2017 Chevy Colorado ZR2: 5 Things You Need to Know

Nov. 17, 2016 By Josh Burns

It’s not exactly the best-kept secret that Chevrolet would produce the ZR2, but we still were excited to be on hand for the formal unveil the other night prior to the LA Auto Show. There’s a lot of interesting aspects to Chevy’s new off-roader, and here’s a look at some of the most noteworthy features.

Multimatic DSSV Suspension
Although the first ZR2 concept unveiled at the LA Auto Show a few years back featured a very well known name in off-road suspension with King shocks, Chevrolet went a completely different direction than the King remote-reservoir shocks found on that first truck, instead opting for Multimatic. The Ontario-based Multimatic already worked with Chevy on the Camaro Z28, and during and tuning of the ZR2 they were able to prove why their unique DSSV dampers could provide great all-around performance for the truck both on road and off. The shocks, which look like almost like a dual piggyback shock from the outside, rely on spool valves instead of deflected-disk valving. There are actually three different spool valves within the shock’s structure, with two helping to control compression and rebound damping, while the third, which is actually mounted in the shock piston itself. It’s a unique design that we look forward to testing more in the future.

3.5-Inch Wider Track
There’s a number of ways to widen a truck’s track, which is an important aspect to a lifted truck in helping aid in stability and controlled handling. Chevrolet could have used wheel offsets, like Toyota did on the Tacoma TRD Pro, to help widen the track. But since Chevrolet is widening the track more than the 1 inch of the Tacoma, it needed to take a different approach. The ZR2 relies on new cast-iron control arms and a wider axle help give the ZR2 a 3.5-inch wider track compared to the standard Colorado.


Front and Rear Selectable Lockers
Chevrolet hails the ZR2 features “the most sophisticated four-wheel drive system in the segment.” What that equates to is nine different drive configurations ranging between 2WD, 4WD Hi and 4WD Lo. What we love most is the front and rear selectable locking differentials. Chevy says they worked diligently to integrated the lockers to work with the traction, stability and hill-descent controls. We mostly just appreciate that the electronically selectable lockers are simple and easy to use, thanks to buttons on the piano-key layout on the center stack.

2-inch Suspension Lift
Sure, larger 31-inch Goodyear Duratrac tires help get the ZR2 a little further off of the ground, but Chevrolet also employs spacer blocks to provide the ZR2 with a 2-inch suspension lift. Although the height of the truck is lifted 2 inches, the suspension doesn’t get a full two inches of additional travel, but the Multimatic shocks do have roughly one more inch of travel compared to a standard Colorado.

Off-Road Bumper, Sliders
Chevy redesigned the bumpers for the ZR2 for improved approach and departure angles. Of course, there’s also no air damn of front significantly hindering the truck’s ground clearance. The front bumper features tapered ends to aid in clearance and provide more space for the 31-inch Goodyear tires to safely move around. The bumper also features an aluminum skid plate to help protect the radiator and engine oil pan (a separate plate protects the transfer case). A bed-mounted spare tire carrier option gets the tire up off the ground to improve rear clearance. One of the coolest features has to be the sliders Chevy uses, offering real rocker rail protection for the truck while not relying on the standard side steps found on Colorados with steps that hang down and limit ground clearance.

There will more to come on the ZR2 front, and we’ll soon get behind the wheel for our first impression of Chevy’s new off-roaders. Stay tuned.

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