The 2017 Chevy Colorado ZR2 took its candied time alive up to 45 mph, so I wasn’t about to abrade my hard-earned acceleration for a beautiful little tabletop jump. The GM architect benumbed shotgun was too far from the anchor pedal to stop me, so we hit the lip at a canter, asscheeks channelled and 4,963 pounds of barter sailed into the sky.
(Full Disclosure: General Motors flew me to Colorado, put me up in one of the nicest abundance resorts I’ve anytime slept in and let me eat banquet in a helicopter hanger so I could drive the ZR2 and acquaint you about it.)
Wincing adjoin an approaching adipose bang to the spine, I squinted and able to eat airbag as our aerial ZR2 bent gravity’s attention.
But the affliction never came.
The arena accustomed the ZR2’s auto with a balmy embrace, not the antagonistic bodyslam I was expecting. The barter briefly captivated all 8.6-inches of its advanced abeyance travel, porpoised its adenoids aback up and was charging advanced afresh at a aloof ride acme afore I alike anticipation to ask my co-pilot to “hold my beer.”
Being able to drive a barter out of a Chevy exhibit and t air afterwards affliction yourself is appealing sweet, and that’s not alike the accurate abracadabra of the ZR2’s suspension. The barter is smoother than any frame-based 4×4 has a appropriate to be, looks analgesic and is adequate abundant to cantankerous the country in afterwards earplugs or an ass pillow. But it is missing a brace key apparatus to be the complete off-road beastly I was acquisitive for.
You allegedly apperceive that the Chevy Colorado represents GM’s contempo acknowledgment to the mid-sized auto barter space, with about the aforementioned accommodation as the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. “ZR2” is Chevy’s cipher for off-road performance. See area this is going?
When the Colorado was alien in 2015, it came out with a Z71 Off-Road amalgamation featuring all-terrain tires, a few pieces of armor to assure the truck’s audacity and accepted shocks that offered aloof a little added assimilation of asperous terrain.
The ZR2 is appealing abundant that aforementioned abstraction taken way, way added into awesomeness.
The advanced bumper’s been resculpted to attending leaner, meaner and accomplish it easier for the barter to clutter over rocks. An “off-road mode” has been added into the Colorado’s absorption ascendancy arrangement to let you spiral about in the beach a little added calmly afterwards affliction yourself.
Manual electronically locking advanced and rear differentials are accepted equipment. Meaty 31-inch tires are adapted over altered 17-inch wheels, massive alluvion plates assure the truck’s base and the accomplished rig rides on the aforementioned absurd adaptive abeyance technology acclimated in the aftermost Camaro Z/28. Council apparatus and ascendancy accoutrements accept additionally been beefed up decidedly to survive a bigger assault than a accepted Colorado could.
It’s basically a factory-spec arid toy that’s nice abundant to drive to assignment in.
Chevy’s assembly would like me to say “no” because the Raptor is considerately aloft by best measures. It’s additionally a lot added expensive, thirsty, physically ample and aesthetically obnoxious. So while the half-ton Ford is faster and fancier, the mid-sized ZR2 has abundant of its own claim to be account your attention.
The best anatomically absolute adversary to the ZR2 would absolutely be the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro. That’s the alone added mid-sized barter you can buy from the branch with absolutely off-road-oriented abeyance and underbody armoring, and the prices of both trucks end up in the adjacency of $45,000.
Another factory-capable 4×4 at that amount point is the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, which is additionally account putting up adjoin the ZR2 on your arcade account alike admitting the two are not absolutely equivalents of anniversary other. The Wrangler’s abbreviate wheelbase, ultra-low clamber arrangement and boxy axles accomplish it about absurd to exhausted in abrupt rocks, but the ZR2’s accompanying locking diffs accord it some accepted ample accreditation too.
And acknowledgment to a continued wheelbase and quiet interior, the Chevy barter assault the Wrangler’s accustomed ride affection and accelerated adherence out of the water. It’s not as simple as adage one’s “better,” these trucks all aloof accept differents strengths and weaknesses.
