We now have an answer to General Motors’ mysterious “Z71 Trail Boss” trademark filing back in January. Here it is – debuted at the Cleveland Auto Show of all places – an up-fitted Colorado. This bad boy has some meaty Goodyear DuraTrac all-terrain tires and… that’s about it. Yep, the “Trail Boss” is basically a $3,320 tire upgrade.

Ok, the truck does come with other upgrades, but the tires are the only mechanical difference between the standard Z71 and the Z71 Trail Boss – if you consider tires a mechanical upgrade. Beyond that, the truck rides on the same Z71 suspension, uses the same part-time, two-speed transfer case, and sports the same 8.4-inches of ground clearance. Best of all (and just like the standard Z71) you can order a Z71 Trail Boss in 2WD! What a machine!

To say I expected more would be an understatement, especially since Ford, Ram, and Toyota offer much-improved off-road versions of their trucks. Granted, Chevy still has that Colorado ZR2 concept floating around, so that leaves possibilities open. Until then, the Z71 Trail Boss (barely) stands as king of the off-road hill for GM.

Continue to read more about the Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss Edition.

  • 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss Edition
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    six-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    200
  • Torque @ RPM:
    191
  • Displacement:
    2.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    10 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    98 mph
  • Layout:
    Front Engine, 4WD w/ Low Range
  • Price:
    31825
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss Edition High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 620794

Helping the Colorado Z71 Trail Boss take command like Bill Lumbergh are some nifty appearance add-ons already offered as options. Now coming standard are the blacked-out Chevy bowties, the fender flares, the three-inch tubular side steps, and the GearOn cargo management package. Beyond that, the Trail Boss is functionally identical to the standard Z71 – save for the tires, of course.

Speaking of which, the new rubber at each corner comes from Goodyear. The Wrangler DuraTrac all-terrain tires are sized in 265/65R17 and come mounted on the standard dark argent metallic painted cast-aluminum wheels found on the Z71. The tires should honestly give the truck some real advantages off-road, especially in deeper mud and on the rocks. That’s thanks to the Goodyear’s deep, blocky design and treads that extend onto the sidewall.

The DuraTracs are beginning to gain traction as an OEM tire these days. Even the Ram Power Wagon started wearing them for 2014. Goodyear says the tires offer good traction even in winter conditions and are rated for 50,000 miles. A rim protector lip keeps wheels free of curb rash while small ejector ribs between tread blocks help keep mud from packing.

I do have to admit the fender flares look great and offer body protection from flying debris off the tires. I have to say the same for the three-inch tubular side steps. Not only do they look good, they also seem like they could take a beating. Oddly enough, the Z71 Trail Boss package doesn’t include any stickers or badging advertising itself.

Interior

2015 Chevrolet Colorado High Resolution Interior
- image 532901

The only change to the Colorado’s interior are the inclusion of all-weather floor mats with the Z71 badge molded in. Everything else is just as it would be with the standard Z71 trim package. Keep in mind, the Z71 option is not an option package on the Colorado as it’s generally considered on other GM trucks, but rather a stand-alone trim package. It sits above the LT trim package and offers unique cloth and leatherette seats along with a two-tone dashboard. It comes with all the same electronic upgrades as the LT, including the eight-inch infotainment screen with MyLink, heated seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The Z71 Trail Boss package is offered on both Extended and Crew Cab models with both long and short beds. The Crew Cab should be chosen if more than two people would be traveling on a regular occurrence. The Extended Cab does offer two jump seats in the rear, but gives limited room for those past high school age. If junk is all you plan to carry, the Chevy does offer a rear seat delete package on the Extended Cab.

Drivetrain

2015 Chevrolet Colorado Drivetrain
- image 532904

Chevrolet does offer both engine choices with the Z71 Trail Boss package. The standard engine is the 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque. For an additional $950, the 3.6-liter V-6 is available. It produces a more respectable 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. Both engines come mated to the Hydra-Matic, six-speed automatic transmission.

While the Z71 and the Z71 Trail Boss packages come standard as 2WD, self-respected truck guys will choose the 4WD option. That provides a part-time, two-speed, electronic transfer case that powers the front wheels.

Both 2WD and 4WD trucks come standard with the Eaton G80 automatic locking rear differential. It automatically locks both rear axle shafts together should one lose traction. It’s all mechanical in its operation, so there’s no buttons to bush or levers to pull. Having thousands of miles under my belt with a G80, I can say it works impeccably well.

Prices

2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 620792

Chevy says the Z71 Trail Boss package costs an additional $3,320 over the standard Z71 package. While that does seem like a lot for a set of all-terrain tires, the truck does come standard with otherwise optional equipment.

