Chevrolet gave us a look at what their next generation ZR2 – a Canyon medium-duty pickup – will likely look like yesterday as they revealed the highly anticipated trail ready off-road Colorado ZR2 concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Chevrolet re-entered the medium-duty pickup truck segment earlier this year with the all-new Colorado line that is targeted to a wide audience of families and individuals for both their work and/or recreation needs. The new Colorado was designed to fill a pickup truck segment demand for a near full-size capable truck with a smaller footprint and priced under $40,000 fully equipped.
Despite including a Z71 more rugged looking trim level, there was immediate demand from a segment of users for a sport truck version that could go head to head with the sport truck versions of the Toyota Tacoma and the Nissan Frontier. Aiming to fill that demand, Chevrolet is looking like they are going to deliver with the ZR2 concept revealed yesterday.
ZR2 off-road features
Taking from the heritage of the ZR2 including the off-road inspired S-10 BAJA from 1988 through 1991, the new Colorado ZR2 gets right in your face with a stance that is four inches wider than a production Colorado Z71.
New front and rear fascias with reduced overhang are designed to increase approach and departure angles when compared to the Z71 for rugged off-road driving. The approach and departure angles are 30.7 and 22.7 degrees respectively. The ZR2 has an additional 2-inches of lift with the necessary integral skid plates underneath for power train protection. If needed, the new fascias incorporate flip-out aluminum tow hooks and the front has a built-in winch.
The suspension of the Colorado ZR2 features King mono-tube coil-over shock absorbers that have greater suspension travel with remote-mounted fluid reservoirs matched with all-new front control arms, says Chevrolet. The ZR2 challenges the trail with 275/65R18 off-road tires mounted on custom 18-inch aluminum multi-spoke, bead-lock-style wheels. The wheel design features a raw aluminum appearance with black accents in the center with the bolt-on bead lock cover in orange-anodized aluminum. Custom wheel flares complemented by custom rocker guards cover the larger off-road tires and increased track width, giving the ZR2 an almost menacing look.
ZR2 powered by all-new 2.8L Duramax diesel
The Colorado line of trucks will offer the all-new 2.8L Duramax four-cylinder diesel as an option in 2016. The ZR2 Colorado, as shown, also features the Duramax diesel suggesting it will likely be the standard power plant. The 2.8L diesel is estimated to deliver 181 horsepower at 3,400 rpm with 369 lb.-ft. of torque in the ZR2. The off-road traction for the ZR2 will use electronic-locking front and rear differentials to maximize torque distribution to the wheels. Specifics of the transfer case system were not disclosed, but we would assume it to be the same electronically controlled transfers case from the Z71 that allows the driver to shift from 2WD to 4WD and choose from three modes – 2WD, 4WD HI or 4WD LO. Chevrolet did say the power train will use a six-speed automatic transmission – certainly tuned specifically to optimize the diesel’s performance.
Other ZR2 features
The Colorado ZR2 is designed to be a sport truck capable of taking one further into the field for more challenging adventure. Some of the features include:
- Matching spare wheel/tire assembly mounted in the bed.
- Spray-on bedliner
- Special 48-inch high-lift jack
- Full line of new GearOn accessories for a range of adventure tools and toys
The Colorado ZR2 concept shown was in a Cyprus Green exterior color, with Henna Orange accents and custom ZR2 identification on the rear fenders, tailgate and grille. Additional exterior elements included a power dome-style hood, an all-new grille and headlamp housings with blacked-out accents.
Inside, the Colorado ZR2 draws from the convenience and functional features of the Z71. It adds the concept identification starting with Jet Black leather-trimmed interior with orange stitching and ZR2 logos embroidered on the front-seat headrests and embossed in the custom floor liners. The ZR2 logo is also featured on the instrument cluster display, as well as a custom inclinometer that shows degree of incline from front to back, and side to side.
Additional electronic accessories necessary to complete the ZR2 off-road mission have been added to the center stack and include an AUX toggle and four additional toggles: two for winch in and winch out operation; and two for the electronic front- and rear-locking differentials in the piano black key bank.
Though the Z71 trim level designation has been used to designate off-road capability for the Silverado and now for the Colorado, the ZR2 has been used to designate an additional level of off-road prowess in Chevrolet vehicles in the past. ZR2 was first introduced on the 1994 compact S-10 pickup until it was discontinued. In 1996 it so designated the S-Series Blazer running through 2005.
The big open question still unanswered is when does the new ZR2 become a production truck?
Given they have shown it to us with the Duramax diesel power train to be available on Colorado in 2016, a good guess might be sometime in 2016.