Chevrolet Colorado ZR2
The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is an extreme off-road variant of The Bow Tie brand’s midsize pickup truck designed for superior off-road capability.
We initially believed that Colorado ZR2 would launch for the 2016 model year after the automaker introduced the Colorado ZR2 concept in 2015. However, the capable pickup launched for the 2017 model year after being unveiled at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. The Colorado ZR2 has remained in production since 2017, and was just recently updated for the 2021 model year.
|Assembly Location||GM Wentzville Plant, Missouri, USA|
|Body Style(s)||Mid-Size Pickup: Extended Cab, Crew Cab Short Box|
|Engine(s)||3.6L V-6 LGZ, Duramax 2.8L I-4 LWN|
|Transmission(s)||6-Speed Auto, 8-Speed Auto|
|Drive Wheels||Rear-Wheel-Drive, Four-Wheel-Drive|
|Availability||U.S.A., Canada, Mexico, Middle East|
To help set it apart from non-ZR2 models, the Colorado ZR2 flaunts the following features and equipment:
- Trim-specific exterior styling, including front and rear fascias
- Electronic-locking front and rear differentials
- Sophisticated four-wheel drive system in the segment
- 9 different modes available
- Four additional toggle switches
- Two for winch in and winch out operation
- Two for the electronic front- and rear-locking differentials
- ZR2-specific, cast iron front control arms
- Higher ground clearance than the non-ZR2 Colorado
- High-performance Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) dampers
- 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
- 3.6L V-6 LFX gasoline or 2.8L Duramax Turbo-Diesel I-4 LWN engine
Of course, there were some changes made through the years, which are fleshed out below.
The updates and changes described here are specific to the U.S. market and may be different for other markets.
Colorado ZR2 Concept
A concept version of the vehicle was revealed at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2014. Notably, the following upgrades were made to the Colorado chassis used:
- More extreme 30.7-degree approach angle, and 22.7-degree departure angles
- By comparison, the 2015 Colorado Z71 had 25 degree approach and 21 degree departure angles
- New front and rear fascias, including:
- Integrated flip-out aluminum tow hooks
- Built-in front-mounted winch
- CornerStep delete in the rear bumper for a better departure angle
- Capable 275/65R18 off-road tires
- King Off-Road Racing mono-tube coil-over shocks designed for greater suspension travel
More information on the Chevy Colorado ZR2 Concept.
2017 (Intro Model Year)
As mentioned, 2017 was the first model year for the off-road compliant Colorado ZR2 pickup truck.
“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.”
Visually, the production version of the Colorado ZR2 closely resembled the concept shown at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. Chevy aimed to carry as much of the original design into production as possible, as consumer response to that concept was simply overwhelming.
“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.”
The 2018 model year represents the second year of production of the Colorado ZR2. The only changes to the off-roading pickup truck include the addition of the Colorado ZR2 Midnight and Colorado ZR2 Dusk Special Edition models. Both packages were exclusive to the ZR2 model.
Colorado ZR2 Midnight Edition
Assigned RPO code PDF, the Colorado ZR2 Midnight Edition adds the following features to the standard Colorado ZR2:
- Black exterior color (GBA)
- 17″ x 8″ gloss black aluminum wheels (RIF)
- Off-road lights (S3X)
- Off-road sport bar (SCU, LPO)
- Black Bowtie Emblem Package (LPO, (SG1)
- 17″ x 8″ gloss-Black aluminum spare wheel (S4S)
Colorado ZR2 Dusk Edition
Assigned RPO code PDE, the Colorado ZR2 Dusk Edition adds the following features to the standard Colorado ZR2:
- 17″ x 8″ gloss black aluminum wheels (RIF)
- Off-road lights (LPO, S3X)
- Off-road sport bar (LPO, SCU)
- Black Bowtie Emblem Package (LPO, SG1)
- 17″ x 8″ gloss-Black aluminum spare wheel (S4S)
See detailed 2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 changes, updates and new features here: 2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 log (coming soon).
For the 2019 model year, the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Edition package was introduced, as well as two new exterior color options: Crush and Shadow Gray Metallic. Additionally, 2019 is the year that Chevy fitted black bowties to the ZR2, rather than the traditional gold emblem.
