Once I hear the phrase “bison,” two issues come to thoughts. Naturally, there’s the massive, beefy animal. However there’s additionally M. Bison, the ultimate boss within the Tremendous Nintendo sport Road Fighter II, who cleaned Eight-year-old Jon Wong’s clock extra occasions than I care to recollect. Both method, “bison” evokes ideas of robust and difficult specimens. Very becoming for this off-road-ready 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison.

More durable truck

The ZR2 Bison is probably the most rugged model of Chevy’s Colorado, carrying an array of items that higher prep it for critical path responsibility. Chevy did not develop the components in-house, both, as a substitute trying to the off-road specialists at Wixom, Michigan-based American Expedition Autos.  

The result’s 5 heavy-duty, hot-stamped, boron metal skid plates to defend the radiator, entrance and rear differentials, switch case and fuel tank from taking injury when crawling over rocks. That is all the higher for critical overlanding journeys.

A bit extra noticeable are the metal bumpers with the entrance that includes mounting factors for a winch. The rear will get built-in restoration factors for the occasions you want pull a caught compatriot’s automobile out of a mud bathroom or get tugged out of 1 your self. AEV additionally gives an non-compulsory snorkel that is suitable with any Colorado mannequin to offer clear, filtered air to the engine when churning via mud and sand.

Finishing the meaner look is a brand new grille that forgoes the normal Chevy bowtie for a bolder in-your-face “CHEVROLET” grille, commonplace fog lights, Bison-specific 17-inch aluminum wheels wrapped with 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler tires and AEV badges. All of that joins the ZR2’s tubular rocker protecting aspect rails and wheel flares.

The Bison’s unique grille and metal bumper offers it a meaner mug.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Untouched mechanicals

Outdoors the beefier exterior bits and extra substantial underbody armor, the Bison is equivalent to the common ZR2. It is obtainable in Prolonged Cab or Crew Cab kinds, powered by a three.6-liter V6 making 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque. This engine is mated to an eight-speed computerized transmission that helps the ZR2 return an estimated 18 miles per gallon within the metropolis and 22 mpg on the freeway. For an extra $three,500 you possibly can improve to a 2.7-liter diesel I4, pumping out 186 horsepower and a scrumptious 369 pound-feet of twist. A six-speed computerized handles shifting duties right here, and the diesel engine’s gasoline financial system matches that of its gasoline equal.

The ZR2’s chassis carries over largely unchanged, as nicely, with commonplace entrance and rear digital locking differentials and a three.42 rear axle. The suspension has a 2-inch carry package over regular Colorado pickups, with a three.5-inch wider monitor, Multimatic spool valve dampers and forged iron management arms.

Off the overwhelmed path

With a purpose to give the Bison a correct exercise, Chevy took me to an off-road path east of Phoenix, Arizona. The truck laughs off the primary a part of the expedition, simply scurrying up and down the course’s hills, throughout washouts and over the smaller rocks littering the trail.

The boron metal skids plates turn out to be useful for rock crawling.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

When it got here time to go up and over some huge boulders, our guides inform us to activate the four-wheel drive system’s low vary and lock the rear differential. V6 energy is greater than ample right here, permitting my check truck to recover from all encountered obstacles with ease, and solely gentle throttle modulation. I attempt my greatest to ease the Bison gently down drops, however the skid plates announce that they’re incomes their carry on just a few events with loud screeches.

At no time does it really feel like the bounds of the ZR2 are approached. Granted, the Arizona path is not an excessive Moab run, however it’s removed from a Sunday drive, too. General, the Bison’s stage of off-road prowess is probably going greater than the vast majority of of us will ever actually want.

On the overwhelmed, paved path

On roads main me again to civilization, the Bison behaves in a truck-like method. Steering response is not the quickest, there’s managed physique tip round turns and a few noise when cruising down the freeway, due to the meatier tires. It is under no circumstances sloppy and completely effective to rock round every day in relative consolation.

The Bison’s infotainment system is on level, however security tech is missing.


The inside is of typical sub-par Colorado high quality, with giant swaths of onerous plastic making up the sprint and door panels, and intuitively laid out switchgear. There aren’t any frills right here. It is only a easy pickup truck inside that ought to rise up nicely to common abuse.

Chevrolet’s Infotainment three system is housed on an Eight-inch touchscreen atop the middle stack, controlling navigation, a seven-speaker Bose audio setup, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and Bluetooth. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities are additionally supported. Hat tip to the ZR2’s quite a few energy factors, with a pair of USBs, 12-volt outlet and wi-fi cost pad up entrance. Rear passengers have quick access to a different two USB ports of their very own and a 12-volt outlet on the again of the middle console.

Searching for the most recent security tech? You greatest maintain shifting. In addition to a high-definition backup digital camera, the Bison’s choices checklist would not embody issues like adaptive cruise management, blind-spot monitoring or ahead collision warning with computerized emergency braking.

You’ll go nearly wherever within the Bison. 

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Prepared for journey

The Bison is a massively succesful off-road midsize pickup, although it is not the one sport on the town. The Toyota Tacoma TRD Professional serves as this truck’s direct competitors, however subsequent 12 months, a brand new Jeep Gladiator Rubicon will likely be becoming a member of the fray.

When the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison hits sellers in January, it’s going to be priced at $48,045 for the Prolonged Cab, together with a $995 vacation spot cost. Crew Cab fashions, in the meantime, will begin at $49,645. That is a $5,750 up-charge over the usual ZR2, which can or might not be price it. In case you aren’t scaling over rocks frequently, the Bison’s added could be overkill.

Editors’ be aware: Journey prices associated to this function had been lined by the producer. That is frequent within the auto trade, as it is extra economical to ship journalists to vehicles than to ship vehicles to journalists. Whereas Roadshow accepts multiday automobile loans from producers as a way to present scored editorial evaluations, all scored automobile evaluations are accomplished on our turf and on our phrases.

The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial staff are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material.


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