A lot of attention has been focused on the fuel-economy numbers coming in for the all-new 2023 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups.
We’ve had to wait quite some time until just this month when the EPA finally released the official numbers. Those who ordered them have been waiting for their trucks to finally ship out from the plant in Wentzville, Missouri. They could not ship the trucks until the numbers were finalized.
Since our test drive of various models of the 2023 Chevrolet Colorados earlier this year we’ve anxiously waiting for the data because all of the trucks we drove were showing quite a bit less fuel-economy than expected.
With the big move to a larger 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine over the previous model’s 2.5-liter naturally aspirated base and a smaller more stressed engine over the previous generations optional naturally aspirated 3.6-liter V6, the question has been loud and clear from many – will they get better gas mileage?
The short answer is no. And in the case of the more powerful versions, actually less.
The new 2023 Chevrolet Colorado comes with three variations of the new 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The first is the base grade unit known as L2R. It has less boost, a few less components and puts out 237 horsepower and 259 pound feet of torque.
As a base engine it gives you significantly more power than the old base 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder which had only 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque. As a baseline you get a lot more power so what about gas mileage.
As it turns out fuel-economy is essentially a push. The new 2.7-liter base engine now coming with an 8-speed automatic over the old six speed gets nearly identical numbers for city and highway, just one mpg up or down. The combined numbers are identical from 2022 to 2023.
How the more powerful Turbo Plus variation of the 2.7-liter turbo known as L3B performs against the old 3.6-liter V6 is where most eyes have been focused. Since the perception is that a perfectly fine and proven naturally aspirated motor is being traded out for a smaller, more stressed and complicated four-cylinder – the expectation is that it better deliver something better for all the inherent compromises.
First, it does deliver more power. The L3B Turbo Plus cranks out 310 horsepower and 390 pound feet of torque. The HO version has even more torque at 430 pound-feet. These numbers well out perform the old V6 which had 308 horsepower and only 275 pound-feet of torque.
But what about the gas mileage?
Starting with the 2023 2.7-liter Turbo Plus with 2WD, it’s rated at 18 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. While the same in the city, it gets two mpg less than the old V6 on the highway and one less combined mpg.
Moving the the 4WD 2.7-liter Turbo Plus, it’s now rated with 17 mpg city, 21 highway and 19 mpg combined. Again it matches the old V6 in city driving but gets a full three mpg less on the highway. Combined average mpg however seems to match out at 19.
If you option the Mud Terrain tires such as on the Trail Boss you do get a pretty good hit on fuel-economy according to the EPA. The 2.7-liter Turbo Plus here only gets 17 mpg city, 19 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined.
It’s fair to note that all these numbers are pretty close, combined being within 1-2 mpg. The good news is that even though it’s highly tuned, the new 2.7-liter turbos all run on 87 octane regular fuel.
The rub is however that in real world driving, small turbocharged engines become extremely thirsty when you dip into the power. If you are driving the truck loaded with people, gear, payload or towing and dipping into the boost the actual fuel-economy is likely to be more impacted than it would be with a naturally aspirated engine.
This is also true simply driving grades in the mountains and hills, where there is boost and torque there is significantly less gas mileage. As real world mpg numbers come in from various test drive reviews and reporting from owners we will see.
Lastly, as of this video the fuel-economy ratings for the top powered H.O. engine in the ZR2 have not been released. Given the higher torque and larger tires however we expect them to be slightly lower when they come.
EPA Fuel Economy
Model City/Hwy Combined
2022 2.5 2WD 19/25 22
2022 2.5 4WD 19/24 21
2023 Base L2R 2WD 20/25 22
2023 Base L2R 4WD 19/23 21
2022 3.6 2WD 18/25 21
2022 3.6 4WD 17/24 19
2023 Plus L3B 2WD 18/23 20
2023 Plus L3B 4WD 17/21 19
2023 Plus L3B 4WD MT 17/19 18 (Trail Boss with MT tires)