Having spotted the very first 2023 Chevy Colorado prototypes undergoing testing back in May, we have now caught the 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2, indicating that the range-topping midsize truck has begun testing.
First, how do we know that this is, in fact, the 2023 Colorado ZR2? Ironically, the answer lies in the camouflage. Taking a closer look at the mesh camo covering the tail lights reveals that it has “SR5” handwritten via a black marker on the upper, front-most corner. Our eagle-eyed spies noticed, however, that the “R” is written backwards, which means that the intended message is written on the inside of the camo, with the ink having bled through to the front side. Flipping the image reveals “ZR2”, therefore identifying this prototype as the 2023 Colorado ZR2.
Now that we know what we’re looking at, let’s take a closer look at the hardware. The high-clearance configuration gives the truck quite the confident and imposing stance. And though we can’t say so with full certainty, it does look like a set of MultiMatic DSSV shocks is hiding behind the wheel well.
And then there are the tires, with the prototype riding on a set of knobby Goodyear Wrangler MT rubber. Though the weather conditions don’t give us complete details, it does look like this prototype is running on a set of 33-inch tires (285/70R17). By comparison, the current model rides on 31-inch tires (265/65R17).
A set of discs strapped to the wheels hide the prototype’s wheel design, but we can barely see a six-spoke pattern on a black wheel just around the lug nuts. The design seems to be very much in line with the design ethos on the current Colorado ZR2 wheels.
This 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 prototype also features a new set of high-clearance running boards that do double duty as rocker panel protectors. The tubular inside section seems to be mounted at frame height to protect the frame. It then arches upward for additional body protection at the rocker panels. The design is reminiscent of the one used on the current Colorado ZR2 Bison, while delivering high levels of clearance, solid body protection and an assist step.
This 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 prototype also appears to have evolved beyond the placeholder lighting elements found on earlier prototypes of the “regular” 2023 Colorado. There’s an LED strip at the top of the headlights, along with what appears to be a flush headlight cluster running horizontally across the front fascia.
The 2023 Chevy Colorado will ride on an updated version of GM’s current GMT-31XX midsize body-on-frame architecture, which will be dubbed 31XX-2. The vehicle will get an all-new exterior and interior, along with an all-new powerplant in the form of the turbocharged 2.7L I-4 L3B gasoline motor currently offered in the Silverado 1500. In that application, the boosted four-pot is rated at a healthy 310 horsepower and 348 pound-feet of torque, though the 2022 Silverado 1500 refresh saw the torque figure jump to 420 pound-feet. GM’s 10-speed automatic transmission will handle shifting duty. The atmospheric 2.5L I-4 LCV and 3.6L V-6 LGZ, along with the 2.8L I-4 LWN turbo-diesel baby Duramax are not expected to be offered.
The midsize pickup truck, which has consistently ranked in the top three spots in its segment from a sales volume standpoint, will also adopt GM’s new Global B electrical architecture – otherwise known as Vehicle Intelligence Platform, or VIP. Besides allowing for over-the-air (OTA) updates to vehicle components, Global B also enables the inclusion of state-of-the-art infotainment and active safety technologies.
The 2023 Chevy Colorado will continue to be built at the GM Wentzville plant in Missouri alongside its corporate cousin, the 2023 GMC Canyon. GM invested $1 billion into the facility specifically for the new midsize pickups.
The international-market variant, sold as the Chevrolet S10 in South America, is expected to become ever more similar with the North American-market model. The S10 will be built at the São José dos Campos plant in Brazil, which received a $1.3 billion investment for the next-gen model. The GM Rayong plant in Thailand, which built the S10 for Southeast Asia, has been shuttered and sold off as GM/Chevrolet withdrew from that region.