The GM Defense ISV is One Bad Ass Chevy Colorado
The ISV is one heck of a beast, but it has competition from other mainstream automakers even in this niche segmentby Sidd Dhimaan, on
GM Defense is General Motors’ wing that makes military vehicles. The company has some impeccable vehicles that cater to the needs of troops, and now, it has come out with a new prototype for an Infantry Squad Vehicle. This prototype is based on the Chevy Colorado ZR2, and the company has customized the truck as per the U.S. military’s requirements. This is just a prototype for now, though, and if it fits the bill, GM Defense could land a big order from the military. Do you think this will get the job done?
Is That a Stark Industries Product?
At the onset, the GM Defense ISV looks stunning in its ripped-off avatar. There are shades of the Colorado here, even though it is devoid of any styling features or anything that’s even remotely considered as pretty. Up front, it features Ironman eyes-esque headlights that give it a mean look. There’s no fancy grille on the face; instead, you can see the radiator peeping. The design is vulnerable, but the cowl-like extended hood at the top and the bumper at the bottom protect it from any damage. The bumper is a small, stout unit that features two hooks on it and a massive skid plate underneath. There’s nothing else to write about the exterior, but there is an interesting tidbit about its design.
The ISV has been designed in a way that it can fit inside a CH-47 Chinook helicopter and is light enough to be airlifted by a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter.
The ISV does not come with any doors or truck bed whatsoever. On the inside, it does not get any zingy features, either. The ISV is more about utility. It comes with an interesting seating arrangement. There are two seats in the front, three in the second row, two in the third row facing backward, and two more facing outwards. This means the ISV can carry nine soldiers at a time along with all their gear. With a loaded ‘cabin’, the ISV also needs to be able to hit speeds of up to 60 mph.
Given that it is based on the ZR2 and packs the same mill, it shouldn’t be a problem because the production-spec ZR2 can go up to 98 mph.
Meet the Colorado ZR2’s Alter Ego
Coming to the similarities, all that we get in the ISV is the ZR2’s suspension, chassis, exoskeleton, and the engine. The 2.8-liter, four-cylinder, turbocharged engine seems like a misfit when compared to the stature of the vehicle, but it is sprightly, agile, and lightweight. This mill makes 186 ponies and 369 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to all the wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox. Speaking of the ZR2, the current off-road trim features stuff like front and rear electronic locking differentials, Autotrac transfer case, Multimatic DSSV position-sensitive dampers, and rear axle with a 3.42 ratio. For the 2021 model, there are a few changes.
Apart from these, the truck now features a two-inch suspension lift, a 3.5-inch wider track, off-road rocker protection, cast-iron control arms, and multiple skid plates.
The towing capacity is expected to remain the same at a massive 7,700 pounds, which happens to be the segment-best. The last point could be rendered useless as you can expect the ISV to tow a lot more.
So, What’s The Deal?
GM Defense has secured a contract of $1 million by the U.S. military to develop the ISV and test two prototypes. If it fits the bill, GM will bag order of 650 examples 2020.
Chevy is trying to get the costs in control by using parts from the Chevrolet Performance Catalogue.
The company said that 70-percent of ISV’s components are taken off the shelf from the existing portfolio. GM Defense’s President, David Albritton, is confident of winning the contract. He said, "ISV entry is a fully-integrated platform that leverages decades of GM’s engineering, manufacturing, and quality expertise at scale to provide the most cost-efficient, reliable and effective answer possible to meet and exceed the Army’s demanding requirements”. However, GM is not the only one in the race to bad the order.
Oh, Hey There, Jeep!
Jeep is also in the contention to win the bid from the U.S. military. It has partnered with AM General to build the Jeep Gladiator Extreme-Military Grade Truck. The name gives away that the truck is based on the Gladiator. AM General is known for the Humvee military vehicle. So, not a bad choice to pick a partner. The two companies showcased the vehicle at the Annual Meeting and Exposition of the Association of the U.S. Army. The truck rides on BFGoodrich tires, it includes two four-wheel-drive systems, locking differentials, and some big-ass skid plates that aid in better approach angle.
Where There’s A Jeep, There’s A Ford
Jeep has been on Ford’s radar all the more with the Bronco. But, it looks like that rivalry is brewing over here as well. Ford has also thrown its hat into the military-grade trucks’ race. Well, not exactly. British military outfitter, Ricardo, has chosen Ranger for defense activities. The company has added stuff like a rollover-protection system mounted to the roof rack, a ring-mounted weapon system in the bed, armored ballistic underfloor panels, and armored glass, to name a few. On the outside, Ricardo has added huge skid plates and painted it in olive green camouflage shade.
To make it a beast on the rough terrains as well, stuff like new springs, dampers, brakes, and blacked-out heavy-duty wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires have also been added.
The GM Defense ISV sure looks like a badass and the company is confident in procuring the contract. But, Jeep has got one hell of a vehicle as well. Who do you think will serve the U.S. military? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
Read our full review on the 2021 Chevrolet Colorado.