2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2 review: A rough-and-tumble midsize truck

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Not everyone enjoys the Colorado ZR2’s up-to-date grille, but it really is surely additional intense than in advance of.

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The Chevrolet Colorado is an oldie but a goodie. Yeah, this midsize truck feels out-of-date, but regardless of a number of deficits right here and there it remains a reliable alternative in a phase rife with less-than-stellar competition. If you want enhanced off-road capability or the open up-mattress hauling ease only a pickup truck can give, but do not want or want a comprehensive-dimensions rig, this Chevy is a good selection.


  • Manageable proportions
  • Respectable functionality
  • Off-road hardware

Don’t Like

  • Total-dimensions pickup gas economy
  • V6 could be smoother
  • Bothersome rock rails

To keep factors new, the Colorado acquired a number of enhancements for 2021. Mainline versions get a reworked — and arguably additional handsome — entrance end, an 8-inch infotainment screen is typical on the LT trim and higher and 17-inch wheels are now incorporated at no more demand. The off-road-prepared ZR2 model attributes comparable improvements, though its confront is noticeably additional intense, searching considerably like the boxy Silverado 1500’s prow, for superior or even worse. Last but not least, 3 new exterior colors are offered throughout the vary which includes Cherry Crimson Tintcoat, which is what you see right here.

What sets the ZR2 apart from lesser Colorados is its off-road hardware. The suspension rewards from a 2-inch elevate and the track, equally entrance and rear, is three.five inches broader. Holding factors beneath manage even though bombing by means of the desert, clambering over boulders or just cruising your area Household Depot parking good deal is a set of Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve dampers. These shocks help manage the Colorado ZR2’s starchy springs, which supply a firm on-road journey. Though the truck laughs at pothole impacts and huge bumps, you truly feel almost every single expansion joint on the highway. Its Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires are mounted on elegant, multicolor 17-inch wheels and ought to deliver sufficient grip even though trail-bashing, even if they broadcast a great deal of noise on pavement.

The Colorado is presented with 3 diverse engines, two of which are offered in the ZR2. This example attributes the three.6-liter gasoline V6, which cranks out 308 horsepower and 275 pound-ft of torque. For all you compression-ignition aficionados out there, a 2.8-liter Duramax diesel is presented. Decrease-trim Colorados can be experienced with a 4-cylinder gasoline motor, though it really is probably most effective to stay clear of this malnourished alternative. Matched to a quick-witted and polished eight-pace automated transmission, the V6 has no difficulty shifting this midsize truck with affordable authority. The turbocharged Ford Ranger may well have additional reduced-end grunt and a Honda Ridgeline’s V6 could possibly be smoother, but this Chevy’s motor receives the work done with minimal fanfare.

The Colorado may well be additional maneuverable than a comprehensive-dimensions truck, but it really is no additional economical. As it sits, this example is rated at sixteen miles per gallon in the town and eighteen mpg highway. Blended, it ought to return 17 mpg, a determine I topped by about .4 mpg in serious-planet driving. It really is normally wonderful when you can exceed a vehicle’s merged gas-economy rating without the need of even hoping, though this Chevy ought to probably be additional economical than it is. I imply, a Silverado 1500 TrailBoss with the top rated-dog 6.2-liter V8 has the similar merged gas economy score and it even beats the Colorado on the highway, returning an advertised 19 mpg. What is actually the level of getting a midsize truck if a regular fifty percent-ton is additional cost-effective?

It can truly feel a minimal buzzy at moments, but this three.6-liter V6 motor receives the work done.

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If you tow or haul sizeable masses on the reg, you’ll probably also want a burlier truck than this Chevy. The Colorado ZR2’s most payload rating is just one,350 kilos and it can only drag up to five,000 kilos. The Ranger and Jeep Gladiator’s┬ápeak figures quickly eclipse the Chevy’s — hell, the car-primarily based Ridgeline can haul 233 kilos additional, even if its towing capability is the similar. It is worthy of noting, however, that non-ZR2 Colorados are additional capable. Their most payload rating is a additional-aggressive one,550 kilos and they can tow up to 7,700 kilos when fitted with the diesel motor.

