5 Things: Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 vs. Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

Jan. 27, 2017 By Tim Healey, Photos by Josh Burns and Courtesy of Manufacturers

Both Chevrolet and Toyota have added new off-road packages to the mix in 2017. Colorado unveiled its ZR2 late last year at the LA Auto Show, and we actually had the chance to get behind the wheel of the Tacoma TRD Pro recently in Hawaii. Both trucks are trail-ready, and we’re going to take a look at how the two stack up with some of their key features.

The ZR2 will be available with the 2.8L Duramax diesel.

The ZR2 offers optional engines, and it is available with the Colorado’s 3.6-liter V-6 rated at 308 horsepower 275 pound-feet of torque or a 2.8-liter turbocharged diesel that is rated to produce 181 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. The diesel pairs with a six-speed automatic and the V-6 with an eight-speed automatic. The diesel’s torque leads the segment by a wide margin and offers up plenty of grunt for the rough stuff – it definitely has the edge in this department.

The Tacoma TRD Pro comes standard with a 3.5L Atkinson Cycle V6 engine.

The Tacoma TRD Pro doesn’t come with an option (no 4-cylinder option here), as it comes standard with the new 3.5-liter Atkinson Cycle V-6 engine that is rated to produce 278 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. of torque. Best of all, the V-6 can be paired with an optional six-speed manual, though there is a six-speed automatic transmission option as well.

The Colorado ZR2 has a wider track (by 3.5 inches) than the standard Colorado and lifted suspension, in addition to functional rocker rails and front and rear bumpers that are modified to provide more ground clearance and improved approach and departure angles.

The Tacoma TRD Pro, meanwhile, uses the same high-strength steel frame and ultra-high-strength steel body as all Tacomas, though the TRD team did widen the track 1 inch wheel offsetting for additional stability and a slightly wider stance.

The Tacoma TRD Pro relies on Fox 2.5-inch shocks, with a coilovers up front and a piggyback shock in the rear (shown left). The new Colorado ZR2 will employ a unique DSSV Multimatic shock that feature a unique spool valve system to control damping.

The ZR2 has a suspension setup that uses Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) dampers from a company called Mulitmatic. These dampers allow for a greater range of tuning, thus improving both off-road and on-road driving dynamics, according to Chevy. In addition, the ZR2 is lifted two inches compared to other Colorado models and offers additional suspension travel to handle the rigors of the trail. The ZR2 also feature cast-iron control arms for increased durability.
The TRD Pro Tacoma has upgraded off-road suspension tuning front and rear from Fox Shox. Up front the Tacoma has a 2.5-inch internal bypass Fox coilover, while out back the 2.5-inch Fox piggybacks feature additional oil capacity for improved performance. The TRD Pro’s Eibach springs are specially tuned for the package, and the Tacoma TRD Pro benefits on the trail thanks to its two-inch lift and additional suspension travel.

Wheels and Tires
Chevy’s ZR2 uses 17x8 inch aluminum wheels and 31-inch Goodyear Duratrac off-road tires. A bed-mounted spare-tire carrier will be an option as an accessory. Toyota has equipped the TRD Pro Tacoma with 16-inch alloy wheels and Goodyear Wrangler All Terrain tires. The ZR2’s off-road tires are targeted to the trail, and the Tacoma’s rubber is also well-suited to off-road driving.

The TRD Pro features CRAWL Control, which allows the driver to select a literal crawl speed for the vehicle to maintain during downhill sections.

Off-Road Goodies
ZR2 offers front- and rear-locking differentials; an off-road drive-mode setting that allows the ABS, traction-control and stability-control systems to adjust for off-road use along with the throttle progression and shift calibrations; and skid plates for the radiator, oil pan and transfer case. The hood and grille are unique compared to other Colorado models.

The Tacoma TRD Pro has an aluminum front skid plate, LED fog lights, a unique hood, unique badging, black taillight bezels, projector headlamps with black bezels and LED daytime running lights, unique interior trim and a clutch-start cancel switch. The TRD Pro features the same off-road features found on the TRD Pro, such as CRAWL Control, Multi-Terrain Select and a selectable locking rear differential.

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