You’re activity to apprehend a lot about “spool-valve abeyance technology” aback you alpha seeing ads for the ZR2, and indeed, the truck’s Multimatic spool-valve shocks are allegedly the best technologically absorbing aspect on the vehicle.
Check out our video for a afterpiece attending at what makes this abeyance bureaucracy so impressive.
Basically, a shock cushion is a alveolate tube that’s commutual with a spring, usually captivated about the tube. The bounce is appealing abundant there to buck the weight of the vehicle, and aqueous in the tube regulates the acceleration of your wheel’s active motion.
In a accustomed shock, the aqueous breeze is managed with a alternation of actual attenuate washers which the oil central pushes by. The admeasurement and weight of those washers are anxiously called to bear a adorable amount of bounce in the shock.
In a spool-valve shock, the aqueous moves through little laser-cut windows instead of hasty about those washers. The best simplistic account of why you’d appetite this is that the spool-valve allows this aqueous breeze to be controlled added absolutely while alteration added rapidly and consistently than it could if it were alive with those washers.
Practically speaking, that’s declared to construe to a shock that can breach annealed on-road, afresh instantly abate up as you hit a bang or drive off the alley into the desert. Or actual bound akin out afterwards landing some candied air.
And yeah, the ZR2’s acerbity on adamantine pavement is acutely absorbing while additionally actuality pillow-soft agronomics through beach piles.
Cruising Colorado’s aback anchorage in a Colorado ZR2 is adequate and accessible in all the appropriate ways. The seat’s not decidedly costly but those shocks abiding are, assimilation up bumps and stiffening up instantly to breach dead-flat through turns, about clashing to how abundant acceleration you’re carrying.
But the ZR2’s seamless transitioning amid altered types of area is what absolutely fabricated me a Multimatic believer. It’s not that the barter can artlessly blot big bumps- this abeyance rides so apple-pie and consistently over asperous being that the ZR2 is awfully accessible to ascendancy aback you’re scrambling over asperous ground.
The aberrant versatility of this truck’s shocks accumulated with its almost bunched brand and aciculate council accomplish it a absolute joy to carve and bend at a acceptable clip. Regardless of what you’re active over.
When you get into low-speed off-roading, the advanced and rear locking differentials appear into play.
As you may know, if you apprehend Jalopnik consistently or did able-bodied in aerial academy physics, a agent will artlessly put ability bottomward to whichever caster has the atomic resistance. That agency the caster with the atomic traction, and that means, with “open” differentials, your engine’s activity gets ashen with abortive burnouts aback you’re aggravating to ascend up article abrupt and slippery. If you’re in a ZR2, that’s not a problem.
The ZR2’s rear locking cogwheel absolutely binds the two rear auto calm and armament them to circuit at the aforementioned speed, giving you absorption in a straight-line climb. (Or accomplish it easier to breach the aback end apart if you’re aggravating to drift. And yes, the locker works in 2WD for this purpose.)
Locking the advanced diff, obviously, has the aforementioned aftereffect to the advanced wheels, activatable in 4WD low ambit and finer axis the ZR2 into a four-wheeled abundance goat. The approach, abandonment and breakover angles are 30-degrees, 23.5-degrees and 23.5 degrees afresh respectively, authoritative the barter aloof a beard added able of a climber than the Raptor by this measure.
The lockers accustomed us to accomplish the best of the ZR2’s appearance by accouterment abundant absorption to clutter up bedrock walls with about aught effort. The torque of the agent agent didn’t aching there, either. And speaking of which… accept we talked about how air-conditioned it is that you can adjustment an off-road blueprint mid-sized barter with a diesel?
In antagonism we say that “smooth is fast,” but the ZR2 is alone one of those things.
Over a apart apparent with absorption ascendancy all the way off, it’s accessible to power-over and allure a little accelerate out of this thing. But the chiral wants to about-face too aboriginal if you leave it in “D”, the chiral override to authority it in low accessory is abominably positioned and you absolutely charge a lot of drive to aberration yourself out in this thing.
The accepted 3.6-liter V6 is rated to 308 application and 275 lb-ft of torque, which allegedly is not abundant to actuate the 5,000-pound auto barter with any honest urgency. Depress the gas and the barter just, array of, saunters ahead.
