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2019 Ford F-150 Raptor vs. 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2: Which Is Better?

Editor’s note: You may want to read more of Autotrader’s model vs. model comparison car reviews as well as the 2019 Ford F-150 review, and the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado review.

Two of the most exciting off-road vehicles on sale today are the 2019 Ford F-150 Raptor and the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. The high-performance Raptor receives a few updates for 2019, while the ZR2 gets one major update in the form of a new top-of-the-line "Bison" trim level, which offers additional armor and protection to protect against rocks during heavy off-roading. While these vehicles are often mentioned in the same sentence, they’re actually quite different. Below we’ll take a look at the major differences between the two.

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor vs. 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 basic specs

Basic Specs

The Ford F-150 Raptor was first introduced for the 2010 model year and is now in its second generation, which was released for the 2017 model year. The Raptor offers a big, powerful engine, a variety of performance features for both on- and off-road use and the toughest off-road suspension available from an OEM. Altogether, the Raptor sets the standard when it comes to factory off-road vehicles in the U.S. market. The Raptor starts at around $53,000 and reaches close to $80,000 when fully optioned. See the 2019 Ford F-150 models for sale near you

While the F-150 Raptor is a full-size truck, the ZR2 is based on the midsize Colorado. The ZR2 sees modifications to the standard Colorado’s suspension and styling, while the new ZR2 Bison adds unique bumpers and heavy under body protection developed by AEV. Both variants are offered with either a traditional V6 powerplant or a unique turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel. An entry-level Colorado ZR2 starts at around $42,000, while a fully optioned ZR2 Bison will exceed $50,000. See the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado models for sale near you

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor vs. 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 engines

Engines

The Raptor is offered with one engine, and it’s a good one. The high-output version of Ford’s 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 makes 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque. This is good for a 0-to-60 mile per hour time of 5.3 seconds, fast for any vehicle, let alone a 7,000-lb off-road pickup. The Raptor uses a 10-speed automatic transmission and returns 15 miles per gallon in the city, 18 mpg on the highway and 16 mpg in combined driving from recommended premium fuel.

The Colorado ZR2 can be had with two different engines. The mainstream offering is a 3.6-liter V6 making 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. The V6 comes mated to an 8-speed automatic and returns 15 mpg city/18 mpg hwy/16 mpg combined, but only requires regular fuel. The V6 ZR2 takes 7.1 seconds to go from 0-to-60 mph.

The Colorado’s optional engine is a 4-cylinder Duramax diesel making 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The diesel comes mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and returns 19 mpg city/ 22 mpg hwy/20 mpg combined. The ZR2 diesel is pretty slow, requiring around 9.5 seconds to go from 0-to-60 mph.

Altogether, either of the ZR2’s engines will get the job done, but they don’t offer performance beyond what you get with a standard Colorado. The Raptor’s high-performance engine, on the other hand, is enough to make it a hoot to drive around town, as well as in the dirt.

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor vs. 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 configurations

Configurations

The Raptor is available in two different cab lengths: SuperCab, which offers one set of full doors and a pair of half-sized doors, and SuperCrew, which offers two full doors. Only a short bed is offered with either cab size, meaning that the SuperCrew Raptor is 11 inches longer than the SuperCab.

The Colorado ZR2 can also be had with two cab lengths: Extended Cab and Crew Cab. Laid out similarly to the Raptor SuperCab and SuperCrew, respectively. Unlike the Raptor, the ZR2 can also be had with two different bed lengths. The Crew Cab model comes with a 5-foot bed, while the extended cab comes with a 6-foot bed. This means that both configurations are roughly the same length.

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor vs. 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 off-road tech

Off-Road Tech

Both of these vehicles offer an array of off-road technology, but the Raptor offers an overall more complete package.

The Colorado ZR2 is available in two variations: the standard ZR2 and the new-for-2019 ZR2 Bison. The ZR2 offers Multimatic’s DSSV, or Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve shock absorbers that give the vehicle a 2-in suspension lift, a track widened by 3.5 inches, locking front and rear differentials, hill descent control, unique wheels wrapped in 31-in Goodyear Duratrec all-terrain tires, rock rails and fender flares. The ZR2 also gets a unique front bumper and aluminum skid plates protecting the engine and transfer case. The ZR2 offers 8.6 inches of suspension travel in the front and 10.0 inches in the rear. The new ZR2 Bison adds to the equation five additional underbody skid plates covering the front and rear differentials, the oil pan, the fuel tank and the transfer case. The Bison also gains a steel, winch-compatible front bumper with fog lights, and a steel rear bumper ready to be up-fitted with aftermarket lights, steel tube rear corner protection, unique wheels, a unique grille, thicker fender flares and AEV branding inside and out. The Bison’s snorkel is a dealer-installed option that can technically be fitted to any Colorado.

