2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2
The Colorado ZR2 is an off-road-oriented variant of the Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup truck. Chevrolet states that the truck not only resets the bar for mid-size trucks but also for off-road trucks.
Chevrolet characterizes the Colorado ZR2 as being “a segment of one” thanks to a unique combination of nimbleness and maneuverability of a mid-size pickup with a wide assortment of new off-road features and the most off-road technology of any vehicle in its segment.
When compared to a standard Colorado, the Colorado ZR2 features:
- A much wider track
- A lifted suspension
- Functional rockers for better performance over rocks and obstacles
- Modified front and rear bumpers for better off-road clearance
Class-exclusive features include:
- Front and rear electronic locking differentials
- Available diesel engine
- The first off-road application of Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSVTM) damper technology
The result is exceptional performance in a variety of scenarios – from technical rock crawling to tight two-track trails to high-speed desert running to daily driving.
“Our engineers have been incredibly successful developing Corvette and Camaro performance variants with broad performance envelopes,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “The ZR2 applies that same philosophy to off-road performance. You can go rock crawling on Saturday, desert running on Sunday, and comfortably drive to work on Monday. This truck can do it all, and do it all well.”
Dampers serve as the heart of any off-road truck. And in order to achieve an unprecedented balance of on- and off-road performance, engineers turned to Multimatic Inc. in creating high-performance Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) dampers for the ZR2.
DSSV dampers are used in championship-winning motorsport vehicles, including recent Formula One winners. The first volume production vehicle to use DSSV dampers was the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, and the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 represents the first application of Multimatic DSSV damper technology in an off-road vehicle.
“From our experience on Z/28, we knew the performance advantages offered by DSSV dampers, “ said Mark Dickens, executive director, Performance Variants, Performance Parts and Motorsports Engineering, Chevrolet. “We also know that Multimatic’s motorsport development mentality would allow us to bring a uniquely precise and repeatable custom damper to market even more quickly than a traditional damper system.”
Compared to deflected-disk valving common on most dampers, the ZR2 employs spool valves that offer increased precision and manufacturing repeatability along with enhanced ride and handling performance, both on- and off-road.
The Colorado ZR2’s DSSV dampers are position-sensitive. Their aluminum bodies each house two spool valves providing both compression and rebound damping optimized for everyday driving. During extreme off-road use, a third, piston-mounted spool valve delivers additional, uniquely tuned, compression damping. The front dampers also employ a separate rebound valve, which comes into play when the suspension approaches full extension.
“A traditional, deflected-disc damper only offers two force-velocity curves for tuning,” Dickens said. “The ZR2 dampers offer six tuning curves for the front, four at the rear. For the driver, this translates to greater confidence and control in a wider range of driving experiences.”
Visually, the production version of the Colorado ZR2 closely resembles the concept shown at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. Consumer response to that concept was so overwhelming, the team knew they needed to carry as much of the original design into production as possible.
“For both the concept and the production versions of ZR2, the exterior design was shaped by the desire to improve capability driving over mud, sand and rock,” said Rich Scheer, director of design for Chevrolet Truck. “The wider, more aggressive stance, modified front and rear bumpers, and even the bed-mounted, spare-tire carrier all improve performance driving over rough terrain.”
Compared to a Colorado Z71, the ZR2 has a more aggressive side profile, with the suspension lifted two inches for greater ground clearance. The steel-tube, functional rocker protectors will be standard equipment on the ZR2, and are strong enough to protect the body side while dragging the truck against a rock face.
The ZR2 also features 17 x 8 inch aluminum wheels, in a pattern exclusive to the ZR2, wrapped in 31-inch Goodyear Duratrac off-road tires for exceptional traction.
The front and rear track has been widened by three-and-a-half inches, with new cast-iron control arms for greater durability in off-road situations. As a result, the ZR2 offers greater wheel travel and stability while traversing steep grades.
The front bumper of the ZR2 has tapered ends, to increase the tire clearance when approaching obstacles. The bumper also integrates a thick, aluminum skid plate protecting the radiator and engine oil pan, while the transfer case is protected by an additional shield. Above the bumper, the ZR2 features a more aggressive grille and hood – with black insert – to complement the other exterior changes.
A bed-mounted spare tire carrier, seen on reveal vehicles at the Los Angeles Auto Show, will be available as an accessory. “The bed-mounted spare tire adds a rugged look to ZR2, and serves a functional purpose. By relocating the spare to the bed, ZR2’s departure is improved and prevents any damage to the spare when you’re crawling over obstacles,” said Scheer.
