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Chevy Debuts Colorado ZR2 At LA Auto Show With Huge Offroad Performance Upgrades

We suspected that Chevy would finally bring something from their off road offerings to the LA Auto Show. What we didn’t expect was the ZR2 to climb mountains to declare itself the king of midsized off road pickups. The 2017 model looks like it’s taking the Z71’s torch and running with it thanks to this rather impressive display.

It’s been a few years since we saw the diesel concept for the ZR2 model, also at the LA Auto Show. Since then, though, there have been testing vehicles spotted that hinted that this was coming. Even after being seen, we had no idea a new off road focused midsized pickup was coming so soon.

Thanks to the impressive display of climbing and flexing at the LA Auto Show, we now have more details. The Chevy Colorado ZR2’s suspension is the focus of its upgrades for off roading. The track gets wider by 3.5 inches thanks to cast iron control arms and the whole truck has seen a 2″ lift. This increased ride height makes room for 35 inch Goodyear Duratrac rubber wrapped around 17×8 wheels only available on this model.

Canadian company Multimatic supplies the Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve dampers that are a secret to success. These allow the suspension to be finely tuned thanks to their active role in ride control. Variable damping force takes flex and speed into account as multiple spool valves move the pressure. These give six damping curves which is a 300% improvement over traditional dampers.

How did they arrive at this suspension setup that seems uniquely suited to rough terrain? The ZR2 has been put through the wringer at many of the off road parks across the United States. Before you ask, yes this includes conquering the Rubicon Trail which can destroy poorly equipped vehicles. This also led to a full sized spare being added as standard equipment.

New rock slider rails and skid plates work to protect the body and undercarriage from damage. Electronic control for the locking front and rear differentials gives more terrain tackling ability. With these changes comes a rework of the front face to make more approach angles possible. The rear gets the same consideration where the steps were deleted to allow smoother, more confident exits. A fun bit of trivia: the testing engineers removed the steps because they destroyed them on early prototype test runs.

The ZR2 won’t lack for drivetrain power with the two engine options which are currently available. A 2.8L Duramax diesel gets a turbocharger assist because we want as much stock hp and torque as possible. Alternatively, a 3.6L V6 gasoline option is also available as the other choice for off road power.

We are still waiting for initial pricing as well as the start date for sales in the North American market. The Z71 was in need of a midsized counterpart and now we have the ZR2 blowing away our expectations. What do you think of this latest addition to Chevy’s 2017 model year offerings?


James Murrell
About James Murrell

I love to research and admire all sorts of vehicles from restored classics to top shelf supercars, monstrous offroaders to weird concept vehicles. I absolutely adore any vehicle I can get behind the wheel of.

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