5 Things to Know About the 2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

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By Jim Travers

Since its model-year 2015 reintroduction, the mid-size Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck has been a hit: More than 400,000 have been sold and it has raked in more than $10.25 billion in revenue for parent company GM. It's safe to say the market was ready for another alternative to full-size pickups. Chevy upped the ante for 2017 by adding a ZR2 trim level with real off-road cred. The ZR2 spent two years of development time proving its mettle on a purpose-built course in the Arizona desert, on the Rubicon Trail in California, and in various other two-tracks, mud holes, funky spots and varied climates around the U.S. Its development team was made up of real off-road enthusiasts, including the lead engineer.

Here are a few other things you should know about the ZR2.

1. Class-Only Diesel

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Available with a 186-horseppower, 2.8-liter inline four-cylinder diesel engine pumping out 369 pounds-feet of torque, the Colorado is the only mid-size diesel pickup you can buy โ€” at least for now. And all that torque comes in handy on the trail, where the ZR2 crawls easily over rocks and boulders with minimal throttle and drama. It also returns 22 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA.

2. Only E-Locker in Its Class

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Another class exclusive is front and rear electronic locking differentials, which can be engaged from the cab. That keeps all four wheels turning at the same speed, something any experienced off-roader will tell you can be a good thing when things get messy.

3. Trick Suspension

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Opting for the ZR2 gets you what Chevy calls the first off-road application of its Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve dampers in the mid-size pickup class. What that translates in is progressive-rate shocks with lots of travel; they start softer and stiffen up as they compress. However it works, we can testify that the ZR2 rides remarkably well in the rough stuff.

4. A Step Up

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More suspension tweaks include a 3.5-inch-wider track front and rear than a standard Colorado, 31-inch tires and a 2-inch bump in ride height to help you clear obstacles on the trail. It also has skid plates for when you don't.

5. Exhaust Brake

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Chevrolet and GMC are the only small-diesel makers that include a dedicated diesel exhaust brake switch to allow for added exhaust back pressure to better control heavier loads or trailers. The Ram 1500 doesn't offer it on the EcoDiesel and the new Ford F-150 Power Stroke doesn't have it either.

Manufacturer images


This left leaning fake news site is at it again...

Not only do they favor the F-150 with full size trucks, now they favor the Coloraaaado among smaller trucks! And do not deny this!

This leftist site has favorable coverage of the Coloraaado, they think it is the first and best small truck ever. Sorry, but that is hardly the case as real world data proves otherwise like lowest cost of ownership and retention of value rest with the class leading Tacoma!

Get a clue leftist media!

Class only diesel? WRONG! Toyota offers diesels in their small trucks, no where does this article point to the U.S. market only!

Only e-locker in class? WRONG! Toyota has offered an e-locker since 1995, let me repeat, 1995, that would be 23 years ago! What took GM so long?

Now if the article stated e-lockers in both axles, that would be realistic, but they did not, thus fake news! And trust me, hard off-roaders do not place a locker in their IFS front ends, dumb idea that even the U.S. military does not do on their mega-off-road trucks!

Trick suspension? What is that? I would call Toyota's Hi-Trac suspension from the 1980's a trick suspension by running the T-bars to the upper a-arms and rear leaf springs above the axle allowing more ground clearance!

The class innovating 1995 Tacoma had coil sprung front suspension and it's 1990's TRD off-road offers were more trick back then! Bilstein's & Fox shocks not good enough?

Heck, Toyota offered a Pre-Runner back in the 1990's, talk about a cool truck nobody cared to offer, but Toyota did.

A step up? Toyota's have always been a step up when it came to ground clearance. They do not have lower rear shock mounts hanging so low, spare tires so low, heck the 1995 Tacoma still had more skid plates than the newer Coloraaaado's!

Give me a break l iberal media!

The Tacoma has been and remains the class leader when it comes to smaller trucks! They created this class by offering the industry first 4x4 back inn 1979, when GM could not even make their own 2wd truck without Isuzu!

Give me a break!

