Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison — Sometimes younger siblings get the shaft. It happens all around us. Eli Manning is and will always be in the shadow of his older brother Peyton, mostly because Peyton has a much more extroverted approach to life and isn’t afraid to yuck it up with anyone, not to mention the fact that we could never see Eil hosting SNL and Peyton shined on late night. Kourtney Kardashian has been stuck watching her older sister Kim get ten times the headlines and paparazzi mania following her around her entire life, yet Kourtney might actually be the best business mind of that whole circus, and arguably, the best looking to boot. Much in the same way these successful, yet underrated younger siblings have had to watch their older brother or sister suck up all the glory, the Chevrolet Colorado has had to watch its older brother, the Silverado, get the lion’s share of the publicity, commercials, and accolades. But, that might all change with the 2019 version.
Specifically looking at the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado V6 ZR2 AEV Bison edition — granted that nigh-paragraph long title isn’t doing it any favors, the Colorado is amazing machine. To many’s surprise, it has been in production since 2003, with the first ten lasting until 2012, and the current second generation lasting from 2012 until today. The ZR2 was a concept that debuted in 2014 and then finally made it to production in 2017.
In terms of differentiation, the ZR2 offers up a much more stout off-roading package, and quite honestly, makes the Chevrolet Colorado a certifiable truck, as opposed to its original casting as something of a road car with a bed. The ZR2 package gets you a 3.5-inch wider track (good for keeping balance on those uneven dirt roads, as well as a 2-inch lift over stock as well as a redesigned front and rear bumper, which, aside from just looking meaner and much more aggressive, also combines with that lift to greatly increases approach and departing angles when diving into ravines or river beds. You also get longer cast iron control arms and wider fender flares. There are also rock sliders and aluminum skid plates underside to protect all the truck’s vital organs from getting sliced up by rocks and brush.
Some of the most under appreciated features on the ZR2 package are its upgraded shocks — coined as Multimatic Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) Dampers, these bits allow the ZR2 to not only have better on-road manners, but also improve rock-crawling and high-speed off road desert runs. In conjunction with those shocks, there is also an “Off-road Mode” that changes and engages stability and traction control, ABS, as well as shift points and throttle modulation to best suite the current terrain. Beyond that, there is also an optional full-sized bed mounted spare tire, which can be an invaluable asset under certain conditions you are likely to find yourself if you are using this truck up to its potential.
Above and beyond the ZR2 is the Bison American Expedition Vehicle (AEV) motif. This is a collaborative effort with Chevy that gives plenty of requisite AEV badging around the truck, but more importantly tacks on trim specific wheel flares with 17-inch wheels, trim specific stamped steel front and rear bumpers, front winch provisions and rear recovery points, as well as trim specific Boron steel skid plates that outmatch even the ZR2’s standard pieces. There is also an optional AEV snorkel, which just looks badass even if you don’t use it.
Powered by a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter DOHC aluminum V6, the Chevrolet ZR2 produces a class-leading 308-horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. That power gets routed through an 8-speed automatic (and a real transfer case) on its way to all four corners. While not ZR1 fast, the ZR2 makes good use of that power on tap, and considering it tips the scales at just over 4,900 pounds, running from 0-60 mph in 7.2 seconds and through the quarter mile in 15.6 seconds at 87.9 mph is pretty good. Now, let’s see how a ZR1 could do that same quarter mile, but covered in sand — suddenly the Colorado would be kicking Corvette butt and taking names … but we digress. Around the skidpad the Colorado still proves to be a truck, posting an average 0.72 g, and nets a 16/18/17 city/highway/combined mpg on regular gas.
On or off-road the Colorado V6 ZR2 Bison AEV is a mouthful to say, but it is even more so a handful for its competitors. With a base price of $49,845, it isn’t cheap, but neither are all of the toys it comes with, and what really is the price of true fun and enjoyment? That’s up to you to decide. One things we know for sure though, is that much like Eli and Kourtney, when it’s all said and done, the Colorado might just have a strong case that it has earned its own accolades, and can finally step out of its older siblings shadow.