The Colorado is arguably going to reinvent the midsize pickup class that has remained stagnant for so many years. With aging and unchanged models like the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma as its main competitors, the all-new and more capable Colorado and its GMC Canyon twin are poised to sweep this important segment. Despite its overwhelming reception and initial success, the Colorado has yet to spawn an off-road variant. Well, at the LA Auto Show, Chevrolet revealed a ZR2 concept that may end up being the preview to the Colorado’s off-road-ready variant.
The ZR2 concept’s design is not only aggressive, but it is also functional, as the redesigned front and rear fascias give it enhanced approach and departure angles of 30.7 and 22.7 degrees, respectively. The wider track makes the truck feel more planted on treacherous terrain, and the two-inch lift gives it the clearance it needs to tackle some of the more intense off-road paths. Up front, the Colorado ZR2 also has a set of flip-out aluminum tow hooks and an integrated winch, while underneath there are integral skid plates to protect all of the sensitive, greasy bits.
Underneath the concept are King coil-over shocks with remote-mounted reservoirs, new front control arms, 18-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in 275/65R18 off-road tires, and electronic-locking front and rear diffs.
Aesthetic changes are part of the package on the inside and out. On the exterior, the Colorado ZR2 features a revised grille, new headlight housings, blacked-out headlight accents, a power-dome hood, a Cypress Green paintjob with Henna Orange accents, and ZR2 badges on the fenders. Inside the cabin, the modifications include ZR2 logos on the headrests, Chevrolet Accessories floor mats, a ZR2 logo on the instrument cluster display, Jet Black leather with orange contrast stitching, and a custom inclinometer that shows the angle the truck is on.
Diesel fans will love what powers this small off-roader, as Chevrolet installed its hotly anticipated, 2.8-liter, Duramax, inline-four, diesel engine. This unit is good for 181 horsepower at 3,400 rpm and a whopping 369 pound-feet of torque at 2.000 rpm. The engine mates to a six-speed auto-box and likely delivers upwards of 35 mpg on the highway.
Unfortunately, there are no mentions of this truck’s production future, but chances are the ZR2 will be a part of the lineup. However, it’ll likely be slightly milder than the concept model.