As driven and photographed by Ricardo Rodriguez-Long
Best mid-size truck?
The Chevy Colorado pickup truck replaced the mid-size S-10 in 2004. The first generation had a 2.8 liter four-cylinder with 175 HP. It was designed to be a big step up in every aspect from the S-10. I had the chance to drive the all-new Colorado, and the 2023 model is not only the best Colorado, but maybe the best in the segment as well.
The look and stance are critical elements of any vehicle. Samuel Zhao, the exterior designer, knows this well, and for this new version, he created a muscular body highlighted by bulging fenders and an aggressive grille. The hood-cab-bed proportions are balanced, and the truck looks very handsome. The Nitro Yellow Metallic and Glacier Blue Metallic colors make all the design details come alive.
Inside I felt comfortable, and the new dash, with a larger touchscreen, is very well integrated. This new layout is more luxurious and practical. The standard 11.3-inch-diagonal color infotainment touchscreen is the cabin's centerpiece, and there is a standard 8-inch-diagonal fully digital color instrument display. The 4x4 models include special features through this touchscreen. A camera under the truck, with its lens washer, is a great idea. I worked all the 4x4 features during the preview test on the trails near De Anza-Borrego park. The ZR2 4x4 has a unique suspension that elevates the truck by three inches. It also comes with special wheels to fit off-road tires.
The power comes from a 2.7 Liter Turbo 4 cylinder that has proven to be the most reliable GM motor. For the Colorado, there are two options. The base model produces 237 HP; in the 4x4 and premium versions, the power goes up to 310 HP with 390 ft-lb of torque. Remember that the Silverado 3.5 Liter V8 of 2004 generated 285 HP and 325 ft-lb of torque. This pickup has a tow rating of 7,700 lbs, making it capable of pulling most non-commercial trailers and RVs.This new Colorado is as qualified as its older brother for most situations in which you would need a truck.
The Chevrolet engineers mated an 8-speed automatic transmission to this motor, and the power delivery is quite smooth. The higher gears also allow for better fuel mileage. This engine works best with regular 87-octane gas, so even though there is a lot of high tech in the engine construction, the engineers wanted to ensure that there was no need for special gas or oils for maintenance.
Todd Brown, marketing manager for Colorado, mentioned that the new truck lineup has a model for every task. And I agree as the lineup includes the Work Truck (WT), LT, Z71, ZR2, and first-ever Trail Boss 4x4 model. "The new Colorado is a lifestyle enabler," said Nicholas Katcherian, chief vehicle engineer. "Because outdoor activities are a big part of our Colorado customers' lifestyles, we've made the truck even more capable of supporting them — from increased bed functionality to comprehensive performance enhancements that help take them farther."
I like the Google built-in system, the ten different camera views that help you maneuver through tight spots, and the easy-to-use off-road system on the 4x4 versions.
Pricing starts at $29,200 for the WT model, and the ZR2 4x4 with all the special options can get to $47.000.
Today's mid-size trucks are as powerful and practical as the full-size trucks just ten years ago. Their size makes driving, parking, and enjoying the CA off-road trails much easier. The new Colorado has everything you need, leaving its competitors one step behind. Chevrolet quality is one of the best today, so as far as the new mid-size trucks tested this year, I will give it a 9 out of 10.