It’s no secret the truck world is excited to have GM’s new midsize truck twins, the Colorado and Canyon, rolling off the assembly line. Their smaller size means they’re easier to drive while their powerful gasoline powertrains keep all the truck-style capabilities truck buyers demand. Chevrolet also knows truck buyers sometimes venture off the beaten path, so good off-road abilities are a welcomed feature. But even the mighty Z71 package can’t match this bad boy; Chevy’s latest concept, the Colorado ZR2.

The truck comes complete with tons of trail-ready hardware, an extra-wide stance with beefy tires, a built-in winch, electronic locking differentials front and rear, and best of all, GM’s new, 2.8-liter, Duramax, four-cylinder turbo-diesel. The baby Duramax is an engine GM promised right off the bat with the new Colorado and Canyon trucks, though it wouldn’t become available until the 2016 model year. Well the time has come for the engine to make its big debut and we can’t think of a better way than in this purpose-built concept truck.

While few concept vehicles actually made it to production, this one might actually have a shot. Chevy offered the ZR2 off-road package between 1994 and 2003 on the S-10 pickup, the predecessor to the Colorado. Now in its second model year, 2016 would be a perfect chance to add such a package to the Colorado’s trim packages, especially considering the Z71 is no longer the stand-alone off-road package it used to be.

Updated 01/23/2015: We’ve added a series of new images from the car’s official debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Check the new images in the "Pictures" tab.

Click past the jump to read more about the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept.

  • 2014 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept
  • Year:
    2014
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    six-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    181 @ 3400
  • Torque @ RPM:
    369 @ 2000
  • Displacement:
    2.8 L
  • 0-60 time:
    10 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    120 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    35000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • body style:

Official Video

Exterior

2014 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 578840
2014 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 578838
2014 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 578841
A custom rear bumper matches the theme of the front, including the D-rings.

There’s obviously a ton of stuff going on here. For starters, Chevy began with an extended cab Colorado. The truck was then given a new grille design that flows into the new front bumper. The bumper includes a built-in electric winch and aluminum D-ring shackles as recovery points. The sides of the bumper flow outward into the widened fenders that cover Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires mounted on custom wheels with an anodized aluminum, “bead-lock style” beauty ring.

Around the sides are rocker-panel guards protecting the bodywork. A custom rear bumper matches the theme of the front, including the D-rings. Chevy’s GearOn cargo system holds down a full-size spare tire and extra equipment. Lastly the hood gets a treatment similar to the Camaro ZL1’s raised power dome and louvers.

The truck is coated in a concept shade of Cyprus Green paint.

Interior

2014 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept Interior
- image 579782
2014 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept Interior
- image 579789
2014 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept Interior
- image 579783

Standard Colorado pictured

The interior is dressed up with jet black leather seating with orange stitching.

The off-road design theme continues on the inside with an inclinometer that shows the degree of incline the truck is on. Chevy also added in a bank of auxiliary toggle switches that control the front winch and the electronic locking differentials.

The interior is dressed up with jet-black leather seating with orange stitching. The headrests are embroidered with the ZR2 logo for that extra touch while the floors are covered in specialized liners that keep dirt and mud at bay.

Drivetrain

2014 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept Exterior
- image 578837
Besides being a torque monster, the engine should also boost the Colorado to the top of the mpg heap.

There is one aspect of the Colorado ZR2 we know will head to production, and that’s the 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel. The news has been out since GM released the Colorado and Canyon twins, though we knew we’d have to wait on getting the engine until 2016.

The engine packs an estimated 181 horsepower at 3,400 rpm and a stump-pulling 369 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 rpm. Combine that torque with the Colorado’s low-range transfer case, and this bad-boy will be walking up mountains without breaking a sweat.

Besides being a torque monster, the engine should also boost the Colorado to the top of the mpg heap. We’re estimating that this truck will break the 35-mpg mark when the EPA testing comes out.

Like its gasoline brethren, the Duramax is backed by a six-speed automatic transmission.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 2.8L Duramax diesel
Output 181 HP @ 3,400 RPM
Torque 369 LB-FT @ 2,000 RPM
Transmission six-speed automatic

Prices

2014 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept Exterior
- image 578835

An extended cab Colorado with the top trim Z71 package and 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gas engine starts around $32,000. Count on a premium for the diesel, perhaps around $2,000, and another price hike of another $2,000 for the ZR2 package. That puts the starting price for the concept shown here right at $36,000.

If the ZR2 does go into production, Chevy will likely offer the 3.6-liter V-6 as the standard engine with the Duramax as the option.

Competition

2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

2014 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Series High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 541345

Toyota has launched a serious update to its aging Tacoma truck with the new TRD Pro series. The package adds on a capable suspension package from Fox Racing along with off-road-spec wheels and tires. Underbody skidplatting protects the vital parts with its raised ground clearance helps it avoid obstacles in the first place.

Like always, the 4.0-liter V-6 is found under the Taco’s hood, producing the familiar 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. The engine is backed by a five-speed automatic transmission and a manual-shifting transfer case.

Pricing for the Tacoma TRD Pro starts at $38,300.

2015 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X

2009 Nissan Frontier
- image 249828

Seemingly even older than the Tacoma is the Nissan Frontier. It comes with its Pro-4X package that includes upgraded Bilstein shocks, hill decent and hill start control, and an electronic locking rear differential.

