North America’s new Chevrolet Colorado offers a bold new look, more technology, and standard turbo-petrol power – but with the Holden brand dead, it’s not planned for Australia.
The 2023 Chevrolet Colorado has been revealed in the USA overnight – the first new model for North American in seven years – but the new-generation model is not planned for sale in Australia.
Although it wears the same name, the US Colorado is a bigger, stronger, and more expensive pick-up than the Holden Colorado – which was based on a vehicle intended for developing countries and Australia.
At one point, General Motors considered combining the US and global Colorado models – as Ford has done with Ranger.
But once the future of Holden was in doubt, the company dropped plans for a fresh Colorado for Australia – and instead doubled-down on the US version.
The international-market Colorado – the twin to the Thai-built Holden Colorado – is still produced in South America, albeit with mild styling updates.
The vehicle in these photos is the Holden Colorado we were – very briefly, at one point in time – supposed to eventually get in Australia, until GM ran the numbers and realised this version was much more expensive to manufacture than the Thai-built model.
Although the new US-market Chevrolet Colorado was at one point earmarked to be sold globally – with a chassis and body structure engineered to meet regulations in all markets – this is now no longer the case.
Set to launch in the US early next year, the all-new Colorado brings a bold new look, more advanced interior and a standard turbo four-cylinder engine – all features common to its chief rival, the new Ford Ranger, which is due in US showrooms next year.
Sitting atop the US range is an overhauled Colorado ZR2 off-road flagship, which sits half a step below the Ford Ranger Raptor, with upgraded suspension, tyres, wheels and styling – but only a mild engine output boost.
Styling inspiration for the new Chevrolet Colorado is drawn from the larger Silverado, with a boxier look offered only in dual-cab form with a ‘short box’ tray.
The new ute measures 5410mm long, with a 3338mm wheelbase – 40mm longer overall and 68mm longer in wheelbase than Australia’s Ford Ranger Wildtrak dual cab, though US Rangers are slated to offer a long-wheelbase option with a larger tray.
LED headlights are fitted to higher-end models, while 17- or 18-inch wheels are available. The ZR2’s 17-inch wheels are wrapped in 33-inch (838mm) mud-terrain tyres, and can be had with “beadlocking capability” for use off road, akin to a Ford Ranger Raptor.
Included in the tray is a storage compartment built into the tailgate – with a lockable cover and a drain – plus a pair of cupholders, up to 17 tie-down points, spray-in bedliner, remote unlocking and locking, and “two … tire grooves” for more easily securing bicycles or motorcycles.
A home power outlet features in the side of the tray – akin to the Ford Ranger in overseas markets, but not Australia – while the tailgate can be positioned “midway between fully closed and open” to create space for longer items.
The Ranger’s handy step in the side of the tray – which no longer requires owners to step on a slippery tyre to see what’s in the tray – also features on the Colorado.
Inside, an 11.3-inch touchscreen and a standard 8.0-inch instrument display are combined into one dashboard panel, with the centre screen running Google infotainment software with in-built maps and music, and a higher-resolution display than before.
There are up to 10 camera views – including one under the body – for low-speed off-roading, plus an off-road app displaying altitude, GPS guidance, pitch, roll, tyre pressure, G-force, wheel slip and the transfer case’s status.
Like the larger Silverado, the new Colorado offers systems to help drivers line up with and hitch a trailer, and provide support when on the road.
Interiors range from black cloth seats on the base Work Truck (WT) model, to cloth/leatherette seats and black and red accents in the mid-grade Z71 sports model, and leather seats with yellow accents in the ZR2 off-road flagship.
Available interior features include heated front seats, an eight-way power driver’s seat, electric parking brake, “extra-large” wireless phone charging pad, dual-zone climate control (with red air vents), a sunroof, and red or yellow contrasting seatbelts.
Whereas today’s US-market Colorado can be had with three engines – a 2.5-litre petrol four-cylinder, 3.6-litre V6 and 2.8-litre turbo diesel – the 2023 model offers just one, a 2.7-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder.
It develops 177kW and 351Nm in entry-level WT and LT models, 231kW and 529Nm as standard in the Z71 and Trail Boss (but optional in the WT and LT), and 231kW and 583Nm in the flagship ZR2.
All models are equipped with eight-speed automatic transmissions, with a choice of rear- or part-time four-wheel drive.
Maximum braked towing capacities ranges from 1580kg in entry-level models, to 3493kg for other versions.
Buyers heading off road can opt for two rugged model grades: the Trail Boss – Chevrolet’s equivalent to a Ford Ranger FX4 Max – and the ZR2, which sits half a step below a Ranger Raptor.
The Trail Boss scores unique bumpers, a 76mm-wider front track and a 51mm ride height increase, while the top-of-the-range ZR2 gets a total 76mm suspension lift, and upgraded Multimatic DSSV off-road dampers.
Other ZR2 upgrades include unique 17-inch wheels, 33-inch (838mm) mud-terrain tyres, bespoke “high-clearance” bumpers, Chevrolet ‘flow tie’ badge (with a cut-out for improved engine airflow), and electronic locking front and rear differentials.
It also offers an aluminium skid plate, extra underbody protection, cast-iron suspension control arms, and a new rear axle ratio.
Available on top is a Desert Boss package, which adds beadlock-capable wheels, different bumpers, a sports bar, roof-mounted light bar, underbody camera, Desert Boss decals, and black badges.
Off-road angles in the mid-grade Z71 sit at 29.1 degrees approach, 22.3 degrees departure and 19.5 degrees breakover, while the flagship ZR2 quotes 38.3 degrees approach, 25.1 degrees departure and 24.6 degrees breakover. Ground clerance is between 201mm and 271mm.
Five drive modes are available in top-end versions – Normal, Tow/Haul, Off-Road (for dirt roads), Terrain (for low-speed rock crawling), and Baja (for high-speed “desert running”).
A suite of advanced safety technologies are available, including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert (with braking), adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera, and rear pedestrian detection.
The 2023 Chevrolet Colorado is due to go on sale in the US early next year. An Australian launch is not expected.