Colorado ZR2, GR Corolla, Ioniq 6 tops in ’23

The Chevrolet Colorado was upgraded in power and suspension. (Bud Wells photos)

Especially impressive to me among the many automotive models I tested during 2023 were the Chevy Colorado ZR2 midsize truck, the Toyota GR Corolla Core all-wheel-drive crossover and the Hyundai Ioniq 6 electric car.

The Colorado ZR2 was updated with Chevrolet’s turbocharged, high-output 2.7-liter 4-cylinder engine and a bit more ground clearance; the Corolla is powered by a 300-horsepower, 1.6-liter 3-cylinder with a 3-exhaust emit; the Ioniq 6 is a trendsetter in style and roominess among electrics and traditional sedans.

Toyota GR Corolla crossover gets by with 3-cylinder power.

The Ioniq was one of nine fully electrics I drove during the year; others were Audi Q8 e-tron, Cadillac Lyriq, Ford Mustang Mach-e, Genesis Electrified GV70, Lexus RZ 450e, Nissan Ariya, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model 3.

As we close out Year 2023, following are highlights in my automotive coverage:

Price range – From $26,540 for the larger, improved Chevy Trax to $162,045 for the BMW 760i xDrive sedan with its luxurious interior.

Christmas goodies – Lemon bread from Lucinda H., Centennial, and Wisconsin kringles from Mary C., Denver, oh, my!

Great looker – The new Toyota Crown hybrid four-door, replacing the Avalon.

6-speed stick – The ’24 Acura Integra Type S matching its short-throw-designed manual to a 320-hp, 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder.

The drive – The Land Rover Defender 110S with Bill and Kathy Allen to Kearney, Neb., and Morris Publishing on last day of November to haul back to Colorado the first load of my book, “2,600 Cars and a Dog Sled.”

Followup – Two weeks later, son Dale making the same run alone to Kearney in his Ram Longhorn 1500 turbodiesel to bring back 400 more books to be hardbound by Denver Bookbinding Co.

The Book – A special feature is a written revelation by John Fielder, Colorado’s eminent nature photographer, that he is “a car guy,” and explanation why, given to me shortly before his death in August from pancreatic cancer.

The sleekly styled Hyundai Ioniq 6 electric.

3rd O’Meara in HOF – Brian joined his grandfather, Alfred, and father, Al Jr., in selection to the Colorado Automotive Hall of Fame.

Cornering – “Its cornering capabilities may be the best of anything I’ve piloted to Estes Park,” I said of the ’23 BMW M340i xDrive four-door sedan in late January.

Tremor trim – Ford’s economical, little pickup, the Maverick, flexed a bit of muscle with an added trim level called Tremor, with turbocharged gas-only engine, all-wheel drive, 1-inch lift for ground clearance and tow capacity boosted from 2,000 pounds to 4,000.

Hornet name returns – Dodge Hornet GT revives the name dating back to the Hudson Hornet in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s.

Fuel mileage – 48.6 with Prius Hybrid AWD, 47.6 Honda Accord hybrid.

Gas hog – Lexus LX600 Ultra Lux, 15.1 mpg.

Large touchscreen – The Ford Mustang Mach-e electric, 15.5 inches positioned vertically.

Pure power – BMW XM, the brand’s 1st -ever electrified M vehicle plug-in hybrid with 644 hp, 590 torque. We drove it to Denver’s old Buckhorn Restaurant.

Jan’s favorite – 2024 Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic sedan.

Best greeting – Happy New Year!