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A black 2023 Chevy Colorado is shown driving over a bridge on a forest road.

For the Last Time: The 2023 Chevy Colorado and the 2023 GMC Canyon Are NOT the Same!

We are living in a world in which smaller trucks like the Colorado and Canyon are becoming increasingly popular. While bulky full-size pickups have long been favored for their capability, lighter trucks are now being revered for their peppiness and maneuverability. While they can’t move massive loads like their bigger brothers, the Silverado and Sierra, the Colorado and Canyon have found their place in the hearts of drivers looking for something capable that won’t take up four parking spots at the grocery store. But what are the differences between them?

No one is denying that Chevy and GMC trucks aren’t extremely similar in some regards. In fact, if you don’t read carefully, it can be easy to mistake “Colorado” for “Canyon” in print. As GM’s two top-selling brands, it stands to reason that Chevy and GMC vehicles would share a few attributes the same way family members share DNA. But there are enough differences between these two midsize trucks that drivers will want to carefully compare the 2023 Chevy Colorado vs 2023 GMC Canyon before they sign at the bottom of the page.

In fact, you might be shocked to discover the number of important differences between these two vehicles, from engine options to functionality. Which of these not-so-identical twins best fits your lifestyle and driving style? It is time to take a look at some of the major differences between the 2023 Chevy Colorado and the 2023 GMC Canyon to make your educated decision.

Power and Performance Compared

Perhaps one of the key differences between these two trucks is the powerplant under the hood. In all trucks, trims, and configurations, the engine can be accurately described as a 2.7L turbocharged four-cylinder. But what it can do depends on the truck in which it is installed.

The Chevy Colorado is equipped with three different iterations of this engine. The standard version of this engine, as seen in the base WT and LT trims, provides 237 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. Moving up the trims (and optional on lower trims) is a Turbo Plus version of this engine, which supplies a more impressive 310 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. But those who select the off-road-ready ZR2 trim unlock the Turbo High-Output engine, which maintains the 310 hp figure and amps up the torque to 430 lb-ft.

The GMC Canyon, on the other hand, is only offered with the Turbo High-Output version, which maintains its power ratings between the two trucks. Notably, however, the maximum towing capacity of both trucks is 7,700 lbs…but with different engines. The GMC obviously accomplishes this feat with its lone engine offering, but drivers of the Chevy will get their best towing with the lower trims that are equipped with the Turbo Plus engine.

A blue 2023 Chevy Colorado is shown from behind driving up a rocky and dusty trail.

Off-Roading Prowess

Since smaller trucks are gaining greater popularity off the road as well as on it, drivers might wonder which truck is best for tackling wild terrain: the Colorado or the Canyon? In fact, both come with several suitable options for dealing with the occasional mud and gravel or full-time off-roading.

Chevy offers several different off-road trims. The Z71 includes standard off-road-tuned shocks and four selectable drive modes: Normal, Tow/Haul, Off-Road, and Terrain. The Trail Boss trim includes a taller, bolder stance thanks to a factory suspension lift and wider fender flares, along with all-terrain tires. A two-speed auto transfer case with a transfer case shield is part of the package, along with an off-road performance display.

The ZR2 has the distinction of not just a more powerful engine but an impressive collection of ready-to-roll off-roading goodies. This includes a high-performance suspension with Multimatic DSSV dampers, an additional Baja drive mode for sand and grit, and electronic-locking front and rear differentials.

The GMC Canyon, on the other hand, offers the Elevation, AT4, and AT4X trims for adventure lovers. The Elevation includes an off-road performance display with pitch and roll indicators, a steering angle gauge, and an aircraft-style altimeter. The Canyon AT4 adds a transfer case shield, Advanced Hill Descent Control, an automatic locking rear differential, and a two-speed transfer case. Both the Elevation and AT4 trim include a standard two-inch factory lift for 9.6 inches of ground clearance.

The AT4X covers even more ground, with 10.5 inches of ground clearance thanks to a three-inch lift. There are up to 10 available exterior camera views, including front and rear underbody cameras to help drivers carefully navigate unknown terrain. Front and rear e-lockers are added, along with an exclusive Baja mode. Sound familiar? Yes, but again, the ZR2 and AT4X aren’t quite identical twins.

Practical Truck-Type Things

Of course, one of the main reasons people buy and drive pickup trucks is so they can do pickup truck-type things, like carrying large and unusually shaped cargo. Trucks have a long-established role as work companions as well as adventure buddies, so how do these two stack up? In terms of numbers, they are pretty close. Both can tow up to 7,700 lbs and offer over 1,600 lbs of payload. However, there are differences when it comes to features.

The 2023 Colorado confirms Chevrolet’s commitment to practicality with a bevy of work-oriented features. Eight fixed tie-downs are standard, but drivers can increase that to 17 tie-downs for ultimate flexibility. The available StowFlex Tailgate includes a built-in lockable compartment inside the tailgate itself. Equipped with a drain, it’s ideal for storing wet gear or keeping cold beverages on ice. Furthermore, Chevy has built a ruler into the tailgate for perfect measurements when you’re using the bed as a work surface.

The Canyon also offers eight standard tie-downs, along with an available drainable storage cubby, half-gate position, bedliner, MultiStow Tailgate, and 120V outlet in the bed. In true GMC fashion, this truck is offered in a top-shelf Denali trim, which adds features like perforated leather seating and open-pore wood. Some drivers may consider these practical additions to make the workday go by faster, and we’re certainly not here to judge.

The Canyon MultiStow Tailgate shows the similarities between tailgates when looking at the 2023 Chevy Colorado vs 2023 GMC Canyon comparison.

Close…But Not the Same

Are there areas in which the 2023 Chevy Colorado and 2023 GMC Canyon are very similar or even identical? Of course. For instance, the safety features are similar in both vehicles. As GM products, both trucks include standard driver-assist tools like Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, and IntelliBeam Auto High Beams. After all, with such great systems available, why wouldn’t the two brands want to share them?

But at the same time, the Colorado and Canyon are worthy of their own identities. After all, both Chevy and GMC have their own names and reputations, so why would GM have them produce absolutely identical products? For years, Chevy drivers have appreciated the flexibility and customizability of their trucks, while GMC drivers have a flair for more luxurious features and high-tech options.

While it would be a great social experiment to create identical trucks and market them differently, this is not the case when it comes to the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon. Though they share DNA, there are plenty of differences that allow drivers to select the version that makes the most sense for them based on their budget, lifestyle, driving needs, and more. Which one appeals to you?