You’re not going to want to mess with this pickup once it has you in its sights

Chevrolet and American Expedition Vehicles have teamed up to create a new no-frills, punch-you-in-your-mouth special-edition model based on the Colorado ZR2. Fittingly, the model goes by the name “Bison.” The upgrades to the burly Colorado are mechanical by nature, though it does have a sprinkling of vanity additions as well. The 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison goes on sale in January 2019.

What Makes the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Special?

2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Exterior
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For a pickup with the capabilities of the Chevrolet Colorado, it’s amazing what a few mechanical upgrades can do to elevate the pickup’s level of functionality. Chevrolet and American Expedition Vehicles collaborated in turning that vision into reality. The result is a special edition Colorado that builds off of what the standard Colorado ZR2 can do and adds more off-road versatility to the whole package.

The Colorado ZR2’s ability to run roughshod over trails and mucky roads sits at the heart of what Chevrolet and American Expedition Vehicles tried to do in creating the Colorado ZR2 Bison. Knowing what the Colorado ZR2 is already capable of — it’s a class leader in towing with a maximum capacity of 7,700 pounds — Chevy and AEV improved the pickup’s all-around functionality.

Skid plates made from Boron steel are bolted to the pickup’s undercarriage.

The same Boron steel material can also be found in the front and rear bumpers. For its part, the front bumper also has a built-spot for a winch, which would come in handy when the Colorado ZR2 wants to flex its class-leading towing capacity. Over on the other side, the rear bumper has integrated recovery hook-ups. The fender flares are larger, too. A bit more clearance comes with that, which is exactly what the Colorado ZR2 Bison needs to properly fit the 17-inch wheels that Chevrolet is offering specific to the model. Those wheels are wrapped in 31-inch tires.

2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Exterior
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The upgrades fall in line with the menu of mechanical features the Colorado ZR2 already has. The compact pickup didn’t earn the status as one of the most capable trucks in class for no reason. It has front and rear locking differentials, a two-inch factory suspension lift, and Multimatic DDSV dampers. For those interested in adding more features to what Chevrolet and AEV have already thrown in, there is an option to go straight to AEV to score a few more optional equipment, including that snorkel in the photos, which isn’t part of the Bison package.

From the standpoint of style getting function, the Colorado ZR2’s standard front grille gets the heave-ho in favor of a more rugged version with the automaker’s name spelled prominently inside a black horizontal bar.

It’s not a new look entirely — Ford does it too on Raptor versions of the Ranger and F-150 — but it does give the Colorado ZR2 Bison a distinct appearance compared to standard versions of the model. Speaking of distinct appearances, there’s also an option to cover specific sections of the Bison’s body with AEV branding.

2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Exterior
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That’s the extent of the upgrades that you’ll find on the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. Neither Chevy nor AEV touched the pickup’s engine so expect to see the standard 3.6-liter V-6 engine that produces 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Bison is also available with the optional 2.8-liter turbo diesel that delivers 186 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque and is connected through a six-speed automatic transmission.

Chevrolet says that the Colorado ZR2 Bison goes on sale in January 2019.

It hasn’t said how much the special edition model is going to cost, but with the Colorado ZR2 fetching $40,400, expect the Bison to cost a bit more than that. Whatever happens, the arrival of this model should give rivals like the Ford Ranger Raptor and the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro something to think about.

Further reading

2015 Chevrolet Colorado High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado.

Chevy Colorado ZR2 Takes L.A. By Storm with Supercar Suspension High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.

2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 AEV Concept
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2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 AEV Concept

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 AEV Concept.

DETROIT — The Colorado ZR2 Bison joins Chevrolet’s midsize truck lineup as an all-new performance variant. Bison is Chevy’s first collaboration with American Expedition Vehicles (AEV), a premium off-road aftermarket manufacturer.

Through constant innovation, Chevy has gained more than a quarter of all midsize truck sales in less than four years in the marketplace. In consecutive years, Colorado introduced the segment’s first diesel engine (excludes other GM vehicles), an all-new V-6 gas engine/eight-speed transmission combo, the ZR2 “segment of one” off-roader and now the Bison.

For maximum protection of key undercarriage elements while driving over rocky, jagged terrain, Bison features five skid plates covering the engine oil pan, fuel tank, transfer case and front and rear locking differentials. Designed by AEV, these skid plates are constructed of hard, durable hot-stamped Boron steel.

AEV-designed stamped steel front and rear bumpers further shield the truck from obstacles. The front bumper contains winch provisions and standard fog lights, with recovery points integrated into the rear bumper.

“More and more enthusiasts are discovering that Colorado is ideal for off-roading, especially overland travel,” said Sandor Piszar, director of Marketing, Chevrolet Truck.

“The Colorado Z71 offers a full suite of off-road equipment, the maneuverability of a midsize truck and the driving range of a class-exclusive diesel engine. The Colorado ZR2 offers even greater off-road capability with class-exclusive front and rear locking differentials and Multimatic DSSVTM dampers. And now, Bison offers customers an even more extreme turnkey off-road truck ready to tackle your next adventure.”

An exclusive, flow-through “CHEVROLET” lettered grille replaces the traditional bowtie on Bison’s front end. The 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac off-road tires sit beneath larger fender flares and wrap all-new, ZR2 Bison-specific 17 x 8-inch aluminum wheels.

This new Colorado variant also features “Bison” decals on the bed sides, an “AEV Bison” logo on the tailgate and embroidered AEV logo floor liners and front head restraints.

“We’ve been following Colorado since its introduction, and the ZR2 really captured our attention,” said Dave Harriton, founder and president of AEV. “As this is the first Chevrolet vehicle we’ve given the AEV treatment to, we wanted to do something special with the industry’s first use of hot-stamped Boron steel. We also expect that Colorado drivers will love the added ruggedness of our front and rear bumpers on ZR2 Bison.”

The ZR2 Bison also duplicates the full equipment list of the Colorado ZR2, including, but not limited to:

Class-exclusive front and rear locking electronic differentials.
Revolutionary, segment-exclusive Multimatic DSSVTM dampers.
Off-road rocker protection.
Cast-iron control arms.
Autotrac transfer case.
Like ZR2, Bison also features a modified rear axle with a 3.42 ratio, front and rear tracks widened by 3.5 inches and a factory suspension lifted 2 inches over a Colorado Z71.

Available options on Bison include:

2.8L Duramax Turbo-Diesel engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, capable of 186 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque.
Choice of crew- or extended cab configurations (including short and long beds, respectively).
Customers will also be able to purchase an available third-party accessory snorkel for ZR2 Bison from AEV, ideal for air filtration while driving on dusty trails. This feature is compatible with all Colorado pickup variants.

The 2019 Colorado ZR2 Bison goes on sale in January 2019, modified for extreme off-road use and backed by a full factory limited warranty.

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