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Duramax diesel, suspension upgrades and cosmetic enhancements grace show truck
November 19, 2014
By: Nick Saporito

Every once in a while, automakers slip in a surprise auto show reveal, and Chevrolet did just that today with the Colorado ZR2 Concept in Los Angeles. The show truck demonstrates what is theoretically possible for Chevrolet to do with its all-new midsize pickup, as well as possibilities when equipped with the new 2.8-liter Duramax diesel engine.

The Colorado concept features tons of unique styling cues, like a unique front fascia with a bolder grille and a “power dome” hood complete with Duramax badges on each side, a homage to the Silverado HD. Rounding out the package are flat black fender flares and rocker panel extensions.

Not all of the changes are cosmetic, however. The ZR2’s stance is four inches wider than the Colorado Z71, while the concept truck also features a two-inch greater lift over the production truck. Integrated skid plates handle rough terrain while the wider track enhances stability in unstable off-road conditions.

The unique front and rear fascia designs are also not just for looks. They help Colorado increase approach and departure angles to 30.7 and 22.7 degrees, respectively.

Chevrolet beefed up the Colorado’s suspension with mono-tube coil-over King shock absorbers with greater travel and remote fluid reservoirs to protect them during off-roading.

Traction is aided with electronic-locking front and rear differentials, which distribute torque to 275/65R18 off-road tires, mounted on custom 18-inch aluminum wheels – complete with bead-locks.

Inside are cosmetic updates as well, with the logo found in several areas, such as on the instrument cluster and headrests.

While the ZR2 is still just a concept, what lies under the hood is not. The 2.8-liter Duramax diesel packs 181 horsepower at 3,400 rpm and 369 foot-pounds of torque at 2,000 rpm. The little diesel is slated to go into the production Colorado during the 2016 model year, backed by a six-speed automatic.

The ZR2 is a not a new moniker to Chevrolet. The alphanumeric first debuted in 1994 as an off-road version of the S-10 pickup. Throughout the 1990s, the ZR2 gained a following among S-10 and Blazer owners, much like Z71 has a rapport with half-ton pickup owners.

This is also not the first time Chevrolet has shown concept vehicles with the ZR2 name, however here’s hoping that this ZR2 dream truck becomes a reality.

Press Release said:
LOS ANGELES – Chevrolet today introduced the Colorado ZR2 concept – a vision of how Chevrolet could take the all-new midsize truck’s off-road capability to the next level. It also showcases the new 2.8L Duramax diesel engine that will arrive in the Colorado lineup later next year.

The aggressively styled concept builds on the capabilities of the production Colorado Z71 and advances the legacy of Chevrolet’s previous ZR2 production models.

“From the bold stance to the trail-ready special equipment, the Colorado ZR2 is all about the fun of driving where the pavement ends – and doing it in characteristic Chevy style,” said Tony Johnson, Colorado marketing manager. “Chevrolet has a heritage of the ZR2 representing the ultimate in production-based off-road capability and we’ll gauge the public’s interest in this concept as we continue to explore the possibilities for the all-new Colorado.”

The Colorado ZR2’s imposing stance is four inches wider than a production Colorado Z71, with features including new front and rear fascias designed to increase approach and departure angles when driving off road. Ground clearance and rough terrain are handled with a two-inch lift and integral skid plates, while the wider track helps enhance stability in potentially unstable situations.

The Colorado ZR2’s greater approach and departure angles – 30.7 and 22.7 degrees, respectively, versus the Z71’s 25/21 degrees – are enabled by all-new off-road fascias that drastically reduce front and rear overhang. They also feature integrated, flip-out aluminum tow hooks and the front fascia incorporates a built-in winch.

“The design of the ZR2 concept is all about functionality,” said Johnson. “It is inspired by the needs for traversing rock-strewn trails, as well as the aesthetics of competition-style vehicles such as pre-runners – with all elements contributing to safe, sustainable off-road driving.”

Mono-tube coil-over shock absorbers by King™ are designed for greater suspension travel and feature remote-mounted fluid reservoirs that add to the Colorado ZR2 concept’s capability. The reservoirs for the front shocks are accessible and mounted in the wraparound portion of the front fascia, while the capability of the shocks is matched with all-new front control arms.

Off-road traction is enhanced with electronic-locking front and rear differentials, which distribute torque to 275/65R18 off-road tires mounted on custom 18-inch aluminum multi-spoke, bead-lock-style wheels. The center section of the wheel design has a raw aluminum appearance with black accents, while the bolt-on bead lock cover is orange-anodized aluminum.

Custom wheel flares cover the larger off-road tires and increased track width, enhancing the truck’s purposeful stance. They’re complemented by custom rocker guards.

A matching spare wheel/tire assembly, with a quick-release handle, is mounted in the bed. The bed also features the protective spray-in bed liner available with production Colorado models, GearOn™ accessories and a 48-inch Hi-Lift jack – all necessities for the trail.

Additional exterior elements include an all-new grille and headlamp housings with blacked-out accents. The power dome-style hood is unique and echoes the design cues of Chevrolet’s Duramax-powered Silverado heavy-duty trucks.

The Colorado ZR2 wears a concept Cyprus Green exterior color, with Henna Orange accents and custom ZR2 identification on the rear fenders, tailgate and grille.

Inside, the concept off-roader features the same blend of capability and comfort found in the production Colorado Z71, with ZR2 logos embroidered on the front-seat headrests and embossed in the custom Chevrolet Accessories-based floor liners. The ZR2 logo is featured on the instrument cluster display, as well as a custom inclinometer that shows degree of incline from front to back, and side to side.

Additional electronic accessories have been added to the center stack to make the Colorado ZR2 a true off-road warrior. Incorporated into the piano key bank is AUX toggle and four additional toggles: two for winch in and winch out operation; and two for the electronic front- and rear-locking differentials.

The Jet Black leather-trimmed interior features orange stitching that complements the exterior’s orange accents.

All-new 2.8L Duramax diesel

The Colorado ZR2 concept’s new 2.8L Duramax diesel packs the power – an estimated 181 horsepower at 3,400 rpm and 369 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm – to tackle the toughest trails.

The 2.8L Duramax diesel is part of a new, global family of turbo-diesel four-cylinder engines designed to deliver more-efficient capability. It features a variable-geometry turbocharger for optimal power and efficiency across the rpm band and a balance shaft for greater smoothness.

“This new Duramax diesel engine will take efficient capability to an entirely new plateau for the midsize truck segment,” said Johnson. “Its broad torque band makes it very powerful at low rpm, while the turbocharged performance provides a confident feeling of immediate and smooth power on demand – attributes customers will appreciate when trailering.”

The engine is backed by a six-speed automatic transmission.

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Concept....I hope they are studying what made the S10 ZR2 a success and don't go too overboard with the funky stuff. Wheelers that use bead lock wheels plan on beating the crap out of them...keep them simple and cheap or offer some steelies. Bigger wheels and tires are a given, but include bigger axles and a lower gear ratio. Maybe offer a tougher t-case....hmmm...maybe the diesel needs that anyways with the extra torque??? Wheelers enjoy the hard parts and can ALWAYS buy bolt-ons.

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Make it a crew cab with aftermarket support and I will buy one
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