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There’s nothing worse than not having the right tool for a job. Without it, you spend hours trying to make other tools work, but end up regretting not buying the right one in the first place. Such is the case with the 2022 Chevy Colorado ZR2. Off-road enthusiasts need specific tools to get them in and out of the various pickles they find themselves in. The ZR2 is the answer to most of those problems.
The Colorado ZR2 is an extremely capable, rugged midsize truck, with no time for frilly things like a push-button start or moonroof. No, this truck is built to drive off-road and little else. Mall crawlers need not apply.
Photo Credit: Chevrolet Pressroom
Price and Value
The MSRP range for the 2022 Chevrolet Colorado in four-wheel drive is $33,595-$49,365. It is available in four trim levels, with a suite of standard features that includes Chevrolet’s 7-inch infotainment system, dual-stage frontal airbags for driver and passenger and StabiliTrak electronic stability control. Some of the major differences in the four-wheel drive levels are noted below.
- 3.6-liter V6 engine
- Hydramatic 8-speed automatic transmission
- Rear vision camera
- 17-inch aluminum wheels
- Infotainment 3 system with an 8-inch diagonal color touchscreen display
- EZ lift and lower tailgate
- Off-road suspension package
- Automatic locking rear differential
- 17-inch wheels with all-terrain tires
- Off-road suspension with Multimatic DSSV damping system
- 265/65 R17 all-terrain tires
- Leather-appointed front seats
Find a full list of features on the Colorado ZR2 on Chevy’s website. Our ZR2 tester priced at $45,865. While not inexpensive, especially for a compact truck, the ZR2 makes for a compelling value considering its off-road readiness.
Chevy’s warranty coverage is about standard for the segment, offering a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Depending on how you define performance, you’ll either be very pleased or very disappointed with the Colorado ZR2. If on-road thrills are your cup of tea, you need to look elsewhere. However, if daily driving a serious off-roader with an amazing suspension setup sounds good to you, then you’ll find a lot to like. As an off-roader, the ZR2 is tough to beat in the performance categories.
Chevy offers two engine choices for the Colorado ZR2 — a 3.6-liter V6 and a 2.8-liter Duramax turbo-diesel 4-cylinder. Our tester was equipped with the V6, producing 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. Due to the ZR2’s soft, off-road focused suspension, towing is limited to 5,000 pounds. Power is adequate, if a bit buzzy, and hardcore off-roaders might wish for more while traversing extreme terrain.
Fuel economy in the Colorado ZR2 is a bit old school. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates 16 mpg in the city, 18 mpg on the highway and 17 combined. Our week of testing yielded slightly lower, averaging about 15 mpg for combined city and highway driving.
Here’s where the 2022 Colorado ZR2 really shines. Equipped with a slew of features, the ZR2 package transforms the Colorado into one of the most capable off-road oriented trucks on the market. It has four-wheel drive, an 8-speed automatic transmission, hill descent control, hill start assist, DSSV Multimatic shocks, driver selectable locking front and rear differentials, a transfer case shield, off-road rocker panel protection, a two-inch lift and a modified bumper.
Spring for the Bison package that includes even more off-road goodies like AEV bumpers, wheel moldings and additional skid plates — your ZR2 will handle nearly anything you can throw at it.
Acceleration and Handling
Accelerating in the Colorado ZR2 is … not exciting. The 3.6-liter V6 takes a bit of prodding to wake up and maintain at freeway speeds, not ideal for a daily driver. Car and Driver clocked the ZR2 from 0 to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. Not especially quick, but also not painfully slow.
Handling is decent around town, but really excels at low speeds. The Multimatic DSSV shocks are wonderful, giving the Colorado a nice ride on-road and even better ride off-road.
The Colorado ZR2 had a good brake feel, if a little sensitive for my preferences. The ZR2 package includes a trailer brake controller for those towing something under 5,000 pounds.
Photo Credit: Chevrolet Pressroom
Interior Comfort and Convenience
If you’re someone who wants the interior space of a full-size truck without having to drive one, you’ll get something close to that in the Colorado’s cabin — albeit in a plasticky, early 2000s kind of way. It’s fairly roomy for the front two passengers and has a decent amount of cargo space. Ingress and egress are a bit — OK, very — challenging. The spartan interior will remind you of the ZR2’s commitment to off-road adventuring. There are no fancy digital gauges or ventilated seats. In short, this truck is about hitting the trail, not about coddling its passengers.
Comfortable and supportive, the 6-way adjustable front seats of the Colorado are a nice place to spend time. They’re nearly as large as a full-size truck’s, but lack the customization settings many other trucks include standard. The rear seat bench isn’t particularly spacious, but it can tote around two kids or two smaller sized adults just fine for short distances. As far as materials go, the driver and passenger get heated leather seats while rear seat occupants are resigned to vinyl.
Be warned, it is quite a leap to get up and into — and out of — the seats. Should you be wearing pants you care about, they will get dirty on the floorboard while entering and exiting the truck.
