Car Life Nation

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A blue 2023 Ford Ranger Lariat is shown towing an Airstream trailer after winning a 2023 Ford Ranger vs 2023 Chevy Colorado comparison.

A Midsize Shootout: Comparing Chevy’s New Colorado and Ford’s Ranger

The 2023 Ford Ranger vs 2023 Chevy Colorado is one of the most exciting comparisons in the midsize truck segment. These smaller American pickups are great options for those seeking trucks that are fun, affordable, off-road ready, and also have good fuel economy. Fierce competition from Japan with Nissan’s Frontier and Toyota’s Tacoma has sparked revolutionary options and trims from America’s large domestic manufacturers. Capitalizing on growing market demand, domestic manufacturers are offering exciting new trims and packages that cater to off-road enthusiasts and customers seeking more adventure from their otherwise daily drivers. With well over half a million units sold last year, the midsize truck segment remains one of the most compelling segments in the market.

Power Comes Standard in the Ranger

A major change from Chevy this year is to eliminate the Colorado’s old three-engine lineup to follow Ford’s lead with a single turbocharged engine across every trim. However, Chevy decided to offer three different power outputs for the same engine, introducing needless complexity and forcing customers to pay more to unlock their truck’s full capabilities. Even worse, the top power output is only available on the ZR2 trim, which costs over $10,000 more than the top trim of the 2023 Ranger.

Every 2023 Ford Ranger comes with the same small but torquey 2.3L EcoBoost engine. This efficient and proven turbocharged power plant was introduced for the Ranger in 2011 and provides 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque across the board. Even if you buy the base model, you will enjoy all of that power at no added cost. Another advantage of the Ford powertrain is that it comes standard with a ten-speed automatic transmission, which provides two additional gears over the Colorado’s less capable eight-speed automatic.

Compared to the Ranger, the Colorado does offer more power, but only if you pay for it. Chevy’s starting WT and LT trims share a base 2.7L Turbo with 237 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque, which feels underpowered compared to the Ranger’s standard EcoBoost engine. The Trail Boss and Z71 trims offer a 2.7L Turbo Plus engine tuned to produce 310 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque, but the $37,000 starting price for the Trail Boss means it is more expensive than the top Lariat trim of the 2023 Ranger. Finally, the Colorado ZR2 has a 2.7L Turbo High-Output engine that presents an impressive 310 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque, but the premium price tag for the trim puts it in another segment entirely.

Added Work-Ready Capability

Towing capability remains a priority for those who work and play with their midsize pickups. Both the Colorado and the Ranger are capable of offering similar towing capacity, but the 2023 Ranger reaches its max tow rating of 7,500 lbs with its standard engine, while the 2023 Colorado’s base powertrain option is limited to just 3,500 lbs. To get a competitive tow rating, you will have to pay more for a more powerful engine tune.

Most midsize truck drivers will spend more time hauling payloads in the beds of their trucks than towing, and this is another place the Ranger comes out on top. While the 2023 Colorado is limited to just 1,684 lbs of payload, the Ranger can handle up to 1,905 lbs of payload. Even better, the Ranger is available with a six-foot bed that provides 51.8 cu.ft. of cargo volume, while the Colorado can only be optioned with a five-foot short bed. If you need a midsize truck for work, then the Ranger is the clear choice.

The black interior is shown in a 2023 Ford Ranger.

Creature Comforts

While the 2023 Colorado and 2023 Ranger offer options with impressive off-road performance, these two midsize trucks are equally impressive on-road. Both come with standard and available comfort and convenience features that make driving even more civilized on the pavement.

The new 2023 Colorado comes with Chevy Safety Assist, a package of six advanced driver-assistance features designed to help give you confidence whenever you get behind the wheel of your truck. Forward Collision Alert, Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, a Following Distance Indicator, and Intellibeam headlamps enhance the driving experience and give drivers confidence in all traffic conditions.

Well-equipped Colorado trims generously provide a variety of other onboard technologies, such as 10 available exterior camera views. Different viewpoints help you hit all roads with confidence. Segment-first underbody cameras are a particularly valuable feature for off-roaders, helping you see obstacles underneath your truck. All of these camera views are displayed on the standard 11.3-inch central touchscreen, which is the largest in the midsize truck segment. That massive display can be paired with an available 11-inch digital driver information center for an even more modern feel.

Ford’s 2023 Ranger is not as impressive with its driver connectivity and safety features, but it provides all the technology you need at an affordable price and doesn’t force you to pay for more than you want. The Ranger’s available Co-Pilot360 suite includes driver-assist features such as Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking and a Blind Spot Information System, helping you to stay safe on the road. The 2023 Ranger is also available with Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system on a central touchscreen display. However, if you want a no-frills work truck, you can get just that instead, skipping the expensive added tech to stay with the basics.

More Affordable Pricing

Because the 2023 Ford Ranger is a proven platform, it is not surprising that it costs less than the new 2023 Chevy Colorado. In fact, the Ford Ranger XL starts at $27,400, while the 2023 Chevy Colorado WT begins at $29,200. That $2,000 advantage will let you drive away with more money in your wallet or let you option up your Ranger with some added features and still pay less than Chevy wants for its midsize truck.

The top trims of the Ranger have an even larger price advantage over the top trims of the Colorado. The 2023 Ranger Lariat can be had for just $35,500, making it a real bargain in the midsize segment. In comparison, the mid-tier Trail Boss trim for the 2023 Colorado begins at $37,000, and the top-tier ZR2 commands no less than $46,800. While the new Colorado has plenty of amazing features, Chevy is beginning to price itself out of the segment.

A blue 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is shown kicking up sand.

Sometimes, Newer Isn’t Better.

Although both models are certainly capable, there are several key areas where the 2023 Ford Ranger has clear advantages over the 2023 Chevy Colorado. Loyalists would likely gravitate towards their favorite brands, but for drivers looking to purchase the best value midsize truck on the market, the proven Ranger simply can’t be beat. Ford’s standard turbocharged powertrain, unbeatable payload capability, and lower prices make it the pickup of choice for hard workers. While Chevy introduced all sorts of options and features for the new Colorado, Ford stuck with the basics and made the Ranger a traditional work-ready pickup that can handle long days with minimal fuss. The Ranger has outsold the Colorado by a significant margin in years past, and it looks like it may just do the same in 2023.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *