The All-New 2023 Chevy Colorado Makes Other Small Pickup Trucks, Like the Hyundai Santa Cruz, Look Silly

Make room, boys and girls; the all-new 2023 Chevy Colorado is here, and it’s loaded with new features and upgraded performance. This all-new midsize pickup truck is coming as the dawn of a new age of small pickup trucks. Despite the funky originality of the Hyundai Santa Cruz, the all-new 2023 Chevy Colorado makes other small pickup trucks look a little silly. 

Is there going to be a 2023 Chevy Colorado pickup truck? 

2023 Chevy Colorado in the desert
2023 Chevy Colorado | Chevy

The new Chevy Colorado is here, and the bow-tie people are pumped. Chevrolet announced yesterday, “the all-new Colorado is enhanced in every way,” said Scott Bell, global vice president of Chevrolet. “With its rugged and sporty styling, enhanced capability, new technology, and customization options, it’s designed to do more for discerning customers and still offer them great value.” 

Chevy engineers focused on three categories to take the Colorado to the next level for 2023: elevated design, enhanced performance, and new and useful technology. The coolest part of the Colorado design is that the lineup is built around a single wheelbase and single cab configuration to create a consistent series of pickups. 

The 2023 Chevy Colorado lineup features five trim levels: Work Truck (WT), LT, Z71, ZR2, and first-ever Trail Boss models. This diverse range of styles and performance types aims to provide tailored experiences for each type of truck owner. 

How will the 2023 Chevy Colorado compare to the Hyundai Santa Cruz? 

The new 2023 Chevy Colorado lineup
2023 Chevy Colorado lineup | Chevrolet

The truth is, the two trucks really aren’t all that comparable outside of the fact that they share a segment and a similar size. But this is kind of Chevy’s point, right? The new Chevy Colorado is meant to elevate the segment. In order to do this, it must be a new breed of midsize truck. 

For starters, all new Colorado trims come with the same 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine. However, each trim has a special tune to offer different output. The base version makes a strong 237 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. This engine comes standard with the base WT and second-tier LT. Although, the 2.7-liter Turbo Plus, making 310 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque –  standard for the ZR1 and Trail Boss – is available for the LT and WT. Lastly, the ZR2 comes with the same turbo Plus 2.7-liter, making 310 hp, but this version makes 430 lb-ft and can tow up to 7,700 lbs. 

To compare, the Hyundai Santa Cruz offers two engine options: the 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 191 hp and the 2.5-liter Turbo making 281 hp. The Santa Cruz can only manage to tow 5,000 lbs at its strongest. The bed of the Santa Cruz is also significantly shorter, not only shorter than the Colorado but shorter than every other pickup truck bed. 

Can the Hyundai Santa Cruz go off-road?

Front angle view of light blue 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup truck, highlighting its release date and price
2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

Another major difference between the new Colorado and the Santa Cruz is the difference in chassis. The Hyundai Santa Cruz is similar to the Honda Ridgeline in that the idea is a practical small pickup truck that is friendly, efficient, and mild. This is great and fills a real need, but this is not what the pickup truck is all about. The Colorado, although small, is much more in line with the pickup truck ethos. 

The new Colorado has specific off-roading chassis meant for serious off-road performance. 

  • Standard: WT, LT, and Z71 trims
  • 2-inch Factory-Lifted, Ultra-Wide Stance: Trail Boss
  • High-Performance 3-inch Factory-Installed Lift & Wide Stance: ZR2

These three chassis offer a variety of performance, comfort, and utility. The Santa Cruz offers only the unibody platform, which is great for road driving but less for off-roading. Although it comes in AWD, which can handle dirt roads and maybe some very mild off-roading, the Hyundai Santa Cruz won’t be climbing Hell’s Gate anytime soon. 

What is the best small pickup truck? 

Again, these two models feel tough to compare because they are really for different customers. But if you want something that feels like a pickup truck, the all-new Chevy Colorado will be hard to beat in the midsize pickup truck category. 

RELATED: The Real Reason the 2021 Honda Ridgeline Should Be More Popular