• 2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Review: Off-Road Worthy, But It’s No Raptor or TRX

Who’s The Boss, Now?

LISTEN 06:52

Since the Silverado’s 2019 redesign, the Trail Boss has been the go-to trim for truck shoppers eager to traverse the road less traveled. But now, Chevy’s providing an even more serious off-road option - the first-ever Silverado ZR2.

  • 2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Review: Off-Road Worthy, But It’s No Raptor or TRX
  • Year:
    2022
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Transmission:
    10-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    420 @ 5600
  • MPG(Cty):
    14
  • MPG(Hwy):
    17
  • Torque @ RPM:
    460 @ 4100
  • Energy:
    SIDI
  • Displacement:
    6.2 L
  • Layout:
    Front-engine/4WD
  • Price:
    68400
  • body style:

Covid-related delays have subsided, and the updated 2022 Silverado is finally here, showcasing a more elaborate cabin with improved technology that this truck has desperately needed. And, though the ZR2 benefits from those upgrades its primary focus is exploring new worlds. While the Raptor has been flying high for over a decade now, and the 700-horsepower TRX escalated matters last year Chevy has, by and large, been sitting on the sidelines, instead choosing the midsized Colorado for their off-road dalliances. But no longer. The Silverado has entered the chat with this new ZR2 trim intended to advance the Trail Boss’s muscle. First off, the ZR2 comes exclusively as a crew cab with a short bed and the biggest engine offered in the Silverado - the 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V8. Key upgrades include:

  • more ground clearance
  • driver-selectable front- and rear locking differentials
  • maximum traction, wider sidewall, 33” tires
  • and the key component – next generation Multimatic dampers engineered to eliminate compromises between on-road comfort and extreme off-road performance.

BENCHMARK SUSPENSION TECHNOLOGY

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Review: Off-Road Worthy, But It's No Raptor or TRX
- image 1094108

Multimatic damping technology is factory-fitted to some of the world’s highest performing vehicles and General Motors has previously tapped their expertise to tune the suspension of the Camaro ZL1 1LE and Colorado ZR2 in addition to producing the company’s Multiflex and Multipro tailgates. Along with uniquely-tuned springs these Multimatic dampers or shock absorbers, if you will, increase the ZR2’s suspension travel. Built for rock crawling as well as dessert running, it’s what you don’t feel that lends credence to Multimatic’s reputation. Whether ripping through a rutted trail or racing up a gravel road the ZR2 shoots straight ahead while riding on a pillow of fluid dynamics that keeps your head from bouncing off the windows. But without the advantage of coil springs in the rear and its somewhat restricted wheel travel, the ZR2’s body isn’t as isolated from the rough stuff as it could be. At least its 11+ inches of ground clearance, unique skid plates, specific front bumper, and hidden exhaust pipes provide the freedom to go beyond Trail Boss limits.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Review: Off-Road Worthy, But It's No Raptor or TRX
- image 1094106

These top-shelf dampers allow the ZR2 to not only perform reliably and precisely off-road but also very comfortably on-road with a palpable level of sophistication each time the body reacts to wheel movements. But in keeping with the leaf springs, the rear end experiences a higher degree of jounce that’s plebeian compared to the ZR2’s key competitors. Still in all, Chevy has pulled off an amazing feat by creating a serious off-road truck that’s this polished doing everyday driving.

THIRSTY AND NOT THAT QUICK

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Review: Off-Road Worthy, But It's No Raptor or TRX
- image 1094109

Putting the high-performance, lifted suspension aside for a moment, the big 6.2 doesn’t excite this truck in the way you might imagine. It’s not super-quick nor does it make any race truck sounds. 460 lb-ft of torque doesn’t feel all that impressive in this league and despite having cylinder deactivation and an engine stop/start system gas mileage is an abysmal 15 mpg on premium gas; not nearly as bad as a TRX, mind you, but with a smallish 24-gallon tank the ZR2’s 360-mile driving range is at a disadvantage. Its 8900 lb. trailering capacity is also at the bottom of the Silverado’s scale though not by much.

