Meet Chevrolet’s most formidable off-roader, the 2016 Colorado Z71 Trail Boss. Of course by now that name should sound familiar to truck enthusiasts who frequent TopSpeed. We first reported on the Trail Boss name back in January 2015 when GM filed for a trademark. The big news came the following March when Chevrolet debuted the truck at the Cleveland Auto Show – unveiling what boiled down to be a Colorado Z71 with upgraded tires and a few visual add-ons.

Sadly not much has changed since then. Now GM is announcing the Z71 Trail Boss is headed to dealerships, though one change did slip through. The Z71 Trail Boss now comes with a “sport bar” (or roll bar if you grew up in the south) fitted with LED off-road lights. Admittedly, that is pretty cool, but the rest of the truck remains a mere appearance package with some meatier tires.

Yep, the “Trail Boss” carries the same Z71 suspension, 8.4-inches of ground clearance, two-speed transfer case, locking rear differential, and all three powertrain options. The only mechanical difference – if you can call it that – is the addition of Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac all-terrain tires.

Still, the Z71 Trail Boss is an appealing package that slots nicely above the standard Z71, giving customers more choices at the dealership. The Trail Boss might not be the hard-core off-roader we expected, but it works nonetheless. Plus, Chevy still has the 2014 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 concept that could eventually make production, competing with the likes of the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor, 2014 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, and the 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss.

  • 2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Transmission:
    six-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
  • Torque @ RPM:
  • Displacement:
    2.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    9.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    99 mph
  • Layout:
    Front Engine; 2WD, 4WD
  • Price:
  • Price:
  • car segment:
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2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss High Resolution Exterior
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Chevrolet has added plenty of appearance parts to the Colorado to constitute the Z71 Trail Boss package. Blacked-out bowties front and rear give the truck a more menacing look, while black fender flairs protect the body work from flying debris off the tires. The normally optional side steps are standard equipment here, as are the front tow hooks.

The panels also add a neat design element with the Colorado name embossed with vent slots above.

The biggest change to the Trail Boss’ look is the new sport bar just aft of the cab. The bars give the truck a more macho feel while serving to hold up the twin LED light bars. Metal fill panels link the front and rear posts of the roll bars.

The panels also add a neat design element, with "Colorado" embossed and vent slots above. The roll bar also comes with a built-in center high-mounted stoplight.

Special 17-inch aluminum wheels finished in a glossy black are also standard here, wrapped in those 265/65R17 Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires. Finally, the Trail Boss’ exterior is finished off with a standard spray-in bed liner.


2015 Chevrolet Colorado Interior
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Note: Standard 2015 Chevrolet Colorado interior shown.

All-weather floor mats are standard – that’s the changes taking place inside the Colorado Z71 Trail Boss. Sure, Chevy could have added embossed seatbacks or a different dash molding, but the interior remains stock. Don’t get me wrong, the Colorado’s interior isn’t a bad place to be, but the lack of additional equipment or appearance goodies is disappointing. Still, the features include decent materials with decent fitment and good ergonomics. Equipment levels in the Z71 trim level are respectable, and include an 8-inch touch screen with MyLink software, a driver information center in the gauge cluster, several USB ports, and power adjustable everything.

Extended-cab models offer seating for two adults up front and two smaller folks in the rear jump seats. For more people room, the Crew Cab is the better choice. It offers space for five – though the middle seat on the rear bench is best suited for a smaller individual.


2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss High Resolution Exterior
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Chevrolet becomes generous in the space behind the grille. All three of the 2016 Colorado’s engine options are available with the Z71 Trail Boss package. They include the 2.5-liter four-cylinder, the 3.6-liter V-6, and the new-for-2016 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder turbodiesel. At the Z71 trim level, all three engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission.

All three of the 2016 Colorado’s engine options are available with the Z71 Trail Boss package.

The 2.5-liter four-cylinder is the base engine and produces a subtle 200 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque. For an extra $950, the 3.6-liter provides an ample increase in power, at 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque.

The new “Baby” Duramax four-cylinder makes 181 horsepower and an impressive 369 pound-feet of torque. The engine is expected to get an equally impressive EPA rating on both city and highway mileage. Expect it to top out around 33 mpg on the highway.

