Will Chevy finally build the ZR2?

The clatter and hubbub surrounding the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 off-road pickup has died down since Chevy debuted a concept of the pickup at 2014 LA Auto Show. However, it seems the noise is about to pick up. Our friends over at TruckTrend just spotted this camouflaged Colorado running around the desert. The truck appears to have a suspension lift and a more aggressive front end. Mud terrain tires and fender flairs closing resembling those on the ZR2 concept are clearly seen.

So is this the Colorado ZR2? There’s no way to be completely sure.

Still, the Colorado is well past its introductory phase and it’s likely GM is ready to inject some life back in to the pickup. A purpose-built off-roader would certainly put GM on better ground with customers considering a Ford Raptor, Ram 1500 Rebel, or one of the Toyota TRD Pro products.

Through the camo we can see this test mule is missing the built-in recovery winch that made headlines in 2014. It’s very possible the winch won’t make production, but we’re hoping it was simply left off this truck. Perhaps it will be an option. Also not present is the pre-runner style rear bumper and rocker panel guards.

One thing not missing is ground clearance. Just look at the air under this Colorado! There’s also no low-hanging air dam just begging to be ripped off. Underneath, skid plating and beefy control arms are easily spotted.

GM will likely offer both the 3.6-liter gasoline V-6 and 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel as engine options. In either case, expect the current six-speed automatic to handle shifting duties. Then again, if GM is really serious about making the ZR2 a Raptor fighter, the new 10-speed automatic could make its appearance. We’d also love to see GM shoehorn the 5.3-liter V-8 into the ZR2. You know, for a little something extra. We seriously doubt GM would be that adventurous, though. Regardless, 4WD should come as standard equipment with the ZR2, making it a formidable truck off the beaten path.

If GM green lights the project, we’d expect the Colorado ZR2 to debut sometime before the end of 2016 as a 2017 model. The ZR2 would be the range-topping model for the Colorado, with prices reflecting that accordingly.

Continue reading for more information.

Why It Matters

Chevrolet is somewhat behind in the off-road performance pickup category. Sure, there’s the Colorado Trail Boss, but that’s little more than an appearance package and beefy tires. Then again, not much more can be said for the Ram 1500 Rebel. However, if Chevy wants to steal Raptor and Tacoma/Tundra TRD Pro sales, it will need a formidable truck.

The Colorado ZR2 needs to be a legitimate player. It needs remote reservoir shocks. It needs impressive wheel travel. It needs a “wow factor” item like the built-in winch. The Colorado ZR2 has the potential to be a hot item that creates a new market for GM. Just look at the Ford F-150 Raptor. That started as Ford SVT engineers trying something different than the F-150 Lightning. The Raptor was only going to last a few model years before being canned. Now the Raptor is entering its second generation and has become the halo truck for all of Ford.

That’s what Chevrolet needs. So c’mon Chevy, don’t be afraid to pour R&D dollars into the ZR2. Folks will buy it, but only if it impresses.

2014 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept

2014 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept Exterior
- image 578842
Finally, we get a god look at the 2.8-liter Duramax diesel ngine in the Colorado, albeit in an of-road concept.

Read our full review on the 2014 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept here.

Source: TruckTrend

Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read More
About the author
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: