Colorado ZR2 Bison: Who Is The New Performance Variant For?10
With Chevy having officially announced the Colorado ZR2 Bison, we have been wondering who the new off-road truck is for. In other words, who will buy this turn-key off-road truck, and what is its target market?
The obvious answer are hard-core, off-road enthusiasts with a penchant for mid-size pickup trucks (as opposed to full-size trucks), who have a good deal of disposable income and who don’t want to deal with the aftermarket. Another obvious answer are owners of the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.
A not-so-obvious answer, however, are owners of off-road full-size trucks such as the Ford F-150 Raptor, Toyota Tundra TRD Pro and Ram 1500 TRX.
What Is It?
We lately have been learning a lot about the ZR2 Bison, the purpose built off-road vehicle that seemingly have more chassis armor than a Humvee rolling into a war zone. AEV (American Expedition Vehicles) was selected to outfit the ZR2 with premium aftermarket parts so that the consumer doesn’t have to.
The Colorado ZR2 Bison features the following exclusive features:
- A snorkel for deep water forging
- Five AEV-designed, specially-made skid plates to protect vital undercarriage organs while driving over rocky, jagged terrain; constructed of hard, durable hot-stamped Boron steel, the skid plates cover the engine oil pan, fuel tank, transfer case and front and rear locking differentials
- Larger fender flares
- All-new, ZR2 Bison-specific 17 x 8-inch aluminum wheels
- AEV-designed stamped steel front and rear bumpers to protect the truck from obstacles
- Winch provisions in the front bumper
- Standard fog lights
- Recovery points integrated into the rear bumper
- A flow-through “CHEVROLET” lettered grille
All that is on top of the equipment in store for the Colorado ZR2, including:
- Class-exclusive front and rear locking electronic differentials
- Revolutionary, segment-exclusive Multimatic DSSV dampers
- Off-road rocker protection
- Cast-iron control arms
- Autotrac transfer case
It’s also worth noting that the Colorado ZR2 Bison is available with the 2.8L Duramax Turbo Diesel (LWN) engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. As of this writing, no purpose-built, off-road midsize trucks offer a diesel engine from the factory.
Who’s Going To Buy It?
Given its feature set, it’s clear that the ZR2 Bison is geared toward rugged, outdoor enthusiasts and overlanders who spend their weekends in the mountains or just generally traversing rough, rugged terrain that no factory truck or SUV would normally dare to challenge (perhaps with the exception of a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon).
“More and more enthusiasts are discovering that Colorado is ideal for off-roading, especially overland travel,” Sandor Piszar, director of Marketing, Chevrolet Truck, said in a statement.
The selling point here is that the ZR2 Bison is a turn-key solution for those who enjoy the aforementioned offroading and overlanding activities, have the cash to splurge and don’t want to spend the time building and kitting a truck out themselves.
In addition, AEV is a well-known brand for creating aftermarket off-road parts, and to have their parts on the Colorado ZR2 from the factory, with a factory warranty, is quite a compelling solution… as long as is price is not stratospheric.
However, we also feel like it’s also possible for the ZR2 Bison to attract current owners of the Raptor, Tundra TRD, and Rebel TRX when it comes time to trade or get something new. That’s because those trucks, despite having the “cool” factor, typically aren’t capable of traversing the same kinds of rugged terrain as the ZR2 Bison, which has the capability to back up its tough looks.
In fact, we seldom see any of those full-size models on the tough off-road trails here in the Colorado Rockies, as the full-sizers are oftentimes too big for many trails, which are dominated by Jeep Wranglers. Meanwhile, the ZR2 Bison would be feel right at home on those trails – so perhaps it will also be able to attract some customers from Jeep.
The GM Authority Take
Overall, offering an AEV-kitted truck with major off-road capability from the factory, along with an optional diesel motor and a size just right for overlanding makes the ZR2 Bison a very attractive offering that might just be enough to sway folks away from the competition and into Chevy dealerships.
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Good story, I was thinking about this topic a few weeks ago. I think most raptor and Zr2 owners don’t off road it, more of a daily driver with capability. On the flip side same can be said about sports cars for example I’ve never taken my Camaro to a track or any drag strip.