  • Off-road Side Steps - $745
  • Spray-On Bed Liner - $475
  • Fender Flares - $370
  • GearOn Bed System - $110
  • Black Bowtie Emblems - $95

Total cost - $1,795

If my math holds up, that means $1,795 of the $3,320 Z71 Trail Boss package is allocated to making optional equipment standard, while the rest – $1,525 – goes to tires. Ouch! Keep in mind the G80 locking rear diff, front recovery hooks, projector beam headlights, and fog lights come standard on Z71 models. Those with 4WD also come standard with the transfer case skid plate.

All told, prices start at $31,825 for an Extended Cab, long bed, 2WD Colorado.

Competition

Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

2014 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Series High Resolution Exterior
- image 541353

The current Tacoma may be a decade old, but Toyota sure did its homework when building the TRD Pro edition. Remote reservoir Bilstein shocks, a two-inch suspension lift up front, unique wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A tires, skid plates, a dual exhaust system, and a unique TOYOTA grille design all make the TRD Pro special.

Powered by a 4.0-liter V-6 making 236 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque and mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, the Tacoma offers up enough power to be fun.

It’s expected Toyota will release a TRD Pro version of the upcoming and all-new 2016 Tacoma within the first year or so. With new looks inside and out, along with plenty of mechanical upgrades including a new 3.5-liter V-6, the 2016 Taco should be a great competitor against the Colorado.

Ram Power Wagon

2014 Ram 2500 Power Wagon High Resolution Exterior
- image 548257

Sure, the Ram is a much larger truck than the midsize Colorado. In fact, the Power Wagon is based on the 2500 series truck. But what makes the Power Wagon a great competitor is its vast upgrades over the standard Ram 2500.

Meant to be a low-speed heavy-hauler rather than a high-speed desert runner, the Ram packs heavy duty springs and shocks, a special Articulink part on its front suspension for a greater range of motion, an electronically disconnecting front sway bar, locking front and rear differentials, vast amounts of skid plating, those upgraded Goodyear DuraTrac tires, and a powerful Warn winch behind the front bumper rated to pull 10,000 pounds.

Power comes solely from the 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 making 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a heavy duty six-speed automatic transmission and a manually activated, two-speed transfer case.

This is a perfect example of a purpose-built, off-road truck.

Conclusion

2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 620793

It’s a great thing that GM is reaching out to the off-road community with this new special edition option package. It shows the automaker is anticipating its customers’ wants and needs. However, it’s hard not to be disappointed by the lack of mechanical upgrades here. Sure the tires are great, but anyone can buy the same Goodyear’s at their local garage. The additional newly standard features do add functionality, but not in any meaningful way for when the trail gets rough.

GM still has the Colorado ZR2 up its sleeve, and at this point, it would be a crying shame if it didn’t make production. It would be even worse if Chevy neutered it of its specialized off-road equipment. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best. So c’mon GM, build the ZR2 and watch customers throw deposits your way.

  • Leave it
    • Boils down to an appearance and tire package
    • Available in 2WD??
    • No real mechanical upgrades

Press Release

For those who want to blaze their own trails, Chevrolet introduces the 2015 Colorado Z71 Trail Boss edition today at the Cleveland Auto Show.

2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 620791

The Trail Boss combines the capability of Chevrolet’s Z71 off-road truck suspension package with more aggressive tires and additional appearance enhancements. It is offered in extended and crew cab configurations, with a choice of a long or short cargo bed and available 4WD.

The Trail Boss goes on sale this spring with a starting price of $28,505 plus the package price of $3,320.

“The Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss Edition is equally at home blazing an urban trail or following one to a favorite remote campground,” said Tony Johnson, Colorado marketing manager. “It gives owners the gear-carrying ability and versatility they need to venture off-road, with segment-leading efficiency and capability.”

2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 620792

In addition to Chevy’s proven off-road truck suspension package, the Colorado Z71 Trail Boss Edition features Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac 265/65R17 all-terrain tires and 17-inch dark argent metallic painted cast-aluminum wheels; GearOn™ moveable cargo tie-down rings, load bar and cargo divider; with black fender flares and front and rear black Chevy bowtie logos.

Additional features include:

G80 automatic locking rear differential
Transfer case shield (on 4WD)
Front recovery hooks
Black, three-inch round rocker steps
Spray-on bedliner
Projector beam headlamps
Front fog lamps
All-weather floor mats with Z71 logo.

The Trail Boss is the second Colorado special edition announced recently. Last month, Chevrolet introduced the 2015 Colorado GearOn Special Edition, which blends the capability of the midsize pickup truck with the versatility of the GearOn accessory system – and additional popular features. It also goes on sale this spring.

2015 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 620793

Colorado, the 2015 Motor Trend Truck of the Year and Cars.com’s Best Pickup Truck of 2015, offers the most horsepower and best highway efficiency in the segment, as well as the highest available trailering rating – 7,000 pounds (V-6 2WD) – and higher payload rating – 1,590 pounds (V-6 2WD).

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