By on April 11, 2018

Image: GM

With its jacked suspension, cutaway front fenders, and upgraded rubber, the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 appeals to midsize pickup buyers who aren’t in the habit of staying on dry, safe pavement over the course of a weekend. But, while the ZR2 is the General Motors vehicle most cut out for Oregon Trail work, there’s always room for improvement.

In a bid to satisfy these adventurous customers, GM appears ready to offer a better off-roader.

A trademark application filed by the automaker on April 2nd suggests the company plans to put a rugged concept truck into production, Off-Road reports. The name “ZR2 Bison,” which GM hopes to apply to a production vehicle, heralds a brawnier, off-road ZR2 based on the Colorado ZR2 AEV SEMA concept — a collaborative effort between GM and American Expedition Vehicles, the Montana-based vehicle outfitter.

GM showed off the concept, which appears ready to take John Rambo into the heart of some Asian ground war, at the 2017 SEMA show.

Apparently, GM isn’t casually pursuing the idea. A production-ready ZR2 Bison was shown to dealers at a recent meetup in Las Vegas. “The AEV truck they revealed looked nearly identical to the concept vehicle with some minor differences,” one dealer told Off-Road.

The Bison revealed by GM lacked some of the more extravagant add-ons seen on the concept, the dealer said. The snorkel, bed rack, and air compressor panel did not carry over into the production version, though it’s assumed buyers could still turn to AEV to complete the package. Lewis and Clark never had it so good.

What would carry over? Most likely, the concept’s fender flares, long-travel Chevy Performance suspension, other upgraded suspension components (including Multimatic DSSV spool-valve dampers), greater underbody protection, and beefier tires. GM and AEV shod the concept with 35-inch BF Goodrich KM2 Mud-Terrain rubber.

If GM pulls the trigger on the Bison, expect a price bump from the ZR2’s after-delivery MSRP of $42,995.

[Images: General Motors]

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19 Comments on “Bison Territory: Chevrolet Colorado Poised to Head Further Off-road...”

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Super. GM has decided to compete head to head with the Toyota in the Jihadi Beige mid size truck segment.

  • avatar

    Clueless suburbanite here…does anybody really take their new 40/50 grand pickup out to the boonies and bash around? I can see this with an old Jeep maybe, but…??

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      It’s a good question. This is a lot to pay for what is merely butch looks if it never leaves pavement. But leaving pavement risks cosmetic blemishes on an expensive vehicle.

      My new 4Runner didn’t cost this much, but I’ve already installed the Desert Pinstripe Package on it with less than 20K miles on the clock. So some of us do it.

    • 0 avatar

      There is definitely a group of people, however small a percentage, that do just that. Especially well-to-do guys with newer JK Wranglers that throw $10k+ more beyond what they spent on a new Jeep on crazy long-travel lifts, huge wheels, Paxton superchargers, etc. There is a growing “overlanding” community that throw tons of money on roof top tents, lifts and bumpers, on both new and used trucks/SUVs and do indeed use them.

      • 0 avatar

        Can verify. I live within 30 miles of Disney (OK), which is one of the premiere places to smash your truck off of rocks. For footage, google Big Meat Run, etc.

        Many of the vehicles headed for this location on trailers are Dr/Dentist/Oil Executive budget JK’s. I used to wheel an XJ, YJ, and a TJ, but then again the most I ever spent on a Jeep was $16k. Also, breaking axles sucks, but the Rubicon seems to have single-handedly allowed newer rigs on bigger tires to play out there.

      • 0 avatar

        Usually it seems like the majority of people participating on the Land Cruiser forums are making overland or overland-style builds. Not many trucks there without bumpers, drawers, racks, hatch-mounted spares, etc., etc. I almost feel out of place asking a mechanical question about a stock truck.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes. The usual route is to install many thousands of dollars of aftermarket kit onto an already used truck / SUV and go for the occasional weekend off-roading excursion. But even these kitted up vehicles spend most of their time on pavement. After awhile they are parked in the owner’s front yard with a “For Sale” sign on them, where they sit for ages because nobody wants to buy an already customized Frankenstein-like off-road vehicle.

    • 0 avatar

      Sometimes it goes axle-breakingly badly:

    • 0 avatar

      Out here in SoCal, all sorts of Bros and Bro-Dozers in various states of off-road readiness. You can tell some get thrashed weekly and some avoid the water in the gutter as they pull into their driveway.
      My general rule of thumb is…The shinier the paint, wheels and under-carriage – the less often it sees a dirt road.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, absolutely. Every October in particular I see a surprising number of muddy and scratched new trucks from the well to do hunting crowd.

      • 0 avatar

        I worked in a fancy-schmancy body shop in St Louis for several years and had more than a couple of customers who bought G-wagens for elk hunting out west…something to do with locking diffs made them great offroaders in that setting.They would bring them in all skinned-up and have us fix them periodically.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes. I work with some guys who make serious money. Their trucks are not pavement-pampered beauty queens. The guy next to me has a 2018 F-250 FX4 and its covered in mud all the time. Yes, he drives it to work, but he also pulls a boat in the summer and his camper to jobs like this one. He also owns property and the truck spends a fair amount of time in the rough stuff.

      There are several 5 years old or newer domestic trucks with varying degrees of off road battle scars in the camp ground we stay in. Some people might customize their truck and never use it like that, but its no different than someone modding a Subaru and never going to a rally course, or any sports car that never sees track time. Its their money, they can do what they want with it. That’s what is great about this country, and I don’t understand why people see fit to judge others for how they choose to spend their money.

  • avatar

    Bison? (eye roll)

    Why not Cibola? Trademark it before Hyundai does.

  • avatar

    Bison is a strange appellation to apply to a truck from a corporation so enamored with sedan designs of a Buffalo-butt nature.

  • avatar

    I wish they would hire someone to make these packages look cool, whoever designed this must have driven a riced out Honda in high school. It’s a very unattractive ‘minivanesque’ design that screams street queen. The V6 seals the deal that it’s not meant to do any actual off-roading. Sure that might be fine on a base extended cab but a 4 door with 35s that isn’t named Jeep is embarrassing itself with that minivan engine. The snorkel is quite realistically the funniest part, I highly doubt they designed the same electronics going into the O’Reillys special as is going into this to be sealed to protect against water that high. It’s not an Humvee, H1, or hell even an H2 was designed with the intake nearly 5 feet off the ground.

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