The Nissan still comes powered with its 4.0-liter V-6 making 261 horsepower and 281 pound-feet of torque. Nissan does offer a six-speed manual transmission as an option.

Pricing for the Nissan Frontier PRO-4X starts at $31,435 with no options.

Conclusion

2014 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 578839

The Colorado ZR2 seems like a smart move on GM’s part to make a competitive truck with a class-leading powerplant and off-road abilities. While the ZR2 does have some stiff competition with the Tacoma TRD Pro, the Toyota’s ancient 4.0-liter V-6 is just no match for the Duramax’s 369 pound-feet of torque.

We just have our fingers crossed that GM takes the ZR2 concept into production.

  • Leave it
    • Winch and bumpers won’t likely make showrooms
    • No official green light

Press Release

Chevrolet today introduced the Colorado ZR2 concept – a vision of how Chevrolet could take the all-new midsize truck’s off-road capability to the next level. It also showcases the new 2.8L Duramax diesel engine that will arrive in the Colorado lineup later next year.

2014 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept Exterior
- image 578835

The aggressively styled concept builds on the capabilities of the production Colorado Z71 and advances the legacy of Chevrolet’s previous ZR2 production models.

“From the bold stance to the trail-ready special equipment, the Colorado ZR2 is all about the fun of driving where the pavement ends – and doing it in characteristic Chevy style,” said Tony Johnson, Colorado marketing manager. “Chevrolet has a heritage of the ZR2 representing the ultimate in production-based off-road capability and we’ll gauge the public’s interest in this concept as we continue to explore the possibilities for the all-new Colorado.”

The Colorado ZR2’s imposing stance is four inches wider than a production Colorado Z71, with features including new front and rear fascias designed to increase approach and departure angles when driving off road. Ground clearance and rough terrain are handled with a two-inch lift and integral skid plates, while the wider track helps enhance stability in potentially unstable situations.

The Colorado ZR2’s greater approach and departure angles – 30.7 and 22.7 degrees, respectively, versus the Z71’s 25/21 degrees – are enabled by all-new off-road fascias that drastically reduce front and rear overhang. They also feature integrated, flip-out aluminum tow hooks and the front fascia incorporates a built-in winch.

2014 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 578836

“The design of the ZR2 concept is all about functionality,” said Johnson. “It is inspired by the needs for traversing rock-strewn trails, as well as the aesthetics of competition-style vehicles such as pre-runners – with all elements contributing to safe, sustainable off-road driving.”

Mono-tube coil-over shock absorbers by King™ are designed for greater suspension travel and feature remote-mounted fluid reservoirs that add to the Colorado ZR2 concept’s capability. The reservoirs for the front shocks are accessible and mounted in the wraparound portion of the front fascia, while the capability of the shocks is matched with all-new front control arms.

Off-road traction is enhanced with electronic-locking front and rear differentials, which distribute torque to 275/65R18 off-road tires mounted on custom 18-inch aluminum multi-spoke, bead-lock-style wheels. The center section of the wheel design has a raw aluminum appearance with black accents, while the bolt-on bead lock cover is orange-anodized aluminum.

Custom wheel flares cover the larger off-road tires and increased track width, enhancing the truck’s purposeful stance. They’re complemented by custom rocker guards.

A matching spare wheel/tire assembly, with a quick-release handle, is mounted in the bed. The bed also features the protective spray-in bed liner available with production Colorado models, GearOn™ accessories and a 48-inch Hi-Lift jack – all necessities for the trail.

2014 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept Exterior
- image 578837

Additional exterior elements include an all-new grille and headlamp housings with blacked-out accents. The power dome-style hood is unique and echoes the design cues of Chevrolet’s Duramax-powered Silverado heavy-duty trucks.

The Colorado ZR2 wears a concept Cyprus Green exterior color, with Henna Orange accents and custom ZR2 identification on the rear fenders, tailgate and grille.

Inside, the concept off-roader features the same blend of capability and comfort found in the production Colorado Z71, with ZR2 logos embroidered on the front-seat headrests and embossed in the custom Chevrolet Accessories-based floor liners. The ZR2 logo is featured on the instrument cluster display, as well as a custom inclinometer that shows degree of incline from front to back, and side to side.

Additional electronic accessories have been added to the center stack to make the Colorado ZR2 a true off-road warrior. Incorporated into the piano key bank is AUX toggle and four additional toggles: two for winch in and winch out operation; and two for the electronic front- and rear-locking differentials.

The Jet Black leather-trimmed interior features orange stitching that complements the exterior’s orange accents.

All-new 2.8L Duramax diesel

The Colorado ZR2 concept’s new 2.8L Duramax diesel packs the power – an estimated 181 horsepower at 3,400 rpm and 369 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm – to tackle the toughest trails.

The 2.8L Duramax diesel is part of a new, global family of turbo-diesel four-cylinder engines designed to deliver more-efficient capability. It features a variable-geometry turbocharger for optimal power and efficiency across the rpm band and a balance shaft for greater smoothness.

2014 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 578838

“This new Duramax diesel engine will take efficient capability to an entirely new plateau for the midsize truck segment,” said Johnson. “Its broad torque band makes it very powerful at low rpm, while the turbocharged performance provides a confident feeling of immediate and smooth power on demand – attributes customers will appreciate when trailering.”

The engine is backed by a six-speed automatic transmission.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: