The all-new third-generation 2023 Chevy Colorado got its big debut last July, introducing new exterior styling, an overhauled interior, a new powertrain, and an update to the model lineup. In addition, the 2023 Chevy Colorado also introduces the second-generation GM eight-speed automatic transmission, addressing one of the biggest issues of the preceding Chevy Colorado. For those who may have missed it, the first-gen 8-speed was the target of multiple lawsuits against GM, with plaintiffs claiming a range of problems, from jerking, to hesitation, to surging. The question is this – did GM really fix the 8-speed automatic with the new 2023 Chevy Colorado?
To find out, GM Authority Executive Editor Alex Luft got behind the wheel of the 2023 Chevy Colorado for some firsthand experience with the new truck and second-gen transmission, documenting his experience in the following GM Authority exclusive video.
Let’s begin by first elaborating on some of the issues experienced with the first-gen GM 8-speed automatic equipped by the preceding Chevy Colorado. As discussed in the video, there are really four main issues here, starting with the “first shift of the day,” wherein the first shift the truck performs after a cold start (be it from first to second, drive to reverse, etc.) is very rough. The second issue was unpredictable shifting behavior on upshifts, with the transmission sometimes holding a gear for too long, or other times upshifting more quickly than needed. The third issue is unpredictable and rough shifting behavior on downshifts, with the truck sometimes lurching forward. The fourth issue is less pervasive, but still present, and includes a clinking noise when shifting from park to drive.
To address these issues, GM updated the eight-speed automatic with new mechanical components, rather than just a fluid change, as was presented as a solution for owners of the last-gen pickup with the first-generation GM 8-speed automatic. So, did the changes work? Well, to sum up, the new transmission is definitely improved – but not perfect.
Some of the problems experienced with the new 2023 Chevy Colorado include a power delivery issue. When coasting at very low speeds (3 to 5 mph), a quick stab of the throttle is met with hesitation. Rather than immediately accelerate, the power takes a moment to kick in, and when the truck does finally start to accelerate, the delivery is more of a surge than smooth.
The second issue for the GM eight-speed in the 2023 Chevy Colorado occurs when accelerating at wide open throttle, then snapping off the pedal. In this scenario, the transmission will hold very high engine RPMs for a surprisingly long time, and won’t upshift until the driver touches the throttle again. This behavior is actually part of the transmission calibration to keep high-RPM power delivery available if needed, but could be considered an issue for those drivers expecting the transmission to upshift after snapping off the throttle.
That all said, the second-gen GM eight-speed automatic transmission in the 2023 Chevy Colorado is still vastly improved compared to the preceding GM eight-speed automatic, even with the issues outlined above. To note, the GM eight-speed automatic family includes the 8L45 and 8L80, the former of which connects to the 2.7L Turbo engine (RPO code L2R, standard on WT and LT), while the latter connects to the 2.7L Turbo Plus engine (RPO code L3B, standard on Z71 and Trail Boss, available on WT and LT) and 2.7L Turbo High-Output engine (standard on ZR2).
Check out the full GM Authority video below: