Dodge abandoned the midsize pickup segment back in 2011 when it took the axe to its once strong-selling Dakota. A lot has changed since then, however. FCA, or Fiat Chrysler Autos, has been formed, the auto market in the U.S. has rebounded dramatically, gasoline is relatively inexpensive and, most importantly, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and 2015 GMC Canyon have been finding quite a few homes.
Now, the latest news is Jeep will be officially introducing a pickup version of the iconic Wrangler off-road SUV. This idea has roots all the way back in 2004, when Jeep showed the Gladiator concept, a Ram-based Jeep pickup truck. Again, times have changed.
Jeep has an immense amount of brand equity, and a Jeep pickup truck not only sounds like a hot seller, but could command some very premium price tags. Not to mention, it will be very trail rated.
Competition isn’t perfect, but it’s also good for everybody, and that’s why this would be the perfect time for Chevrolet to unveil a production-ready Colorado ZR2.
The Colorado ZR2 concept was shown at last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, and debuted to much praise, and calls for production (including from us). The truck featured rakish new off-road ready styling, complete with more extreme approach and departure angles at 30.7 and 22.7 degrees, and the 2.8-liter Duramax turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
Not only would it give Chevrolet some serious off-road credibility, but it could also beat Jeep to the punch, seeing the Colorado ZR2 concept looks more like a production vehicle, than show car.
Speaking of looking quite production ready, when we had a chance to sit down with Chevrolet over the Colorado Trail Boss introduction, we asked if Trail Boss was a stepping stone to bigger things.
The answer? Everyone inside General Motors is “coo-coo for cocopuffs” over the concept. Add in the fact GM’s Product Chief, Mark Reuss, says the brand has greater intentions to build the ZR2 over a Ford Raptor fighter, and it’s sounding all but confirmed.
With Hummer a distant memory, and GMC lacking any sort of true off-road vehicle, that leaves the bowtie brand to counter a Jeep pickup. The blueprint is already there with the Colorado ZR2, GM only has to give it life.