The Chevrolet Colorado Trail Boss Is An Off-Road Pickup For The Masses

By automotive-mag.com 5 Min Read

Modern trucks have become statement pieces, lifted luxury vehicles more at home in parking lots than actual dirt roads. So it’s refreshing that Chevrolet offers a no-frills, off-road-oriented pickup like the Colorado Trail Boss. This truck’s $41,000 as-tested price isn’t exactly bargain-bin, but for what the Trail Boss offers in the way of off-road capability, it’s a screaming deal.

It starts with a torquey turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder making 310 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. No there’s no V-6, but acceleration feels effortless thanks to generous amounts of torque, which peaks at 1,250 rpm. The torque figure pairs with enough power to quickly get the truck up to highway speeds.

It’s not the most powerful Colorado, either – that honor goes to the ZR2 with its 430 lb-ft – but the Trail Boss has 73 more hp than the base model and an extra 131 lb-ft. This smaller engine is more powerful than the previous Colorado’s V-6, has more torque than the current Nissan Frontier’s V-6, and offers more power all-around than any Jeep Gladiator.

Quick Specs 2023 Chevrolet Colorado Trail Boss
Engine Turbocharged 2.7-Liter Four-Cylinder
Output 310 Horsepower / 390 Pound-Feet
Towing 7,700 Pounds
Base Price $39,390
As-Tested Price $41,195

The reason you buy the Trail Boss, though, is for its plentiful off-road kit. Four-wheel drive and 32-inch all-terrain tires come standard along with a 2.0-inch suspension lift, a 3.0-inch wider track, an automatic-locking rear differential, and hill descent control. Adding a skid plate is a $995 option. The tires, lift, and bodywork, result in a 30.5-degree approach angle, a 22.4-degree departure, and 21 degrees of breakover. Not amazing numbers in the larger scope, but excellent at this price within the mid-size pickup segment.

The Colorado Trail Boss also has a secret drive mode that other off-road trucks don’t. Terrain mode is a one-pedal drive system – yes, like in EVs – that makes difficult off-roading easier. Instead of modulating braking and throttle with two feet, Terrain mode controls throttle and braking with one pedal. It’s seamless and simple to use; you can read more about it in my first drive.

2023 Chevrolet Colorado Trail Boss Review

Pros: Torquey Engine, Excellent Off-Road Equipment, Affordable

But most of my time in the Colorado Trail Boss this time around was on the road, and it’s a mixed bag as a daily driver. The engine is torquey and the suspension is stiff but well-damped. The thicker off-road tires help soften the blow of broken pavement, even if the twin-tube shocks aren’t so forgiving. But the steering feels vague, the cabin is loud, and there’s still a lot of body roll. Having been in the Colorado Z71, which is genuinely nice to drive, much of this decrease in civility comes down to the off-road kit.

You also get a basic interior at this price. It’s equipped with a standard 11.3-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as all new Colorado models are., But the cloth seats feel cheap and there’s a lot of hard plastic in the cabin. The fuel economy, even for a four-cylinder, isn’t great either; the Colorado Trail Boss returns a middling 21 miles per gallon combined.

2023 Chevrolet Colorado Trail Boss Review

Cons: Basic Interior, Inefficient Engine, Questionable Front-End Design

And if you’re wondering about the front end – that’s standard. Chevy decided that black plastic on the front fascia would be better than metal and paint for off-roading, which is more prone to scratching. It’s a good thought, but it leaves something to be desired visually.

But those are the sacrifices you have to make to get an off-road truck at this price. And frankly, even with cloth seats, the Colorado Trail Boss is worth it. You really won’t find another truck this capable for the price.

You can get into a Colorado Trail Boss for as little as $39,390 (with destination) for everything mentioned above. The handsome Radiant Red paint is an extra $495 and the $375 Convenience package adds cruise control, which brings this truck to an as-tested price of $41,195.

Update: An earlier version of this article indicated the front skid plate was standard, but it is a $995 option on the Trail Boss.

2023 Chevrolet Colorado Trail Boss Review

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