2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Spied Testing For The First Time26
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.
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I only bought my ZR2 because it was offered with the diesel in a long bed short cab configuration. The 2.8 duramax won’t be missed in my opinion, because it was unrefined (really noisy), underpowered, and inefficient for what it was supposed to be. I will gladly take an underpowered engine if it’s efficient, but otherwise, what’s the point? The high beltline on the Colorado makes for terrible visibility from the cab, and also makes getting stuff out of the bed more difficult than it needs to be. Hey GM, if you have to put a step on the bumper, and replace the bed stake with a grab point to pick yourself up, could it be a sign that the truckbed is no longer serving its purpose? I was really hoping for better in 2023, not worse.
You must have been unlucky. I’ve been extremely pleased with my 2.8L Duramax. I actually think it’s quiet for a Diesel. In my 2017 Z71 Colorado, I regularly get 33MPG Highway and 26 City. I tow a 6klb race car trailer with it, and after a tune, this truck has instantaneous pedal response with almost no turbo lag, and will roast the tires off a stoplight like a V8. I LOVE my MiniMax and frankly I think it’s one of the best things about these trucks. I know many Toyota Tacoma owners who converted to the Colorado and love the Diesel. While I agree the high beltline can be difficult getting things out of the bed, it also makes large items a lot more secure in the bed. A trade off I personally like versus the Tacoma with a very shallow bed height.
All good points, maybe I did get a lemon. If I were to do it again I’d get the crew cab long bed. I think the G80 locker is just as good as the elocker (since I only ever use it on loose dirt and snow). I walked by a 2.8 idling the other day and thought, “that’s quieter than I remember”. So maybe you’re right. Still disagree on the high beltline. It’d be nice if I could fit a sheet of plywood between the wheel wells considering this has practically the same footprint as an OBS chevy.
I’m not sure I agree with the high beltline comment. It seems easy to see out of in my opinion (I’ve driven lots of trucks, full-size to the old style Ranger) and doesn’t seem any worse than others. I don’t understand that comment at all. As for the high belt-line/high bed-sides…what truck in it’s segment does better? The Ranger, the Tacoma, the new Frontier…they are all just as tall. Maybe the Ridgeline does better here, but then again it’s a mini-van turned into a truck. It does what most actual owners in this segment need, but still…it is what it is. How about we wait and see what this new generation of Colorado/Canyon have to offer before we start bashing it?
“The 2.8 duramax won’t be missed in my opinion, because it was unrefined (really noisy), underpowered, and inefficient for what it was supposed to be.”
I’m not sure if you actually own a ZR2 with the diesel engine, because your comment is really off. I own a 2017 Chevy Colorado with the 2.8L Duramax Diesel engine and the engine is really quiet, has lots of torque, and I’m getting 30 mpg on the highway. And similar info is well reported by various car/truck websites and magazines. And with over 45,000 miles of combined highway/city driving I’m averaging 27.5 mpg. That isn’t “inefficient”.
I’m really excited about the next Colorado ZR2. I nearly bought a Zr2 a year ago but the outdated interior and lack of safety tech was a show stopper for me. Still love the truck though. If the silverado ZR2 is anything to go by, I’ll keep my hopes high.
I really want one of the ZR2s in the next year or two so I’ll be cross shopping them. (Although I am leaning towards the silverado now).
Ah, so you are one of those shoppers, the larger portion that are more concerned with how you look in the kid pick up line than the small percentage that actually needs and uses a truck like this. It is more about dropping tire size and locker numbers in conversations than getting away to places most vehicles can’t take you to. You never hear of those that have an actual need for one of these to skip it because it doesn’t have X luxury feature or gizmo, it is either you need and use it or you settle for something lesser.
Wow, envy is a terrible thing.
You know I have a large number of customers who do have a use for the extra gear. They go out and use up their vehicles on trail weekend. I make a lot of money on these parts as they add them and break them.
As for those who pose well more power to the, if they can afford the truck even if they don’t need it God bless them as they only help GM justify building a truck like this and make more money on it.
I looked at a Z but bought the Denali as it better fit my needs. I don’t off road. But that was my personal choice. If someone else just wants a Z to the mall that is their business.
You know I did not have to have the Luxury options either but I have them and they are nice.
Envy, says the guy with C8.R in his name. If I wanted to buy a box checker truck i’d buy one, but I prefer my hiney to A) sit on cloth (I find it to be much more comfortable and durable) and B) the lux’d up trucks don’t cut it in the back country or doing work where you get dirty. Try cleaning tan leather that got grease or grim on it; no matter how hard you try if you need to run out or move the truck when working you are bound to get it dirty. That is why when we hunt my buddy with his Sierra Denali always rides with me, from the taller tires to the dirt and abuse his truck really isn’t cut out for.
The problem I have is (and this probably speaks to you as well, though I am not sure on to your uses) is these guys purchase them as an image purchase. The suburbs are chalk full of platinum/limited trucks or off road packages with black wheels and lifts kits that are squeaky clean underneath and never had a trailer on the hitch or something in the bed outside of soccer balls. They come from fancy luxury cars and want all the options they had but in a masculine pickup truck with of course 4wd when it isn’t needed down south. Then they see how masculine the Raptors, TRX and ZR2’s of the world are and want that with all the luxuries to never be used, and the problem is to get all that stuff costs money. That cost, is passed on down the line to those that actually need and use trucks for their businesses or hobbies.
This is actually a two part statement. Take a pool guy that needs a nice base model truck, it is much more cost effective to buy new with interest rates and rebates that include a warranty than used. But because the cost of trucks have risen so much thanks to the suburban dad buying them and requiring all the luxuries, the development costs have been passed on down nearly pricing out many of the smaller companies. They are stuck either over spending for that new truck or buying older and used that even with maintenance can break down and leave them from earning their pay check that day. I imagine unloading a truck in to a rental for a few days is a pain when you have set it up to work for you. Some rentals don’t allow towing or if you do pools having hazardous chemicals in them.
Then you have the off road packages, a ZR2 would be great for the guy that is off in the back country often and needs some added payload and towing for running his ranch or someone to who would rather/is better off camping in the back country (overlanding if you will). But because this truck now comes with all the bells and whistles so the guy on the golf course who isn’t setting foot on a two track to camp but rather a hilton at the base of the ski resort, it prices out the consumer who actually could use it. All these guys hear is lockers or baja, they probably have no idea how they work except that it is on the top level jeep for the most traction and extreme off roading that it will never see.
Point is all these luxury costs get passed on down to the base models, which is why 4wd is now nearly a 4k option (you don’t need 4wd down south for the weather or the boat ramp, only off roading which none do). Trucks have gone up nearly a 50% more in cost than a comparable family sedan in the past 20ish year. I did a comparison of like an Altima or Maxima (I forget which one) from the late 90’s a few years ago and a Silverado. Comparing starting prices and top trims the Nissan car was right around the inflation and increased like 24% while the Silverado in the same time was just north of 50% increase in price (forgive me for not having the numbers it was a few years back). Both have added features, safety and higher platinum trims, but trucks went up so much more, wonder why?
Either way it can mostly be attributed to those who are now driving the purchases, the box checker guys. The massaging seats on the F150, yeah, the handy man who owns his own construction business is helping cover that cost so the guy living in the HOA controlled town home whos garage won’t fit his truck can enjoy it on the way to the office. Sure safety features and tech have been added, but so have they to the cars but trucks have gone up so much more making it harder for those with a need to afford them.
I am lucky, I can afford the truck, toys, etc, but I view it as a tool. I work a white collar job and make good money, but I enjoy DIY builds around the house and getting out in nature. Give me chrome bumpers as they don’t chip, cloth seats, plenty of payload for my projects and towing to cover my track car and boat along with a good enough 4wd system that doesn’t leave me stranded in the back country unless I go to far. Bout the only luxuries I want are adaptive cruise (which I don’t have) as I use cruise often and distracted people speeding up and down annoy the heck out of me, and dual climate control because like most couples me and the misses are far apart in our temperature settings. I would prefer manual seats too. And these screen sizes are getting out of hand and I am not even that old, not even 40.
It is sad when I saw the Silverado ZR2 is only coming in the luxury box checker version, as if they offered it in say an LT model or even custom could get a few hundred pounds of added payload and open up the market for the guys that actual might have a use for it (though lockers are really not something but a few people actually have a use for in a truck but that is another discussion). Looks like the Colorado ZR2/AT4X might be in that same boat seeing as how the TRD PRO is now the top of the range, those trucks should be mid level trims at best or at the very least option packages on different models, not trim levels. Could you imaging if a work truck could be packaged with lockers front and rear and a honking V8 with 2k+ payload and 12k towing. Instead the box checker versions tend to barely clear 1k in payload on a half ton truck, pathetic.
