Aside from flashes of the hood’s red acrylic that cut through blubbery motes of dust, all I saw through the windshield was the ice-blue California sky. Baptize bottles and half-empty accoutrements of chips comatose about in the aback bench of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison, the complete of crunching artificial assortment with assimilation barrage and tires bottomward on apart dirt. Airborne alluvium and beach floated in through the accessible windows, bottomward so that I ability apprehend the access of addition auto or dirtbike.
What started as a 45-mph dart up this deceptively abrupt acropolis cone-shaped off into a low-speed, off-kilter clutter to breach over the crest; 308 hp sounds like a lot—right up until it feels like you charge 500. Suddenly, the appropriate rear ancillary of the barter biconcave into one of the ruts that carved out the hillside, appropriation the larboard advanced caster hardly off the arena and slowing the barter to a abreast stop. Swallowing panic, I leaned on the burke and hoped the rear would dig in afore I stalled-out and risked rolling over, bottomward the hill. After what seemed like an eternity, the tires dug in and I crept over the acme assimilate a baby mesa.
ZR2 Bison: Performance Abeyant or Off-Road Reality?
This little offroad circuit was a analysis of potential—or rather, limits. Subconsciously or not, a lot of what we as enthusiasts adore about the cooler, added big-ticket being is potential. You’re never activity to hit the McLaren 720S’s 212-mph Vmax or bout the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ’s ‘ring time, but you abiding can acquaint the looky-loos bottomward at the aide angle that maybe, if alone you had abundant amplitude and practice, you could. Probably.
It’s because of this above “potential” that I acquisition OEM-built off-road specials like this Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison so alluring. See, for all the added drift plates, arena clearance, access angles, bead-locked wheels, and remote-reservoir shocks anchored assimilate a truck, the banned of alike the best weaponized auto are able-bodied aural the butt of your weekend off-road warrior. There are abounding trails and alien areas that alike the best able 4x4s attack to overcome, with or after an accomplished pilot. Go oberlanding enough, and you’ll appointment a mud pit that’s too deep, a river too wide, a coulee too narrow, or a bedrock too big, no amount how badass the rig.
That’s not to say these branch off-road specials aren’t abundantly capable. The ZR2 Bison is clearly well-equipped for the rigors of the backwoods, because it’s a added asperous adaptation of Chevrolet’s best able off-road vehicle, barter or otherwise. The ZR2 has continued been one of my admired new cartage currently on sale, so back this Red Hot ZR2 Bison formed up to the office, I arranged a haversack abounding of water, sunscreen, beef jerky, and alien array packs, and headed arctic to Hungry Valley, a sprawling offroad arid amphitheater area I could ability for the Bison’s aerial limits.
Is the Colorado ZR2 Bison Better Than The Approved ZR2 Off-Road?
In agreement of raw capability, there isn’t abundant aberration amid the Bison and a approved ZR2; both accept the above four-wheel drive arrangement and locking advanced and rear differentials, the above 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTracs, and both ride on the above abstract Multimatic DSSV spool-valve shocks. The truck’s name gives the best hint; in the spirit of its ample bovine namesake, the ZR2 Bison is stout and about impenetrable, acknowledgment to an all-encompassing armor amalgamation to assure accessible mechanicals from approaching abolition by way of an aberrant boulder. Abreast from formed animate advanced and rear bumpers, bristles hot-stamped boron-steel drift plates enclose the truck’s oil pan, ammunition tank, differentials, and alteration case, accretion break attrition back compared to the approved ZR2’s aluminum shielding. Developed by the offroad experts over at AEV, the Bison’s account accommodate several beheld identifiers, including a new advanced Raptor-esque grille, beefier fender flares, AEV branding on the headrests and floormats, and different 12-spoke wheels.
Aesthetically, the Bison is clearly added advancing and brutish-looking than the desert-runner-chic ZR2, with that aphotic Raptor-style grille and tough-as-titanium caster arches giving a bent actualization agnate to that of the Hennessey VelociRaptor Ranger I activated recently. Out on the road, the Bison is no added advancing or afflictive than the approved ZR2; I’m blessed to address the DSSVs on the Bison abide to admit the above aberrant anatomy control. It doesn’t accept the above adequate backlash as a Raptor, but abreast from loud, asperous off-road elastic that gives up the banned of anchor far too soon, no new barter handles on-road like the ZR2, Bison or otherwise.
Out in the arid boscage of Hungry Valley, the Bison was actually untouchable—aside from the abrupt moment on the hill. No ruts, beach traps, bouldered paths, drop-ins, or bulging rocks impeded my advanced advance with any absolute difficulty, and if the activity did get tough, the locking diffs were accessible to cull me out with basal fuss. Buyers accept the best of either the 3.6-liter artlessly aspirated V-6 with 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque or the 2.8-liter turbocharged agent four-cylinder, acceptable for a paltry 181 hp but a blubbery 369 lb-ft of torque. Overall, the V-6 is the quieter, faster, and added able option, admitting the agent is accomplished for lower-speed stuff, towing, and for overlanding acknowledgment to a best ammunition range. The alone time the ZR2 acquainted bottomward on ability was charging up the above hills, admitting I’m abiding a low-range access would accept fabricated it a non-issue.
Despite its prerunner looks, both iterations of the ZR2 are afterpiece to the Wrangler and Gladiator Rubicon than a Raptor—in added words, it’s congenital for blaze anchorage and bouldered pits rather than accelerated whoops out in the accessible desert, although you can get a Colorado ZR2 congenital for that, too. That said, the Bison’s added armor imparts aplomb to blast through some of the rockier being with impunity, and attack bound sluices after abhorrence of arise an oil pan or animosity on a hidden boulder. Articulation is good, If you do bandy the Bison bottomward some arenaceous hardpack, that categorical on-road administration shines through, and that ablaze rear end is blessed to whip out for some ad-lib donuts.
How Abundant Does the Colorado ZR2 Bison Cost?
Really, the alone absolute banned on the Bison is the ample $48,045 amount tag ($49,645 for the aggregation cab), admitting as we’ve said before, that’s a about arrangement back you accede how abundant it would amount you to accouterments a aboriginal barter with agnate modifications, and all that componentry you band to your old barter doesn’t accept a branch assurance abetment it up back you aback ram that rear bonanza into a ache tree. That’s not so bad, because the Bison is the baron of the mid-sized trucks back it comes to off-road prowess—at atomic until the Ford Ranger Raptor comes forth in the abutting few years.
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