The New Chevy Colorado ZR2 Is a Desert-Racing Raptor Rival

Dominate the desert.
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Photo: Chevrolet

Photo: Chevrolet

Chevrolet took advantage of the southern California location of the Los Angeles Auto Show by unveiling the badass Colorado ZR2 4x4 desert racer at an off-site event Tuesday night.

Photo: Chevrolet

Photo: Chevrolet

The ordinarily mild-mannered Chevrolet Colorado mid-sized truck is a frugal, fuel-efficient sensible alternative to full-size truck in its regular guise. But outfitted as the ZR2, the Colorado features a wider track, a two-inch lifted suspension and front and rear bumpers that have tapered ends for increased clearance for the tires.

Photo: Chevrolet

Photo: Chevrolet

It also boasts steel tube rocker panel protectors and rolls on aluminum 17-inch wheels wearing 31-inch Goodyear Duratrac off-road tires. 

Photo: Chevrolet

Photo: Chevrolet

The suspension, which is widened by 3.5 inches, now includes rugged cast iron control arms for durability.

Photo: Chevrolet

Photo: Chevrolet

The Colorado ZR2 offers a choice of powertrains borrowed from the regular model, a 308-horsepower 3.6-liter gasoline V6 or a 181-horsepower, 369-lb.-ft. 2.8-liter four-cylinder Duramax diesel engine.

Photo: Chevrolet

Photo: Chevrolet

The gas V6 is bolted to a new eight-speed automatic transmission, while the higher-torque diesel uses a six-speed automatic.

Photo: Chevrolet

Photo: Chevrolet

The Colorodo's least-visible and most important feature is the use of Formula One-grade Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve shock absorbers like the ones seen previously on the 2014 Camaro Z28.

Photo: Chevrolet

Photo: Chevrolet

These shocks provide more accurate control control than conventional high-performance dampers for better on-road ride and off-road handling.

Photo: Chevrolet

Photo: Chevrolet

Indeed, the Multimatic shocks on the ZR2 are more advanced than those on F1 racers because they include additional valving circuits for off-road response, in addition to the pair of spool valves that control compression and rebound damping for on-road driving.

Photo: Chevrolet

Photo: Chevrolet

"You can go rock crawling on Saturday, desert running on Sunday, and comfortably drive to work on Monday. This truck can do it all, and do it all well," crowed Mark Reuss, General Motors' executive vice president for product development.

We can't wait to test that claim for ourselves.