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Excitement for the new Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is brewing for understandable reasons. It’s one beastly midsize truck that’s ready to challenge the Toyota Tacoma. However, some of the praise has us baffled. The 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 was called the best off-roading truck after leaving a trail early. 

Is the 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 tough? 

The 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 off-roading in sand
2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 | Chevrolet

Yes, the 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is built tough. It has a fully boxed high-strength steel frame with seven cross members and a reinforced safety cage. It has a traditional body-on-frame build, which is more durable than unibody builds. 

However, we’ve seen one example of a pre-production Colorado ZR2 with a bent frame at the Mint 400 off-road race. The bend may have been caused by too much extra weight, but the truck also won its class. Bending in half didn’t stop it from winning. 

Recently, a driver from Motor Authority was testing the Chevy Colorado ZR2 in the desert and ht a rock at 45 mph while dodging another. The impact was heard and felt, but the truck kept going with a flat tire. 

After stopping, the driver found that the rear quarter panel was dented, the back tire was flat, and it sat further back in the wheel well. The rock made contact with the aluminum drive shaft and pushed the axle back by about three inches. 

This bent one U-bolt that holds the axle and leaf spring in place and moved another to the top of the pale, but the axle was fine, and the truck made it to a repair shop thanks to the spare tire. 

The truck could still drive despite pulling a little to the left, but we have questions. How big was the rock? Why didn’t it hit the skid plate? Would another skid plate help protect the rear, or would it limit travel? Could other trucks accidentally hit a rock at high speeds and keep going? 

Is the 2023 Colorado more reliable? 

We know that the 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is much stronger and more robust than the outgoing generation, but the Colorado hasn’t had the best reputation for reliability. 

But we have good news for Chevrolet fans. J.D.Power gave the 2023 Coloroad a predicted reliability ranking of 85 out of 100. That’s an above-average score. Anything between 70 – 80 is average, while scores between 91 to 100 are best. 

The 2022 model has the same score, so the new model may need to be put to the test. The ranking may change as more critics and drivers report their experiences. 

Also, the average Colorado model is expected to make it between 200,000 to 300,000 miles. It’s not uncommon for well-maintained models to surpass 300,000 miles. 

How is the 2023 Colorado ZR2 built for off-roading? 

The 2023 Chevy Colorado off-roading in sand
2023 Chevy Colorado | Chevrolet

The 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 rides on 17-inch wheels wrapped in 33-inch all-terrain tires. The frame is unique to the ZR2 model, with reinforcements to handle the increased weight and enhance stability. 

The rear shocks are now outboard, and the suspension features Multimatic Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) shocks. They’re longer for more damping force and tuned for more control at high speeds. 

Plus, you get a locking differential in the front and rear, aluminum skid plates, tow hooks, ZR2 knuckles, upper control arms, and cast iron lower control arms.

While the 2023 Colorado ZR2 has significant improvements over the outgoing generation, is it the best option for off-roading? Hitting a rock and bending U-bolts doesn’t bolster confidence for some. We will keep tracking this truck for performance updates, so stay tuned.