There are very few people out there that need a 2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. There is, however, a long list of people who lust over the truck, wishing the world would give them a reason to have to own it. It’s an understandable conundrum and a well-deserved sentiment for a midsize truck that can conquer nearly all the terrain a full-size Ford F-150 Raptor can.
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Despite its F-150 Raptor-like abilities, right now, the Colorado ZR2 competes mainly against the Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road. Soon, the Ford Ranger Raptor will come to market, setting the Colorado ZR2 firmly in its sights.
To bulk up the Colorado ZR2 for rough riding, Chevrolet, an arm of General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), has added off-road specific appearance elements and equipment to their Colorado Z71. The tester I drove around for a week also came equipped with a Cajun Red paint job ($495), an upgraded engine ($3,500), off-road lights ($1,195), sport bar ($1,145), spare tire ($615), Bose audio system ($500), navigation ($495), chrome recovery hooks ($200), and trailer hitch ball ($35), which was added to the base price of $45,495 to give the truck an overall cost of $50,960 including $995 in destination and delivery charges.
The Chevrolet design aesthetic is prominent in and out of the truck, making the Colorado ZR2 instantly recognizable as being a member of the bowtie’s family. With its brutish face forward, the mandible-less truck stands out because of its prominent skid plate and height- it sits two inches higher on the road than your average Colorado. Its track is 3.5-inches wider than the traditional model. The handsome bulk of the Colorado remains the same in the ZR2, translating well into this more capable variant.
Under the hood of my tester was the optional 2.9-liter turbodiesel engine that is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. A 3.6-liter V6 mated to an eight-speed automatic comes standard. The truck is well served by the diesel powertrain, offering sufficient horsepower and torque for tasks both mundane and adventurous.
Capability, stability, and control are helped by the truck’s Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve damaping technology, which are also used in the Aston Martin One-77, 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Mercedes-AMG GT, 2017 Ford GT, and 2018 Camaro ZL1 1LE. The result is a smooth ride, on or off-road. The truck handles a succession of speedbump-high obstacles at mid-speed quite handedly and without causing too much jostling, the same as it handles most potholes on city streets. On steep slopes, both upward and downward, the truck behaves brilliant.
Like many trucks these days, the Colorado ZR2 is quite agile. Whether you’re off-roading or dodging slower cars on the highway, the truck has the ability to pull it off with ease.
The two-inch suspension lift does make a difference when cornering, not in that the truck feels unstable, but it serves as a gentle reminder that you do have to mind your manners.
The Colorado ZR2 is big enough with the crew cab and short box to be capable of hauling around a weekend warrior’s worth of yard supplies from the local hardware store (about 10 bags of mulch and a couple trays of flowers).
The Colorado ZR2 does not lack modern conveniences, coming with OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, Teen Driver, leather appointed power adjustable heated front seats with lumbar support, an 8-inch touch screen display, wireless device charging, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel all standard.
Let’s be honest, not everyone needs a Colorado ZR2. However, it is an attractive proposition for buyers who don’t want the robustness of a full-size truck but do want much of the capability. You might not need it, but you probably want it and if you get it, be prepared to pay a premium.