Surprisingly, the Colorado Z71 Trail Boss can be had in 2WD form. Yep, a Trail Boss with nothing more than a locking rear differential. Customers who do opt for the 4WD will get the standard two-speed, electronically controlled transfer case that offers both high- and low-range gearing. That locking rear diff also comes with 4WD models and automatically locks when one rear wheel spins roughly 100 rpm faster than the other. The differential mechanically locks, sending an equal amount of power to both rear wheels.


2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss High Resolution Exterior
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Chevrolet’s previously released pricing has the Z71 Trail Boss packaging costing $3,820 over the standard Z71 package. That puts the least-expensive Trail Boss at $32,325 for an Extended Cab, long bed, 2WD, four-cylinder truck. Conversely, a Crew Cab, 4WD truck with the Duramax would crest the $42,000 mark. That’s big money for a midsize truck.


2014-2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

2014 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Series High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Though the Tacoma TRD Pro is on hiatus after the 2015 model year, the truck still offers plenty of rugged off-road prowess. Remote-reservoir shocks, special wheels, BFGoodrich all-terrain tires, and looks to kill make the TRD Pro stand out.

As the heavily revised 2016 Toyota Tacoma makes its way to dealerships, the TRD Pro version will likely be hard to find. In that case, the Tacoma will still offer the popular TRD Off-Road option, which its plenty capable itself.

Read our full review here.

2015 Ram 1500 Rebel

2015 Ram 1500 Rebel High Resolution Exterior
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The Ram 1500 Rebel takes after the TRD Pro line at Toyota in the fact it offers a unique appearance package, offers an off-road ready suspension, but comes with the standard powertrain options. The Rebel isn’t quite as hard-core as say the Ford F-150 Raptor or even the 2014 Ram 2500 Power Wagon, but it holds its own when the pavement ends.

The Ram Rebel can be had with either the 3.6-liter V-6 or the mighty 5.7-liter V-8. Both are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Like the Trail Boss, the Rebel can be had in either 2WD or 4WD.

Read our full review here.


2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss High Resolution Exterior
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The 2016 Colorado Z71 Trail Boss is an interesting combination of off-road monster and everyday utilitarian. Sure, the tire upgrade and added visuals are striking, but the lack of a suspension upgrades or added ground clearance is hard to ignore. Hopefully GM has plans to release a ZR2 version of the Colorado that would compete more squarely with the Raptor, Tacoma TRD Pro, and Ram Rebel. If not, the Trail Boss will have to walk tall in oversized shoes to match its promising name.

  • Leave it
    • No suspension upgrades
    • Offered in 2WD?
    • Gets expensive when ordered with the diesel
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 full bio
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Press Release

On the street or on the trail, the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado’s Midnight Edition and Z71 Trail Boss bring bolder choices to customers looking to make a visual statement with their truck.

2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss High Resolution Exterior
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The special editions roll into Chevrolet dealerships this fall, with distinctly tailored appearances that blend custom design cues with Colorado’s popular options and accessories. The Midnight Edition evokes the aesthetic of an urban tuner vehicle, while the Z71 Trail Boss is designed for terrain where the pavement ends.

“These are aggressive editions of one of the country’s hottest-selling truck, demonstrating the personalization that’s possible with Chevrolet accessories, whether it’s for the street, trail or both,” said Tony Johnson, Colorado marketing manager. “As the Colorado continues to win over new customers, the new Midnight Edition and Z71 Trail Boss give them more choices and build on segment-leading capabilities and efficiency.”

2016 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 Trail Boss High Resolution Exterior
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The 2016 Colorado Z71 Trail Boss builds on the capability of Chevrolet’s Z71 off-road truck suspension package with more aggressive tires and off-road-inspired appearance enhancements.

An all-new sport bar with LED trail lighting makes the new edition of the Trail Boss instantly identifiable. It’s complemented by black-finished 17-inch aluminum wheels matched with aggressive Goodyear Wrangler DuraTec® 265/65R17 all-terrain tires, bold fender flares and tubular assist steps. It also features a black bowtie grille emblem and a spray-on bedliner, and a set of all-weather floor mats inside the truck.

The Colorado Z71 Trail Boss is available on Z71 models with the extended and crew cab bodies, and in 2WD or 4WD. Like the Midnight Edition, it will also be available with the 2.5L and 3.6L engines, as well as the 2.8L Duramax diesel. Pricing will be announced later.

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