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A variant Chevy Silverado 1500 for sale, a white 2023 Chevy Silverado ZR2 Bison, is shown parked off-road in a forest.

When Adventure Calls, Chevy Answers With the Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison

It’s an incredible time to drive a truck, with every revered truckmaker touting more potent and capable models that don’t simply meet our everyday demands but also exceed our expectations for adventure, luxury, and innovation. Trucks like the Chevy Silverado 1500 for sale are undoubtedly among these models—particularly the ZR2 Bison.

As Chevrolet’s most capable adventurer, the Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison is just as comfortable off the pavement as it is on. Most notably, it showcases Chevrolet’s efforts to constantly raise the bar and satiate our need for more—more potency, more strength, more capability, and obviously more adventure.

A Match Made in Heaven: AEV & Chevy

Off-road-ready trucks are plentiful today, thanks in part to Chevrolet’s ongoing advancements in the industry to respond to our ever-evolving needs and desires. We want trucks that are competent weekday warriors and can handle our commutes and the demands of our everyday lives. But we also want trucks that share our passion for adventure on the weekend and can keep up with every outing, from projects around the house to tailgate parties and weekends in the woods. Chevrolet is one of the most revered automakers for not only recognizing these needs but also delivering with its ZR2 models.

Chevrolet dipped its toes into the off-road realm in 2014, debuting the Colorado ZR2 concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show to widespread acclaim. As a midsize truck, the Colorado has an outstanding footprint that makes it incredibly agile and easy to maneuver on technical terrain. Chevrolet took that agility further with the ZR2, equipping this truck with trail-ready equipment that instills confidence in our ongoing pursuit of adventure. It’s what we like to call the “ZR2 treatment.”

While the ZR2 treatment makes trucks like the Colorado and Silverado more competent on the trail, that isn’t enough for America’s beloved automaker. Chevrolet wants more from its lineup and delivers by partnering with American Expedition Vehicles.

This partnership began in 2020 when Chevrolet joined forces to design the Colorado ZR2 Bison Edition as the most capable midsize truck in Chevy’s history. AEV happily obliged, outfitting the Bison with an exclusive front and rear bumper, underbody skid plates, and AEV badging to complement the truck’s other off-road-oriented details. Suddenly, off-roaders had the best of both worlds—the incredible reputation of an American automotive pioneer and one of the highest-acclaimed names in the four-wheel-drive department.

The brown interior of a 2023 Chevy Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison is shown.

Taking the Silverado Deeper Into the Rough

The success of the Colorado ZR2 set the stage for the Silverado 1500 ZR2, with a skyrocketing demand for the ZR2 Bison prompting Chevrolet to partner with AEV yet again in 2022. This time, the full-size Silverado 1500 became the muse, with the automotive partners determined to design the most capable full-size truck in Chevy’s history.

It turns out the partners engineered a powerhouse with the dogged determination of a mechanical bull, so the Bison name is undeniably appropriate. The Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison never falters and is always ready for more.

The Bison’s Grit

The Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison rolls off the factory floor with cutting-edge tech and components that put the competition to shame. For starters, Chevrolet equips this truck with its race-inspired Multimatic 40-millimeter DSSV spool-valve dampers. But what’s the big deal? Well, this setup features three separate spool valves and three connected chambers for optimal damping as the truck’s specifically tuned springs work behind the scenes to push the front and rear suspension to its maximum. The result is exceptional handling and ride quality, with the Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison never flinching or showing its cards even when the terrain is grueling.

The ZR2 Bison’s Multimatic dampers automatically differentiate this truck, but its grit as a go-anywhere adventurer extends further to other ZR2 standard components like the front and rear e-lockers and an off-road chassis and suspension precisely calibrated for extreme conditions. Even its heartbeat is exceptional, with Chevrolet outfitting the Bison with a 6.2L V8 and a ten-speed Allison transmission to deliver 420 hp and gobs of low-end torque to the tune of 460 lb-ft. The addition of the Bison’s Terrain mode gives you more control over this output, instilling confidence and opening the truck to new possibilities, like one-pedal rock crawling.

The Bison’s AEV Imprint

The Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison showcases the ZR2 treatment with its Multimatic dampers, locking differentials, and specifically-tuned off-road chassis and suspension. These are all Chevy-related components, so where does that leave AEV’s imprint? Well, you’ll see the AEV impact where it matters most…

AEV outfits the Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison with new front and rear bumpers that are legions beyond the standard ZR2 models. AEV uses a three-millimeter thick stamped steel that is powder- and e-coated for heightened strength and durability, integrating heavy-duty recovery points and step pads into the design. These unique design details ready the Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison for recovery provisions, such as must-haves like a winch. Because of this, AEV ensures you don’t have to worry about an aftermarket bumper upgrade, making the Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison ready for extreme conditions straight off the factory floor.

This readiness is also apparent in the Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison’s underbody, which boasts another significant improvement from AEV. As a leading manufacturer in the four-wheel-drive market, AEV recognizes the extreme conditions and demands we put on our trucks when we venture off the pavement. These conditions make a truck’s undercarriage more vulnerable, which can mitigate our confidence and our fun in the driver’s seat and create a gaping hole in our wallet as we tackle repairs.

AEV acknowledges this reality and finds a solution, adding five hot-stamped boron steel skid plates to the Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison’s underbody. Made from press-hardened steel, the AEV skid plates are over three times stronger than rival skid plates and provide exceptional protection for the fuel tank, transfer case, and front and rear differentials.

The Complete Package

Between Chevrolet’s ZR2 treatment and AEV’s additions—including exclusive 18-inch wheels with 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires and steel rocker panel protection—the Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison is ready for anything. Chevrolet has designed yet another incredible adventurer worthy of every inkling of praise. Many even argue it’s worth the high sticker price (north of $78,000), especially considering it rolls off Chevrolet’s production line without needing any upgrades or modifications before it can tackle the trail.

Of course, the vital stats—those essential off-road angles—don’t lie, and they paint a clearer picture of what you can expect as you venture beyond the pavement. With its ZR2 and AEV components, the Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison has a total ground clearance of 11.2 inches, making it more than capable of navigating water crossings, crawling over rocks, and surmounting other obstacles. Its approach angle is 32.5 degrees—an improvement over the Silverado’s standard 31.8 degrees—and its departure angle measures 23.4 degrees.

A white 2023 Chevy Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison is shown from behind while driving off-road in a forest.

The Verdict

Years ago, it was hard to fathom that a full-size truck would have a place on the trail among revered off-roaders like the Tacoma, 4Runner, Wrangler, and Cherokee. However, Chevrolet is changing that and is asking us to shift our perspective. The Silverado 1500 is no longer just a weekday warrior destined for a life on the pavement or flattened earth. Instead, trucks like the Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison prove that this nameplate has the heart of an adventurer, capable of blazing trails, fording water, and crawling over rocks and countless other obstacles.

So, what’s the verdict on the Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison? Well, even with its higher price tag, this beastly variant of the best-selling Silverado certainly deserves attention because it showcases Chevrolet’s keen awareness of our insatiable need for more and its willingness to give us exactly what we want. Add in the partnership with an industry-leading brand like AEV, and the ZR2 Bison is a stand-out—with or without mud on its tires.

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