Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison Headed for Production With a Focus on Overlanding

Chevrolet is planning to release a production version of the ZR2 Concept built in partnership with American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) that we first saw at the 2017 SEMA Show, and it will be called the ZR2 Bison. 

Our sister site, Off-Road.com, uncovered a patent filed by Chevrolet on April 2, 2018, for the name “ZR2 Bison.” We now believe that this badge will be on a new hardcore off-road version of the Colorado ZR2. The name alone strongly suggests the tie-up between Chevy and AEV, as a Bison is AEV’s logo.

According to a Chevy dealer that attended the recent GM dealer meetings in Las Vegas, the brand showed the ZR2 Bison to the group and confirmed that it will be available in showrooms soon, likely as a 2018 model year vehicle.

“The AEV truck they revealed looked nearly identical to the concept vehicle with some minor differences,” said the dealer in an e-mail to Off-Road.comThe obvious omissions from the Bison were some of the bigger more expensive items shown on the SEMA concept like the snorkel, bed rack and the air compressor access panel, but it’s possible they will be available from AEV for installation after purchase.

So what, then, will be included in the ZR2 Bison package? If the production truck follows suit with the concept, it will be fitted with a new long-travel suspension setup by Chevy Performance that uses front and rear jounce shocks, plunging front half-shafts, high-angle upper ball joints, increased stiffness high-angle tie rods and specially tuned Multimatic DSSV dampers. This setup accommodates a set of 35-inch BF Goodrich KM2 Mud-Terrain tires.

Equipment from AEV that makes the truck overland ready includes new bumpers, complete underbody skid plate protection, high clearance fender flares and beadlock wheels. The concept also packed an ARB refrigerator, aluminum storage cases, NATO-style fuel cans, a James Baroud USA awning in the bed, a Warn 9.5xp-s winch and a Hi-Lift jack, but most of these accessories probably won’t be available straight from a Chevy dealership.

When a customer buys a ZR2 Bison straight from Chevy, it’s likely to come with some upgraded kit, like the long-travel suspension, fender flares, rock rails, AEV wheels and underbody protection. Our source speculates that the rest of the upgrades will be available through packaged from AEV, the same way the company works with Ram and Jeep to outfit their vehicles.

AEV partners with a local dealer that holds Wrangler inventory just for them, so customers can buy their Jeep through AEV, have it fully outfitted with all the upgraded parts and then shipped right to their door. This will likely be the same process with the new ZR2 Bison, though Chevrolet has yet to confirm anything.

We reached out to Chevy for official comment and will update the story if we hear anything.

Powering the concept is the 2.8-liter Duramax diesel engine, but like the ZR2, we expect the Bison to be available with either the diesel or 3.6-liter gasoline option.

Pricing for the Colorado ZR2 sits around $42,000 depending on options, leading our dealer source to speculate that the ZR2 Bison will cost around $45,500. A fully outfitted AEV model is likely to run you closer to $50,000.

Update: A Chevy spokesman responded to our query with the following statement: “We’ve had a great experience collaborating with AEV on the concept vehicle we showed at last year’s SEMA show. Customer reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Beyond that, we have nothing specific to announce at present.”

this article first appeared on off-road.com

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