By Cars.com EditorsMay 14, 2017
About the video
To find out more about the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2's offroad prowess, Pickuptrucks.com's Mark Williams interviewed Tim Demetrio, Chassis Controls and Performance Engineer.
(Pickuptrucks.com's intro) <v Interviewer>We're here in the high Country of Colorado, but we're getting our first opportunity to drive the Colorado ZR2. With me, Tim Dimitrio, chief engineer, chassis engineer.
What did I just do, give you a promotion? <v Tim Dimitrio>I'll take it. <v Interviewer>Yeah, that's awesome. Okay. So I'm chassis controls, performance engineer for the ZR2. This has been my baby, worked on it for the past couple years and it's been a blast to show it to you guys. <v Interviewer>Okay. So, this is our first opportunity to get a chance to drive it. So, talk to me about what's different about a regular Colorado and the ZRT. <v Tim Dimitrio>Okay. From the base Colorado, or the Z71. What we've done is we've lifted the truck two inches. We've increased the track with three and a half inches. We've added some protection with, you see with the rock rails, the skid plates, and our truck up the sleeve as a Multimatic DSSP spool valve dampers. <v Interviewer>Okay. You said a mouthful there. That's obviously a big deal. The suspension on this is obviously key, if you're trying to make an off-road vehicle. You guys used to make a ZR2. Now, you're bringing it back on this platform. What is it about those shock absorbers that, that improve the off-road capability of this? So the Multimatics and DSSP damper, gives us this tuning bandwidth that's unheard of for production vehicle. Typically, when you do an off-road focus truck, you're immediately trading off the on-road performance of the vehicle. The spool valves, we no longer have to make that trade off. As you've seen with the truck, you can drive it down the road. It's nice and comfortable feels like everything you'd expect from a vehicle to drive on road. Then you come out here and rock crawl with it, bomb through the desert with it, and it provides, the compliance you need in tougher off road, situations. <v Interviewer>But, it's all automatic or am I switching things on the inside of the car? It's all mechanical. All based on the damper design. It's, a completely different way to do a damper than what's typically done. And that's inherent to just a mechanical fluid flow. The way it goes through the spool valves is completely different than deflecting washers. And it gives you this tuning ability and the broad range tuning capability, that's not there with a bypass shock. <v Interviewer>So, it's technology that's not on any other vehicle, any, is there a competitive segment for this? What do you, what do you think? Or- <v Tim Dimitrio>This is a first time up-application for the DSS V dampers and an off-road use. GM pioneered it for a high, high production vehicle with the Z28, its F1 technology. We saw what was possible with the tuning capabilities of it and said, this is exactly what we need for an off-road truck. So we're the first tries off road. It has been everything we've asked for and more. So we're really proud to showcase it on the truck. So obviously, the Raptor, very important with off-road capability and software. Paddle shifters, 10-speed transmission. The core of this vehicle seems to be in the transfer case. Nine different settings in the case, is that right? <v Tim Dimitrio>So it's a combination between transfer case settings and locking axles. We have the front and rear Eaton ELockers. When you combine that with the four modes of the transfer case, come up to nine. It's really, we wanted to optimize the truck for any condition you could throw at it off road. We want to give you the ability to climb rocks, go bomb through the desert. You're driving up to grandma's house on the mountain, through the snow. Everything we can do, every possibility. <v Interviewer>So, it's got an all wheel drive capability, two wheel drive, I can lock the rear locker- <v Tim Dimitrio>Correct. <v Interviewer>Four wheel drive high. I can rock the block, the rear locker. <v Tim Dimitrio>Correct. <v Interviewer>And then when I'm in low range, I get access to lockers whenever I want. <v Tim Dimitrio>Correct, it's amazing. (laughs) <v Interviewer>Okay. So, so what do you, what are your thoughts about what this vehicle is going to do in the competitive set midsize segment? It's doing some interesting things. Why did you guys need this off road vehicle? <v Interviewer>Well, first of all, it's, it's our first true venture into the off-road market, in a long time for GM. And we wanted to come out with a bang. We wanted to make sure that we did everything we could to make sure we have an off-road capable vehicle that's going to wow everybody. With a mid-sized platform, it's really great because when you're off-roading on tight Jeep trails, you need a smaller package. There's just places you can't fit a full-size truck. So the mid-sized truck, the platform was a great starting point. Everything from the chassis was engineered with a thought of off-road in mind. If you look under the frame, all the cross-members, the spring-eyes. Everything's tucked up, nice and flush. So we had a great starting point to evolve this truck. <v Interviewer>Is there anything that you didn't get to this time around? Is there anything that we should think about expecting down the road? <v Tim Dimitrio>I think we're going to see how the market likes this truck. Right now, we've thrown at it, we're happy with it. It's exceeded all of our expectations and we'll see what the feedback is from customers. <v Interviewer>So. TRD Pro the Toyota is obviously out there, they're claiming that they are the king of the hill. This is going to be the direct competitor about that. How do you think that's going to go? <v Tim Dimitrio>They can be king of their hill. We're going to go up a different hill and look down on them. <v Interviewer>Excellent. Very cool. Tim, thank you for your time. This is a great vehicle. <v Tim Dimitrio>Thank you, very much. <v Interviewer>We've had a lot of fun driving this and we hope to get many more hours behind the wheel. <v Tim Dimitrio>Sounds great. <v Interviewer>For right now, if you want more information about this pickup truck or any other trucks sold in the U.S., go to pickup trucks.com.