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We Bought a Loaded Chevy Colorado Z71 for Our Long-Term Fleet

Let's see if it's as good as it looks

2023 Chevrolet Colorado front
  • Purchasing the newly redesigned Chevrolet Colorado was a no-brainer.
  • We opted for the penultimate trim level, the Z71 with Convenience packages II and III.
  • We plan on exploring every feature and putting the Colorado through its paces.

The highly competitive midsize truck segment is attracting more buyers than ever, partially because these affordable workhorses are becoming better and more practical. The Chevrolet Colorado is a prime example. The previous Colorado was useful enough, but after purchasing and driving two versions — a 2015 Colorado Z71 and a 2017 Colorado ZR2 — we came away disappointed by the cramped interior and lackluster materials quality. Fully overhauled for 2023, the new Colorado is a welcome change, offering a tough new exterior design, a more upscale interior treatment, improved ride comfort and more room for passengers. With many of our major concerns addressed by this redesigned model, we knew we had to buy one for our long-term fleet.

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Z71 is still the one to get

The Colorado looks great in every trim level and specs are promising down the list, but we had to settle on one. For our own 2023 Chevrolet Colorado, we opted for the penultimate trim, the Z71 with the Convenience Package II and Convenience Package III. The Z71 is a vigorous 4WD truck with plenty of excellent features to go with its off-road chops. We were impressed with it when we tested it on our home turf, and we currently have it No. 1 in our ranking of midsize trucks.

All new Colorados come equipped with an eight-speed automatic mated to a turbocharged 2.7-liter inline-four that offers three different power outputs. The standard version is called Turbo, and it produces 237 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque. The Z71 comes standard with the Turbo Plus tune, and that makes 310 hp and 391 lb-ft of torque. We spent a little more and opted for the top Turbo High-Output option, which increases torque to 430 lb-ft. (This tune is standard for the 2024 Colorado Z71.) Our Colorado is equipped with 18-inch wheels wrapped in 32-inch Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires, an Eaton auto-locking rear differential, an AutoTrac two-speed transfer case, a 120-volt bed-mounted power outlet and red recovery hooks up front.

We specced our Z71 with the optional Convenience Package II and Convenience Package III. Features added by these packages include remote engine start, a multifunction tailgate, and a safety package consisting of rear parking sensors, a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic warning, blind-spot intervention and rear automatic braking. On the inside, you'll find an 8-inch digital instrument panel, an 11.3-inch display with built-in Google compatibility, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heated and ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel and wireless phone charging. Needless to say, our Z71 comes with the creature comforts to make it a pleasant chariot regardless of what you intend to use it for.

2023 Chevrolet Colorado interior

We plan to explore all of its capabilities

The midsize truck segment is in the middle of a massive shakeup, as every major player has been or will soon be fully redesigned. Not only is the Colorado all-new for 2023, but two of its biggest rivals, the Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma, are also completely overhauled for 2024. As the first of these redesigned trucks to hit the market (and as our currently top-ranked midsize), it made sense for us to buy the Colorado ASAP, and in a trim that gives us the opportunity to travel off the beaten path.

Edmunds says

The Colorado is a formidable competitor, but we also know that other redesigned midsize trucks are just around the corner. We will put our Colorado Z71 through its paces for a year and see if it can still hold its own.