We’ve been waiting a long time for this one, and it looks as if our patience may finally be awarded. When Chevrolet showed the Colorado ZR2 concept at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, we could barely contain our enthusiasm and hoped something at least vaguely resembling the concept would make its way to the showroom. When GM announced the Colorado Trail Boss, we were hoping it would be the production version of the ZR2 concept. Instead, we got a trim package with slightly more aggressive tires. Evidently, GM decided it has teased us long enough. It’s looking like the ZR2 will finally happen.
The concept shown in L.A. featured the 2.8L Duramax I-4 diesel, which is expected to be on the options sheet for the ZR2. However, the vast majority of ZR2s will likely be equipped with the GM corporate 3.6L V-6. The current model makes 305 hp and 269 lb-ft. The 2017 model could see an upgrade to the newer-generation engine used in the Cadillac and Buick lineups, which features cylinder deactivation (for slightly improved fuel economy) and more power. Our only gripe with the current V-6 is its somewhat soft low-rpm torque delivery and sometimes squirrely transmission calibration. Our vote would be for the excellent and torquey 4.3L EcoTec3 OHV V-6 used in the Silverado, which delivers a stout 305 lb-ft at 3,900 rpm. At any rate, the more options the better.
The ZR2 appears to mercifully ditch the Colorado’s notoriously low-hanging front air dam, finally giving the truck a useable off-road approach angle. While no official details on the ZR2’s suspension system have been released yet, we wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of remote-reservoir shock system similar to the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro. As with the TRD Pro, we expect the ZR2 to give up some measure of on-road sharpness for greater articulation and travel off-road. That’s a tradeoff we’re gladly willing to make for another midsize off-roader. Unfortunately, we expect the ZR2 to continue the Colorado’s steep price slope. We’re expecting the ZR2 to start at around $42,000 and approach or surpass $50,000 fully equipped.