Having first debuted on the Chevy S-10 compact pickup back in 1994, the ZR2 name will find a new home on the 2015 Colorado. Chevy has introduced a Colorado ZR2 Concept at the L.A. auto show to give us an idea of what a future off-road Colorado will look like.
The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept rides 2 inches higher and is 4 inches wider than a Colorado Z71 for enhanced stability and extra ground clearance when driving off the beaten path. New front and rear fascias help reduce front and rear overhang, allowing for greater approach and departure angles of 30.7 and 22.7 degrees, respectively. Other enhancements include beefed-up 275/65R18 off-road tires, 18-inch aluminum wheels, and a spare wheel/tire assembly mounted in the bed.
Most notably, the 2.8 Duramax diesel engine that powers the concept previews what we expect to see in the Colorado lineup next year. This all-new turbodiesel four-banger delivers a modest 181 hp — less than the standard 200 hp on the base Colorado’s 2.5-liter gas I-4 — but a whopping 369 lb-ft of torque should provide plenty of twisting force at low rpm. Expect the diesel engine to come paired with a six-speed automatic.
Suspension changes will also help improve the Colorado ZR2’s off-road capability. Mono-tube coil-over shock absorbers by King allow for greater suspension travel, and electronic-locking front and rear differentials improve traction.
A number of cosmetic enhancements will make the ZR2 immediately recognizable from the traditional Colorado. A new grille, Cyprus Green exterior with Henna Orange accents, and unique ZR2 badging make the exterior stand out, while a power dome-styled hood harkens back to Chevrolet’s Silverado heavy-duty trucks. Inside, look for a leather-trim black interior and more ZR2 badging on the headrests and instrument cluster display.
It has been quite some time since we’ve seen a ZR2 vehicle from Chevrolet. After appearing on the S-10 from 1994 to 2003, the ZR2 was also added to the S-Series Blazer in 1996. Chevy also offered an S-10 BAJA off-road vehicle from 1988 to 1991.