When it really is time to go trail-bashing, the ZR2 has a leg up over all of its midsize rivals besides, potentially, the Gladiator. Locking differentials entrance and rear help it get out of tricky predicaments. It really is also graced with a great deal of underbody shielding and other attributes like hill-descent manage. Rock rails alongside every single sill are wonderful for shielding the overall body from jagged terrain, though coupled with that elevated journey height they make getting into and out of this truck hard if you do not want to soil your pant legs with grime or mud. A pair of dazzling crimson recovery hooks punctuates the ZR2’s entrance end and is at the prepared ought to you get in as well deep even though off-roading.

The ZR2 is offered with a range of physical appearance-improving alternatives groups, but if more capability is what you crave, take into account the $five,750 Bison package deal. This upgrade turns an already capable truck into a serious mountain goat. It receives you a bunch of package from American Expedition Autos which includes a unique entrance bumper with provisions to mount a winch, boron-steel skid plates for additional underbody safety, special fender flares, unique 17-inch wheels and additional.

The Colorado’s interior is a no-frills zone.

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The Chevy Colorado’s fundamentals are primarily amazing, but its interior and tech are what bely its state-of-the-art age. For superior or even worse, this truck’s interior is fundamentally the similar as it was 5 or six several years back, which signifies you get a great deal of so-so challenging plastics and leather-based that feels additional like vinyl than anything at all shucked off a residing creature. The dashboard’s total structure is also as conservative as a Southern Baptist, with no frills or fascinating style and design prospers to be experienced. The edge of this easy, honest structure, however, is that all the secondary buttons and knobs are effortless to arrive at and see, with the weather controls getting mounted up substantial and the seat-heater switches in an obvious put.

The Colorado is at ease, with the entrance chairs adjusting nicely to accommodate taller people, even if the cushions are very flat. The crew-taxi body’s rear bench seat is a little bit on the upright side, par for the midsize-truck course, but it can healthy a couple of 6-foot-tall grownups without the need of substantially difficulty. The reduce cushions also flip up, revealing a storage cubby for stashing factors away from prying eyes.

These Multimatic dampers help make the ZR2 model an accomplished off-roader.

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Like its total interior style and design, this truck’s tech is guiding the moments. Sure, my tester’s 8-inch dashboard screen is great more than enough, property to a fast and cleanse infotainment method which is a satisfaction to use, but integrated navigation fees an more $995, even on the substantial-end ZR2 model. Luckily, if you do not truly feel like shelling out an more grand of challenging-earned scratch, Apple CarPlay and Android Vehicle are prepared, eager and typical throughout the board.

But no issue how substantially you devote, you are unable to get push-button start in this truck. In its place, every single Colorado will come with an old-fashioned stick-and-twist critical. For you little ones that are not acquainted, you get a thin piece of metal, jab it into a receptacle on the steering column and transform it to fire the motor up. Likewise, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic notify and lane centering are not presented, but at the very least keyless entry is offered on even the most-standard Operate Truck model, and you can get the Colorado with distant start.

Even with its several years, the Colorado is even now a very good midsize truck.

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Speaking of revenue, a foundation, rear-wheel-travel version of this truck with the 4-cylinder motor commences at 26 grand and adjust. With several additional attributes and a crew-taxi overall body, the Colorado ZR2 tested right here checks out for a substantially-steeper $44,890, which includes $one,195 in vacation spot expenses. The sole alternative padding that determine is the paint work, which fees $495.

The Chevy Colorado’s grey hairs are surely showing, but regardless of its age, this truck remains a very good alternative — a single I favor in some methods to the Ranger and Gladiator. For basic-reason use, the Honda Ridgeline is even now the most effective all-close to midsize pickup in my humble opinion, but if you want anything with additional rugged seems and a good deal additional off-road capability, the ZR2 could healthy the invoice.