2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Preview May 31, 2017 by Jet (Driver Weekly)

The Chevrolet Colorado is already a well-rounded midsize pickup, but the new 2017 Colorado ZR2 is designed to take it to the next level. This model should be the tougher and more stylish version of the existing Colorado. The ZR2 is designed to go off-road with confidence, and since it is based on test drives by automotive authorities, it does not disappoint. Compared to the Z71 4x4, the ZR2 costs $6,930 more, meaning its base price is $40,995. Based on what we’ve seen already, however, this price point is well worth it.

Enhancing the Colorado

Chevrolet

The 2017 Colorado ZR2 sits a full two inches taller than the Colorado Z71, something that assists with off-roading and clearing obstacles. The larger tires that measure 31 inches also make a difference. The long list of enhancements continues with a new suspension in front complete with longer cast-iron control arms, longer shocks, and taller springs, all of which combine to improve travel. The rear leaf springs have also been revised so they match the front suspension’s height, and the frame sees adjustments to accommodate the upgrades, including reinforced damper anchor points.

Off-Road Specific Upgrades

Chevrolet

In addition to all the updates to the suspension, ride height, and tires, Chevrolet also adjusted the Colorado ZR2 in other ways for off-roading. There are two skid plates, with one covering the transfer case and the other going between the rear portion of the oil pan and the radiator. Both the front and rear have electronically-controlled locking differentials as well. Keep in mind, however, that you can only lock the front one while the two-speed transfer case is in low range. To absorb any impact that comes your way, the dampers have a spool-valve design, which improves the versatility of response to impact and is expensive to produce. These dampers are even cast with small “ZR2” branding.

Stylistic Updates

Chevrolet

We like the look of the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, which takes the regular styling of the Colorado and adds a more muscular hood, new bumpers in both the front and rear, and a slight increase in width to the plastic trim surrounding the wheel wells. We feel that this is an ideal method for subtly highlighting the attractive design of the Colorado while setting the ZR2 apart from the crowd and emphasizing off-road performance.

A Familiar Powertrain

Chevrolet

Perhaps our only complaint about the Colorado ZR2 is that it doesn’t get enough additional power. You can’t choose the 4-cylinder found on the regular Colorado, but we doubt anyone would anyway. The gas V6 has the same 308 horsepower and torque of 275 pound-feet as the other Colorado models. We do appreciate, however, that the available turbodiesel 4-cylinder has a little extra torque in the ZR2 with 186 horses and 369 pound-feet. At the very least, Off-Road Modes include Desert, Mud, and Mountains to get the most out of your engine. On any terrain, we can’t wait to get behind the wheel of this pickup and see how it handles for ourselves.

 

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