Domestic vs. imported, body-on-frame vs. unibody, and traditional vs. novel. When it comes to the 2023 Chevy Colorado vs 2023 Honda Ridgeline, no two pickups are more different. Where the American-made Colorado prioritizes power and capability, the Ridgeline prioritizes a comfortable experience over truck-like performance. What these two pickups have in common is their ultimate goal: to make life easier for the driver. So, which truck does it better? Well, both offer a wide range of features aimed at increasing driver comfort and convenience, which varies greatly by the trim level. To help answer this question, we’ll compare each truck by the trim to see what you can expect at each level.
The Entry Levelers: The Colorado LT vs. The Ridgeline Sport
After the Colorado WT (Work Truck), designed more as a bare-boned fleet vehicle than a comfortable daily driver, the LT is the least expensive Colorado, while the Sport is the Ridgeline’s base model. The Colorado LT is a good starting point for drivers interested in picking up a midsize pickup. It’s one of the more affordable options in its class and offers solid performance paired with a driver-centric design.
It comes with a remote-locking tailgate and eight tie-downs in the bed. The tailgate has a ruler detail in case you left your yardstick at home, showcasing Chevy’s attention to detail and convenience. The infotainment is housed in an 8-inch touchscreen, compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and phones can charge via a number of USB ports throughout the cabin. It comes standard with Chevy Safety Assist, and will have automatic emergency braking for front collisions and pedestrians, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, and a few other autonomous safety features.
The Sport may be the Ridgeline’s base model, but it is far from bare-boned. It has a lockable in-bed trunk, which is a small, water-tight storage area in the truck bed that can be converted into a cooler or used to store extra gear. Speaking of multi-purpose, the dual-action tailgate is another unique feature. It opens like a traditional tailgate and can hold up to 300 lbs, but it can also be opened from the side, much like a door, granting easier access to that in-bed trunk. Moving inside, the Ridgeline Sport has a 7-speaker audio system, cloth seats, tri-zone climate control, and an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen. It also comes standard with adaptive cruise control, a collision mitigation braking system, and a road departure mitigation system, which uses automatic braking and steering to avoid potential accidents.
The Winner: The Ridgeline Sport
The winner is the Ridgeline Sport, with its abundance of standard features that make the Sport feel like it isn’t a base model at all. It has a starting MSRP of $38,800 and will likely be around $8,000 more than the Colorado LT, so the difference in features makes sense. Regardless, with all that’s included in the Ridgeline Sport, the extra price tag feels like a worthwhile investment.
The Middle Ground: The Colorado Z71 and Trail Boss vs. The Ridgeline RTL and RTL-E
Both the Ridgeline and Colorado have solid choices for their mid-range trims, making it easier for buyers to get a pickup that caters to their unique driving needs. While the Ridgeline goes up the trim levels in a traditional way, essentially just adding on more and more features, the Colorado starts to incorporate specifically-themed trims geared at certain drivers. For the Ridgeline, its mid-level trim is the RTL. Its most notable improvements include power-controlled front seats that are heated and a one-touch power moonroof. It also gets a power-sliding rear window, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and leather-trimmed seating. Its infotainment system stays the same, but it does tack on remote start.
The Ridgeline RTL-E gets significantly more tech-forward with a wireless charging pad and an upgraded 8-speaker premium sound system. The truck bed also has its own audio system for your listening pleasure while outside the vehicle. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is heated, and the RTL-E has a smart entry feature that automatically unlocks the car when the driver touches the door handle (with the key fob on them). The RTL-E will also automatically lock as the driver walks away.
Pricing for the 2023 Colorado has yet to be released, so it’s unclear which comes next in the lineup: the Z71 or the Trail Boss. The Trail Boss trim is all-new for this model year Colorado and includes a slew of features designed to make the truck more fun to drive off-road. For example, its 18-inch wheels have a wider stance for added stability. It also has a 2-inch factory lift and different driving modes that can be selected for a more specialized driving experience.
The Colorado differs from the Ridgeline in that its trim hierarchy determines performance instead of just styling and convenience features. Both the Trail Boss and Z71 trims get an upgraded version of the 2.7-liter engine found in the LT and WT Colorados. Power output gets bumped up to an estimated 310 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. Aside from the stronger engine, the Z71 also gets 18-inch wheels and all-terrain tires, and the headlamps, fog lights, and taillights are all LED.
The Winner: It Depends
For these middle-range trims, the Colorado impresses with upgraded power and an engaging driving experience, but the Ridgeline adds plenty of technology and comfort features for its RTL and RTL-E trims. The better option is going to depend solely on the driver and what their needs are. Do they need to tow and haul heavy or adventure off-road? Go with the Colorado. Or do they care more about on-road comfort and in-cabin convenience? That’ll be the Ridgeline.
The Best of the Best: The Colorado ZR2 vs. The Ridgeline Black Edition
Unsurprisingly, the highest trim offerings for these two pickup trucks go in very different directions. For the Colorado, it’s the ZR2 that has established itself as an avid and capable off-roader. In the Ridgeline’s lineup, the Black Edition is all about style and an elevated experience on the road.
The Colorado ZR2, like the Trail Boss, has a wider stance but rides taller with a 3-inch factory lift. The 17-inch graphite and oxide gold aluminum wheels are wrapped in beefy 33-inch OD MT tires, and the suspension is upgraded with Multimatic DSSV dampers. The front seats are heated, but ventilated seats will cost extra. The ZR2 is a formidable force off-road, and selectable driving modes are again available to fine-tune the vehicle’s performance on and off the road.
The Black Edition Ridgeline will perform much like the base-level version; its towing capacity, horsepower, and gas mileage all match that of the Ridgeline Sport. It mainly differs in its unique styling. As the name implies, the Black Edition has a dark-themed appearance. It has black leather-trimmed seats and black accents both in the cab and exterior. It also has exterior red ambient LED lighting.
The Winner: The Colorado ZR2
Even if off-roading isn’t your thing, it’s hard to deny that the Colorado ZR2 is a better value than the Ridgeline Black Edition. Ambient lighting and a blacked-out color scheme simply aren’t enough to make it feel topped out, whereas the elevated performance of the ZR2 truly makes it the crown jewel of the Colorado lineup.
Join the Winner’s Circle
At the end of the day, the real judge is you. Different drivers will value different things, and we’ve seen just how different these two pickups are. Having options and variety is a good thing for consumers, so whether you need a hard-working pickup or your preference lies with a cozy daily driver with helpful features, we’re truly all winners with choices like the 2023 Chevy Colorado and 2023 Honda Ridgeline.