I'm a big fan of custom truck outfitters American Expedition Vehicles, who built incredible machines like the Ram Prospector and the Jeep Wrangler Brute, so the notion of an AEV off-road beast that you can buy directly from your new car dealer sounds pretty perfect.
Chevy teased us with the Colorado ZR2 AEV concept truck at the 2017 Specialty Equipment Market Association show in Las Vegas, and then we reported in April on the leaked word that this maximum off-roader had the green light for production.
Now, that rumor has become reality, with the official introduction of the 2019 Colorado ZR2 Bison (named after AEV's mascot logo). AEV's most obvious contributions are the off-road specialists' hot-stamped boron steel skid plates covering the engine oil pan, fuel tank, transfer case and front and rear locking differentials and the AEV-designed stamped steel front and rear bumpers.
The Bison also enjoys an upgrade from the regular (if you can even call it that) Colorado ZR2 with its wheels and tires, which are 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac off-road tires beneath larger fender flares and mounted on all-new, ZR2 Bison-specific 17 x 8-inch aluminum wheels.
The Bison is available in either extended cab or crew cab bodies, with either the standard gas V6 engine or Chevy's 186-horsepower and 369-lb-ft 2.8L Duramax turbodiesel engine. The engine's intake snorkel, however is only available as an accessory from AEV.
If you're noticing that AEV normally builds Chrysler trucks, like Jeeps and Rams, you're right. “We’ve been following Colorado since its introduction, and the ZR2 really captured our attention,” said Dave Harriton, founder and president of AEV.
“As this is the first Chevrolet vehicle we’ve given the AEV treatment to, we wanted to do something special with the industry’s first use of hot-stamped Boron steel. We also expect that Colorado drivers will love the added ruggedness of our front and rear bumpers on ZR2 Bison.”
Beneath AEV's additions lie all of the amazing parts that make the Colorado ZR2 an incredible off-roader in its own right, like front and rear locking electronic differentials, Multimatic DSSV dampers cast-iron front suspension control arms and the Autotrac transfer case.
Pricing will be available closer to the Bison's January 2019 on-sale date.