Awards Truck of the Year

Chevrolet Colorado ZR2: 2018 Motor Trend Truck of the Year Finalist

A game-changer in its segment

A game-changer in its segment

We Like: Go-anywhere, do-anything off-road capability; great on-road manners

We Don’t Like: Gone-hunting gearbox

If there were a dark horse candidate for this year’s Truck of the Year title, it would’ve been the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.

The Colorado has won the Calipers before, and Chevy has made some extensive changes to create an impressive off-road version from this dimensionally tidy truck.

The new ZR2 gets aggressive bodywork, a suspension lift, Baja-ready Multimatic DSSV dampers, and locking front and rear differentials—making it our trailblazer of choice. “It absolutely crushed any off-road challenge,” Mark Rechtin said. Added Alex Nishimoto: “It glides over rocks and ruts effortlessly.”

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Under the hood, the 186-hp 2.8-liter turbodiesel I-4 and six-speed auto is untouched, but the 308-hp 3.6-liter gasoline V-6 and its eight-speed auto are new, gaining a few horsepower and fuel-saving tech to boot.

On pavement, the ZR2’s manners are exceptional, its handling frisky like an eager puppy. But although the new gas powertrain is a dramatic improvement, the gearbox is constantly hunting; the lack of low-end torque is apparent. And the slower but more efficient diesel could use the eight-speed auto.

Although most people won’t tow, the ZR2 was labored but adequate hauling a 4,000-pound (1,814-kg) load on the Davis Dam grade. In our parking lot test, maneuvering the short-wheelbase ZR2 with a trailer was easy—until backing straight up meant chasing your tail.

Inside, Chris Walton found a too-short seat bottom and the lack of an A-pillar grab handle among its shortcomings. And its headlight brilliance, reach, and clarity definitely need to be improved.

But for its primary purposes, the ZR2 is a game-changer in its segment.

Read about other 2018 Truck of the Year Finalists:

2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 V6 2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Duramax Diesel
DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD Front-engine, 4WD
ENGINE TYPE Turbodiesel 60-deg V-6, iron block/alum heads Supercharged 90-deg V-6, alum block/heads
VALVETRAIN DOHC, 4 valves/cyl DOHC, 4 valves/cyl
DISPLACEMENT 182.6 cu in/2,993 cc 182.8 cu in/2,995 cc
POWER (SAE NET) 254 hp @ 3,750 rpm 340 hp @ 6,500 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 443 lb-ft @ 1,750 rpm 332 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm
REDLINE 4,800 rpm 6,750 rpm
WEIGHT TO POWER 22.0 lb/hp 16.1 lb/hp
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic
AXLE/FINAL-DRIVE RATIO 3.21:1/2.14:1/2.93:1 3.73:1/2.49:1/2.93:1
SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR Multilink, air springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, air springs, anti-roll bar Multilink, air springs, anti-roll bar; multilink, air springs, anti-roll bar
STEERING RATIO 17.6:1 17.6:1
BRAKES, F; R 14.2-in vented disc; 13.8-in vented disc, ABS 14.2-in vented disc; 13.8-in vented disc, ABS
WHEELS, F;R 8.5 x 20-in cast aluminum 9.5 x 21-in cast aluminum
TIRES, F;R 255/55R20 110W (M+S) Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric AT 275/45R21 110W (M+S) Pirelli Scorpion Verde All Season
WHEELBASE 128.5 in 128.5 in
TRACK, F/R 65.9/65.9 in 65.9/65.9 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 212.4 x 76.7 x 72.2 in 212.4 x 76.7 x 72.2 in
TURNING CIRCLE 44.0 ft 44.0 ft
CURB WEIGHT 4,760 lb 4,983 lb
WEIGHT DIST, F/R 57/43% 58/42%
HEADROOM, F/R 41.4/38.3 in 41.4/38.3 in
LEGROOM, F/R 45.0/38.5 in 45.0/38.5 in
SHOULDER ROOM, F/R 57.5/56.2 in 57.5/53.3 in
CARGO VOLUME BEH 1ST ROW 00.0 cu ft 00.0 cu ft
PICKUP BOX L x W x H 61.7 x 57.8 x 20.9 in 61.7 x 57.8 x 20.9 in
PICKUP BOX VOLUME 41.3 cu ft 41.3 cu ft
PAYLOAD CAPACITY 1,100 lb 1,100 lb
TOWING CAPACITY 5,000 lb 5,000 lb
0-30 2.6 sec 2.8 sec
0-40 3.8 4.6
0-50 5.3 6.8
0-60 7.1 9.7
0-70 9.4 13.3
0-80 12.1 18.7
0-90 15.8 26.6
PASSING, 45-65 MPH 3.6 5.7
QUARTER MILE 15.5 sec @ 90.0 mph 17.2 sec @ 78.4 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 135 ft 132 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.70 g (avg) 0.69 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 29.1 sec @ 0.58 g (avg) 29.5 sec @ 0.55 g (avg)
TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH 1,550 rpm 2,000 rpm
BASE PRICE $42,780 $46,280
PRICE AS TESTED $45,020 $47,970
AIRBAGS 6: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain 6: Dual front, front side, f/r curtain
BASIC WARRANTY 3 yrs/36,000 miles 3 yrs/36,000 miles
POWERTRAIN WARRANTY 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles
ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE 5 yrs/60,000 miles 5 yrs/60,000 miles
FUEL CAPACITY 21.0 gal 21.0 gal
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 16.3/19.8/17.7 mpg 16.1/23.9/18.8 mpg
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON 16/18/17 mpg 19/22/20 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 211/187 kW-hrs/100 miles 199/171 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.15 lb/mile 1.10 lb/mile
RECOMMENDED FUEL Unleaded regular Diesel
† SAE Certified