Much of the interior feels old, and this is especially apparent with the plastic and rubber climate control dials and buttons. The ZR2 has single-zone climate control that warms up relatively quickly on cold mornings. There is automatic air conditioning, as well. That said, there’s no escaping the cheap vibes the interior gives off.
Cargo Space and Cabin Storage
Up front, there’s a surprising amount of space for the driver and passenger. Shoulder room, legroom and headroom are all more than adequate. Cargo space is sparse, but the large center console and space under the rear bench make up for the smaller than average door cubbies.
The bed is excellent. Even in short box form, the Colorado can swallow 41 cubic feet of gear in the rear. Pretty impressive considering its compact size.
Despite its cheap surroundings, Chevy’s infotainment screens are some of the most intuitive around. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work well here, and the 8-inch color touchscreen is a breeze to use. The stereo sounds good but isn’t anything exceptional. Overall, we like the Infotainment 3 premium system and think buyers will find it simple to use.
Photo Credit: Chevrolet Pressroom
Exterior Appearance and Functionality
Chevy really went for it with their latest ZR2 styling refresh and nailed its rugged, off-road oriented appearance. Everything from the lift, Goodyear DuraTrac tires, modified bumper and grille shout this truck means business. It’s all functional, too — equal parts substance and style. The 31-inch tires are adequate, but 33-inch would be preferable. Our tester was painted in Bright Blue Metallic, a $395 option that is worth every penny.
Both the Colorado's 41 cubic foot short box (as our tester had) and the 50 cubic foot long box bed are competitive for the class. Either can hold a lot of cargo, providing the bed isn’t fitted with a spare tire carrier. There are no special tailgate tricks or steps here, only a welcome EZ lift and lower system for the heavy tailgate. The Colorado also skips on extra storage boxes, cargo rails, etc., keeping with the truck’s simple approach to off-roading.
Towing Capacity and Payload
Opting for the ZR2 trim provides some excellent off-road goodies, like its live-spool shocks, but it also takes away from the standard Colorado’s truck capabilities. Towing and payload capacity are two of these areas. Towing for the ZR2 maxes out at 5,000 pounds and the payload is limited to 1,100 pounds — significantly less than the Colorado Z71 trim.
The ZR2 trim includes some unique 17-inch aluminum wheels shod with legendary 265/65R-17 Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires. Goodyear’s exceptional off-road tires are occasionally noisy on the highway, but Colorado owners will probably find them worth the sacrifice once they hit the trails.
Lights and Turn Signals
I was surprised that for nearly $46,000, Chevy has not included LED headlights. For a truck that is designed to spend a lot of time off-road, it’s disappointing to see the headlights aren’t better. During city driving the projector lamps were adequate, but I did find myself straining to see into the distance on some moonless nights. I’m not surprised they received a Poor rating from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.
Cameras and Side Mirrors
Another surprising aspect of the ZR2’s package is the lack of surround view and trail view cameras. While the HD rear vision camera does a nice job of showing behind the truck, it would be nice to have some additional cameras for parking and off-roading.
Front and Rear Windshield
Visibility is excellent out the front, sides and rear of the Colorado, even without additional cameras. The hood’s bulge does impede the forward view a bit, but it’s not distracting. The Colorado has standard front and rear defrosters and windshield wiper settings.
Overall, the 2022 Chevrolet Colorado is a pretty safe truck. While it doesn’t have an abundance of modern safety features, it does perform well in most crash tests.
Safety features are not the Colorado’s forte, but there are enough to get the job done. Some of the standard safety features include:
- Stabilitrak stability control
- HD rear vision camera
- Teen driver settings
Awards and Ratings
The 2022 Colorado earned an overall four out of five star rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The IIHS awarded the Colorado a Good score in all categories except headlights and the passenger side front small overlap test, where it received a Poor and Marginal rating, respectively.
The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is an amazing, midsize off-road focused truck. There isn’t anything else like it on the market. It offers a no frills driving experience intended for hitting the trails. If that’s what you’re buying it for, you’ll love it. If you’re buying it as a commuter or daily driver, you might wonder where your $46,000 has gone. We enjoyed our time with the Colorado ZR2 and respect that Chevrolet built this truck for off-roading right from the factory floor.
If you’re not off-roading frequently, the Z71 package might be a better value. It offers better on-road driving dynamics, as well as increased towing and payload capacity.
What is the ZR2 trim?
The ZR2 trim is the top trim of the Colorado lineup. It is geared toward off-road enthusiasts and includes:
- Multimatic DSSV suspension dampers
- An off-road front fascia, rear bumper and fender flares
- A unique grille
- A two-inch lift
- Front and rear electronic locking differentials
Is the Chevy Colorado ZR2 fun to drive?
The Colorado ZR2 is all about off-road fun. If you are an avid off-roader, you’ll have a blast in the ZR2 Colorado. If you’re more a commuter/mall-crawler, you might find its on-road demeanor a bit taxing.
Start your driving adventure now. Find your new Chevy Colorado on KSL Cars.