The notion of a Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 to rival the Ford F-150 Raptor has never been far from thought. Chevrolet can champion the readily available Colorado ZR2 as often and as loud as it wants, as it rightfully should… but that truck in a “segment of one,” as Chevy describes it, cannot rival the Raptor for various reasons.
One of them is that the Ford absolutely out-muscles the Colorado ZR2 engine offerings thanks to a punchy 3.5L twin-turbo V6 engine making 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. The most horsepower one can find in a 2018 Colorado ZR2 is 308 hp, and peak torque is 369 lb-ft, but not with the same engine. Another reason is that, thanks to its higher MSRP, the Ford F-150 Raptor can garnish its cabin with sporty themes and exceptional content that’s become the norm in the full-size truck segment. Thirdly: just as some people want a smaller truck like the Colorado ZR2 to fit their lifestyle, plenty still want a bigger truck.
With the reveal of the all-new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 in Detroit this week, a new sense of hope emerged for a performance variant of the Silverado through its lifecycle. As to what, if any, direction a sporty Silverado will take, is still a mystery. It could be street-oriented, like the Silverado SS from the GMT800 days, or off-road oriented like a theoretical Silverado ZR2. However, if customer research was any indicator, the off-road enthusiasts might get what they want.
“When we surveyed (7,000 truck owners), off-road performance was definitely the strongest (compared to street performance),” explained Chevrolet truck director Sandor Piszar in an interview. “Right now we’re focusing on off-road performance. That’s why you see the Trailboss Custom and LT… certainly street performance is an opportunity in the pickup truck space, and we’re constantly assessing. Stay tuned.”
While it’s not an outright confirmation, that’s the best answer we have at the moment. There’s no doubt that GM is constantly assessing and observing the business case for a Ford Raptor nemesis in the form of a hypothetical Silverado ZR2, which would slot above the Colorado ZR2 in terms of proportions, power, price, features and capability. But for now, it’s clear that Chevrolet intends to focus on the eight 2019 Silverado models that will launch later this year, including the more rugged Silverado Trailboss, which features a two-inch lift from the factory. After that, we fully intend to stay tuned.
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