The Only Truck You’ll Ever Need; The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 - SUV VEHICLE

The Only Truck You’ll Ever Need; The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2



  • Named best truck of 2024, Chevy Colorado ZR2 offers comfort, off-road capabilities, and world-class features.
  • Packed with industry-leading features, ZR2 Bison collaboration with AEV ensures best-in-class off-roading experience.
  • Colorado ZR2 competes with full-sized trucks, nearing rivals in torque, towing capacity, and high-end features.

Throw the tools in the back before a long day at work, hook up the RV for a quick getaway, or push it to the limit and get way off-road to places hardly anyone can reach – there are many reasons why the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is the only truck you’ll ever need, but it’s the way it makes life easier that really stands out. Edmunds and MotorTrend both named the Colorado ZR2 best truck of 2024, and when you start to dig into the nitty gritty of this mid-sized truck, it isn’t hard to see why.

Loaded with features that make driving it more comfortable, capable of things you’d expect out of a full-sized truck, and crammed with off-road-ready features to take you not only off the beaten track, but places where there aren’t even tracks to travel along. The fully specced ZR2 Bison is a collaboration between Chevrolet and American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) to bring you best-in-class off-roading and peace of mind that your truck is fitted out at a world-class standard. Let’s take a look at exactly why the Chevy Colorado ZR2 is the best mid-sized truck on the market, and why you’ll be wanting to take a trip to your nearest dealer to jump in for a test drive.

In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from various manufacturer websites and other authoritative sources, including Car and Driver, MotorTrend, Edmunds,, HotCars, and Chevrolet.

2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison: Everything You Need To Know

The most extreme variant of Chevy’s mid-size pickup can now be equipped with some serious off-road hardware straight from the factory

Truck Of The Year For A Reason

Much like the 2023 Colorado ZR2, Chevrolet has decided to push harder into the rock-hopping, dune-bashing side of things for their mid-sized truck, cranking up the options for people who love to get out and explore the wilderness without sacrificing comfort and tech, as off-roading trucks have done in the past. It’s no surprise that it was named Truck of the Year by MotorTrend and Top Rated Truck by Edmunds, however, what is a surprise is that the awards don’t specify size classification, so the Colorado actually topped the list of all trucks available.

In a market where bigger seems to be better in the minds of manufacturers, having a mid-sized, off-road-focused truck top the list is promising for people who don’t want to deal with the bulk of a Chevrolet Silverado or F-150 (and of course, there are much larger options available too).

Industry-Leading Features Make The Colorado ZR2 Unbeatable

2024 Chevrolet Colorado Bison ZR2 in sand Posing on rocky terrain

Chevrolet has included a number of best-in-class features that put the Colorado ZR2 out in front of the pack, from practical and tough off-roading goodies to the I-wish-I’d-thought-of-that options that will surprise you. Stepping up to the fully-loaded ZR2 Bison completes the already impressive Colorado by adding in best-in-class underbody protection from AEV who has forged five boron steel plates to protect the ZR2; a front skid plate and transfer case skid plate, fuel tank, and rear differential skid plates.

Also available with the ZR2 Bison are AEV’s stamped-steel front and rear bumpers, a heavy-duty winch from COMEUP, and Beadlock wheels – all the things you’ll have wanted to modify anyway. As well as these impressive features, Chevrolet has also made sure the ZR2 is the best of the bunch with best-in-class ground clearance at 12.2 inches, 17 class-leading tie-downs in the bed, best-in-class breakover angle to get you through the roughest terrain, and largest-in-class tires with 35-inch mud tires to round out what is clearly a tough truck.

Performance Meets Comfort, With The Right Amount Of Technology

2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 dashboard

It’s one thing to build an off-roading monster, but it’s another thing to make it comfortable to drive and have the cutting edge of technology at your fingertips – something that Chevrolet has managed and exceeded with the ZR2. Creature comforts are plenty, from the wireless charging to the five driver modes for any situation. Chevrolet has even included 10 cameras including class-exclusive underbody cameras to keep an eye on the rocks you’re crawling over.

2023 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 seats

The 11.3-inch infotainment screen not only displays an incredible wealth of data from active tire pressure monitoring to current pitch, roll, and steering angle of the truck, but it lets you hot swap between your camera views, a full map display, and your truck’s performance data, all with the push of a button – no navigating through menu after menu of touchscreen.

Chevrolet has put a strong focus on all the little things that make a difference, but that you may not think of when you’re shopping for a new truck; such as remote start and an engine block heater, heated side mirrors, and two 120-volt outlets (one in the front console, one in the bed). Oh, and heated driver and passenger seats are a nice little touch on those cold mornings too.

2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Vs. 2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison

We compare the latest variants of these high-speed desert runners to find out which one of these dune-bashing mid-size pickups has the edge

Mid-Sized Truck With Full-Sized Features

2024 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 action shot

The Colorado ZR2 isn’t just an impressive mid-sized truck, it can play with the big boys and there are a whole host of reasons why it’s the best overall truck for 2024, not just the best mid-sized option. In the past, the physical footprint of the truck was a big difference between the classes but as that gap closes (as the mid-sized options get longer, wider, and higher off the ground), you’ll find the differences now come down to mainly engine capability and how much weight the truck is capable of towing and carrying.