The ZR2 also features the most sophisticated four-wheel drive system in the segment. With class-exclusive, electronic-locking differentials front and rear and Chevrolet’s AutoTrac transfer case, the ZR2 offers nine drive configurations:
- 2WD, locked rear differential
- Auto 4WD
- Auto 4WD, locked rear differential
- 4WD Hi, locked transfer case
- 4WD Hi, locked transfer case and locked rear differential
- 4WD Lo, locked transfer case
- 4WD Lo, locked transfer case and locked rear differential
- 4WD Lo, locked transfer case, locked front and rear differentials
Extensive work was done to integrate the electronic lockers and allow them to seamlessly interact with the traction control, stability control, and hill-descent control. In addition, a new “Off-Road Mode” button, in combination with the traction control switch, allows the anti-lock brakes, traction control, and stability control calibrations to be tailored to different driving conditions. Off-road Mode also alters the throttle progression and shifts calibrations to give the driver better control and responsiveness.
The ZR2 shares its powertrains with the 2017 Colorado, and it will be the only extreme production off-road truck to offer the choice of gas or diesel engines.
The all-new 3.6L V-6, mated to a class-exclusive Hydra-Matic 8L45 8-speed automatic transmission, yields 308 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque, while the class-exclusive Duramax diesel engine produces 181 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque and will provide excellent range to overland drivers.
Even with all of the off-roading upgrades over the base truck, the ZR2 can still tow up to 5,000 lbs. – enough to pull a camper, trailer dirt bikes, jet skis, snow mobiles and other toys – or carry 1,100 lbs. of payload.
As such, the Colorado ZR2 offers a distinct position in the market: Compared to other midsize trucks, the Colorado offers an unrivaled suite of powertrain technologies; compared to full-size off-road trucks, the ZR2 is about a foot narrower and 500 pounds lighter, enabling greater agility over obstacles and better trail access.
“It’s amazing what a difference a foot of width makes off road,” said Dickens. “The smaller size of the Colorado is a huge enabler for taking the ZR2 more places, and getting it through tighter spots than you could access with a full-size truck.”
In developing the Colorado ZR2, Chevrolet developed new off-road test areas at General Motors’ Yuma, Arizona Proving Ground.
Located on 2,400 acres of land in southeastern Arizona, the Yuma Proving Ground opened in 2009 and features a range of tracks, laboratories and courses.
The new off-road facility features a multitude of off-road simulations, including:
- High-speed desert sand trails
- Low-speed, loose river rock crossings
- Steep, technical hill climbs and descents
Yuma Proving Ground’s new off-road course allowed the engineering team to test multiple iterations of components on the ZR2 is a single day. These components were then tested a real-world facilities like Moab, Johnson Valley, and Rubicon to ensure the ZR2 is trail-ready right from the factory.
The 2017 Chevy Colorado ZR2 made its debut at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Here is what we expected from the Colorado ZR2 prior to its unveiling in November 2016.
Though we initially believed that Colorado ZR2 would launch for the 2016 model year, GM Authority now firmly believes that the truck will debut in 2016 as a 2017 model year vehicle. Its debut could take place at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2016.
Features & Equipment
We expect the 2017 Colorado ZR2 to feature the following features and equipment:
- Higher ground clearance than the non-ZR2 Colorado
- More extreme approach and departure angles, with the ZR2 Concept having 30.7 and 22.7 degrees, respectively. By comparison, the 2015 Colorado Z71 has 25 degree approach and 21 degree departure angles.
- New front and rear fascias, including integrated flip-out aluminum tow hooks, with a built-in winch in the front and the removal of the CornerStep feature in the rear bumper for a better departure angle.
- Possible flared wheel wells
- Custom bead-lock wheels
- Capable road/off-road tires. The ZR2 concept featured 275/65R18 off-road tires.
- Full-size matching spare wheel/tire assembly mounted in the bed with a quick-release handle.
- Protective spray-in bed liner
- Available GearOn accessories
- 48-inch Hi-Lift jack
- ZR2 badges
- Unique hood insert similar to those of GM’s Heavy Duty trucks
Chassis & Suspension:
- Upgraded shock absorbers. The ZR2 concept featured King Off-Road Racing mono-tube coil-over shocks designed for greater suspension travel.
- ZR2-specific front control arms
- Electronic-locking front and rear differentials
- A choice of 3.6L V-6 LFX gasoline or 2.8L Duramax Turbo-Diesel I-4 LWN engines
- Six-speed or eight-speed automatic transmission
- Special interior color combination and stitching possible
- Four additional toggle switches: two for winch in and winch out operation; and two for the electronic front- and rear-locking differentials.
Since the reveal of the Colorado ZR2 Concept, prototypes of the production-intent Colorado ZR2 have been spotted on various occasions, including:
- Undergoing testing in February 2016
- Undergoing desert testing in July 2016 (Crew Cab version)
- Undergoing testing in May 2016 (Extended Cab version)
In addition, General Motors filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the term ZR2 in August of 2012. The automaker has continued to pursue the ZR2 trademark into 2013, 2014, and 2015.
2015 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept
- 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Order Guide
- 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Price
- 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Release Date