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2023 CHEVROLET COLORADO ZR2 PUSHES THE MIDSIZE TRUCK SEGMENT INTO DEEP WOODS

The New ZR2 Comes Standard With 33-Inch Tires, Outboard Mounted Shocks, And A Stronger Engine

Seemingly overnight, Chevrolet became an off-road sensation with the introduction of the Colorado ZR2 back in 2016. This winning formula has since been extended to the Chevrolet Silverado ZR2, as well as to GMC with the Sierra AT4X and upcoming Canyon AT4X. But now it’s time for the workhorse mid-size truck to lead the pack once again, and that comes in the form of the all-new 2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. Let’s dive in!

2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Chassis, Off-Road Specs

When it comes to off-road prowess, the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 has big shoes to fill. The outgoing Colorado ZR2 is already a class-leading off-road truck, but its willing replacement stands to achieve even more off-road credibility. This is done with a set of now-standard 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory tires, reworked suspension geometry that moves the Multimatic DSSV dampers to an outboard location – out of the way from obstacles – and improved approach, departure and breakover angles. The new off-road specs for the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 are as follows: 10.7 inches of ground clearance, 38.3 degrees of approach angle, 25.1 degrees of departure angle, and 24.6 of breakover angle. The footprint of the truck is also adjusted, with the front axle moved forward for less overhang and a sportier stance. Overall length is just an inch longer than before, at 212.7 inches in total. Other specs, like water fording depth, are still being finalized. True locking front and rear differentials are still present and accounted for.

Moreover, the bolt pattern of the 2023 Colorado is the same as the Silverado, opening up a huge door for accessory wheel options for this midsize truck.

New 2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Interior Design Technology
Image via Chevrolet

High Output Turbo Engine

As we exclusively reported two years ago, the all-new Chevrolet Colorado will come with just one engine: the turbocharged 2.7L L3B turbocharged four cylinder. This power dense motor incorporates diesel engine technology to help produce torque very fast, and so far can be found in both the much larger Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and sporty Cadillac CT4-V. This could be considered a proof point in its versatility. For the new Colorado, Chevrolet has announced three different outputs for the 2.7L turbo, with the ZR2 exclusively getting the high-output variant. The numbers are a GM-estimated 310 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque. That’s V8 levels of highly accessible twisting force. Fuel economy numbers aren’t finalized yet, but look for them to come somewhere around what we saw with the EPA testing cycle of the outgoing four-cylinder Colorado. The engine is paired exclusively with an updated 8-speed automatic transmission.

The high-output L3B serves as the solution in place of both the naturally aspirated 3.6L V6 gas engine that was meant for cars, and the poky 2.8L Duramax diesel engine from before. The aftermarket will have to deal with the same GM Vehicle Intelligence Platform headaches that they currently find with vehicles like the 2022 Silverado and C8 Corvette; rendering them impossible to tune without a few workarounds.

2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Ground Clearance
Image via Chevrolet

Sporty Interior, Functional Technology

As with the exterior, the cabin of the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is completely new, and overall looks like a far more enjoyable place to spend time. Fans of the truck will immediately notice two things: a push button start in lieu of a key ignition, and a far more sophisticated touch screen, measuring 11.3 inches diagonally. The new drive mode selector (featuring Normal, Tow/Haul, Terrain, Off-Road and Baja modes) is now controlled via a rotary on the center console. The rounded HVAC outlet on the passenger side looks like it was ripped right from the Chevrolet Camaro, as well.

It’s not all just to look pretty in photos, either. The technology in the new Chevy Colorado ZR2 features a segment-first Google Built-In for accessing maps, music, vehicle functions and more. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also make a return. The Off-Road Performance Display feature is also greatly improved, which goes from being a simple screen readout on the instrument panel to a full-on app in the infotainment system. Here drivers can monitor their real-time off-road performance with different readouts for Overlanding (altitude and GPS guidance), Terrain (pitch, roll and tire pressure) and Baja (G-force, wheel slip indicator and transfer case status). For ease of visibility when navigating the rough terrain (or a simple driveway) there are 10 camera views accessible on the infotainment screen — including a segment-first available underbody camera.

2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Production And Pricing

Production of the 2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 and the rest of the new Colorado family is expected to begin in the first half of 2023. Pricing will be announced at a later date.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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