2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2

MIAMI — Still slightly smaller than its sibling Silverado, the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado has grown some since its introduction as a compact pickup for the 2004 model year. A midsize truck now, the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado is more of a work horse than those of earlier generations and is a good option for the budget conscious who need more capability than a compact offers but can’t afford, or want, a bulky full-size pickup.

Fully redesigned, the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado comes in five trim levels but only one engine and cabin offering. The V6 and diesel powertrains available in earlier Colorado models have been discontinued and a 2.7-liter turbo charged 4-cylinder is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with five selectable drive modes.

Depending on the trim level, tow-haul, off-road, terrain (for off-road rock crawling), and Baja (for high-speed desert running).complement the normal setting.

The only cabin choice is a 4-door crew cab that fits five passengers comfortably. With the standard short (5-foot) bed, the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 that served as my test model measures 212.7 inches long and 76.4 inches wide (excluding mirrors), which is about 5.6 inches longer and 8.7 inches wider than the first Colorado model that replaced the compact Chevy S-10 around two decades ago.

At 73.8 inches in height, the 2023 Chevy Colorado is about half-a-foot taller than the debut model. Dimensions for other trims — the base WT (or Work Truck), LT, Trail Boss, and ZR1 — vary slightly by less than an inch from the ZR2.

ZR2 models also get a power boost up from the 4-banger engine to 310 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque while other trims make do with 237 hp and either 259 or 390 lb.-ft.

Designers gave major upgrades to the the cabin for the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR with a new center console and a new 11.2-inch touchscreen for infotainment features standing out. Legroom is a generous 45.2 inches up front but a tighter 38.3 inches in the second row.

Standard convenience features include an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support, dual-zone climate control, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, and push-button start.Notable exterior features include rocker panel protection, a spray-on bedliner, heated exterior mirrors, LED headlamps and fog lights, red recovery hooks, and a trailering equipment package (max towing capacity is a healthy 7,700 pounds).

Safety features include Chevy’s Safety Assist, system, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist with lane-departure warning, automatic emergency braking, and front pedestrian and bicyclist warning.All that is included in the starting MSRP of $46,800.

Extras like a ZR2 Convenience Package, driver seat memory settings, heated steering wheel, perforated leather seats, ventilated front seats, blind-spot zone steering assist, rear cross traffic braking, wireless charging, sunroof, HD surround vision, and adaptive cruise control ran the final total on my test 2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 to $52,130 including the $1,495 destination and delivery charge.

The ZR1 starts at just over $41,000. Other trims are priced in the $30,000 range.

What I liked about the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2: The ride is comfortable, and the upgraded turbo-4 in the ZR2 trim packs good punch. Infotainment functions are numerous and operate off a user-friendly touchscreen. HD surround vision is a nice feature when you are in crowded parking lots.

What I didn’t like about the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2: A running board would be a great help for shorter passengers to get in and out. Not many options are offered if you want to customize your pickup.

Would I buy the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2? I’m not a truck guy,  but the Colorado is a good alternative for Chevy fans if a Silverado is outside your budget. If you are seeking a compact pickup, however, the Colorado has grown out of that market.

— Paul Borden