I don’t have a problem with people buying or doing what they want, it is when it impacts others that bothers me. I see it from family and friends who work in the service business with their own companies, that is a huge cost and down time of an old vehicle sucks for them, but they usually have a hard time justifying 30k+ for a bare bones base model work truck that should cost 10k less; I can only imagine how it impacts those in less fortunate service businesses…
Wow so may words to say nothing.
You sure don’t live up to your name.
This all comes down to money. More options and fancy packages make money. The object is to separate the customer from more of their money and that is just what this is about.
If you want a base truck you can order one but they are not ho8ng to stock pile them as few want them.
If they can’t make the money on the cars the prices go to the Trucks.
Note much of the truck money pays the ever exceeding development cost that many other lines don’t cover.
Well, for me, the active safety systems are a mist no matter how much I like the vehicle. I’ve been in two massive accidents on the freeway (full speed into stopped car in backed up exit lane when the other lanes were free flowing) that could have easily been avoided with a warning to the driver. (Full disclosure i caused one and got hit in the other). It is so important to me I quit work for a year to try and develop an aftermarket system that could give such a warning. So I guess I am one of those guys.
In the mean time, we have a 4×4 sprinter on order im going to convert into a campervan to go to remote areas. So ya, having a truck that can go on even further or more remote areas is kind of up my ally.
I am curious though, what type of truck do you want? Silverados start at less than $30k of you are worried about all these expensive features rising the price for every other one
The wait will be wort the 2.7 as the torque will be low and plenty.
My six is ok but you have to rev it to make it go. Not much under 3000 RPM. It is ok once you adapt to it.
Bit the safety stuff on another GMC and not really a big deal. The 360 camera is good snd I hope they make it available for off road use. I also hope GMC adds HUD.
The proportions on this truck are just sooo right. Really looking forward to this!
Outboard rear shocks!
I hope the 2.7L turbo isn’t de-tuned for the Colorado. The current 310hp / 348 lb ft. sounds perfect.
If they give us less than that, it will be disappointment, especially now that this engine makes even more power (over 400lbs torque!) in the 2022 Silverado.
My hope is they give us the higher power version standard and a turbo V6 in the ZR2 (or other trims) but if I was a betting man I kind of feel like the regular truck will get the 348lb version while the ZR2 will get the version with 410 (or is it 420?) lbs of torque.
You should get 310 with no issue. I hope they make the new higher HP model available for this truck as an option.
That one will eliminate the lack of torque issue for the diesel guys.
When is this truck scheduled to be on sale?
At this point, assuming the chip shortage doesn’t derail the whole thing…and that would not surprise me at all. I’d estimate late summer to fall 2022.
Looks like the rear shocks were moved outboard to the position they should have been in at the beginning….Yet I saw the Silverado ZR2 has the same inboard shock mounts as the 1st Gen ZR2?? Maybe GM will have some cross platform discussions one day and look at the aftermarket industries that have sprung up due to design flaws that are easily fixed….Still see the frame is a JOKE! That’s too bad….seems lots of design work is outsourced to companies that have no idea what they are doing.
What design flaw? Outboard mounted shocks are more susceptible to damage in certain circumstances too, Slide off a rock or ledge that those outboard shocks eat it. I would rather the springs be the widest as they control and hold the load the most.
What are you seeing about the frame? The current one is excellent…
WRONG! The 1st Gen ZR2 suffers from poor rear shock location….Glad the 2nd Gen is fixed….Now…..why didn’t GM do the same on the Silverado ZR2?…..Because it’s the dis functional GM of Mary Barra….That’s why!
The shocks needed to be moved to not sit below the axle as they drag. Going off road these have been an issue. GM moved them for more clearance.
They are all nice when new. On the ranch I loved my GMC S15 4×4 with 2.8 six. Hi low range for tooling around, 306 thousand miles, 4 starters 2 clutches tires and regular maintenance.
I love my ’17 Z71 crewcab/longbed diesel. 28.5 MPG over 55k miles, mix of 2WD and 4WD, more highway than city and some towing but the bed is almost always full of landscaping brush or construction debris.
And I like the diesel sound! Had some recurring problems with the diesel particulate filter but Chevy stood behind it and eventually replaced the entire exhaust gratis and extended my powertrain warranty to 100k miles. No problems since then. If no diesel is available on the next gen, I’ll hold on to this longer
If GM PUT THE NEW 2022 Frontier interior with the dash display and 10′ center Display, moved all 4 wheel controls to the console and offered interior seat color options (Brown, tan, etc) on the ZR2, I would not think twice on purchasing a new 2023 ZR2. Why is a nice expensive truck all black inside.