One of the hottest new product debuts at Auto Mobility LA 2016 was two years ago a concept nearly identical, the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 off-road truck. This year the real thing is revealed and we even got to take a ride in it.
Calling it a segment of one, the ultra off-road Colorado ZR2 rides on a 3.5-inch wider track, has two inches extra ground clearance and a huge amount more travel to go with its 17-inch wheels and 31-inch Goodyear Duratrac off-road tires.
To give it ultra off-road capability, the suspension has been thoroughly made over with heavy duty components like cast iron control arms and the first production use ever of Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve dampers for an off-road truck.
The dampers similar to that which came on the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, have multiple chambers with spool valves. Position dependent, the dampers can react differently to a variety of situations from stable street driving to landing from jumps out there.
The aluminum bodies have each have two spool valves for compression and rebound damping optimized for everyday driving. A third, piston-mounted spool valve delivers additional, uniquely tuned, compression damping for heavy off-road use. Front dampers also have a special rebound valve to soften the blow of full extension drops.
Traction is bolstered with the addition of both a front and rear locking differential that can be manually selected along with the the transfer case that offers two-wheel drive as well as four high and low. We got to go on a short demonstration ride for all its off-road traction toys and they worked exceptionally well and easy to set.
All of this extra capability is backed up with extra armor including functional rock rails the length of either of the available Extended Cab and Crew Cab. A thick aluminum skid plate up front protects the powertrain with additional plate for the transfer case.
A tapered front bumper exposes more of the front tires for better approach angles over rocks and other obstacles. Styling is further amped up with a unique hood. The bed mounted spare-tire is the only thing shown here that is an option, but it is.
Best of all, the ZR2 comes with the choice of both the new 308 horsepower 3.6 liter V6 and its eight-speed automatic as well as the 181 horsepower 2.8-liter turbodiesel most appreciated for its low end 369 pound-feet of torque.
The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 goes on sale in 2017 with pricing yet to be announced. Expect it come in the low to mid-forty thousands just above the new Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro for gasoline V6 models and around $45,000 or better for the diesel.