While the ZR2 is never going to match up against something like a
Silverado 3500 HD
, the fact that a truck intended for tearing through the desert and climbing mountains can close the gap between the classes is very impressive.

How The Colorado Stacks Up Vs Full-Sized Options

For starters, when compared to the Ford F-150 XL you’ll find the ZR2 is not so ‘mid-sized’ after all with a longer wheelbase and much higher ground clearance. Even more surprisingly, the ZR2 pushes out more torque from its turbo four-cylinder than the 5.0-liter V-8 in the F-150 (the Ford has 410 pound-feet at 4,250 RPM vs the ZR2’s 430 pound-feet at 3,000 RPM) and is even capable of towing a similar amount of weight.

The F-150 has upgraded models that far surpass the ZR2 if you’re shopping for a workhorse truck, but for this mid-sized off-roader to be so close to such a legendary full-sized truck shows that the market is narrowing and the capability of “smaller” trucks is rapidly heating up the competition.

Colorado ZR2 And Its Bigger ZR2 Brothers

Chevrolet has expanded on the success of the Colorado ZR2 since its launch in 2017 and created the ZR2 Family, including the Silverado 1500 ZR2 and Silverado HD ZR2, taking the best parts of the Colorado and offering up bigger and more powerful versions for those who want heavy-duty trailering or a bit more grunt in their off-road truck.

With pricing on par with the top-of-the-line Ford F-150 Raptor, you would be spending quite a bit of money to get yourself into a Silverado 1500 ZR2, but the benefits include much larger engine options – either a 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel or 6.2-liter V-8 – a bed with best-in-class cargo volume, and a whole lot of information at your fingertips with a 13.4-inch infotainment touch screen and 12.3-inch driver information center.

The HD ZR2 is surprisingly agile despite its size, capable of tearing through the desert or dragging itself over rocks, but still carries the incredible towing capacity the Silverado HD trucks are known for. MSRP for the Duramax version of the Silverado 1500 ZR2 starts at $71,895, with the HD ZR2 starting at $10,000 above its slightly smaller sibling.

Performance Specifications


Colorado ZR2

Silverado 1500 ZR2

Silverado 2500 HD ZR2


2.7-Liter turbocharged ‘TurboMax’ inline-four

3.0-Liter Duramax turbo-diesel Inline-6 or 6.2-Liter V-8

6.6-Liter V-8 or 6.6-Liter Duramax turbo-diesel V-8


310 @ 5,600 RPM

305 or 420

401 or 470


430 Pound-feet @ 3,000 RPM

495 or 460 Pound-feet

464 or 975 Pound-feet


8-speed automatic

10-speed automatic

Allison 10-speed automatic





Maximum Towing Capacity

6,000 Pounds

8,900 pounds

18,500 pounds

Maximum Payload Capacity

1,423 Pounds

1,440 pounds

3,400 pounds

Source: Chevrolet, Car and Driver

Unbeatable Off-Road, Dominant On-Road

2024 Chevrolet Colorado Bison ZR2 in white Traversing terrain

It’s clear that Chevy wants the ZR2 to be the go-to off-road machine going forward, not just from the advancements they’ve made but from the accessories and options available (like the Bison package). In the past off-roading has been a case of built vs bought, with built trucks being far more capable due to upgrades that car manufacturers weren’t putting in their models, but with the ZR2’s massive list of best-in-class features, the discussion isn’t so clear.

Another aspect of this is that in the past, off-road machines were (typically) less comfortable and lacking in a lot of technology for the sake of making them as capable and practical as possible, but this is something Chevy has taken into account and has crammed as much into the ZR2 as they could, with a whole host of options that’ll make driving on the roads a joy.

The Colorado ZR2 Is King Of Off-Roading

Chevy included all-new front and rear jounce control dampers (also known as bump stops) to ensure the bigger bumps and jolts aren’t as rough on the driver and passengers. To ensure they worked as well as possible, they performance tested them on Chad Hall’s Colorado ZR2 in the brutal Best in the Desert series, putting the car through its paces in the best possible setting. If you’re sitting there thinking ‘well not everyone can just build a desert racer’, Chevrolet actually sells all the off-road parts used in Chad Hall’s ZR2 in their performance parts store.

As even more evidence of how serious Chevrolet is about making the ZR2 the king of off-roading, in 2020 GM won a contract to build an Infantry Squad Vehicle for the military and based it on the Colorado ZR2, with 90 percent of the parts commercially available.

Just As Strong On The Highways As In The Mountains

2023 Chevrolet Colorado

It isn’t a Chevy truck without the capability of towing and carrying plenty of weight, and while the ZR2 may be an off-roading monster, it hasn’t lost sight of the Colorado’s original purpose. Being capable of towing 6,000 pounds and carrying over 1,400 in the bed is very helpful for people who want the best of both worlds and while the lack of engine options may be disappointing compared to the larger Silverado ZR2 models, the TurboMax inline-four isn’t lacking.

Chevrolet has made sure your on-road experience is just as enjoyable as off-road, and has loaded up the Colorado ZR2 with a range of driver assist options including rear parking assist, blind-zone steering assist while trailering, adaptive cruise control, rear pedestrian alert and HD surround vision which utilizes all of the ZR2’s cameras to give you clear vision around your truck. Fuel economy sits at 17 miles per gallon and with the 21.4-gallon tank you should expect 364 miles of range between fills.


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