Docs Show Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Coming, But What's a 'Colorado Bison'?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

General Motors has a hit on its hands with the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups, but the Renaissance Center braintrust seems to feel the automaker’s growing slice of the segment’s rising market share should grow faster, and sooner.

According to uncovered documents, GM appears ready to diversify its midsize pickup offerings for those who feel a full-size pickup is just too much, but still want piles of choice.

The first likely offering is the Colorado ZR2 — an off-road 4×4 variant with a more aggressive stance modeled after the ZR2 concept truck unveiled in 2014. That concept packed a 2.8-liter diesel four-cylinder, which later found its way into the Colorado/Canyon line. Don’t expect that mill in a production version, though.

A California Environmental Protection Agency-Air Resources Board certification document published by The Fast Lane Trucks lists a 2017 model year Colorado ZR2 4×4. The document reveals a conventional powertrain, which GM just happened to upgrade for 2017. If we’re to believe it — and why would a regulator make a fib on paper? — the Colorado ZR2 should sport a 3.6-liter V6 producing 308 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque coupled to an eight-speed automatic.

What the document doesn’t provide are details on the ZR2’s off-road prowess. The concept bowed with a host of goodies — body cladding, skid plates, upgraded shocks and locking rear differentials — which should appear, to some degree, on a production version.

While the ZR2’s true nature is hardly a mystery, there’s plenty of head-scratching over another name attached to the Colorado. GM Authority reports that GM has filed a trademark application for “Colorado Bison.” The application, filed for on motor vehicles, namely trucks, is dated October 10.

Bison? It certainly ties in with the Colorado nameplate. The shaggy things once roamed the Great Plains in huge numbers before the advent of trains and repeating rifles. And man, it’s a delicious meat.

Now, what does the name signify in the Colorado lineup? Our money’s on a high-end trim line, not unlike the Laramie Longhorn and King Ranch models from those other automakers.

[Image: General Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on Oct 18, 2016

    Being that this truck is named after the State of Colorado it would be more befitting to have "High Country" as its top trim to honor its new cash crop.

  • Domestic Hearse Domestic Hearse on Oct 19, 2016

    Because Colorado Buffaloes was already taken. And the UofC, Boulder mascot technically isn't a buffalo. It's a bison. Which makes Chevy technically correct.

  • M B When the NorthStar happened, it was a part of GM's "rebuilding" of the Cadillac brand. Money to finance it was shuffled from Oldsmobile, which resulted in Olds having to only facelift its products, which BEGAN its slide down the mountain. Olds stagnated in product and appearances.First time I looked at the GM Parts illustration of a NorthStar V-8, I was impressed AND immediately saw the many things that were expensive, costly to produce, and could have been done less expensively. I saw it as an expensive disaster getting ready to happen. Way too much over-kill for the typical Cadillac owner of the time.Even so, there were a few areas where cost-cutting seemed to exist. The production gasket/seal between the main bearing plate and the block was not substantial enough to prevent seeps. At the time, about $1500.00 to fix.In many ways, the NS engine was designed to make far more power than it did. I ran across an article on a man who was building kits to put the NS in Chevy S-10 pickups. With his home-built 4bbl intake and a 600cfm Holley 4bbl, suddenly . . . 400 horsepower resulted. Seems the low hood line resulted in manifolding compromises which decreased the production power levels.GM was seeking to out-do its foreign competitors with the NS design and execution. In many ways they did, just that FEW people noticed.
  • Redapple2 Do Hybrids and be done with it.
  • Redapple2 Panamera = road porn.
  • Akear What an absurd strategy. They are basically giving up after all these years. When a company drinks the EV hemlock failure is just around the corner.
  • Graham The answer to a question that shouldn't have been asked LOL