2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison: Spied

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It seems like the only way pickup truck makers define "sporty" pickups nowadays is with some kind of capability-driven off-road package: the Toyota Tacoma and Tundra TRD Pro, Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Trailboss, Ford Ranger Raptor, Ford F-150 Raptor, Ram 2500 Power Wagon and GMC Sierra 1500 AT4 come to mind, and more are on the way.

So maybe it should be no surprise that something like a more aggressive Colorado ZR2 is coming; at least that's what it looks like from the latest photos of the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison we just received from our spy shooters. It looks like it will be an even more trail-worthy expedition vehicle. Of course, a pickup must have more than a snorkel bolted onto to it to make it perform well. We're expecting some serious suspension and optional features to be part of the ZR2 Bison. Here's what our spy shooters had to say:

"Earlier reports announcing GM's trademark filing of the name ZR2 Bison in early April look to be coming true, predicting that the Bison will be a production version of the Colorado ZR2 AEV concept that debuted at the 2017 Specialty Equipment Market Association Show. The ZR2 AEV concept was a joint effort between Chevrolet and upfitter American Expedition Vehicles, creating an extreme off-road version of the ZR2. The ZR2 Bison moniker makes sense since the AEV logo includes an image of a bison.

"The photos here show that the ZR2 prototype gets a new front end with a reworked grille that sports a thick crossbar, just as we saw on the SEMA concept. That grille had Chevrolet emblazoned on it in capital letters. The front bumper also looks to be redesigned, with a visible addition beneath the front grille mesh — that may point to an integrated winch. The concept's aggressive bull bar doesn't appear to be installed on this prototype, but may be available as an optional upgrade through AEV.

"The front and rear fenders are both camouflaged — the front by a heavy vinyl bra, the rear by graphic wrap — likely hiding the truck's more aggressively flared, high-clearance wheel arches.

"Another of the concept's traits shows up on this disguised prototype: an A-pillar-mounted snorkel intake system.

"Unlike the crew-cab configuration on the ZR2 AEV concept, the prototype caught testing was an extended-cab ZR2, suggesting that the Bison will be available with both of the Colorado's cab styles.

"The ZR2 AEV concept was equipped with a revised suspension design for more extreme off-roading capability. Among the changes that were listed in the concept's design brief were a long-travel leaf-spring rear suspension, specially tuned Multimatic DSSV shocks, stiffer high-angle tie rods and high-angle upper ball joints, and front and rear jounce shocks. The functional goal for these upgrades is greater strength and durability, greater suspension travel and greater wheel articulation. These upgraded dirty bits will reportedly migrate to the production ZR2 Bison.

"Off-Road.com published reports from dealers confirming that Chevrolet showed a production ZR2 Bison and that it followed the ZR2 AEV concept very closely. The dealers said the ZR2 Bison that was shown lacked some of the over-the-top elements of the concept — like the bed rack system and the integrated air-compressor setup —but that similar items could be ordered from AEV to get very close to the concept shown at SEMA. The Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison is expected to go on sale later this year."

KGP Photography images


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Copying the TRD Pro.

Put a 4.3L in it

Put a 6 twin turbo in it, please.



twin turbo 4.3L????HMMM it has been done before with great power numbers

Like the front bumper, it may now come with fog lights.

Hopefully they re-worked the rear of the front fender so no rubbing when installing 33's like there is on my 2017.

apart from some of the suggested engine improvements, I think this Bison would really benefit from a Regular Cab short wheelbase approach---not that I expect to see one in that form.

I could use the twin turbo 3.0 or 3.6.
4.3 will never make it, to heavy and large dimensionally .

the 4.3 is about 5 lbs more but is actually dimensional smaller vs the dohc 3.6 SSST

You Forgot three trucks from AEV all can be bought at your local Ram dealer under full factory warranty. Prospector and Prospector XL Recruit. lol


As the article says another truck for the off-road.
Actually most of the off-road trucks are seen on the street.
Another real truck with a snorkel.

Off Road . com tested the ZR2 vs. TRD Pro and ZR2 was the superior truck.

More capability for the ZR2 just means more beat down on Tacoma.

I like what GM has done with the Colorado ZR2 so far. I wish they would offer a GMC equivalent.

Junk junk and more junk. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

I think the 4.3 is dead judging by the 2019 Silverado specs I've seen online. GM does offer a 3.6 TT in Cadillacs making 400+ HP and Torque. Though I wonder if a TT engine is such a good Idea in a truck with a snorkel.

4.3 will never make it, to heavy and large dimensionally .

Posted by: SSST | May 10, 2018 3:15:58 PM

He is referring to the all aluminum EcoTec 4.3, not the old cast iron Vortec 4.3. In my opinion, the 4.3 is better suited for the Colorado, which is a truck. It also has better low end torque. The 3.6 is a car based engine.

@ Military

My point exactly. That low end TQ is what the 4.3L is known for! The 3.6 is a good motor but it is more for cars, and crossovers. Had one in my 2015 Acadia, decent power, towed boat ok, but never got that great of mileage.

4.3L is rock solid, could have 300+HP and 325TQ for a N/A midsize truck would be perfect!

Now if GMC wants to join in they could offer it with a twin turbo 4.3L! BC they are trying to differentiate themselves from Chevy a little is what I have read!

My 2018 lwb single cab 1500 has the 4.3 ecotec. It's really surprised me. I'm getting combined 22.3 mpg after 15 k . It pulls my boat (only about 3k lb.) Like a dream through the mountains s of nw Arkansas

TNT, Acadia? Man those things are horrible. Outside of trucks you need to get BMW or at least an Audi. My wife has the X5 BMW , she had a equinox, we called it the turd because of all the problems with it, not the new ones, it was an 05. The X5 is a 2014, and never had one issue with it, and it is fast and economical.


