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Power is one of the most common reasons a car or truck costs more money. Think about it, Ford Rangers aren’t the same price as a Ford F-150 Raptor, are they? Now, imagine that you could buy the base model 2023 Chevrolet Colorado but get the same horsepower as the ZR2 trim. Luckily we don’t have to imagine; this is a real thing you can get for only $395 extra. True shortcuts are rare indeed, and we have a bonafide one here. Halleluja!

2023 Chevy Colorado WT Work Truck
2023 Chevy Colorado WT | Chevrolet

What’s the best 2023 Chevrolet Colorado trim? 

It’s common for base trims to get the least powerful engine. This keeps prices lower, offering a budget version of most models of cars and trucks. However, in the truck and SUV world, offering a plain truck or SUV with the hot engine makes a lot of sense. Who wants to off-road in a fancy truck with a leather interior and fancy appointments? According to MotorTrend, Chevy has devised a great solution for this problem. 

For many buyers, the best 2023 Chevrolet Colorado trim is the base model with the ZR2 tune. A simple, cheaper base model truck but with the oomph of the fancy one is one hell of a package. 

What engine comes in the 2023 Colorado? 

Red 2023 Chevy Colorado Midsize Truck posed on a gravel trail
2023 Chevy Colorado Midsize Truck | Chevrolet

Every trim for the 2023 Colorado comes with a 2.7-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. The different trim levels offer a different tune for the engine. The higher up the trim list you go, the more power gets squeezed out of the 2.7-liter. 

Work Truck (WT) and LT trims come standard with the L2R 2.7-liter engine, producing 237 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. As an option, the WT and LT trims get what comes standard on Z71, and Trail Boss, the more powerful L3B 2.7-liter engine. This option makes 310 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. Chevy calls this the Turbo Plus engine. Chevy’s top-spec Colorado ZR2 gets the same L3B engine but tuned to make 430 lb-ft and with the Turbo High-Output title.

Can you upgrade the Chevy Colorado?

A 2023 Chevy Colorado shows off as an off-road truck. It has 2 pretty great characteristics.
2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 | Chevy

The fun part of this whole thing is that Chevy is letting Colorado owners with the L3B Turbo Plus engine get a dealer tune that makes the same 310 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque as the ZR2’s Turbo High-Output engine. The WT trim will need to be bought with the L3B engine, which is only a $1,185 upcharge. For only $395 more, the dealer will hit it with the hot tune. According to MotorTrend, for just an additional $1,580, you can drive home the most basic, steel-wheel-clad 2023 Chevy Colorado with ZR2 level power output for less than $32,000. 

Why can’t Chevy tune the L2R engine? 

Motortrend notes that, while we might be tempted to go for the lesser engine, the Colorado ZR2 tune isn’t available. The two engines are largely the same, but the L2R engine is missing key parts like piston oil squirters (along with sound/vibration damping material). MT also explains that while this lessens oil consumption and some cost, it restricts the amount of power the engine can safely make. The L2R also comes with a different transmission that has a different gear ratio. 

The good news is that you can get a simple WT trim pickup truck with a hot motor. This is the ultimate off-road rig without spending stupid 2023 off-road trim money. Hurry now; there’s gonna be a line at the Chevy store.