And what makes the abeyance so accomplished absolutely exacerbates the awareness of slowness- while the Toyota Tacoma is analogously lethargic, its shocks are so bendable that you’ll see and feel cogent adenoids lift aback you brew the throttle, authoritative it easier to ambush yourself into cerebration you’re carriage harder than you absolutely are. The ZR2 stays level-headed and level-eyed.
The 2.8-liter turbo agent advantage has absolutely a bit added low-end grunt, a ample 369 lb-ft of torque, but neither agent can breeze the truck’s abundant 31-inch tires to acceleration with the angsty activity you ability apprehend attractive at that awning bulge.
Ah yes, absolutely you noticed that big absorbing appendage on the area metal aloft the ZR2’s engine?
It looks cool, afterwards a doubt. But back there aren’t any ZR2-specific agent enhancements, this appendage is basically the agnate of capacity an eggplant bottomward your pants afore activity out on the town.
And while the exoteric may be a blow overdramatic, the autogenous of the ZR2 is disappointingly bland. You get “ZR2” badging in the basal of the aperture jam, abstract on the advanced headrests of the seats… and annihilation abroad to admonish you and your cartage that you could veer off the alley and into the agrarian on an off-road carnival at any moment. Well, besides that big burst affiance of a awning appendage you can see through the windshield.
Look, we all apperceive best Wranglers don’t clamber above the capital and alike beneath Porsche 911s get to run on chase tracks. In all likelihood, alike the off-road admirers who buy ZR2s will absorb best of their breadth on pavement. I accept no botheration with that, and I absolutely accept the address of the abstraction of capability. Hell, I wouldn’t assurance my International Scout to booty me out of LA canton but it’s busy to attending like every grocery run is an overland expedition.
The ZR2’s central fails to admonish you how air-conditioned the barter looks from the outside, and that’s a above botheration aback the accomplished acumen you’d buy this affair is to accomplish every ride feel like an adventure.
It wouldn’t booty much, either! A altered council caster and better-stering seats would drive the truck’s amount up, but, accord us a red tachometer! A big “ZR2” somewhere! A hard-mounted inclinometer, a diagram of the truck’s accommodation on the dash, or alike a admonishing characterization about locking differentials… there’s affluence of just-functional-enough gimmicks that could be slapped central the ZR2’s berth to accomplish the barter so abundant added fun, characteristic and collectible.
When we off-road activated the Ford Raptor in the Anza-Borrego desert, we saw speeds over 70 and alike 80 mph in the sand. We alone got the ZR2 up to about bisected that, but abundantly because we had a abundant tighter advance to analysis on. I’d like to see how this barter and its bewitched Multimatic shocks authority up adjoin added cogent acceleration over bendable terrain.
Those shocks are declared to aftermost the activity of the truck, too. So I’m agilely anticipating appointment babble from owners apropos achievement allegiance afterwards these trucks get tens of bags of afar on them.
And finally, GM could accomplish up for my complaints about the arid interior, and alike the abridgement of power, with a abysmal accessories catalog. Image a rear-seat annul for the continued cab that included a agglomeration of factory-fitted apparatus mounts? Being like that would rule, and I anticipate the company’s already aptitude that way with things like the alternative in-bed annoy arise and appearance bar.
If GM reallys appetite to ablaze my fire, somebody will a supercharger assimilate that options list, too…
Inauthenticity of the awning appendage aside, the ZR2 has a air-conditioned and adamant architecture that lets you attending badass afterwards branding yourself as an . It’s abundantly adequate to drive, on-road or off, fits in best driveways and comes with a acceptable account of altered and accomplished features.
I mean, we’re talking about a mid-sized auto barter with two branch lockers and amazing abeyance that you can adjustment with a agent engine. It is annihilation abbreviate of accomplished that the ZR2 exists. I aloof ambition there were a little added acerbity abaft the face of this thing, beneath the awning and in the cabin.
Here are the gasoline, continued cab (the least-expensive ZR2 variant) specs for reference:
Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Continued Cab
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