@ Erik the red

Your exactly right, thats obvious that ecobust is full of himself lol...ecobust got beat by the 6.2 in the last comparison on this site and got better FE...thats also why they pump that V8 sound through the ecobust speakers, make them feel like their in a V8! Lol

@ oxi

Wow bro your in denial! It's pretty obvious their talking about both axle e-lockers in the article, why doesn't the Tacoma have that?? Real off-roaders do. 1990 TRD has more trick suspension? LMFAO! Again it's obvious their talking in America with the class only diesel! You would think Toyota would offer a diesel being such an international company...how did the Colorado beat the Tacoma in the head-to-head comparison if this is so biased? Thats whats sad, Toyota been the leader for so long and GM comes out with all the class exclusives!
Get a grip! Oh ya, you only have rear lockers so that might be tough lol


Try using fewer words. The more you talk the worse you sound. The Tacoma used to be a competitive truck but now it's a joke.

Would I buy one? No.
Not enough torque and weak IFS related steering components.
I know, I know, off road racing. Funny how these IFS and IRS trucks can race in AZ, Nevada, even Mexico, but jack up a tie rod on some of the busiest trails in the Rockies.
Just because GM tests something somewhere, doesnโ€™t mean the truck successfully made it.
Posted by: James | Jun 2, 2018 1:28:55 AM

With the gearing of the transmissions these days, torque doesn't play such a big role as it did in the days of the 4 speed. 1st gear is 4.56, 2nd is 2.97.

The electric steering racks used by GM and Ford (and Ram) on these trucks are going to be the weakest link in the IFS/steering. The electric rack has an aluminum housing that can fracture if it gets hit with enough shock. If you read articles on development of the ZR2, GM mentioned that the ZR2 received an upgraded steering rack for this reason. Considering the ZR2 will only let you lock the front diff in 4LO, bending a tie rod is less of a concern (until you run 35+ inch tires) than some other areas. The aluminum driveshaft being a big one, I would replace that with a chromoly one before rock crawling. I would also weld some steel skids on the rear lower shock mounts. Too easy to drag the passenger side shock body across a rock when articulated.

Another weak point I've seen first hand is the Raptor's steering knuckle (spindle). The top of the steering knuckle, just below the upper ball joint snapped right off. After looking into it online, it looks like its more common than I expected.

Most guys will do a gusset mod:


James, I have a buddy who has a Rubicon, we were hunting in Kansas last fall. We were going down a 2 lane highway(4) in my ZR2, he told me he never drives on that highway due to it beats him to death. I never noticed the highway was rough until he mentioned it, ZR2 rides smooth on highway and wash board dirt roads and does not need to crawl thru pastures like his Rubicon


What happened to the 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro that Toyota paid Camburg to build and race in the Mint 400 last year? They only ran one race in the Best in the Desert series. It was in the 7300 class but disappeared after the Hall Racing ZR2 showed up. Almost seems like Toyota tucked tail and ran!

The Ram 1500 doesn't offer it on the EcoDiesel and the new Ford F-150 Power Stroke doesn't have it either."

Ram was the first for a jake brake in their diesel H.D's along with a Turbo Diesel engine. And the first truck in light duty diesel. Once again leading the way.

Another weak point I've seen first hand is the Raptor's steering knuckle (spindle). The top of the steering knuckle, just below the upper ball joint snapped right off. After looking into it online, it looks like its more common than I expected.

Most guys will do a gusset mod:
Posted by: HD RamKing | Jun 2, 2018 8:26:44 AM

Yeah the stock spindle casting definitely has weak point near the upper ball joint. Broken Raptor spindle caught on tape:


If oxi wants to go international, the Toyota came in 3rd place in the global shoout behind the GM and Ford.

I really wish all of you guys would grow up. If you like Ford, buy Ford. If you like GM, buy GM. Just because you don't like a particular brand does not make it trash. Yes, it is that simple.

If you worry about what people post here, you have a mental disorder.


It's more of a hate the other brand than the love of your own brand.
I admit, I may be guilty.
The reason I don't own a Silverado is because my neighbor owns one and he's an ahole.
TNT owns a Silverado but I like and respect him and I do believe him his 6.2 V8 gets better gas mileage.
I can't help it but I judge a make of any vehicle by who owns it.
Another thing is BRS ( Buyers Remorse Syndrome ) when you spend $50K and have a $600/month payment on a new truck you're always second guessing yourself if you bought the right brand of truck or not.
For me the cure for my BRS is watching the F-150 as #1 in sales , that makes me happy that I bought the right truck.
We beat each other over the head saying my truck is better than your truck to battle our own BRS.

@ Sean,

Here comes the leftist apologists...

Real off-roaders like myself and the U.S. Military do not run lockers on their IFS fronts, sorry, you lack knowledge of off-roading to even qualify to comment.

