Los Angeles, CA – At its steepest, the steel track arching above a sound stage in an LA industrial park reached a 30-degree grade. It was a dramatic entrance for Chevrolet’s surprise unveiling: a new off-road version of their mid-size Colorado pickup truck.
The 2017 Colorado ZR2 initially appeared as a concept at the 2014 LA Auto Show, and we’re happy to say that the final production vehicle retains most of what made the concept such a hit with show-goers.
Differentiating it from a standard Colorado, the ZR2 edition boasts a three-and-a-half-inch wider track, two-inch lifted suspension, modified front and rear bumpers for better approach and departure angles, and an aggressive blacked-out grille and hood insert. Steel-tube functional rocker protectors keep the body safe from rock damage, while thick aluminum skid plates protect the radiator, oil pan and transfer case. ZR2 Exclusive 17×8-inch aluminum wheels are clad in 31-inch Goodyear off-road rubber.
What really sets this new off-roader apart though, are its class-exclusive front and rear electronic locking differentials, an optional diesel engine, and a custom Multimatic damper set-up designed specifically for the ZR2. This is the first off-road shock system designed by Multimatic, a Canadian company renowned for their sports car technology. Instead of the traditional disk-valve setup of most shocks and dampers, the DSSV’s aluminum housing contains two spool valves – providing both greater compression while off-roading yet still maintaining the compliance desired in a daily driver.
Over an off-road demo course featuring some rather aggressively chunky obstacles, the ZR2 was impressively compliant, with very little of the roughness typical of most hardcore mudders.
The ZR2 is approximately a foot narrower than a full-size truck. Navigating a labyrinth of upright wood posts demonstrated the comparative ease with which the smaller ZR2 could trek through a heavily wooded area.
Like the regular Colorado, the ZR2 will have a choice of either a 3.6L V6 with 308 hp and 275 lb-ft, or a class-exclusive diesel producing 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.
The ZR2 will go on sale in Canada in spring 2017. Pricing will be announced early next year.
Alan Batey, President GM North America, said they’ve been selling 100,000 Colorados every year since it was launched. “Top trade-ins,” he said, “and I love this – are the Ford F-150, and the Toyota Tacoma.”
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