hello, cooler) built into the lift gate and tie downs give the added function without having to invest in additional accessories. 

The Headlights Are Automatic, Coming On In Low Light

The headlights are automatic, coming on in low light. Photo: Scotty Reiss

This Might Be A Pickup Truck First: Digital Headlights

One very interesting function we found on the touch screen is the headlight control. Instead of a switch or dial to turn on the headlights, they are automatic: they come on as needed. However, there’s a small light icon just at the top left of the screen that once tapped, offers the option to turn on or off the headlights. You can also also set up things like fog lights and auto high beam headlights via the touch screen.

We asked Chevrolet why the headlight controls are part of the touch screen and not a switch; many functions are being added to the software-based systems rather than hardware systems so that the company can make over the air updates. High beam headlights that can be activated via voice control? That might soon be a thing! 

The Gear Selector, Off Road And Drive Mode Selector And Phone Cubby

The gear selector, off road and drive mode selector and phone cubby. Photo: Scotty Reiss

AWD and 4WD Functions, Simplified

Models that have all wheel drive or 4 wheel drive have a novel new drive selector that I really, really liked. Set to the left of the gear shifter, it’s easy to see and use: Turn it for drive modes and then, depending on the system, AWD or 4WD, tap your desired mode. You can drive in 2WD when you don’t need that extra traction, or set it to Auto, which allows the system to kick in when it senses a need for AWD. 

On the off road trail, tap 4↑ to put it in 4 high, for 4WD driving at higher speeds, or 4↓ to put it in 4 low for maximum traction at lower speeds (this requires shifting to neutral first). Then you can pick Terrain mode or Off Road mode for full capability. Off road screens on the multimedia system display driver feedback details to assist with the drive. 

Also on the touch screen is the multi view camera system; this allows you to pop on the forward, side or under-carriage cameras to see what’s on the trail around you in or in your blind spots. 

Related: That Beautiful Line in the Sand? It Marks the Rally Jameel – the First All-Female Off Road Rally In Saudi Arabia

The Rear Of The 2023 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Edition

The rear of the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 edition. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Trim Levels Deliver What Matters Most—And, Options for Those Extras

Then, all models have some great standard features, including the new 11.3” touch screen multimedia system, “Hey Google” voice activated assistance, the multi-function truck bed (keep reading for more on this), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a full suite of driver assist and safety features including lane departure assist, adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitors.

Then, there are 5 trims to pick from so buyers can get the selection of features that matter most, from off road chops to luxury comforts: 

  • WT, or “work truck,” is the base model; with the 237HP engine and a cloth interior, it starts at $29,200
  • LT or “luxury truck” adds an option for leatherette seats and more creature comforts such as dual climate settings and wireless AppleCarPlay, starts are $31,600
  • TrailBoss, a new edition in the Colorado lineup, has 4WD and off road capability, 9.5” ground clearance, a full set of front, side and rear view cameras and skid plates to protect the underside of the truck, is a bit more economy focused on the interior to keep the price at $37,000 to start
  • Z71, which is Chevy’s internal code name for this off-road capable model, is the next-to-top trim and pairs an 8.9” ground clearance and all the off-road capabilities with luxuries like leather seats, underbody cameras and a sunroof, and starts at $39,900
  • ZR2, the top of the line Colorado which also carries its internal code as its name, will be out later this year and promises to really beef up the Colorado with super sized tires and ground clearance higher than even a full size pickup truck, will carry a price tag of $46,800

The WT and LT models can be optioned with the larger engine, and there are packages of options that buyers can add to truly customize the Colorado. For instance, one LT model we test drove had a number of option packages that added things like sport details, heated seats and multi-view cameras, increasing the price from $34900 to $46,210.

A Side View Of The 2023 Cbevrolet Colorado

A side view of the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado. Photo: Scotty Reiss

All the Power and Towing You Need

Then, Chevrolet adapted the Silverado’s engine for the Colorado and gave it a lot of power and tow capacity. Rather than 3 different engines, as the last model had, now the Colorado runs on a 4 cylinder turbo engine with 3 levels of power: the base model generates 237 HP, 260 torque and 3,500 lbs. of tow capacity. The Turbo + model generates 310 HP, 390 torque and 7,700 lbs. of tow capacity. And, the high output turbo option has 310 HP, 430 torque and 7,700 lbs. of tow capacity.

This means buyers can choose the base model with solid power, a more fun to drive 310 HP option or even more torque for a zippy drive experience, though this option is great for those who will tow or carry a full load a lot of the time and need that extra torque to get up to speed, even when weighed down. 

And, 7,700 lbs. of towing? Bring the bikes AND the boat. 

The 2023 Chevy Colorado

The 2023 Chevy Colorado. Yes, we went to the beach AND the mountains. #California Photo: Scotty Reiss

This Truck is All Truck — On the Road and On the Trail

The Colorado sounds like a truck. You’ll hear the engine, the turbo and the transmission. You hear it accelerating and the gears shifting. You’ll feel the road, and however gently, its bumps and curves. 

Off road, you’ll feel the trail as it climbs and ambles over dirt, gravel and obstacles and you’ll hear the skid plates doing their job protecting the underside of the truck. It’ll demand a bit more of your muscle and attention than a smooth-riding SUV, but, it’s a truck; it drives and rides like a truck and that was by design. Chevrolet’s engineers intended the Colorado to sound and feel more truck-like than SUV-like.

Also true to its pickup truck DNA is an engine designed for durability. Not only has Chevy thoroughly tested the engine, the changes to the design and new components, but the company has 5 years of testing, use and research in the Silverado. They seem confident that the Colorado’s engine will stand up to almost any challenges. 

The Interior Of The 2023 Chevy Colorado

The interior of the 2023 Chevy Colorado Z71 edition with leather seating. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Comforts in the Front, Convenience in the Back

Even though the Colorado has 4 doors and seats 5, the rear seat is on the small side. In the front seat there’s plenty of comfort and all functions are easy to reach and use. One caveat is that while the driver’s seat is power (or it can be added as an option) the passenger’s side is not, nor does it have a height adjustment, which I would have liked for better visibility, especially off road.

Owners with rear passengers may find it necessary for those in the front seat to adjust their seats to accommodate them, though the seats are probably fine for one or two kids in booster seats. 

Even though there are child passenger car seat LATCH anchors in the two outboard seats, installing a rear facing car seat will definitely create leg room issues for front seat passengers. 

The rear seat is a great convenience for the occasional passenger, kids in booster seats or a dog or two. 

With its shiny good looks, easy drivability, a staring price under $30,000 and well edited under $40,000, the Colorado delivers what you hope to get from a mid-size truck: All you need and not what you don’t. It’ll no doubt pop into the thoughts of a lot of buyers looking for that perfect truck that’s up for light work duty, the daily routine and adventurous weekends. 

Disclosure: I was Chevrolet’s guest for this test drive, but all opinions are my own.

The Chevy Colorado Is Filled With Small Graphic Icons Including The Iconic Bow Seen Here Un The Headlight

The Chevy Colorado is filled with small graphic icons including the iconic bow seen here un the headlight. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss