For the looming battle against Ford's Ranger Raptor, Chevrolet has launched a preemptive strike by fitting more off-road equipment to the Colorado ZR2 and naming it after a burly farm animal: the Bison.
While the Bison may or may not rise to the level of a Raptor, new equipment makes this trail-ready pickup even more capable. Based on the ZR2 AEV Concept from last year's SEMA show, the ZR2 Bison features gear from American Expedition Vehicles (a well-known off-road outfitter, mostly among Jeep owners), but doesn't turn the Bison into a desert racer. An angry new visage, courtesy of an AEV steel bumper with fog lights and a winch mounting plate underneath a new grille with "CHEVROLET" spelled out across its width, sets the Bison apart from ordinary ZR2s. Larger fender flares over custom 17-inch black wheels and 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratec tires, Bison decals on the bed, and an AEV steel rear bumper with integrated tow hooks round out the exterior changes. For rock bashing, Chevy swapped the ZR2's aluminum skid plates for steel units-a total of five covering both differentials, the engine oil pan, the transfer case, and the fuel tank. Additional logos of a charging bison and the AEV name appear on the tailgate and headrests.
Otherwise, the Bison mirrors the standard ZR2's equipment, with Multimatic remote-reservoir dampers, front and rear electronic locking diffs, cast-iron control arms, a two-inch lift, and 3.5-inch wider front and rear tracks than in the next model down, the Colorado Z71. The red truck in the photos released by Chevrolet shows a snorkel, but owners much purchase it from AEV separately. Either the turbodiesel 2.8-liter V-6 with a six-speed automatic or the 3.6-liter gasoline V-6 with the eight-speed automatic are available, in extended- or crew-cab body styles. Expect to pay a few grand more than the 2019 ZR2's $41,895 base price, likely closer to the $44,430 that Toyota charges for a 2019 Tacoma TRD Pro. The ZR2 Bison, in all its furry glory, goes on sale in January.
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