Colorado ZR2 Concept Wows L.A. Auto Show

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It's been a long time since we've seen the ZR2 badge on a Chevrolet (we've even seen concept Silverado ZR2's at SEMA); in fact, the ZR2 debuted more than 20 years ago on the compact S-10 pickup truck as a stylized option package with bigger tires, extra skid plates and plenty of brightly colored stickers. Thankfully, this new Colorado ZR2 looks a bit more serious.

Debuting at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, the Colorado ZR2 Concept — we're told — is strictly here to gauge interest from showgoers. From what we've seen, it's a dedicated off-road package slotting in above the rather tame Z71 trim. The ZR2 is aimed at helping Chevy bolster its tough-truck credibility.

The concept starts with all-new race-inspired monotube shocks and springs to give the truck about 2 inches of lift and allow for taller, more aggressive tires. The front end's design allows for much better approach angles to protect the vehicle from rock damage; however, just in case anything should happen, this ZR2 package also includes a pair of foldable tow hooks and an integrated bumper-mounted winch.

In the bed of the ZR2 is a floor-mounted full-size spare tire and emergency jack as well as an optional bed divider (through GM Accessories). The rear bumper has been modified to allow for better departure angles; it also incorporates a pair of integrated aluminum tow hooks.

This concept truck has the baby Duramax under the hood — the same engine that will be available for the Colorado later next year. The 2.8-liter inline-four turbo-diesel is expected to produce about 181 horsepower and 369 pounds-feet of torque. If our calculations are correct, this will likely make the Colorado the most fuel-efficient pickup truck in the U.S. The ZR2 concept mates the Duramax with a six-speed automatic transmission, but we're guessing buyers will pressure GM to put a manual in this little trail explorer as well. Let's hope this ZR2 concept does not end the same way the global Colorado Rally concept ended--by disappearing after so much fanfare.

Look for more details from our walk-around video, coming soon.

To read the full press release, click here.

Manufacturer images


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Promising, but why is the spare in the bed taking up all of the reason to own a pickup--won't it fit under the bed?

Sweet! My guess we'll this truck at dealerships next year. Nice work Chevy!

That's nice!


It's an offroading vehicle. Putting the wheel underneath lessens the approach angle. You could always take it out of the bed.

"ZR2 Concept — we're told — is strictly here to gauge interest from showgoers."

I feel misled.

Too bad GM does not have the ca-hones to actually make something other than concepts.

@ Durastrokinns

"lessens the approach angle?" You must mean "departure angle." I agree it might minimally, but it HUGELY impacts utility. If nothing else, put it on a swing-out bumper. If "off-roading" is the primary objective, buy an SUV oriented as such rather than make a pickup useless.

I F'ing WANT IT!!!

Looks way better without the front lower air dam. All the domestic pickups have the front air dams that make them look funny and cheap but I know they have it there for FE reasons.

Desperately needs a 6.2 liter V-8 (L-86) with 460 ft-lbs of torque on regular gas and getting 25mpg.

I like it, but I always thought the baby Duramax was a V6?

Now the next concept needs to be a sport truck with the V6 out of the new Cadillac ATS-V. I think they said 450hp and about the same amount of torque.

Build it GM!!

181hp is a joke. Engine is going to be a fail unless it is a zero cost upgrade.

Build it I say, but change the back bumper it looks a little plane jane.

SOLD! my 2003 zr2 is falling apart and to find oem parts for. i've been waiting for the right midsize from GM. put a manual trans in a Zr2 oil burner, I don't care how much you charge me! PLEASE MAKE THIS TRUCK, do something for us loyal fanboys for once.

Bob said to tell you this will be his next truck and it will outperform the Craptor.

Not bad, but... if it's hailed as an "off road package" I'd think there would be provisions for additional off road lights up front. Or have some already mounted.
And if they're gonna do the "tire in the bed thing", then why not a roll bar?


Just Do It

The reason I think Chevy is serious about this truck is the timing of it's unveiling. Manufactures usually save the best for Detroit, Chicago or NY, especially for trucks. By doing it in LA they're giving themselves the most time to get it ready for launch next year along with Duramax arrival.

Holden needs to change the Holden Colorado. They are attempting to make it more refined, a big problem with it here. Last time I looked it was 20th in sales, the Ranger was 5th, but there are reports of mechanical problems . One reason the Geriatric Toyota Hilux still outsells it, by a very comfortable margin.
New Mitsubishi Triton released in Thailand, but looks like a pretty poor effort by Mistubishi, but rides and handles like a normal SUV

@ Dav

Settle down there, it's just a concept.

@ Axle

You also have to take into account the TORQUE, especially in a truck or off-road vehicle. For a smaller truck with 369 ft-lbs, I suspect this thing has some pep. Personally I'd prefer it with the 6.2 or that TT-V6 from the ATS-V, but this still seems like a good package.

"Nice work Chevy!"

- Um, sorry Greg, This is a GM and or GMC, not a genuine Chevrolet. Chevrolet Motors doesn't exist in reality. It hasn't for years and more everyday learn that fact. Nice marketing there for GM-GMC though.

I'll add this, odd there's no decent side shots. This thing has a low slung frame. Not HD low slung but a serious drop nonetheless in real life. To their credit, it's at least e-coated. Also, why is it that this truck has rock chip-rust protection moldings in the wheelwells? The cheap low rung of the GM ladder Chevy marketing brand shouldn't be allowed to do that. That's for premium and genuine GM-GMC's only. The Sierra, Canyon, Acadia, and all GM Buick's. This isn't Ford or even Dodge we're talking about here, it's Chevrolet. Has not anyone looked at Alfred Sloan's ladder for GMC? The post WW2 to latter 90's people need to Deal With It! Sloan came Before WW2 and Chevy's heyday. And He declared Chevrolet to be the dumpy company of GMC. Forget what Bill Durant and Lou wanted Chevrolet to be. It's sickening to see Chevy get wheel well moldings. It's sickening to see Chevy even get this attention. They're a generic rental brand of GMC. GMC should use their junky Chevrolet name for racing only. And by racing I mean nostalgia for the old farts. Even Corvette's should be GMC Buick's.. Why does GMC keep thinking their Chevy marketing brand is like Ford or Dodge trucks?? Only genuine GM-GMC's are!

"The ZR2 is aimed at helping Chevy bolster its tough-truck credibility."

- Sorry Mark, there's no credibility to be had. Chevrolet's not even a real entity. No real trucks, cars, engines or anything else. Just a bogus marketing arm of GM-GMC now. Step out of 1965. Did Mary Barra slip you some money? Mark Reuss would never allow Chevrolet anything to be above GM and/or GMC-Buick. He keeps things real. Chevrolet, isn't real.


That engine with those specs will work well enough in that concept truck at what its intended to do. The problem is that is the engine they are putting in ALL of the Canyons/Colorados next year, and in a top spec 4wd crew cab long bed diesel you are looking at 4500+ lbs. Probably 4700 lbs give/take. 180hp in something that heavy is not going to cut it. Highway passing and to a lesser extent highway merging will be atrocious.

Very nice! I hope the little dmax is in production soon.

The problem is this is only a concept vehicle that you cannot buy. HEMI V8 will be getting a 2015 Power Wagon Laramie and 2015 Charger SRT Hellcat soon. These are real production vehicles. HEMI V8 will also get a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited for the wife.

That is a HOT looking small truck!
Some of you guys need your head examined if you want a Tacoma over that!

The Colorado-Canyon will be the next Motor Trend Truck Of The Year.
Think of this: The full size Silverado V8 only has 55 lb/ft more torque than the V6 Colorado and it weighs over 1000 lbs less!
Its going to be a runner!

If you are in the market for a small pickup this is a no-brainer !

2" inches of lift is a great lift for offroading.

I do hope the springing and dampers are of a high quality.

It will be best with the 2.8 off road. Diesels are best for off road.

The bonnet scoop or hood scoop is backward. It needs to point the towards the front with an inter cooler under it.

I actually does look nice. I'm glad the pickup isn't covered in those gawdy decals that make it look like something from Walmart's.

When you guys buy a new Colorado-Canyon I want you to drive it to your local Toyota Dealer and drive around their lot waving : "Bye-Bye"
They will get the message!

(that's what I would do cause I really HATE Toyota)

GM..Please produce this and a 4dr version with a diesel and you will corner the market

This is the closest thing an American company has had to a decent looking mid-size truck. Ranger was getting close then ford a capped it. Colorado we improvements over the s-10 but still not there. This is the closest I have seen that may take market share from Tacoma. Will It Have The DEPENDIBILITY And longevity of a Toyota though. Tacoma hold their value extremely well too.

Put the tire on the roof on a rack.

It would be great if Chevy built it, but don't hold your breath. The extra weight of the diesel hurts it more than helps it. It's got coilovers up front, but with the diesel and the winch, the truck will be badly unbalanced and want to nose-plant off every jump.

They need to make up their mind and either build a power wagon competitor or a raptor competitor. Try to do both and you won't accomplish either.

Personally, I like the shapes all around. Now if only it weren't so frickin' HUGE. It's still as big or bigger than my 25-year-old full-size which is simply more truck than I need. Reduce all the proportions by about 15% and it would be MUCH more attractive to me.

@Toycrusher: "The extra weight of the diesel hurts it more than helps it."
What makes you think a diesel 4 is going to be heavier than the gasser 6 already in it? Considering it's smaller than the gasser and will have fewer moving parts, it's very likely to be little, if any, heavier.

I like it! I agree with the haters on this truck though. I have owned a Zr2 since 99 which is a love hate relationship. This concept is cool but to support that weight and real off road capability it will need a solid front axle period the end.

"That is a HOT looking small truck!" -- Except that it's not a "small truck".

"Some of you guys need your head examined if you want a Tacoma over that!" -- The Tacoma is still significantly smaller.

"The Colorado-Canyon will be the next Motor Trend Truck Of The Year." -- Perhaps.

"Think of this: The full size Silverado V8 only has 55 lb/ft more torque than the V6 Colorado and it weighs over 1000 lbs less!
Its going to be a runner!" -- Well, considering the Silverado is slightly larger and heavier it should have the advantage. Honestly, I hope this new size flat out REPLACES the current full-size inventory.

"If you are in the market for a small pickup this is a no-brainer !" -- No, because it is NOT a "small pickup. If you think this is small, then you've completely forgotten the the old S-10 and original Ranger.

Posted by: Tom#3 | Nov 20, 2014 1:35:06 AM

@Axle: "180hp in something that heavy is not going to cut it."

Strange. It worked quite well for a long time in full-size pickup trucks--until some buyers became so power-hungry they needed more than they would EVER truly use. Even now, Ford's basic normally-aspirated V6 makes up nearly all the V6 engines they sell in their trucks. And those V6s only make about 200 horses. It's plenty of power for most people which is why the huge engines are more the exception than the rule.

Self correction. "Ford's basic normally-aspirated V6 makes up nearly all the V6 engines they sell in their trucks."
I meant to say "... HALF of all the V6 engines..."

Meanwhile, more than half of all F-150s sold carry a V6, not a V8+.

"Desperately needs a 6.2 liter V-8 (L-86) with 460 ft-lbs of torque on regular gas and getting 25mpg." -- Posted by: rr7mc | Nov 19, 2014 7:21:55 PM

Why, when 369pounds is more than enough for most tasks?

The REAL news here is that GM is using aluminum tow hooks.


In Tow Hooks?

They MUST be crazy.

I mean how all the GM fans talk about how Ford cant build truck bodies out of aluminum and how WEAK they will be and how dent prone an aluminum body it. It makes me wonder about the intelligence of using that metal as the tow point between 2 vehicles (one of which is hung up on or in something)?

Seriously GM fans, is GM really that much crazier than Ford or has all the stupidity about the "weakness" of Aluminum been fan boy BS?

I love that hood. The truck looks really good to me.

The rest of the truck is nice, but the 2.8 duramax could use more power. 180hp and 370 is quite underwhelming for a turbo diesel that size. This thing isn't going to have very good performance, especially when paired to the 6 speed.

I was hoping that the power numbers would be closer to the ecodiesels. Something like 200 HP and 400ftlbs. It is only .2 liters smaller then the ecodiesel.

Its GM, GMC and Chevrolet are not companies people their sub brands of GM. Their is no Chevrolet Motors or GMC or Cadillac.


Your statistics are off. The N/A 3.7 V6 in the F-150 has a take rate of about 10%, with the EB 3.5 V6 at 47%. And the power of the N/A 3.7 V6 is a shade over 300 hp, not 200.

The 2.8 inline Dmax is EXACTLY the perfectly sized and powered engine in a small to mid sized truck. It WILL deliver REAL fuel economy that justifies choosing a truck that is less than a full size truck.

Yea at 168HP the kids that like these little trucks wont be winning drag races but the 30MPG in 4dr 4x4 will finally happen and the old guys that like little trucks will be tickled. And 369lb ft torque at low RPM is what every REAL truck person wants especially those all about going down the trail wanting to keep up with the jeeps. Its no Raptor but then again nothing else is and its not supposed to be.

Now these CC twins gotta lose the weight. Either with aluminum bodies OR by going smaller (think 90s S10 size) or BOTH.

Such a compact light duty truck getting over 30MPG (in a 4x4 nonregular cab config), priced 15 or more % less than a light duty full size WOULD have a place in the market.

Funny, people dogging on the power have never driven a small diesel. My Hilux in Latin America that had 10 less HP and 160ft lbs less torque was plenty fast for unloaded highway driving. It had enough top end steam to go just under 100mph (regularly accelerated up to 140-150KPH when passing on the sketchy 2 lane roads there).

My wifes TDI Jetta only has 140hp and it is well faster than similar cars that have much much more HP. It's all about proper gearing to maximize the torque, if they get that right with the Colorado, it will be lights out. If they gear it down too low it will be slow, and buzzy, but judging by how well received the 2.5l 4 cyl was by the PUTC reviewers, I think this will amaze a lot of skeptics.

I agree with Clint on this one.

If this truck can retain the 1,500 lb payload it would be on par with the much bigger Power Wagon for cargo capacity and be vastly superior offroad for everything except towing.

This truck is 4 inches wider than stock but is still narrower than a full sized truck and much narrower than a Raptor.

If this truck is available in a crew long box and isn't ridiculously priced, I'd seriously consider this as a replacement for my current truck.

please make this and put a stick shift in it

DevilsAdvocate is RIGHT this how little diesel tucks all over the rest of the world have been powered for YEARS and its considered perfectly adequate because they aren't blitzing stop lights.

Lou... honestly stepping down to closer to 1K pay load would make more sense for the pretend truck market and be especially smart as it should also improve ride, lower cost/weight and raise MPG. Then you can still pretend you have a tuck, take your frdige home from home depot all by yourself once every 10 years or so, get midsized car mileage the other 99% of the time, and get to work in the snow and go offroading that other 1% of the trucks life, fit in the garage, make stunning U turns and realize a price difference from a fullsize that actually matters.

This engine in its output, size, displacement and configuration is the exact step in the right direction and is why compact trucks are so successful and make sense everywhere but here.

When this pickup come out with the diesel. Many will love the better than 4cyl economy with the V8 torque.

Like a V8 diesels are not just about dollars.

Hopefully with the way full size truck pricing is looking these will become a more attractive alternative.

You can do most anything most use a 1/2 ton for, but for less.

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