The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is oftentimes the first leak of an upcoming vehicle as automakers make names and terms officially theirs. Hopefully that’s the case with General Motors’ latest USPTO filing of the name “Z71 Trail Boss.” While it could just be a concept vehicle, the Z71 Trail Boss could be GM’s long-awaited answer to the Ford Raptor, Ram Power Wagon, or even Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.

The filing does not go into detail, but it does say the name is designated for “passenger vehicles, namely, light duty pickup trucks.” Now the term “light duty pickups” technically includes both the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and its smaller brother, the Colorado, so anything is possible. But let’s look at what’s probable.

Z71 is a term only used by Chevrolet these days, with GMC using the All Terrain nomenclature; so forget anything with the Sierra or Canyon. Also considering Chevrolet has already showcased the Colorado ZR2 concept at the LA Auto Show, it’s likely the Trail Boss name will be slated for the Silverado. After all, the ZR2 name already has credibility from its time with the Chevy S-10 and Blazer.

So what can we expect from the Z71 Trail Boss? As much as I’d love to say the truck should outclass the F-150 Raptor with longer suspension travel, stronger skidplating, and a more powerful engine, I’d be wrong. I suspect the Silverado Z71 Trail Boss will be more in line with the new 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel.

I’m betting the truck will receive a slightly more aggressive suspension package over the standard Z71 package, along with a mild styling update. Perhaps it will come with a built-in winch like the Colorado ZR2 concept and the Ram Power Wagon. It will likely come with electronic locking differentials fore and aft like the ZR2 concept, as well as a taller ride height by an inch or two. Things under the hood will undoubtedly remain stock, with GM using the standard 5.3-liter V-8 or possibly the 6.2-liter V-8.

GM has certainly gotten the truck community’s attention with this Z71 Trail Boss name. Let’s just hope whatever it’s attached to earns the title.

Click past the jump to read more about GM’s new nomenclature.

Why it matters

GM Trademarks "Z71 Trail Boss" Nomenclature
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General Motors is dragging along in last place in the off-road truck segment. Sure, the Z71 Silverado and Colorado work well off the beaten path, but neither can keep up with The Raptor, Power Wagon, Tacoma TRD Pro, or even the new Ram Rebel. Adding both the Colorado ZR2 and the Silverado Z71 Trail Boss would put GM back in the fight. Actually giving them credible capabilities is something GM engineers will have to swing past the bean counters – and considering their ability to do that with GM’s on-road, high-performance machines – the trucks might have a fighting chance at hitting showrooms with some real cajones.

Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept

2014 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Colorado ZR2 concept is a radical departure from GM normalcy. It showcases some pretty robust hardware attached to the greasy side of Chevy’s newest pickup. The off-road goodies include remote reservoir King shock absorbers, a taller ride height, meaty Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires on unique wheels, metal bumpers front and rear with an integrated winch mounted up front, electronic locking differentials, and heavy duty skidplating.

Best of all is the 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel nestled under the power-domed hood. The diesel, which will become available in the Colorado and Canyon lineup for 2016, makes an estimated 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque.

Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

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
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