With a new model year in full swing, many potential buyers are looking through the various offerings from the different manufacturers in hopes of determining what the best options are. A common ground that many buyers have as a priority is cost. So, what happens when two vehicles from the same class sell for right about the same price? It’s required to look elsewhere to determine which is the better vehicle. This is the case with the Chevy Colorado and Nissan Frontier. Both are pickup trucks and close to one another regarding their starting MSRP, so factors need to be examined to determine which is the better choice. Let’s take a closer look at the 2023 Chevy Colorado vs 2023 Nissan Frontier and see which vehicle offers the most value.
What’s Under the Hood?
When it comes to the pickup truck, having a capable powertrain is a necessity. No matter what you might have planned, be it towing, commuting, or even engaging in the rough and tumble world of off-roading, having a capable engine makes all of the difference in the world. In recent years, Nissan has taken steps to streamline the production of their vehicles by equipping one powertrain across all trim levels.
An economical choice, as the fallout from the worldwide microchip shortage has limited the production quotas across the entire industry. The engine that the Frontier makes use of takes the form of a 3.8L V6, producing up to 310 hp and possessing the ability to generate 281 lb-ft of torque; this engine is paired with a nine-speed transmission to maximize the truck’s performance capabilities.
While the capability of the Frontier’s solitary engine is certainly present, the Chevy Colorado answers this with a sole powertrain of their own that also has multiple configurations. For 2023, Chevy has gifted the Colorado with the benefit of a turbocharged 2.7L four-cylinder engine. And while an eight-speed automatic transmission is consistent with every engine variation, the specifications vary based on trim, allowing the vehicle to adhere to whatever the driver is looking for.
The base trims utilize the standard turbocharged 2.7L engine, producing 237 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. In contrast, the off-road-ready Z71 trim upgrades the specifications to a Turbo Plus variation that gets 310 hp, and the lb-ft of torque rating rises to 390. Of course, the capability options don’t stop there, as the ZR2 edition of the Colorado is powered by a Turbo High-Output 2.7L engine that matches the horsepower of the previously mentioned trim but also can generate an astounding 430 lb-ft of torque.
Taking the Path Less Traveled With Off-Road Performance
While the casual observer might think of off-roading as nothing more than a hobby or leisurely activity to partake in during one’s downtime, those who are passionate about the subject see things quite differently. For the off-roader, this isn’t an activity but a lifestyle that lives and breathes. For these men and women who play hard in the dirt, mud, and other terrains that others shy away from, a vehicle that allows them to pursue the path less traveled is a necessity. As such, many have chosen the pickup truck as their vehicle of choice. Coincidentally, both the Frontier and Colorado have their own trims which cater to this crowd.
For the Nissan Frontier, this off-road trim takes the form of the PRO-4X trim, which also happens to be the top tier of the four available lines that the Frontier comes in. While it uses the same engine as the rest of the trims, it utilizes over eight inches of ground clearance to help drivers navigate past the obstacles that might obscure their adventures. To ensure that the vehicle’s underbelly is protected from dirt and debris, three skid plates are in place, and a smooth ride is maintained with the aid of a set of shock absorbers manufactured by Bilstein.
The Colorado’s ZR2 trim is an off-roader’s dream come true. While it maintains the same powertrain option as the other trims, it makes use of its 310 hp and ability to push out 430 lb-ft of torque. The off-roading capabilities are certainly more apparent than the Frontier’s, as over ten inches of ground clearance matches and even exceeds many of the competing off-road-ready models in its class. The ZR2 also benefits from a lifted suspension and multiple functions meant to enhance trailering duties.
Towing and Payload Capabilities
Not everyone buys a pickup for adventures and conquering terrain that other drivers shy away from. Many have formidable jobs that need undertaking on a regular basis. And for those who need it, a pickup truck is the most valuable asset to employ on the job site. And the Frontier and Colorado both deliver in this capacity. With its sole powertrain, the Frontier’s towing capacity is certainly adequate at 6,690 lbs but doesn’t quite match up to the capability of the Chevy Colorado, which can pull 7,700 lbs when properly equipped. The Frontier also falls short of the Colorado’s capability regarding the payload. While the Nissan can carry 1,610 lbs, Chevy has a slight edge with a maximum rating of 1,684 lbs.
Standard Safety Features
While both vehicles share a common ground in terms of price and performance, many consumers desire the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the vehicle they’re driving is safe and has the latest attributes in the form of driving assistance features. Despite Nissan’s reputation for having its finger on the pulse of technological innovation, the crash-test results from the National Highway Traffic Administration have been less than stellar. The Frontier only received a four-star safety rating, and even standard features are limited, including basic tools like automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning.
The Colorado, on the other hand, offers more standard features meant to provide oversight and enhance the driving experience. The Colorado comes standard with lane keeping and departure assistance, following distance indicator, forward collision alert with automated emergency braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection, and compatibility with OnStar Connected services.
The Final Verdict
The Nissan Frontier and Chevy Colorado are both capable vehicles that can certainly deliver the results any driver is looking for. Whether it’s on the job site, on the city streets, or in the dirt, both vehicles have advantages that anyone would want to take the opportunity to seize. However, there has to be a winner in this contest, and we’ve decided that the Chevy Colorado is the better value in terms of what it brings to the table.
While both vehicles exist in the same ballpark regarding price, the Colorado offers more for the money. In terms of performance, Chevy gives more variety and allows customers to choose a trim with a range of performance based on individual needs. When it comes to capability and being off-road-ready, Chevy manages to outclass Nissan once again and leaves it far behind. Finally, the fact that Nissan restricts safety features to trims and price is concerning. Chevy recognizes that safeguarding its customers is important. And as such, it gives drivers more for their money. Whether you’re shopping on a budget or just want a reliable truck that will bring exceptional value to your daily drive, consider the 2023 Chevy Colorado as your next trusted travel companion.