Car Life Nation

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A blue 2024 Chevy Silverado 1500 ZR2 is shown parked off-road after visiting a Chevy dealer.

Which ZR2 Is It Gonna Be?

Chevy’s ZR2 trim is bestowed on vehicles that are at the top of their off-roading game. We are lucky enough to live in a world in which there is not just a single vehicle wearing the ZR2 name badge. Instead, we have an entire ZR2 family of performance vehicles to consider. No longer must we sacrifice on-road performance for strong off-road capability.

Visiting a Chevy dealer will reveal all of the ZR2 options available to you, but we’d like to highlight them without the need for a showroom. In Chevy’s lineup, the ZR2 trim can be had on both the midsize Colorado and the full-size Silverado, which includes the Silverado 1500, 2500, and 3500 models. That means that you don’t have to compromise your preferred dimensions to take advantage of the many helpful off-road features provided by Chevy’s ZR2 package.

Chevy has purposefully designed all of its ZR2 models to have features that make it possible to take your Colorado or Silverado out to the furthest reaches of the trail. Still, drivers will have a preference for the right sized truck for their life and driving style, so let’s take a look at some of the differences between Chevy’s two ZR2 pickup trucks…

The Right Truck for the Job

When it comes to pickup trucks, size really does matter. The basic laws of physics prevent us from being able to use a midsize truck when a full-size truck is required.

The Chevy Colorado is by no means a weak truck; measuring 212 inches in length, the Colorado ZR2 has a payload maximum of 1,280 lbs, while trailering maxes out at 6,000 lbs. Front and rear ground clearance top out on this ZR2 model at a comfortable 10.73 inches.

While this is a reasonable amount of muscle for many drivers, there are those who need more. The Silverado 1500 ZR2 is bigger in general, coming in at 232.75 in length, and it can accordingly handle a larger load. Specifically, this ZR2 model can handle payloads up to 1,440 lbs and tow up to 8,900 lbs. Ground clearance in the Silverado ZR2 is a satisfying 11.22 inches in the front and rear.

Looking for even more? Though we’ll focus on the Silverado 1500 ZR2 here, the new-for-2024 Silverado 2500 HD ZR2 is an option for heavy-duty drivers. It can transport a payload of up to 3,397 lbs when the gasoline engine option is chosen, or it can pull a trailer load of up to 18,500 lbs when the Duramax Turbo-Diesel engine option is selected.

A gray 2024 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD ZR2 is shown towing a trailer off-road.

Speaking of Engines…

The Colorado and the Silverado 1500 may both be Chevy pickup trucks, but they have entirely different personalities, right down to their engines.

The Colorado ZR2 includes a 310-hp TurboMax engine that’s also good for 430 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission across the Colorado lineup, but a significant extra is added to the ZR2 model: the Autotrac two-speed transfer case provides drivers with four different modes that can be accessed at the push of a button. Auto mode keeps the Colorado in two-wheel drive until slippage is detected by sensors, while 2WD High mode is just right for most driving conditions on the pavement; alternatively, 4WD Low is ideal for deep mud or snow and sandy trails, while 4WD High provides better traction on slick pavement.

Under the Silverado 1500’s hood is a choice between a 3.0L Duramax Turbo-Diesel engine and an available 6.2L V8. The diesel option is a beast that provides 305 hp and 495 lb-ft of torque, while the V8 has a quicker step thanks to its 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission.

Silverado 1500 ZR2 models also include a two-speed Autotrac transfer case, which offers the same modes as the Colorado, adding a “Neutral” setting that’s specifically to be used while trailering.

ZR2 Special Equipment

Both the 2024 Colorado and Silverado 1500 ZR2 models come directly from the factory with all the right equipment to take them to the dunes. Many of these features and available options overlap between the two vehicles, but there are a few notable differences.

Standard equipment on the Colorado ZR2 includes driver-selectable full-locking front and rear differentials, along with rocker protectors and red recovery hooks to assist in off-road duty.

Silverado 1500 ZR2 drivers are treated to a standard set of skid plates to protect the front underbody, the oil pan, the transfer case, and the differential case. This Silverado also includes a set of driver-selectable full-locking front and rear differential and a dual-outlet exhaust to keep things cool in all sorts of situations.

The Silverado 1500 also includes the ZR2 Suspension Package as standard equipment, which adds Multimatic DSSV dampers and provides a high-performance, extra-lifted suspension for tackling more significant trail obstacles.

A blue 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is shown parked on sand.

Hardcore Off-Roading

When it comes to available options that make your pickup truck even more off-road capable, the Colorado and Silverado 1500 ZR2 models offer many similar items, such as AEV stamped steel and hot-stamped Boron steel skid plate and bumper options and removable off-road assist steps. Still, there are a few truck-specific features worth mentioning.

The Colorado trim can be outfitted with an off-road recovery kit and extra winch and hook options, Multimatic Jounce Control dampers, or a sports bar. Colorado ZR2 drivers can also access an exclusive ZR2 Convenience Package, which adds luxury touches like leather-appointed seating, ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel with driver memory settings.

Silverado 1500 drivers who select the ZR2 trim can add red, black, or gold decorative rings for beadlock capable wheels, custom AEV interior all-weather floor mats, and Chevy’s Multi-Flex tailgate, which can be set in six different positions to optimize space and usability.

Drivers of either truck can select the ZR2 Bison upgrade package, which adds AEV accessories both inside and out, along with exclusive badging and exterior features.

Choosing Your ZR2

For some drivers, the choice between the 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 and the Silverado 1500 ZR2 may be pretty simple; if you have a specific payload or trailering requirement, size preference, or are partial to a specific engine option, the process may be uncomplicated. However, if your focus is more on off-road performance, with cargo stowing and towing duties as a secondary benefit, then the decision may not be as straightforward.

Both trucks are specifically designed and manufactured to tackle the wildest terrain. Whether you drive through deep mud and sand every day or appreciate the extra stability on the way to work, both Chevy ZR2 badged pickup trucks are solid, stable, and powerful options.

For many drivers, the decision may come down to a particular available feature. It may also be a good idea to drop by a Chevy dealership to check out how each truck feels when you’re driving it. Granted, you won’t be able to take the truck to the dunes for a gnarly test drive, but you should be able to get an idea of how well you and your new ZR2 are going to get along.

Sometimes, you just know a great truck when you see it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *