Can the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Conquer the Big City?

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By Brian Normile

We've taken multiple in-depth looks at the new 2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 — off-road, head-to-head with the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, and even as a daily driver. When we were given the chance to drive one here in Chicago — home of Cars.com — we leapt at the opportunity.

Chicago isn't exactly a friendly place for pickup trucks: Not only are the laws regarding trucks restrictive, but the streets can be narrow and the best parking options are often parallel parking on the street or using a parking garage. Those latter two situations can be nonissues of course, but not every available parallel parking spot is big enough for a pickup, and not every garage provides enough clearance or parking spot width.

How did the Colorado ZR2 fare in the Windy City? Remarkably well, thankfully. The off-road suspension ate up potholes without issue and even required some mental reminders to slow down for speed bumps — that's what they're there for, after all — even if the ZR2 would be perfectly happy launching itself over them as if it were an obstacle at an off-road park.

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Thanks to the Colorado's overall length, parking didn't cause any real headaches, either. It's still shorter than just about any Silverado 1500, and narrower, as well. While the ZR2 we tested in Chicago came with a standard backup camera, it did lack front or rear parking sensors that we like. These may not be necessary in the world of parking lots, garages and driveways, but in the city, they're especially helpful if you don't want to end up in a stranger's YouTube video.

Our test unit was an extended-cab version with the longer 74-inch bed, which provided more than adequate utility for smaller loads — especially when you don't opt for the optional bed-mounted spare tire. The increased load-in height (thanks to the lifted suspension) made it a bit harder to get things into the bed, but that seems like a worthwhile trade-off in our view. (However, it did seem strange that a new extended-cab pickup still offers rear doors that only open 90 degrees.) Finally, in true PickupTrucks.com fashion, one test load outing included 40-pound bags of water-softener salt and a fair amount of flashbacks to earlier truck Challenges. The ZR2 took it all in stride.

Overall, the ZR2 is competent as both a highway daily driver and as a city vehicle. With a price that can push $50,000, that's great news for those who want an off-roader without having to purchase a second vehicle.

Cars.com photos by Christian Lantry

 

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Comments

This looks really good in white, Reminds me of a full size Chevy luv, good stance, Take on Chicago!

Its smaller. Its better for the city, and its better for the trails. Duh.

Sorry but I can't get excited much about its looks. And don't even ask me about the price!

Good points?

1. Midsize pickups still offer most buyers a choice of manual or auto trans (except Honda)
2. The 2nd gen GM pickups are a huge step up from the prior generation
3. Excellent payload and towing for such a modest sized vehicle

Bad points?

1. too expensive
2. cabin is too short--interior headroom limits this choice to people under 6 ft 2in.
3. not a sexy profile. For all the time GM spent with these trucks in development they surely could have done better
4. no truck engine offered. no V8, the passenger-car 6 cylinder and the passenger car 4 cylinder are not as well suited to the job. The diesel option is pricey but ends up being the most truck-like engine of the bunch.

Trucks were way more cool when they were still on the farm.

Nice looking truck! Performs like it should on and off road unlike the Raptor. Even though I do think the Raptor is nice looking and needs to have a V8!
This thing needs the 4.3L so badly! The 3.6L is a very good motor but its more of a car/crossover motor. I had it in my 15 Acadia and really liked it but a 4.3 with lower grunt when going up and down hills on interstate would have helped and I think this truck would greatly benefit from that also.

Why not, GM has conquered the mall parking lots.

Its not a far superior F series for sure. White is too girlish, need to get rid of the square wheel wells. Looks like a truck my teen daughter would like, thats about it.

@papa jim--I don't believe anyone is forcing you to buy this truck nor has anyone asked for your opinion.

This is one good looking truck! Just not enough towing capicity or rear interior room for my family. I will wait for a 19 or 20 Silverado/GMC. Hey maybe a Ram.?

