Driving a midsize truck can be a great way to get around. Unlike full-size and heavy-duty models, midsize trucks are more maneuverable, get better gas mileage, and are easier to park. In short, midsize trucks are just really fun to drive. Two of the best to look at are the 2023 Chevy Colorado vs 2023 Jeep Gladiator. Both are relatively new to the market. Jeep first introduced the Gladiator in 2020, based on a design from the ’60s. The Gladiator marked Jeep’s decision to return to the midsize truck market after an absence of almost 50 years. In contrast, Chevy has been building trucks for over 100 years, and the Colorado was re-introduced to drivers in 2015 after first being built from 2004 to 2012.
The 2023 Chevy Colorado represents the next generation of midsize trucks. Chevy has completely redesigned the Colorado for 2023, giving it an aggressive design across all trim levels with a standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine that has three different levels of performance. In contrast, Jeep made some incremental changes to the Gladiator for 2023, adding a Freedom special edition and offering some additional features on a number of existing models.
Truckers, Start Your Engines!
In looking at two different midsize trucks, a good place to start is by comparing the engines. The 2023 Chevy Colorado offers three performance choices built around a standard engine, a 2.7-liter Turbo I-4. Each of these engines is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The base version will deliver a solid 237 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque. This is standard on the WT and LT models of the Colorado and will give it the strength to tow up to 3,500 pounds. The next version is the 2.7-liter Turbo Plus I-4 on the all-new Trail Boss trim and the Z71. This boosts performance to 310 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque, allowing the 2023 Colorado to tow up to a class-leading 7,700 pounds. This version of the engine is available as an option on the WT and LT trims.
The top performance version is featured on the top trim, the ZR2, as well as the new ZR2 Desert Boss special edition. This 2.7-liter Turbo High-Output I-4 delivers an almost ridiculous 310 horsepower and 430 lb-ft of torque, also giving the Colorado the ability to tow up to 7,700 pounds. This one also gives the Colorado ZR2 superior acceleration. This makes sense since it is the same version of the engine offered on the full-size Chevy Silverado 1500.
Jeep has taken a different approach with the 2023 Gladiator. The folks at Jeep have sent the Gladiator into combat with two very different engines. The standard engine is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with a choice of an eight-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual transmission. While larger than the engine on the 2023 Colorado, it barely passes the performance of the base model engine on the Colorado with 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. While the Gladiator is capable of towing up to 7,700 pounds with this engine, its output cannot match that of either the Plus or High-Output versions of the I-4 on the Colorado.
The other engine option on the Gladiator is an available 3.0-liter EcoDiesel Turbo-Diesel V6. Jeep only offers this engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission. This produces 260 horsepower and an insane 442 lb-ft of torque. However, it lowers the towing capability of the Gladiator to 6,500 pounds.
Blinded by Science
Automakers have been using technology to improve the safety and enjoyment of driving over the past two decades. This is especially so with midsize trucks, which were once mostly driven by folks using them for work. Now, these trucks have become popular with drivers using them for family and fun. This is probably why Jeep has always offered the Gladiator with a standard Crew Cab, and Chevy has decided to make the Crew Cab standard on all models of the 2023 Colorado—giving drivers two rows of roomy seating for up to five passengers with four full-size doors, allowing them to better use their trucks for business and pleasure.
One area that has truly evolved is the infotainment system. Once limited to the upper trims, automakers like Chevy and Jeep have standardized them across their midsize truck platforms. The 2023 Colorado features the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system with a standard 11.3-inch diagonal display. This is one of the largest standard touchscreens on any midsize truck. It features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, so you can leave those annoying charging cables at home. It also has an available wireless charging pad that makes recharging your smartphone very convenient, also without having to bring your USB cables with you.
Finally, the Colorado offers an Off-Road Performance Display app that you can use to monitor your truck’s off-road performance. This includes three different modes. Overlanding gives you altitude and GPS guidance. Terrain checks pitch, roll, and tire pressure. Baja will give you information about the g-force, transfer case status, and wheel slip indicator. This is exactly the kind of information you need to get the most out of off-roading.
Jeep has also equipped the 2023 Gladiator with a UConnect system. This comes with a smaller seven-inch touchscreen on most models, with an 8.4-inch UConnect 4C NAV system featured on higher trims. While the UConnect system also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you will have to bring along your USB wires in order to access these features. It also doesn’t feature the level of information available for off-roading like on the Colorado.
Technology has also been used to make these trucks safer. Both the 2023 Colorado and Gladiator have a forward collision warning system that will alert you of an imminent collision and activate the automatic emergency brakes to reduce the impact of a crash or avoid one altogether. However, the 2023 Colorado also has a standard front pedestrian braking system that has been designed to work in the same way for pedestrians who may be in the path of your truck. The Colorado also has three other standard safety features that are not included on the Gladiator, including lane keep assist with lane departure warning that will help keep your truck on a straight path if you start to drift out of your lane.
The 2023 Colorado also offers a best-in-class ten available camera views. This includes the first underbody cameras offered on a midsize truck. If you plan on using your midsize truck for off-roading, this will allow you to see obstacles under your vehicle and take evasive action to avoid them hitting a vital part of your pickup’s undercarriage. Navigating rough and rocky terrain will be easier than ever.
Parking Lot Party
Who doesn’t love a good tailgate party? With football season upon us, there has never been a better time to use your midsize truck to have some fun with friends. Both the 2023 Chevy Colorado and the 2023 Jeep Gladiator feature a fairly sizable payload for hauling cargo and setting up a tailgate party. However, the Colorado has a tailgate that is more convenient, configurable, and feature-heavy than the one on the Gladiator.
The Gladiator has a fairly standard payload bed. It has a regular tailgate that is not configurable and does not offer any standard cargo tie-downs. In contrast, the Colorado features an available integrated tailgate storage that can be used for work tools if you are working or your favorite grilling tools if you are tailgating. It is watertight with a drain plug, so you can even use it as a cooler for your favorite beverage! In addition, the Colorado features eight standard fixed tie-downs and offers an available seventeen tie-downs, more than any other midsize truck. This makes stowing your gear and securing your cargo easier than ever. Whether you plan on using your payload for tailgate parties, moving stuff, or a little of both, the Colorado offers you more options than the Gladiator.
A Fight to the Finish!
While both the 2023 Chevy Colorado and 2023 Jeep Gladiator have a great many things to be proud of, the Colorado offers more options, convenience, and technological advances than the Jeep Gladiator. It has a smaller but more powerful engine with three choices of performance levels. It has a more advanced infotainment system with a larger touchscreen. It also offers more standard safety features and has a more configurable payload bed. In this way, the 2023 Chevy Colorado provides a better pickup truck package for the everyday driver than the 2023 Jeep Gladiator.