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A close up shows the ZR2 badge on a 2023 Chevy Silverado 1500 ZR2.

The 2023 Chevy Silverado ZR2 Is Coming to Dominate the Off-Road Market

Since its original release in 1999, the Chevy Silverado has seen quite the evolution. Chevy didn’t exactly know what they had their hands on, but it was clearly a gem, as buyers were flocking to experience it for themselves. Over the years, it’s gone through many changes, from exterior aesthetic modifications to interior cabin upgrades to innovative infotainment and technology advancements. It’s transformed from being a car mostly marketed to those needing a workhorse to being a truck marketed as something that can be equally great for both work and family life. It’s always been clear that Americans have loved the spirit of the Silverado, which is why a little over 500,000 people in 2021 looked up and found a local Chevy Silverado for sale and made a purchase.

In recent years, Chevrolet has been fine-tuning its Silverado lineup and had a new driver in mind: the off-road enthusiast. They previously offered their Silverado Trail Boss for this particular demographic, and it certainly had perks that made it ready for rougher roads, but Chevrolet eventually leaned in even harder to this theme, releasing the aggressive ZR2 in 2022. It was an instant hit, boasting unprecedented off-roading capabilities and features like a cut front bumper and steel skid plates. Now, the 2023 lineup has some surprises in store, as well as some beloved features left over from the 2022 model. Let’s take a deeper look into this off-road-ready Silverado model.

First, It’s Going to Be Rare

According to some sources, the 2023 Chevy Silverado ZR2 will be produced in very low numbers. It’s unclear exactly why that is, and it is reportedly not due to supplier issues. However, if you are interested in this truck, you might want to consider pre-ordering yours with your local dealer, as it might be hard to get your hands on once it’s already out, as there’s been a great deal of anticipation around this truck. Once off-road enthusiasts experienced its unparalleled capabilities and told their friends, there was no turning back on the hype here.

A popular Chevy Silverado for sale, a blue 2022 Chevy Silverado 1500 ZR2, is shown on a trail.

A Look at the Returning Features From 2022

There are some features that drivers loved about the 2022 ZR2 that are here to stay. These include 33-inch all-terrain wheels that are ready for anything. What’s also included are the off-road-appropriate front and rear Elockers. These allow the driver to deliver equal power to both wheels on the axle, improving traction and control in low-traction situations. However, because Chevy still wants their Silverado, even the ZR2, to appeal to a range of drivers, it can be easily switched back to the standard open differential for paved roads.

You’ll still get an 8,900-lb max towing capacity, so you’ll be able to tow a variety of recreational vehicles for that camping trip. You’re also capable of towing hefty construction equipment, like an industrial loader and other work site essentials. This means that whether you need excellent towing abilities for business or pleasure, the ZR2 has got you covered. The 2023 ZR2 also has a 1,440-pound max payload, so this truck is still at its essence, a tower and hauler, as we’ve come to expect Silverados to be.

The beloved 420-hp 6.2-liter V8 engine is here to stay as well. Pumping out 460 lb-ft of torque and boasting a 10-speed automatic transmission, you’ll never feel this truck struggling to keep up, as adjusting to different surfaces and conditions will be easy. Plus, with 11.2 inches of ground clearance, this truck is ready to roll over large objects without scratching its undercarriage. As a precaution, it does have some impressively large underbody aluminum skid plates to further protect the parts of the vehicle underneath. Add the off-road cut front bumper that allows for a better approach angle, and this truck is ready for just about anything.

As in the 2022 model, this 2023 ZR2 only comes in a four-door crew cab with a five-foot, ten-inch bed. It’s certainly rich with passenger space, so if off-roading is something you like to do with friends or family on the weekends, this truck is ready to comfortably transport everybody to the next adventure. However, those who need to use it more in a working capacity might prefer the six-foot and eight-foot bed sizes available in the other Silverado models.

The ZR2 still has a massive standard 13.4-inch touchscreen that is easy to use, has crisp graphics, and lets you see and access all of your favorite smartphone apps, thanks to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Those who want to stick to the vehicle’s tech can use the built-in Google assist, as well as the maps. Between these, you should have all the information you need to get to that obscure off-road trail your friends have been talking about.

So, What’s New?

So we see much of what we loved about the 2022 ZR2 in the 2023 offering. But, what’s new? Surely Chevrolet shares drivers’ enthusiasm for this monster of a vehicle and wanted to bring something fresh to the table this year. Of course, they did.

The Bison Package

Chevy recently dropped information about this fun and exciting package that was created in collaboration with American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) and is designed to boost what are already some impressive off-roading capabilities of the ZR2. So what does this upgrade look like? First off, you’ll get even better approach and departure angles than what is found on the standard ZR2, which says a lot because those were already impressive.

You’ll also get steel rocker panel protection and five boron steel skid plates that guard essential components like the rear differential and the fuel tank. You’ll also instantly notice the three-piece steel front bumper with the black vertical front tow hooks, which are as functional as they are attractive. Also, on the aesthetic front, you’ll notice gloss black 18-inch AEV wheels equipped with 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires, exclusive to the Bison package.

A New Engine Option

Certain trims of the 2023 ZR2 will get the addition of the 3.0-liter Duramax. This was already a popular engine in the Chevy world, but for the ZR2, it will see an estimated horsepower of 305 and a max torque of 495 lb-ft, giving it unmatched power on the off-road trails.

A silver 2023 Chevy Silverado ZR2 Bison is shown from the side in the woods.

Don’t Get Left in the Dust

Chevy has drivers excited about the 2023 Silverado ZR2. They did such an impressive job with the 2022 offering that expectations were certainly high for the 2023 model year, and Chevy delivered. Just when we thought this truck’s off-roading capabilities couldn’t get any better, they added their Bison package, which will make some off-roaders feel truly limitless off the pavement. Now we’re also seeing the addition of a powerful new engine option. This is all a nod to the possibility that Chevy will expand on and perfect the ZR2 lineup through the ages, as it already has with past year’s Silverados. We look forward to seeing how the trims vary throughout the years because it seems like the ZR2 factory is Chevy’s new playground. So we anticipate a lot of creative surprises out of this truck.

As we stated before, these will be in high demand, and the supply might not match that demand. So if you are curious about the 2023 ZR2, consider reserving yours now. You don’t want next year’s off-roading season to come, and you’re left in the dust while other thrill-seekers are out there enjoying the ride of a lifetime in this great pickup.

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