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Towing with the 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2
We were curious about towing with the Chevy Colorado ZR2. If you want an off road truck, but also need to tow occasionally, the Chevy Colorado ZR2 is a good solution. We purchased the ZR2 because of the long list of off road upgrades that came standard. However, we live in a rural area and need to tow firewood, water and equipment. Within 6 weeks of buying the truck, we towed approximately 5,500 pounds over one of the longest and steepest mountain passes in Colorado. In this post, we review the whole experience. This includes MPG, the tow settings on the ZR2 and the truck’s overall performance. If you’d rather watch a video, check it out below:
Towing with the Chevy Colorado ZR2
Before we bought the 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2, we made sure everything we would be towing was well within the towing capacity. Also, we evaluated the built-in technology such as Tow Mode and trailer settings.
Towing capacity with a Chevy truck varies by trim level. It’s important to understand what you’re towing, how much it weighs and how often you’ll be towing. With upgraded suspension, the Colorado ZR2 has a lower towing capacity than other Colorado trim levels. Since the total towing capacity is 6,000 pounds it it is a limitation for some drivers.
Because we typically tow firewood, a small camper, and up to 200 gallons of water, the 6,000 pound towing capacity of the ZR2 is enough for us. Especially since we do not tow very often.
As with everything else in the 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2, there is no expense spared on the technology to assist with towing. With Tow/Haul, Hill Descent Control, an Integrated Trailer Brake Controller and the In-Vehicle Trailering App, Chevy has taken all of the stress out of towing.
The In-Vehicle Trailering App allows drivers to save settings for each item they tow regularly. Like our camper or our small trailer, for instance. You can enter trailer information such as the size and weight, and the app will keep track of the trailer’s miles. In addition, the app performs electrical diagnostics, provides trailer maintenance reminders and security alerts.
The integrated brake controller allows the driver to adjust the amount of braking applied to the trailer brake system, taking pressure off of the vehicle brakes. The settings can be adjusted at the push of a button located to the lower left of the steering console. This is the most exciting aspect of the ZR2s towing system, as it eliminates the need for a secondary external trailer brake system. In addition, the trailer gain and output is displayed on the dash.
We inherited a tractor from a family member and tested towing with the ZR2 by towing the tractor 250 miles home. The drive was entirely interstate and rural highways. Our route also included Wolf Creek Pass, one of Colorado’s steepest and longest passes. The descent is very dangerous, with hairpin turns and little room for error.
Total Weight: The tractor weighs approximately 2,400 pounds and we rented a 16-foot trailer that we estimate weighed about 3,000 pounds. Since the rental company didn’t know the weight of the trailer, we’re not exactly sure of our total weight. We estimate approximately 5,500 pounds.
Gas Mileage: We averaged just over 12 MPG over the entire trip. This was pleasantly surprising to us, as we expected about 10.
Power: The truck has plenty of power and it was never an issue keeping up with highway speeds or going up the 6.8% grade of Wolf Creek Pass.
Braking: With the Trailer Brake Controller, braking was incredibly safe and easy. We were impressed with how little the trailer impacted the truck’s braking ability.
After towing with the Chevy Colorado ZR2, we are impressed with the towing performance and capability. However, if you are planning to tow 5,000-6,000 pounds on a regular basis, we recommend looking at a Colorado trim level that has a higher towing capacity. While the truck can technically tow that much, you need to weigh the pros and cons of consistently towing at the upper end of it’s capacity versus the upgraded suspension.