Why not, GM has conquered the mall parking lots.
Posted by: Chevy Blows Chunks | Sep 22, 2017 2:29:55 PM

There goes GM, steal Fords ideas again. The Raptors have owned the mall lots for years now.

I have a 16 canyon diesel the best truck I have ever owned I also pull a 28' toy hauler

The Colorado is not that big, its narrower then some full size cars. It's would be easy to drive in the city.

Great looking pickup with good capabilities...but - price price price!

Yawn, must be a real slow day at PUTC to come up with any relevant truck news;
I mean, of course any mid-sizer will fit perfectly in any city much more than a full size, even if it has 6" lift & running 35s...

These ZR2's are selling really well. I have seen several of these out in the wild. They look good. I know some has commented that the front bumper looks a little weird, but that just isn't the case when you see it for real.

These ZR2's are selling really well. I have seen several of these out in the wild. They look good. I know some has commented that the front bumper looks a little weird, but that just isn't the case when you see it for real.

Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Sep 22, 2017 9:16:56 PM

I agree, staring to see some around here. They are really nice trucks. I like white with dark tinted windows.

Proving once again this website is a liberal site that reports fake news and often biased news, like the Colorado can do no wrong, etc....

Chicago = Illinois = blue state = bankrupt = a failed state!

No wonder they would write an article about the GM Colorado in a failed city and state, just like GM not too long ago, a failed company and the Colorado, a failed nameplate that was cut from production!

My Tacoma has conquered Chicago with ease, thank you very much!

My 2010 4x4 was a breeze to drive around town, solid fuel economy with the 5-speed manual, backup camera to park, 32" tires handled the liberal bad roads with ease, all around my Tacoma has conquered Chicago many times the last few years!

Note: My Tacoma did it with a price tag at only $25,000!!!!!!!!!

cook county sucks all around, but atleast it's not Indiana. But really a full size isn't all that difficult to use downtown so wtf.

.....need to get rid of the square wheel wells. Looks like a truck my teen daughter would like, thats about it.


Posted by: Nitro | Sep 22, 2017 2:36:19 PM

Are you saying your daughter is a square. That's just night right. Anyway, square or not, I bet she loves here mom's Camaro.

I loathe Chicago. Agreed, Illinois is a failed state with failed politics. It's only a matter of time before they go bankrupt!

Chicago is a nice town minus the politics. Midwestern values without the New York attitudes. Lots of things to do from the Lake and downtown and you have WI at your doorstep for weekend trips to the lake.

Wisconsin hates F.I.B's. They even gave us that great acronym.

These ZR2's are selling just so, so. I have seen several of these in mall parking lots. They look awful!! I know some has commented that the front bumper looks totally weird, and it is so, so true, brace yourself when you see it!

These ZR2's are selling just so, so. I have seen several of these in mall parking lots. They look awful!! I know some has commented that the front bumper looks totally weird, and it is so, so true, brace yourself when you see it!

Posted by: Chevy Blows Chunks | Sep 23, 2017 1:39:47 PM

So you have seen them too. That's great that they are selling well. The hood looks awesome. The square well wheel openings along with the redesigned front bumper really make this truck look tough. Probably helps explain why they are selling well.

This truck btw beat the Raptor in a comparison test!! Well done GM!! Way to put ford in there place!
Dodge won whole thing!


https://www.google.com/amp/www.motortrend.com/cars/ram/2500/2017/chevrolet-colorado-zr2-vs-ford-f-150-raptor-vs-ram-2500-power-wagon/amp/

I agree, I saw one at the grocery store today and it looked badass with a good stance.

The Raptor is for men with small private parts LOL

For Chicago? Might want to make the windshield bullet proof.

Being overweight or obese increases your chances of dying from hypertension, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, dyslipidemia and endometrial, breast, prostate, and colon cancers. In-depth guides and practical advice about obesity are available from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health .

What does being over weight and obese have to do with this article. Being proactive in your health is always a good thing but it does not relate to trucks.

FYI: the 3.6 in this truck was designed for the 2017 Colorado/Canyon. Not the same motor that was in the 2015-16 Colorado/Canyon Arcadia/Camaro etc...

My ZR2, in Deep Woods Green, is night and day better then my 2011 Canyon. The wife loves to drive it.

oxi, I am sure your Taco conquered Chicago just fine(I had one) but this truck rides and corners so much better then yours. Unless you have driven one, you cannot argue that point.

As for the guys who wants manual transmissions, I do not know one farmer who still uses a manual in their trucks or any one who tows, they are so old school anymore. I'm old but with the times...

Jink junk junk and more junk. The thing is not nearly close to the big Boss THE RAPTOR and just because GARBAGE MOTORS doesn't offer something similar to the raptor. That's why the GARBAGE MOTORS FAN GIRLYS have to agree with all the comparison hahaha hahaha keep dreaming girls keep dreaming hahaha hahaha hahaha.

As for the guys who wants manual transmissions, I do not know one farmer who still uses a manual in their trucks Posted by: Dave | Sep 24, 2017

@Dave

It depends. Guys like me and Jeff S buy and hold their trucks. I think nothing of owning a truck for 10 years because I maintain my equipment, unlike many folks I know. A durable vehicle like the average truck will outlive its automatic transmission but will not likely outlive its gearbox.

Most manual trans will suffer loss of the clutch at some point but they can be replaced without a lot of hassle. I can do one in an afternoon, certainly over the weekend. An auto trans does not offer that kind of user-friendly option. I would not touch an auto trans.

@papa jim--Going on 19 years on the S-10 with a 5 speed manual. It has been a great truck. The only full size truck that I can think of with a manual is the heavy duty Ram. I know someone with an older HD Ram with a manual--great truck.

Another overdramatic article by fakenews.pickuptrucks.com. Can the ZR2 conquer the city of Chicago? For f### sake it's Chicago in 2017, not Berlin in 1945. Get over yourself and ride the waambulance instead to downtown Chiraq.

"Looks like a truck my teen daughter would like, thats about it..."
Posted by: Nitro | Sep 22, 2017 2:36:19 PM

Your teen daughter likes more than that Nitro ;)

Lol Ford does this to reduce inventory from 81 days to 77 days, while Toyota keeps it at what, 30 days?

Glad the ZR2 can conquer the same streets that a Camry can... Very news worthy

GREAT Article on Colorado. I know its not the ZR2, but it makes a statement that Ford has a tough climb ahead of them.

http://www.motortrend.com/cars/chevrolet/colorado/2016/2016-chevrolet-colorado-z71-4x4-duramax-long-term-verdict/

BTW..all the Ford fanboys read the last paragraph!!!

Thanks for the article TNT.

Can it handle Chicago? That is seriously stupid. Other than is it bulletproof what else should you need to know. Any new truck can handle driving in the city.

"Bad points?

1. too expensive
2. cabin is too short--interior headroom limits this choice to people under 6 ft 2in.
3. not a sexy profile. For all the time GM spent with these trucks in development they surely could have done better
4. no truck engine offered. no V8, the passenger-car 6 cylinder and the passenger car 4 cylinder are not as well suited to the job. The diesel option is pricey but ends up being the most truck-like engine of the bunch."

1. Too expensive? Shop around and compare price and negotiate the price. If you pay MSRP you're an idiot. Also, if you don't need 4 wheel drive you can get the diesel in LT trim.
2. It's obvious you haven't sat in the Chevy Colorado. I've had tall people in mine and there aren't headroom issues.
3. That's just personal preference. I like the way my Chevy Colorado diesel looks.
4. The diesel option isn't pricey because it's not just the price of the engine. There are other options included with the diesel engine such as tow/haul mode, exhaust brake, etc. Again, negotiate the price.



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