I bet even camaro ZL1 1LE owners rarely track it on a regular basis. I’m my eyes there is nothing wrong with daily driving something that you may never use it’s cabailities on a daily basis.
Will be more on road drivers of this truck than off road. It’s a show piece meant to draw attention for most owners. And for that reason I think they missed their mark by not offering more power to help appeal to more show boaters.
I think you’re way off on that.
Like the author said, I believe these will be bought by the same people who buy the Wrangler Rubicon, and they will be used just as much off road as on.
The Colorado has become a hit in the overlanding and offroading croud… so I’m curious what makes you think otherwise.
Have you seen how the Colorado ZR2 is used? Over here in Utah, they are in the mountains almost as much as a Wrangler… which is saying a lot about the Colorado.
In the mountains doing what though? Logging roads at most, or actual technical trails? 99% of Rubicon drivers never use it on anything more than grass.
This is a truck for posers with money.
This truck has been a puzzling model on the Colorado Forum to the real off rosters and the posers are asking can the fit the snorkel to their trucks.
The reality is most real off road people build 5beir own trucks. They are the ones taking the ZR2 and selling the factory rock sliders and putting on their own bars and skid plates.
The only thing the Bison offers that the aftermarket as yet to offer is the gas tank skid plate. It can be ordered from AVE.
The reality is the suspension and engine are the same as the ZR. The suspension clearance is the same. There is no more trail ability than the skids and winch.
My hope is with the coming refresh they will maybe add more lift, power or something to take this to the next level vs the same level with more trim.
GM will make money with those who can not build their own trucks to climb curbs at the mall. That is fine but to earn real off road respect bigger tires and more ground clearance would mean more as they will bolt on their own parts.
The TRD Pro is pretty much the same so it is not just GM.
So off brah.
You really need to hit an off road trail. They are typically filled with wranglers… but the ZR2s are starting to show up and are very capable. The Jeep guys love the Colorado because they can have one vehicle instead of two. The Colorado is very liveable
The wranglers on the trails are not built by the way. Some are, but most can go it stock and by changing tire pressure. The same with the Colorados.
The build your own is what Chevy is trying to avoid here and they will succeed. My dealer already has hand raisers. Most of them are coming from a Wrangler. Posers you say? I think not.
First off I am not your Brah.
Second I am a mid size GM truck owner and I work for one of the largest distributors of after market off road parts including GM Performance
I am well aware of what these vehicles can do and who are building them.
The Stock ZR will run the trail but is missing some of the Skids people want. It also is missing the larger tires they want.
They hate the body mounted rock sliders and are often the first thing they change.
I never even brought up the Wrangler as it is a whole different Jeep thing all together.
What Chevy is doing here is just trying to leverage some more income from the folks who don’t know what end of the wrench to use and if the went off road they had better learn.
Now if GM had added more ground clearance or more power it would draw more from the stock ZR.
This is more a Rocky Ridge like Package for the mechanically dis inclined.
It will be interesting what they add to the price as $2k May keep many interested but if the go much more they can buy a lot of parts for that for their ZR.
What will be interesting is if the Raptor Ranger here gets more power and how it is priced.
I don’t disagree with your general sentiment, but one of the things I think you’re missing is that guys like me (50+ year old with disposable income) who has built MANY of his own trucks and Jeeps over the years and dealt with all the headaches will welcome a good factory-built truck that is as capable as the ZR2. We’ve come to realize that even though they look cool, 35’s aren’t always a good option and 6″ lifts just suck for driving the 300 miles to the trail head, and frankly aren’t that great ON the trail most of the time. Too many compromises. With respect to the Bison, I pretty much agree with your assessment with two exceptions: skid plates and a winch bumper from the factory would be worth the price of admission for me. I don’t care about the rest of the package, and certainly will never install that god-awful poseur-snorkel.
Lockers in the front…..
Bruh, I bought my Colorado because I liked how it looked , me I don’t really care if you think I’m a poser. What you think of me is not my concern. I like the way it looks and the way it drives. Occasionally I take it in the hills behind my house and get busy. It does just fine to work or to the top of the mountain. You k ow what I think of you ? Nothing. Ha om. And your right your not my bruh either.