Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison hoofs around comfortably off the road

No animal symbolizes the open road and the great American wilderness more than the bison. So it seems appropriate that the most rugged or more adapted to the open road than the Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison. To make it even more blue blooded through and through, this smaller pickup truck is powered by a 2.8-liter Duramax diesel engine.

The Colorado is not some runabout town-type of truck. No it’s ready to do work and handle whatever conditions you throw at it, thanks to the special ZR2 Bison treatment which includes 32-inch tires, American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) skid plates and bumpers and fog lamps. For a smaller truck, it’s packed with power and performance.

The looks of this truck are distinctive and full of personality. The fender flares ensconce the 17-inch wheels, and a blacked-out hood scoop runs up the middle with the Duramax Turbo Diesel name emblazoned on it. The short bed is conducive for this truck. You likely won’t be using this to haul plywood, but maybe pull an ATV. Fitted with tow hooks, it’s up for that task.

The bed of the truck is spray-lined and ready for scuffs and dirt and whatever else it might endure. Projector-type headlights illuminate the trail and terrain for rugged adventures.

ExploreWhat’s the cost to ‘fill up’ an electric car?

The turbo-charged Duramax diesel engine is lower on horsepower than the standard 3.6-liter gasoline engine but much higher on torque. The lower gears and instant torque make it a great truck for various road conditions and off-roading. The Colorado ZR2 Bison is rated at 181 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission feels a little outmatched at times. The four-wheel drive is the best option for this truck.

A locking differential is a game changer for this truck and the hill descent feature is a nice touch that you may not need often but will be sure glad you have it when you need it.

Inside, the special Bison touches are noticeable and appreciated. The ZR2 kick plate greets you at entry. The Bison logo is on the headrest of the front seats and also on the special floor mat. There’s a well-planned wireless charging station for a smart phone near the center console that shows engineers and designer put a lot of thought into the interior. The infotainment system is not the most cutting edge one out there, but it is intuitive and serves its purpose and integrates flawlessly with smart phones. What more could you want?

The back seat of this Crew Cab is cramped, as is the case with most trucks in this segment. If you want knee room and shoulder room, you’d have to move up to a Silverado or just accept that the back seat is fine, but not the most comfortable.

Getting in and out of the Colorado, with the ZR2 lift on it, plus the protective side tube made it a little awkward. Running boards would’ve helped, instead the side tubes interfered with your footing or were something to scrape your shin on.

The standard vehicle price of my tester was $44,200. The ZR2 Bison package added $5,750 to the bottom line and the embroidered headrests and the Duramax diesel engine added another $3,720. All told, the final MSRP jumped up big time to $54,490.

Explore2022 Genesis G70 continues to check off all the boxes

The Colorado ZR2 Bison has an EPA rating of 18 mpg/city and 22 mpg/highway. In a week’s worth of driving, where sadly I stayed on the road and didn’t venture off the beaten path, I averaged just over 20 mpg.

One day I will take a trip out to Yellowstone and the American west and see the amazing bison roam the plains. As an animal lover, this would be a great experience for me. I think naming a mighty, rugged truck like this Colorado after such a great animal as the bison is a great tribute to both machine and beast.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at jimmydinsmore73@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @driversside

2022 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison

  • Price/As tested price................................................ $44,200/$54,940
  • Mileage.......................................... 18 mpg/city; 22 mpg/hwy
  • Engine............................................. 2.8-liter Duramax diesel
  • Horsepower................................. 181 hp/369 lbs./ft.
  • Transmission................................. Six-speed automatic
  • Drive wheels................ Four-wheel drive
  • Final assembly point................ Wentzville, Missouri

About the Author