2017 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Review

The Bowtie Wheeler We’ve Been Waiting For

Ali MansourPhotographer, WriterCourtesy of ManufacturerPhotographer

Most Chevy S10 and Colorado enthusiasts remember the ZR2 package from yesteryear. While it had some off-road appointments, it fell a little short compared to the competition, such as the Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road. Thankfully, the 2017 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is the off-road package we have all been waiting for.

With the all-new ZR2, you are getting not one, but two selectable locking differentials, a cutting-edge suspension, and the ability to hang the truck loose in the dirt. By “hang the truck loose” we mean turn-off the mandatory electronic nannies, lock the rear locker in two-wheel drive, and proceed to blast around a dirt berm sideways like a crazed hillbilly with the law on your tail. Yes. This ZR2 is like no other Colorado ever produced.

We suspect this is what happens when you shut down a brand built around going off-road (anyone remember Hummer?) and move those engineers over to the midsized truck branch. From the shocks to the lower control arms, the Colorado ZR2 is a completely different animal from the base version. In fact, the ZR2 is a full 3 1/2 inches wider and 2 inches taller than the standard Colorado. With an available 2.8L Duramax diesel engine, the ZR2 is one of the most fuel efficient and off-road capable truck platforms ever produced. Without question it is the most trail-savvy pickup we have seen come out of the GM stable in years, maybe ever.

To find out if the ZR2 performs as good as it reads on paper, we got behind the wheel in beautiful Gateway, Colorado. We got a chance to test out the truck on Colorado back roads, hit the trail, crawl rocks . . . oh, and air out the pickup on a test track! To find out how it all shook out, read on.

Final Thoughts

The fact that Chevy is willing to make such a capable off-road pickup is extremely exciting to us. Sure, the starting price of $40,995 is a little hard to swallow, but it’s only $35 more than the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro. The fact that you are getting a front selectable locker, rocker guards, and an arguably nicer interior for only 35 bucks more is pretty impressive. That it’s the only midsized truck available with a front selectable locker and diesel engine option puts it a notch above in our books. Speaking of options, the ZR2 is only available with as Crew Cab short bed or Extended Cab long box. You can also have a bed-mounted spare and a few other dealer add-ons.
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