Magazine editors are not experts, their opinion is just an opinion, typically based on advertising dollars like this site.

Do these magazine editors have evidence they off-roaded hard core, have they raced down in Baja before you profess them as God's?

Reality and real world data place the Tacoma as the better truck. Sales, retention of value and lowest maintenance costs are facts and not opinions.

Try and buy a used Tacoma and see why they retain their value more than any Coloraaaado!

@ Brick,

Is that all you have, liberal trash talk?

I do not run their champion race program, maybe Jay Leno is busy with other stuff, stop assuming so much fake news!

@ Chris,

As I have stated many times before, magazine editors and sites like this lack off-road credentials. Their opinion is just an opinion typically motivated by advertising dollars!

Do these editors have proof they off-roaded hard core or raced down in Baja?

Stop making them be God's and look at real data like lowest cost of ownership, retention of value and sales. That is where the Tacoma proves its worth over the Coloraaaado!

I agree with oxi!

@ oxi
Lol! As I said, real off-roaders have front and rear lockers but they have to install aftermarket. If you don't have front and rear lockers your definitely not a "real" off-roader!! Period! The new Coloraaado has them stock but the Tacoma doesnt?? Huh...And while your on your Military kick, it's called the Coloraaado ZH2!! Is there a Military grade Tacoma???

Love my ZR2, great truck on and off the road.

I don't know anybody that hates what they drive.
I view posts that say otherwise as imposter's.

Corvette owners have their acknowledgement "signal" that makes ownership a club amongst strangers. They don't have a need to bash non-Vette sport cars just so they can feel superior.

There is BIG a difference between being in a club & being the member of a tribe. Banter vs insults.
We don't have too think alike, but try not to be malicious about it.

look at real data like lowest cost of ownership, retention of value and sales


Which has exactly WHAT to do with off roading?

This truck would be soo sweet with an AEV Hemi swop ;-0

5.7L Hemi would do the trick.

6.4L Hemi over kill.

6.2L Hemi Insane


Is that all you have, liberal trash talk?
Posted by: oxi | Jun 3, 2018 8:00:50 AM

So you're more than eager to trash talk the ZR2 but instantly react like a child by name calling any time somebody challenges your claims.

Claims like: "Toyota's have always been a step up when it came to ground clearance. They do not have lower rear shock mounts hanging so low, spare tires so low...". I see that you have once again conveniently ignored the fact that the Tacoma's TRANSFER CASE, the crucial piece of drivetrain that determines whether your truck can move or needs to be hauled off the trail on a flatbed, hangs extremely low and doesn't have any of the skid plates you brag about. It hangs nearly as low as the lower shock mounts on the ZR2. And its right at the high center point of the truck. It's inches below the frame and the only "protection" it has is a thin piece of tin that would do nothing in an impact with a rock. You can bust up a shock mount and make it off the trails. You're going nowhere when you crack open your aluminum transfer case on your Tacoma. THAT. IS. BAD.

And nobody cares about what Toyota's little truck did over 30 years ago. Where is the Tacoma TRD Pro today?

You proclaimed "The Tacoma has been and remains the class leader when it comes to smaller trucks!"

Then why isn't it competing in BITD against the ZR2? Apparently Toyota isn't nearly as confident in the latest Tacoma TRD Pro's capabilities as you are.

I do not run their champion race program, maybe Jay Leno is busy with other stuff, stop assuming so much fake news!
Posted by: oxi | Jun 3, 2018 8:00:50 AM

Leno was only there as part of a PR stunt.Toyota paid him to take part in a sponsored video series as a driver for a few laps. Ryan Millen was the primary driver. Toyota used the Camburg Racing Tacoma TRD Pro to help promote the 2017 TRD Pro as a mid-size equivalent of a Raptor, one step removed from a legitimate prerunner. Yet Toyota is apparently afraid to put it up against the ZR2 in an actual race environment. That's Toyota's way of saying that the ZR2 IS the best offroad truck. They know a 7300 class compliant 3rd gen Tacoma doesn't have a chance.

@ Sean,

Looks like you never off-roaded in your life!

The U.S. Military does not run lockers on their front IFS, nor should you!


I have years of off-roading experience and never ran a dumb locker on the front with my IFS. In fact I typically have no lockers at all, I use my brain when driving off-road, it's called EXPERIANCE, something you lack!

By the way, you lack any knowledge of the U.S. Military!

Plenty of Tacoma's being used by U.S. Special Forces right now, as well as HiLux pickups for which your tax dollars are buying to get up-armored for combat!

Thanks for supporting Toyota's for our soldiers in combat zones!

Maybe you should lay off the liberal social media trash and start to follow what goes on in this world, you would know what I am talking about...

@ Brick,

You are just a typical liberal!

The Coloraaaado is a patched up wanna be for yuppies with plenty of bells and whistles to get you leftists all jacked up like it is the greatest thing since sliced bread!

You fell for it like blind sheeple!

The Tacoma continues to outsell the Coloraaaado by 2 to 1, the Tacoma is still the highest in retention of value and lowest in ownership of costs, translation, better quality and durability over the long run, that means it will last longer and is a better bang for your buck!

The Tacoma has a history, mainly off-road, the Coloraaaado does not, hence so many bells and whistles because it cannot compete against a standard Tacoma, because the standard Tacoma is a better off-roader!

I have years of experience off-roading and racing down in Baja in the stock classes, do not lecture me on off-road because you lack the experience!

And with my experience, I choose the Tacoma to fit by my bill because it will survive off-road and get me back to civilization unlike the gurly Coloraaaado!

The Tacoma is the King of small trucks, the Coloraaaado is the Queen!

The Zr is not match for the Raptor. Even us GM fans know that we copied the Ford, but fell short.

the FAKE papajim strikes again

@ oxi

First of all I was in the Military so you are just hilarious! I never said Military doesn't use Toyota's, but there definitely isn't one that is specifically made military grade like the ZH2!!
Also, I'm talking real off-roaders not take your taco out on the weekends off-roaders...in fact one of the "real" off-roaders I know has a taco that he put lockers on so he could do what the other guys do on the trail...specifically crawling up boulders at Moab. You and Leno must hang out on the weekends "off-roading" down a dirt road LMFAO!! Your off-roading with no lockers is definitely extreme. Sounds like my wife's Subaru could go off-roading where you and Leno go!! Keep posting you are hilarious defending your little truck

Wow oxi is starting to sound like one of the Ford guys commenting, "ya but they sell more" lol. I'm sorry but "EXPERIENCE" alone doesn't allow you to go anywhere off-roading, but having lockers makes a big difference. Any off-road enthusiast wants lockers! Even the guys with hardcore Jeeps install aftermarket lockers..ya the Tacoma is a great truck, I would recommend to anyone but to make some of the statements oxi does sounds like jealousy.

The Zr is not match for the Raptor. Even us GM fans know that we copied the Ford, but fell short.

Posted by: papajim | Jun 4, 2018 6:59:01 AM

Dude, the real Papajim has more control over the English language than anyone else in the comments section. If you wish to imitate him, you will first need to go back to school, and I mean more than just obtaining a GED.

FYI I am a drop out, which is why I buy GM vehicles, because i not know any better.

Oxi sounds like an "experienced" bull$hitter!

It's called. EXPERIANCE. oxi is a real off-roader unlike you POSERS who have never been out in the field!



Meet oxi down at the tracks!


That's it! Going through mud and some railroad tracks Lol! Meet at the tracks?? I was thinking a real off-road trail! Lol, like I said my wife's Subaru could do that wow!

No wonder you don't need lockers, try looking up Moab..that's where we should meet

Was that Leno driving or taking pics??

That's funny you say out in the field, that's where it looks like that pic was taken

He should come to Colorado where there's a lot more than mud and railroad tracks!!

Damn, so oxi off-roads with Leno and John Stamos!! Sounds like real off-roaders to me! ๐Ÿ˜‚

hey B!tch @$$
shut the phuck up

Hahaha I'm assuming that's Frank or his boyfriend! If not you just proved my point!! ๐Ÿ˜‚

@ BA

Ya, it wasn't the REAL TNTGMC..... I don't bash GM guys.

Whom ever this little school girl is really needs to get her own user name. Its rather childish


I knew it wasn't you, they always resort to changing there name when they get called out...poor guys


So what if oxi off-roads at the railroad tracks and you don't like it! You got a problem with that? You are un-American!

@ BJ

First off...I'm the real TNTGMC, and I never commented on oxi. I could care less where he off roads. His choice.

The clown that is using my user name needs to grow up!!

Lol, like I said my wife's Subaru could do that wow!

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