The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 was first making waves in November 2014 when we broke the story of its debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. Since that time, the question of “will they or won’t they?” has been kept under wraps. That all changed this week when Chevy published an official press release to its online Pressroom, laying out the full features of the ZR2 and what it will mean for curious customers.
The 2017 Colorado ZR2, as Chevy describes it, will “reset expectations for off-road trucks.” In addition, it will “feature more off-road technology than any other midsize pickup when it goes on sale.” If this isn’t a shot across the bow of Toyota and its Tacoma TRD Pro and TRD Off-Road, then we don’t know what is (it may also be a threat to Ford and its forthcoming 2017 Raptor, edging out customers that want a capable off-roader without the full-size, half-ton price tag).
Some of the things discussed in the press release are things we already knew – a wider track width compared to stock (3.5 inches, to be exact), heavier-duty shocks, bigger tires, etc. But what’s changed is that all-important aspect of off-road – the suspension.
Back in 2014, the ZR2 was shown with King shock absorbers, which were monotube coilovers that appeared to have remote reservoirs. Chevrolet apparently abandoned that concept and went with Canadian manufacturer Multimatic. This is the same company that provided the 2014 Camaro Z/28 its incredible handling prowess, using the Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) technology.
DSSV is currently used in such arenas as Formula One, and works by using spool valves instead of the commonplace deflected-disk valves. The basic concept is such that the shocks offer six force-velocity curves for the front, and four curves for the rear, compared with just two when looking at deflected-disc versions. “For the driver, this means greater confidence and control in a wider range of driving experiences [including on-road and off-road],” said Chevrolet Executive Director of Performance Variants/Parts/Motorsports Engineering Mark Dickens.
Now, you might be wondering what separates the ZR2 and the already-offered Z71, which lends itself toward off-roading with a few factory upgrades. Chevrolet has explained that the ZR2 goes a little further by raising the ride height by two inches, rocker protectors, and exclusive 17×8-inch wheels.
Perhaps the coolest part is that the Colorado is still the only midsize on the market that offers both gasoline (3.6-liter V6 and 2.5-liter I4) and diesel (2.8-liter I4) engines. This gives buyers options of choosing whether they want a high-horsepower or high-torque application right from the factory.
We really want to get our hands on one of the diesel-powered ZR2s and put it through the ringer here in Southern California. What version would you want? Let us know in the comments below.