The ZR2 doesn’t feel even remotely taxed on these muddy, rocky trails so common to upstate New York, and the electronic tools to tackle them are very straightforward: a simple off-road mode, push-button four-wheel drive and a pair of lockers for the axles. The additional ground clearance, Territory tires, and your talents do the rest. And other than being very wide the ZR2 is a stud out here. The plethora of camera views is also very helpful but without Raptor- or TRX-level wheel articulation the ZR2 isn’t quite in their league.

NOT QUITE IN THE BIG BOY CLUB

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Review: Off-Road Worthy, But It's No Raptor or TRX
- image 1094105

In an apples-to-apples comparison, the ZR2 stickers for about $5,000 less than a Ford Raptor and about $20,000 less than a Ram TRX, acknowledging that it isn’t as fully fledged. But how many owners are pushing these trucks to their limits anyway? Less than 1%? The ZR2 starts at just over $70,000 and totals $76,150 as-tested. That includes:

  • Technology Package with a rear camera mirror, multi-color head-up display, adaptive cruise control, and a power adjustable steering column
  • sunroof
  • lockable, hard, tri-fold tonneau cover
  • rocker protectors which are not true assist steps so you need to grab a handle to climb into the cab
  • and the very clever Multiflex tailgate with numerous positions to help haul stuff or assist in getting into the bed.
2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Review: Off-Road Worthy, But It's No Raptor or TRX
- image 1094110

This truck is almost as loaded as the recently tested GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate minus the fancy leather and wood, massaging seats, and Super Cruise hands-free driving though that is available for the first time on the luxurious High Country trim. There’s also no Sport Mode on the ZR2, instead, there’s a single Off-road setting and a Terrain Mode which activates one-pedal drive meant for rock crawling. Also, a 4-wheel drive Auto setting means not having to worry about binding the driveline when traversing variable road conditions.

THE CABIN IT’S DESPERATELY NEEDED

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Review: Off-Road Worthy, But It's No Raptor or TRX
- image 1094103

The cabin is a monumental leap forward in terms of its modern appearance, tech level, and quality. There’s a new Google-intensive touchscreen, the 10-speed’s shifter now resides on the center console, the configurable instrument cluster includes cool animations, and the sporty yellow top-stitching provides character. The ZR2 definitely has that premium truck vibe. Heated and cooled seats, wireless phone projection with charge pad, and a million camera views make me feel like I’m back in the GMC. And, it’s a very quiet truck especially considering the nature of these Goodyear tires. But the seats lack cushioning and feel cheap compared to the rest of the interior; no LED headlamps, either.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Review: Off-Road Worthy, But It's No Raptor or TRX
- image 1094114

Because its substantial width makes the ZR2 more manageable in areas with wide-open spaces, I’d likely opt for something Colorado-sized if an off-road truck was on my shopping list. But the ZR2 is one cool-looking rig capable of accomplishing much and satisfying on multiple levels.

Steven Hammes
Steven Hammes
Since 1998, Steve has been evaluating every new vehicle that comes to market – from Mitsubishi to McLaren. As the station’s Automotive Editor, Drive Time with Steve Hammes began as a weekly newscast segment at WRGB-TV (CBS) in Schenectady, New York and quickly blossomed into an internationally syndicated television segment. Steve has professionally produced new car reviews and broadcast-quality automotive video have been featured on Yahoo! Autos, AOL Autos, Speed, WheelsTV, Automotive Broadcasting Network, Cox Media Group, Test Drive Now, and his 2 YouTube channels which have over 100,000 subscribers and over 70 million views. Steve is a longtime member of the International Motor Press Association, a huge New York Yankees fan, and leases a Hyundai Kona Electric.  Read full bio
About the author

Related Articles

Pickup Trucks With Best Towing Capacity In 2022

Meet the New Chevy Silverado ZR2 - A Truck That’s Meant to Go Off-Road

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: