by: Mike Ginsca,
The Chevrolet Colorado is an appealing pickup truck because if you don’t need the size of a normal 1500 to haul things and still want a decent fuel economy figure, mid-size trucks fit the bill. These particular Colorados though are a bit different than all the others.
disclaimer: I did not have a lot of time with these vehicles so this is not a full detailed review.
Starting with what’s under the hood, you get 2 choices; a 2.8L turbo-diesel inline-4 or a 3.6L gas V6. The green Colorado has the Duramax diesel and the black ZR2 has the gas engine. The diesel engine puts out 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque and the gas V6 puts out 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. Between the two, the gas V6 feels more punchy off the line than the diesel and it’s the same story when overtaking on a highway. I’m not saying that the diesel engine is a slouch but the V6 reacts much more quickly to driver inputs than the diesel. In terms of fuel economy, the diesel has the gas beat with a rating of 11.7 L/100km combined vs 13.8 L/100km combined for the gas. The regular Colorados can tow 7,000 and 7,700 lbs with the gas and diesel engines respectively but because of the special suspension in the ZR2, the maximum towing rating is limited to just 5,000 lbs.
Speaking of suspension, that’s what sets the ZR2 apart from all other mid-size trucks. It uses Multimatic DSSV (Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve) shocks that were originally designed for race cars and supercars. These shocks have 3 different valves; off-road bump, off-road rebound, and on-road operating range. I did not get a chance to take it off-road but on the road, where most trucks spend their time anyways, it is smooth and comfortable. The special shocks do not make the truck feel too bouncy like how many other trucks feel when they’re empty. It absorbs bumps and potholes like as though it’s a normal sedan. It also handles pretty decently, granted the Goodyear Duratrac tires don’t provide much on-road grip, but the suspension copes very well when taking corners quickly.
The interior of the Chevy Colorado ZR2 is not what you’d call luxurious. Sure it has fabulously comfortable leather seats and some leather on the armrest but it’s a utilitarian feeling interior. However, the plus with having a simple interior is that the controls for the radio, climate, off-road functions, etc. are where you’d expect them to be and very easy to use. You just get the feeling that after 10 or more years of abuse, they’ll still work flawlessly.
Both of these trucks are in the crew cab short box configuration. With the ZR2 the only other configuration is extended cab long box. Front occupants have a lot of leg and headroom while rear occupants have a good amount of headroom. Leg room though depends on who sits in the front seats. If a taller person is in the front, rear leg room is tight but vice versa if a shorter person in in the front.
Odds and Ends
This being an off-road capable pickup from the factory, Chevrolet gave it the looks and features to match. The front and rear bumpers have been redesigned to allow for greater approach and departure angles. Skid plates have been added to protect vital components underneath the truck and those side rails are there to protect the body from rocks when going over a crest. The ZR2 also comes with electronic locking rear and front differentials for better off-road performance.
In all, driving on the road is not what this truck was built for. Unfortunately like I said earlier, I didn’t get a chance to do so. Perhaps in the future. But on the road it is a remarkable driving pickup truck. I can only imagine how good it must be off the beaten path. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to do that.
Thank you to the owner of the green Colorado ZR2 for providing the vehicle.
Thank you to Eagle Ridge GM for providing the black Colorado ZR2. www.EagleRidgeGM.com
Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.