The Raptor offers a heavy-duty Fox off-road suspension, now with an electronic component for 2019. The Raptor’s new shocks can now gauge conditions, such as when the Raptor is airborne or cornering hard, and adjust their dampening accordingly, allowing them to be even more effective. Additionally, the Raptor’s track is widened by six inches, and it wears unique, aggressive-looking bodywork to account for this. The Raptor rides on factory 35-in BF Goodrich KO2 All-Terrain tires and offers a locking rear differential along with trail control, which acts as off-road cruise control — another new feature for 2019. Inside, the Raptor comes with a unique steering wheel, paddle shifters, adjustable steering and a variety of on- and off-road oriented drive modes including rock and sand, sport and baja. Finally, the Raptor features a unique transfer case that can switch between two-wheel high, four-wheel drive high, 4WD low and 4WD automatic, which behaves like all-wheel drive, making it great for use in inclement weather. Also new for 2019 are optional Recaro seats. There’s truly nothing else like the Raptor on sale anywhere in the world from a major automaker.

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor vs. 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 performance

Performance

Both of these trucks are fun to play with in the dirt given their array of off-road features and technology. That said, the Raptor is a far more exciting vehicle to drive. Its high-output turbocharged V6 has tons of power, and the vehicle’s massive footprint dominates the road. Additionally, the Raptor’s excellent 10-speed automatic transmission and variety of drive modes and steering settings make it endlessly configurable. Finally, the Raptor’s suspension is a blast off-road, but is also great on-road, as it effortlessly absorbs potholes and road imperfections.

The ZR2’s unique suspension setup is impressive as well, and its locking front differential is unique to the segment. Still, Chevrolet didn’t invest as much into changing other attributes of the Colorado as Ford did with the F-150, and it shows in terms of the interior and powertrains, which are still almost identical to what you’ll find in lesser Colorados. The Colorado ZR2 and ZR2 Bison will still be a lot of fun off-road, but they fall well short of the Raptor when it comes to overall performance and excitement.

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor vs. 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 infotainment

Infotainment

Both the F-150 Raptor and Colorado ZR2 offer a competent, modern infotainment system displayed via an 8-in touchscreen. Running the most up-to-date proprietary systems of their respective manufacturers, the Raptor and ZR2 both offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, along with 4G LTE with Wi-Fi connectivity. While both offer ample USB ports, the Raptor can be fitted with premium features like available power inverters and a premium audio system. Altogether though, when it comes to day-to-day necessities, both the ZR2 and Raptor offer respectable packages, but the F-150 offers just a little more.

Safety

The F-150 earns a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) thanks to its crash test performance, where it earns scores of Good in all major categories. The F-150 is also available with a slew of driver-assistance safety features, including blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and parking assist.

The Colorado performs well in IIHS crash testing as well, but misses out on a Top Safety Pick designation for its lack of active crash mitigation technology. In terms of driver-assistance safety features, the Colorado is lacking, offering only forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning, which is an odd combination given the way vehicles usually come packaged.

Altogether, the F-150 is a safer vehicle than the Colorado, although both offer reasonable protection.

Autotrader’s Advice

When it comes down to it, these trucks compete in different segments. The Raptor is a full-size truck with a full-size truck price tag. It offers a potent engine, a large footprint and plenty of premium features and technology. Ford has gone above and beyond when it comes to making the Raptor feel special, and has invested heavily into restyling the vehicle inside and out to set it apart from lesser F-150s. The Colorado ZR2 is a midsize pickup and isn’t differentiated from normal Colorados to quite the same degree that the Raptor is differentiated from the normal F-150. The Colorado ZR2 also lacks the performance credentials of the big Ford. Still, at roughly $20,000 cheaper than a Raptor, the ZR2 is more attainable for most people, and is still be a blast to drive off-road in its own right. Find a Ford F-150 for sale or Find a Chevrolet Colorado for sale

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