For some the idea of a fun weekend involves jumping in the convertible, putting the top down and heading out to the beach or a favorite back country road, but what if you want to do something a little different. Maybe a little more extreme, in the unknown? Well Chevy may have just want you need with the 2018 Chevy Colorado ZR2 – the off-road hungry version of its midsize pickup. Grab four of your friends, a weekend’s worth of gear and head for the mountains. You won’t be disappointed.
The 2018 Colorado ZR2, just like the Camaro ZR1, is the most extreme version available of the midsize pickup. Chevy actually likes to call the Colorado ZR2, the “most capable off-road truck in its class.” Which it probably is, as of right now, since the only Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro is its only real competition. Well at least until the Ford Ranger Raptor arrives.
To prepare it for everything that you could possibly throw at it, the Colorado ZR2 features Multimatic shocks, front and rear locking differentials, a 50 mm higher ride height, skid plates and rock sliders. The Colorado ZR2 is also 90 mm wider than the standard Colorado, its front and rear wheel flares and unique hood combine to give it an imposing look. This isn’t just any regular midsize truck. Just sitting still it looks ready to pounce thanks to its massive 31-inch tires.
Under the hood the 2018 Colorado ZR2 can be equipped with either a 3.6L V6 with 308 horsepower and 275 lb-ft. or a 2.8L diesel engine with 181 horsepower and a rock shredding 369 lb-ft. of torque. The V6 is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, while the four-cylinder diesel comes standard with a six-speed automatic, but the eight-speed is optional. The V6 is rated at 17/24 mpg, while the diesel is obviously the more efficient choice with its 20/28 mpg rating. No matter which engine you choose, the Colorado ZR2 can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
Inside the Colorado ZR2 doesn’t look that different than the other Colorado models. It comes with unique leather seats with the “ZR2” logo embossed in the headrests. There’s also 4G LTE Wi-Fi to make sure you’re always connected, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. You can also charge your phone wirelessly. There are some tech features that we would like to see added, like blind spot warning, adaptive cruise control and maybe even some safety features, like automatic emergency braking. Besides the lack of some tech features, the Colorado ZR2’s interior is comfortable, quiet and spacious. It actually feels a bit more luxurious than you might expect from an off-road truck.
One of the Colorado ZR2’s best features are its standard Multimatic DSSV shocks. The shocks not only help the Colorado ZR2 climb over the roughest terrain, but at the same time the shocks aren’t so firm that you feel your organs bouncing on the highway.
To see how capable the Colorado ZR2 is we decided to take it up to Hungry Valley in Southern California. The recreation area offers 130 miles of trails with elevations ranging from 3,000 to nearly 6,000 feet. It was the perfect spot to see how much we could throw at the Colorado ZR2. Turn the dial to four-wheel drive, lock the differentials and the Colorado ZR2 was ready to climb any hill or power through any trail we could find. Once at the top the auto hill descent system takes the guess work out, while you enjoy the view. The truck seemed unflappable, with enough power to pull itself out of any sticky situation, while the 4WD system never got stuck on the sandy trails. So much fun!
You may wonder how the Colorado ZR2 can handle your everyday – less fun life. On the road the suspension is firm, but not jarring, while its interior is quiet. The Colorado ZR2 can tackle your daily commute, while it waits to come alive on the weekends.
Pricing for the 2018 Chevy Colorado ZR2 starts at $41,790 for the extended cab or $43,390 if you choose the four-door crew cab model.