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

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

A red 2022 Chevy Silverado 1500 ZR2 is shown from the front while driving off-road after leaving a Chevy Silverado 1500 dealer.

Who’s Ready to Go Off-Roading in a Chevy Silverado 1500?

Overlanding fans have taken their Chevy trucks off the beaten path since the early 20th century, but never before has a Chevy truck been more ready for the task. In the beginning, the Chevy Silverado 1500 required a little work to stand up to the rigors of trails. At a minimum, drivers would consider adding tires that could conquer mud, while others invested in lift kits, hydraulics, and snorkels. Today, it seems like Chevy is taking every possible opportunity to provide drivers with a truck that’s ready to go anywhere the minute it comes off the assembly line. As a result, you’re likely to see more and more off-roading trucks at dealerships like your local Chevy Silverado 1500 dealer.

While the snorkel still isn’t a reality, Chevy has made more than an earnest attempt at making the Silverado 1500 your next go-to truck for off-road adventure. From trucks that offer a few suitable options for off-roading to fully dedicated off-road trims, Chevy ensures that no driver is excluded from the features that make driving in mud, snow, and sand exciting rather than terrifying. With several models in various stages of preparation for the rigors of the trail and more on the way, it may be time to consider the Silverado a serious contender in the off-road truck battle previously dominated by Ford and Ram. Let’s take a closer look and see why.

So, Which Chevy Silverado 1500 Models Are Good for Off-Roading?

Long-time pickup truck drivers know that there are various stages of off-roading one might encounter in a half-ton truck. Some drivers never drive in anything more challenging than a gravel driveway or occasional mud puddle, while others have dreams of competing in the Baja 1000. There are plenty of stages in between, too, from the rain-drenched or snow-covered worksite to the weekend trail driver. Therefore, Chevy knew they couldn’t produce a “one-and-done” off-road truck.

The first option is to choose the trim that best suits your needs, then add the optional Z71 Off-Road Package. Available on all-wheel drive trims, this package adds a specialized suspension system courtesy of twin tube Rancho shocks, locking differential, hill descent control, skid plates, and some cool visual goodies, such as badging and special bright silver painted aluminum wheels. This is ideal for folks who can benefit from extra traction and protection on rough roads.

The next option is for drivers who are a little more invested in hitting the trails with greater frequency and intensity. The Custom Trail Boss and LT Trail Boss include standard all-wheel drive, as well as the Z71 suspension with a 2-inch lift. 18-inch high-gloss black-painted wheels are mounted with Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac mud terrain tires to help drivers maneuver through a variety of terrains and conditions. Recovery hooks round out the package, along with thoughtful touches like heated exterior mirrors, easy-to-clean rubberized vinyl floor mats in the Custom Trail Boss, and an all-weather interior in the LT Trail Boss.

A red 2022 Chevy Silverado 1500 ZR2 is shown from the side while off-road.

Top-Level Trail Driving

For those who are left whispering, “But I want more,” Chevy finally has an answer. The 2022 Silverado ZR2 is the first of its kind, and it’s ready to take the action far, far beyond the pavement. There are many ways in which Chevy has specifically engineered the ZR2 trim to accomplish its amazing feats. First, there’s the standard engine: the famous 6.2L EcoTec3 V8. Under the hood of the Silverado 1500 ZR2, this engine provides 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque.

However, a seasoned off-roader knows great power isn’t as helpful without great control. To ensure the best possible overland experience, the ZR2 is outfitted with a 10-speed automatic transmission that includes Electronic Transmission Range Selector, as well as a specialized two-speed transfer case with a Terrain mode that allows for one-pedal rock crawling. Front and rear e-locking differentials are also a part of the mechanical offerings.

The chassis and suspension are specifically tuned to the ZR2, with the addition of Multimatic DSSV dampers to the Silverado lineup. 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory mud terrain tires, LED tracer headlamps, recovery hooks, and skid plates are on board, as well. To many drivers’ delight, the front bumper has been cut and styled to allow for an increased 31-degree approach angle. The ZR2 has a few visual pops that add cool points, too. This includes black chrome exterior accents, a trim-specific interior with yellow accent stitching, and a raised hood that gives it a surlier appearance than its peers.

The Best Is Yet to Come

To make things even more exciting, Chevy has announced that the 2023 Silverado 1500 lineup will be joined by a very special off-road edition. The Bison ZR2 is expected to start production in early 2023, making it a late addition to the lineup, though already highly coveted.

It may be difficult to imagine the ZR2 Silverado being more prepared for the backwoods, short of adding its own water source and a few 007-inspired goodies like snorkels and trail-blazing wheel blades. However, Chevrolet has collaborated with American Expedition Vehicles to create the ZR2 Bison, the next level for Silverado 1500 off-roading. As Chevy’s vice president Scott Bell put it in an August 2022 press release, “The 2023 Silverado ZR2 Bison unlocks the pinnacle of the nameplate’s off-road capability,” and we agree.

So what are the differences? Some are hard to catch with the untrained eye, such as the increased front approach and departure angles or the ZR2 Bison-specific stronger steel built into the bumper and underbody, areas that need the most protection when things get literally “rocky.” However, drivers will appreciate the integrated heavy-duty recovery points, hot-stamped boron steel skid plates on the differentials, transfer case, fuel tank, and integrated vertical front tow hooks when the time comes to use them for their intended purpose.

The 2023 ZR2 Bison will also include the standard ZR2 equipment, such as the suspension that has been exquisitely tuned in both front and rear for maximum suspension travel, one-pedal rock crawling potential, and three separate spool valves. It’s just a little more fine-tuned to take on really hard terrain, or at least a really hard trail, with its improved body and protective plate strength.

A blue 2022 Chevy Silverado ZR2 is shown from the front at an angle.

Ready to Venture off the Pavement?

Year after year, Chevy continues to go above and beyond to offer new and exciting features to the Silverado lineup. Chevy trucks can handle whatever is thrown in their way. Drivers have praised Chevy trucks for years, thanks to their durability and capability, as well as how easy Chevy makes it for drivers to customize their trucks to meet their exacting demands.

With drivers spending more and more time on the road or at the job site, it’s not a bad idea to invest in your ideal truck. Those whose ideals include plenty of mud, rocks, sand, and water, your time has finally come. With several options for drivers to choose from, the Chevy Silverado can be outfitted to handle the odd wild ride or indulge in full-out off-road mayhem. If the wilderness is calling your name, the Silverado 1500 is the best way to answer.

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