@ AllAmerikan,

Desk editor's making personal opinions is not worthy of stating the cololoser as a better truck than the TRD Pro.

Once again, rear lower shock mounts are not trail ready and will break off-road!

Cololoser = epic failure!

Even the U.S. Military does not use locking diff's on their front IFS, nor should you!


Let me know when they have regular cab and 8 foot bed available..right now its useless as a truck for me

@ CT

How is an Acadia horrible? Have you ever ridden or drove one? I drove many crossovers while ahopping for it 4/years ago and it had best ride out of all of them. Has tons of room. They ride amazing with independent suspension. The 3rd row has enough leg room for adults. The only thing that it could have more of is power, having a 5.3L in it would be amazing but no room for it in engine bay. The 3.6L just felt strained when u really stompt on it but I did pull my boat with it and it did average 13 mpgs while pulling it. Had tow package and awd system with it.

About time Pickuptrucks reports on the Bison. Clearly it makes Tacoma and Ford fans bitter judging by the snipes.

Ford has a turbo 4 cyl for rhe Ranger... PFFFFFFFFT
Toyota's Tacoma is very long in the tooth... and still comes with drum brakes.. psst it aint the 80's anymore.

I am digging this truck.. I will likely order a Bison ZR2 with a diesel before the end of the year to finally replace my '02 ZR2
Only mild regret is there is no manual.. ahh well.

what is funny, the grill on the bison was available to order, I know of one guy who ordered it then GM pulled it, It looks sharp on his 2018 Colorado Z71


Most off-road trucks are seen on the street because they can do double duty.
I’m going to be running Poughkeepsie Gulch, Black Bear, Lower Engineer, and Imogene in September 2018. All in my stone cold stock 1/2 ton. Bring your Ridgeline.

Just because you don’t see them off-road doesn’t mean they are never there.

As far as the ZR2, last year 2 with Manufactuer’s plates turned around on Imogene. I guess a little snow scared them off. I made it up and over, no drama.


We wanted the Acadia, but th middle seats were uncomfortable for adults.
The Honda/Acura was atrocious.
Also, the towing was too low for us.
Even at almost max GCWR, the V8 midsize was better for us.
The Acadia is far better into the third row though. But for kids, they can climb.

It is beyond me why any manufacturer would encourage customers to drive through rivers or bodies of water with that false sense of security bolted to the A pillar. The same people who need a camera to keep from smashing into the wall behind them when they park are trustworthy enough to ford a moving river?

@james it's a great myth that all these off-road package trucks are seeing any off-road action. Ford GM Ram Toyota are just selling them and the people are buying them.

The front rake makes this truck look so much less aggressive and off road ready. And it still has a lower payload then the TRD Pro. It really is quite unattractive. I have always had GM products until now, and I went with the TRD Pro Tacoma.

The front rake makes this truck look so much less aggressive and off road ready. And it still has a lower payload then the TRD Pro. It really is quite unattractive. I have always had GM products until now, and I went with the TRD Pro Tacoma.
Posted by: Matthew B Hayes | May 13, 2018 10:31:22 PM

The TRD Pro has better payload because Toyota went cheap on the suspension upgrades. The rear suspension is essentially unchanged except for the Fox Shocks. The front suspension is mostly stock other than a tiny boost in ground clearance and Fox Shocks. The lower ball joint is the same weak part you'll find on a Tacoma SR5. The knuckle is also very undersized. The transfer case was also ignored during development of the TRD Pro, so it's left extremely vulnerable and hanging approximately 2" below the frame rails with little to no protection. Toyota also ignored the weak rear axle. Based on my research and prior experiences, Toyota uses a high pinion rear axle for better driveshaft clearance, at the expense of differential strength. In a high pinion rear axle with a reverse cut ring gear, the pinion is deflected away from the ring gear while moving forward. This is bad while playing offroad because the chances the ring gear busts teeth off is MUCH MUCH greater. Combined with Toyota's relatively small ring gear (approx 8") and high gear ratio (4.30), which results in skinny teeth on the ring gear, and you end up with very weak rear diff. Which is why so many of them break. Especially now that Toyota uses a Made in Thailand axle instead of the old US built one.


Then head on up to Ouray and run some trails.
Or go to Moab, heck So Cal, and look at all the trucks that aren’t really there.

Just because YOU don’t see it, doesn’t make YOUR opinion true. If the trucks sell, excellent marketing.

Although I question Honda. A struggling sales afterthought. I’m sure Honda wouldn’t mind 1/4 of the total Tacoma sales switched to Ridgelines.

it's a great myth that all these off-road package trucks are seeing any off-road action. Ford GM Ram Toyota are just selling them and the people are buying them.

Posted by: RIDGELINE OWNER 2007 | May 13, 2018 5:52:11 PM

Plenty of youtube vids of ZR2's playing on offroad trails. I'm starting to see a bunch of really nice overland ZR2 builds as well.

And the Hall Racing ZR2 continues to race in the full mini stock (7300) class in Best In The Desert. The Tacoma TRD Pro showed up for the Mint 400 last year but doesn't seem to be participating in the series anymore.


Ford GM Ram Toyota are just selling them and the people are buying them.
Posted by: RIDGELINE OWNER 2007 | May 13, 2018

@Ridgeline 2007

Which I suppose is different from the Honda Ridgeline---people aren't buying them.

@ Brick I was not referring to the trucks capability.
I was referring to the majority of people that buy these trucks.
They have no intention of going off-road or using the capability of the truck they buy it for the it factor instead of a regular 4X4 version of the same truck with regular off-road package.

@papajim people aren't buying Ridgeline.
Well may not rank high in sales but most media and car/truck review articles sure give it excellent reviews.

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