What Did We Buy?
It wasn't that long ago that the midsize pickup segment barely had a pulse. In the past few years, however, it has gone from dormant to downright hot. And with so much interest in the newly invigorated segment, there's room for experimentation.
That willingness to try new things led to the development of the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. It's a dedicated off-road version of the standard Colorado that takes its capabilities to a whole new level.
Chevrolet actually had a ZR2 version of the S10 truck back in the 1990s, but even that wasn't as extreme as this new pickup. The Colorado ZR2 has a raised suspension with special dampers, bigger all-terrain tires, fender flares, special bodywork for improved approach and departure angles, and an electronically locking rear differential.
The new ZR2 isn't without competition, however. Toyota upped its game with the TRD Pro version of its Tacoma. And then there's the upcoming Ford Ranger, which will likely come in a similar "Raptor-lite" version. With that in mind, we figured it was worth seeing what the ZR2 brings to the segment by adding one to our long-term test fleet.
What Options Does It Have?
Although the ZR2 is available as an extended cab with a regular-size bed, we opted for the more popular crew-cab body style. It comes with a shorter bed, so the overall wheelbase is the same. There are two engines available: a standard 3.6-liter V6 and a turbocharged 2.8-liter, diesel-powered four-cylinder. Since the diesel is a unique option in the segment, we decided it was worth the extra $3,500.
After that, we were open to any options that trucks in our area might have. The result was the addition of a Bose audio system ($500), the Colorado's upgraded 8-inch touchscreen interface with navigation ($495), all-weather floor mats ($190), a dealer-installed keyless entry keypad ($155) and a black Chevy bowtie emblem ($155).
In all, the total MSRP of our Deepwood Green truck was $47,615. We found it listed at Rydell Chevrolet in Northridge, California, with a no-haggle price of $46,615, which is what we paid.
Why We Bought It
Trucks like the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 don't come around often. Most off-road packages from the factory are nothing more than a set of aftermarket shocks and some bigger tires. The ZR2 is a far more serious effort, one that will take a considerable number of miles to properly shake out. Having one in the long-term fleet will not only allow us to see what kind of terrain it can handle but also how it holds up after you get it back on the street.
No one wants a truck that reminds you of its compromises every time you go on a grocery run, so its daily driver capabilities will be an important part of the test as well. We're also eager to see how the new diesel engine performs in a wide variety of driving situations. Is it really the best choice for all-around mileage and usable torque? We're about to find out.
Follow our long-term road test blog for our latest thoughts and impressions of this 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.
Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.