The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is a serious midsize pickup with legit off-road chops. The truck’s spool valve shocks are serious performers, the underside is up-armored to handle the rough stuff, and it rocks an all-business look that happens to also increase function. The ZR2 treatment is a very successful formula on the Colorado, and the available turbodiesel engine is a nice touch. Now, it seems, Chevy is seeking to replicate the formula with the full-size 2022 Silverado ZR2, creating a truck to sit above the Trail Boss in the lineup.
But is the bigger ZR2 going to be a less speed-addled F-150 Tremor and Ram 1500 Rebel fighter, or will it have enough performance to do battle with the powerful F-150 Raptor and Ram 1500 TRX? Until Chevy releases engine specs, it’s hard to peg exactly which bogie the Silverado ZR2 is aiming at. But it’ll likely have some features and a look that sets it apart, in some respects, from all of them.
For one, expect the Colorado’s Multimatic-sourced Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve shock absorbers to have a starring role. These allow for very precise damping control, improved cooling, and more travel. In the Colorado ZR2, there’s an additional spool valve that only comes into play during very large suspension movements. As a package, the dampers work better over a broader range of conditions—on- and off-road—than a traditional shock.
The Colorado ZR2 also distinguishes itself with an increased lift, improved armor, rock sliders, and re-sculpted bumpers to improve approach and departure angles. There’s also a reinforced, fully-boxed frame. The Silverado ZR2 will almost certainly get a slightly increased lift compared to the Trail Boss, beefier skid plates, and the same sort of bumper treatment as its little sibling. The additional frame reinforcements may or may not be necessary. Based on the teaser video, it also seems the Silverado ZR2 will stick with a rear leaf spring arrangement, like the Colorado ZR2, rather than adopt the coil-spring arrangement of the F-150 Raptor and Ram TRX.
What will be under the hood? That’s a good question. We’d hope that Chevy would go full-send with the Silverado ZR2 and make it a true Raptor/TRX-fighter with a supercharged version of the L87 6.2-liter V-8, but we have a sinking feeling it won’t happen. The regular L87 with 420 hp and 460 lb-ft is a pretty stout engine, and a Silverado ZR2 so equipped would be more than a match for a 5.7-liter Ram Rebel and only slightly off the pace of the F-150 Tremor’s twin-turbo V-6 (perhaps making up for the torque deficit with the charm only a massive V-8 can provide).
Remember, the Colorado ZR2 also offers a Duramax turbodiesel option, and if Chevy wants to it could offer the Silverado ZR2 with that engine’s larger sibling: the smooth, torquey Duramax I-6 turbodiesel. It offers a mere 277 hp but a stinking 460 lb-ft of torque, and provides great fuel economy (and, thus, range). It’s a solid possibility.
All this squares with what our friends at Four Wheeler saw on Chevy’s ZRX race truck, which features DSSV shocks with bodies that were as wide as a can of soda, extra armor, and a 6.2. The ZRX didn’t feature the rock sliders we’re hoping Chevy will fit to the production ZR2 (or offer as an option), and also didn’t feature significantly altered bumpers—although fitting ZR2-style bumpers may have tipped Chevy’s hand about an imminent production version. Either way, with the ZRX race truck and now this official ZR2 teaser, something wicked this way wheels—and we’ll know more about it this fall.