5 Things to Know About the 2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2


Since its model-year 2015 reintroduction, the mid-size Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck has been a hit: More than 400,000 have been sold and it has raked in more than $10.25 billion in revenue for parent company GM. It's safe to say the market was ready for another alternative to full-size pickups. Chevy upped the ante for 2017 by adding a ZR2 trim level with real off-road cred. The ZR2 spent two years of development time proving its mettle on a purpose-built course in the Arizona desert, on the Rubicon Trail in California, and in various other two-tracks, mud holes, funky spots and varied climates around the U.S. Its development team was made up of real off-road enthusiasts, including the lead engineer.

Here are a few other things you should know about the ZR2.

1. Class-Only Diesel

Available with a 186-horseppower, 2.8-liter inline four-cylinder diesel engine pumping out 369 pounds-feet of torque, the Colorado is the only mid-size diesel pickup you can buy — at least for now. And all that torque comes in handy on the trail, where the ZR2 crawls easily over rocks and boulders with minimal throttle and drama. It also returns 22 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA.

2. Only E-Locker in Its Class

Another class exclusive is front and rear electronic locking differentials, which can be engaged from the cab. That keeps all four wheels turning at the same speed, something any experienced off-roader will tell you can be a good thing when things get messy.

3. Trick Suspension

Opting for the ZR2 gets you what Chevy calls the first off-road application of its in the mid-size pickup class. What that translates in is progressive-rate shocks with lots of travel; they start softer and stiffen up as they compress. However it works, we can testify that the ZR2 rides remarkably well in the rough stuff.

4. A Step Up

More suspension tweaks include a 3.5-inch-wider track front and rear than a standard Colorado, 31-inch tires and a 2-inch bump in ride height to help you clear obstacles on the trail. It also has skid plates for when you don't.

5. Exhaust Brake

Chevrolet and GMC are the only small-diesel makers that include a dedicated diesel exhaust brake switch to allow for added exhaust back pressure to better control heavier loads or trailers. The Ram 1500 doesn't offer it on the EcoDiesel and the new Ford F-150 Power Stroke doesn't have it either.

Manufacturer images


Latest expert reviews