The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is one of the most capable off-road capable trucks in its class. Usually mentioned by my circle of car enthusiasts as a “Baby Raptor” with its class-leading series of electronic locking differentials and its special suspension seen only attached to a few supercars, the ZR2 is known to eat up anything that gets in its way. Many are not aware that Chevrolet will sell you a ZR2 with the dial turned to 11 — the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison.
Since the ZR2 Bison may not be as well known as it should be, I wanted to take the time to walk you through everything that gets an upgrade when you go from a “normal ZR2” to a ZR2 Bison.
In my video above, I poke fun at the phrase “normal ZR2,” because as I mentioned and cannot stress enough that the ZR2 is one of the best midsize trucks you can buy right now and referring to it as normal just feels awkward.
I previously spent some time with a diesel-powered ZR2. The ZR2 Bison comes available with a 2.8-liter turbo-diesel or a 3.6-liter V6, which was equipped in the ZR2 Bison I drove. The engine remains unchanged, so let’s dig into what does change.
Before digging into the details, the first thing I need to mention is the ZR2 Bison was not created in some hidden Chevy Performance Truck skunkworks. Chevrolet collaborated with off-road aftermarket manufacturer American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) for the ZR2 Bison. The truck is equipped from bumper to bumper with AEV branded parts.
The most subtle change has to be in the interior where almost nothing was changed from the ZR2. The only difference was the American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) branded headrests, which feature AEV stitching, as well as a Bison image. One additional change, which I consider to be removable, are a set of AEV branded floormats.
The exterior is where your money is with this beast of a truck.
Perhaps the most noticeable part of the truck versus a ZR2 or even a normal Colorado is the front grill. All Colorado’s, even the ZR2 come, with a black grill with the Chevrolet gold bowtie in the middle like much of the Chevrolet lineup, but the ZR2 Bison gets a nice, aggressive CHEVROLET branded all-black grill.
While I mention the front of the ZR2 Bison, the truck comes equipped with a AEV front bumper, which looks much like an external rollbar that also has some fog lights. The rear also features a similar rollbar like bumper and AEV branding.
There are plenty of ZR2 Bison upgrades that you cannot easily see, as well. the truck is all about protecting the important bits while you are driving over or going through anything. It comes equipped with a fuel tank skid plate, a transfer case skid plate and a rear differential skid plate.
The ZR2 Bison features an aggressive set of wheels and tires. It comes with a set of AEV 17 x 8-in wheels wrapped in 32-in Goodyear Wranger Duratrack rubber.
While not exclusive to the ZR2 Bison and coming carried over from the ZR2, the suspension’s uniqueness always deserves mention.
The ZR2 Bison comes standard with the same Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) damper technology as the ZR2. The DSSV technology deserves mention due to it only popping up in supercars and only the most track weapon variant Chevrolets. The technology can be found on the Aston Martin One-77, the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 and the Ford GT.
Perhaps one of the best ways to “hard park” your off-road vehicle is to fit it with a snorkel. Many press materials feature the ZR2 Bison thrashing about through some off-road trails with a snorkel attached.
Sadly, the snorkel is not standard and did not come on the ZR2 Bison I played with, but is a third party accessory available from AEV.
What I Think It Should Have
It is hard to find some shortcomings of this beast.
On the topic of looks, besides the lack of snorkel, I believe the ZR2 Bison should come standard with some sort of rear light bar structure that I have seen on some normal Colorados and ZR2s. It would have helped keep the ZR2 Bison’s bottom-heavy exterior rollbar look more symmetrical.
I think it needs some spice added to the engine department, too. While the truck’s suspension has the ability to eat every bump in the road, I would have liked the truck’s engine to feel angrier and feel like it belongs in a performance truck that is sitting priced around $50k. I know we are beyond the time of hoping a V8 engine will pop up in a midsized truck, but a little engine massaging would have been welcome. Find a Chevrolet Colorado for sale
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