The Colorado ZR2 model did see quite a few changes for 2019, which are overviewed below:
- Deletion of two exterior colors:
- Deletion of Deepwood Green Metallic exterior color
- Deletion of Graphite Metallic exterior color
- Addition of two new exterior colors:
- Shadow Gray Metallic
- ZR2 models now feature black bowties
- Replacement Chevrolet MyLink 8-inch diagonal Color Touch Screen (IO5) with Chevrolet Infotainment System Plus with 8-inch diagonal HD color touch-screen (IOS)
- Deletion of Chevrolet MyLink 8-inch diagonal Color Touch Screen Navigation (IO6) with Chevrolet Infotainment System with Navigation and 8-inch diagonal HD color touch-screen (IOT)
- USB and connectivity port changes
- Addition of second in-cabin microphone for passenger
- Addition of HD Rear Vision Camera as standard
- Addition of heated steering wheel as standard
- Introduction of Colorado ZR2 Bison package
See detailed 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 changes, updates and new features here: 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 change log.
The 2020 Colorado ZR2 saw a few minor changes for the sixth model year of the second-generation Colorado:
- Introduction of remote locking tailgate
- Standard on ZR2 models
- Introduction of Tire Fill Alert on all models
- Chevrolet Infotainment Premium system with Navigation (IOT) replaced with Chevrolet Infotainment Plus system with Navigation (IOU)
See detailed 2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 changes, updates and new features here: 2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 change log.
The 2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 receives a light update that is as close to a mid-cycle refresh/MCE as it gets, it is not an official refresh/MCE, which included:
- All-new, lettered, flow-through “Chevrolet” front fascia
- Standard red tow hooks
- New Sand Dune Metallic exterior color option
- Shared only with the Colorado Z71 model
See detailed 2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 changes, updates and new features here: 2021 2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Changes, Updates, New Features.
Following the light update for the 2021 model year, the 2022 Colorado ZR2 sees very minor changes, which includes the deletion of two packages.
First, the Premium Interior Package – which was a dealer-installed option – has been deleted. It included an all-weather floor line as well as the Interior Illumination Package. Second, the Interior Illumination Package was consequently deleted as it was included and only available with the Premium Interior Package. It included multi-color LED cup holders and foot lighting.
See detailed 2022 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 changes, updates and new features here: 2022 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Changes, Updates, New Features.
During SEMA 2021, General Motors revealed an ultra-capable 2022 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Extreme Off-Road variant, which looks to elevate the capability of the Colorado ZR2 with a variety of different GM parts and accessories. Some of the components include:
- Baja Designs Off-Road 30-Inch Light Bar (US $899)
- Baja Designs Squadron Sport Lamps ($269)
- Off-Road Sport Bar ($1,195)
- Recovery Hooks in Red (US $125)
- Crew Cab Rocker Panel Guards ($995)
Notably, production of the Chevy Colorado – as well as its corporate twin, GMC Canyon – has been interrupted several times during the 2021 calendar year as a result of insufficient microchips. Most recently, production resumed on September 27th after being idle since September 6th. As such, supply of the Chevy Colorado continues to be critically low in the U.S., with inventory of the popular midsize pickup truck at 15 days supply during the first week of November 2021, up from seven days in October. For reference, a 60 day supply is considered optimal in the U.S. auto industry.
A next-generation Colorado ZR2 is in the works for the 2023 model year, and so far the ongoing microchip shortage has not caused any delays for the upcoming all-new 2023 Chevy Colorado – and 2023 GMC Canyon – at least not yet.
In early November, GM Authority captured spy shots of the Colorado ZR2 fresh from a little off-road testing. Notably, this 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 prototype was spotted benchmarking Ford Ranger Raptor, the latter of which was in a right-hand drive configuration.
Outside, the 2023 Chevy Colorado is expected to sport an all-new exterior design, with this prototype running dual-level rocker protection which could double up as high-clearance assist steps and running boards. This prototype is also equipped with production lighting elements, giving us out best look look yet at the horizontally oriented headlights and bright LED “eyebrows” around the top of the clusters.
The 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is also expected to come equipped with an all-new interior.
The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is still assembled at the GM Wentzville factory in Missouri by GM USA.
Discuss the 2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2 in our Chevrolet forum.
Colorado ZR2 News
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