By on June 17, 2022

Gearheads with a thirst for the off-road are spoilt for choice – and there’s more on the way. Chevrolet has announced a truck at which they were strongly hinting earlier this year: The Silverado ZR2 Bison.

For those keeping up with the latest naming schemes coming out of Detroit, permit this 4×4-addled author to bring you up to speed. On the new Silverado, a ZR2 trim has usurped the Z71 for off-road supremacy, appending the pickup with Multimatic DSSV shocks of the kind found on the smaller Colorado ZR2 truck. In addition to the trick dampers, other off-road goodies help separate ZR2 from Z71 including the likes of front and rear lockers plus specific 33-inch tires and a unique skid plate package.

It’s that latter item in which we expect the ZR2 Bison will distance itself from a standard ZR2. When the crew at American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) were tasked with building the Colorado ZR2 Bison, they opted to focus their efforts on underside protection, fitting the truck with extra skid plates over expensive bits like the oil pan and transfer case. In a bid to save weight, these were stamped out of boron steel, a substance that is lighter than traditional materials but can apparently withstand the type of abuse typically hurled at trucks by off-roaders.

Absent any official word from GM, we’ll logically assume similar additions will find their way onto the Silverado ZR2 Bison as well. Aggressively turning up the brightness on screen grabs from the video suggests AEV may tweak the Silverado front bumper as well, perhaps in a bid to improve those all-important approach angles. Toss in some unique styling features – the grille has more body color than a ZR2 and the Multiflex tailgate has a contrasting panel if you look closely in the video – and Chevy likely has yet another off-road trim for which they can charge a few extra shekels. Predictably, pricing wasn’t announced but we’ll note here the Bison package is a $5,750 option box on the Colorado.

What do you think? With the myriad of bowtie off-road options (Z71, ZR2, Bison) in two different sizes (Colorado and Silverado) plus the associated GMC equivalents (AT4, AT4X, and the like) is The General cutting their pie into very small slivers? Sound off in the comments below.

[Images: GM]

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28 Comments on “Chevy Confirms Bison Trim of Silverado ZR2...”


  • avatar
    dal20402

    Every off-road special just makes me nostalgic for the days when insecure men slaked their worries by driving screaming-chicken Trans Ams, instead of machines which can’t stop or turn and out of which it’s impossible to see pedestrians.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      In my neck of the woods, Fire Chickens were the domain of spoiled high-school kids.
      Full-sized pickups with “advanced” off-road packages tend to be the domain of “primpers and preeners”. They seldom will venture anywhere challenging.

      F150 Raptors are too wide to be practical. Same goes for the TRX. A Silverado ZR2 Crewcab Bison is just too long. Break-over angle is the problem here. One can argue that a Tremor F250/F350 makes sense since it would enhance its abilities in a tough work environment but there too, all of the one’s I see are street queens.

      • 0 avatar
        kcflyer

        your comment about the Raptor is off base. They were designed to be high speed desert runners. Not jeep trail crawlers. I’ve watched raptors move across nasty desert terrain at over 100 mph. Amazing trucks.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @kcflyer – How much of the USA is desert? And how much of that terrain is open to public use?

          Raptor and the TRX are both capable at high speed desert running, that is true.

          As far as my comment about the F150 Raptor and Ram TRX being too wide to be practical, that comment still stands. Most people don’t buy a pickup for a single specific use, they are multipurpose tools. A 1/2 ton that’s as wide as a one ton dually isn’t very practical in day to day use. To be fair, a one ton dually isn’t very practical either.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            More of it is desert than race track yet people buy all manner of vehicles that can only approach their limits on a track.

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff S

            @Lou_BC–Agree most of the Raptors I see around where I live have never been off road and most are either garage queens or mall crawlers which is not to say they are incapable of going off road just that they are more of a status symbol. Just like where you live a large wide truck with 300 or more hp is not an ideal off road vehicle for narrow roads with lots of hills and creeks. Most off roaders around me have old compact Toyotas, older Ford Rangers, S-10s and older Jeeps. The Raptors, Bisons, and Power Wagons are more likely to be future Barrett-Jackson collector trucks that will be tucked away in climate controlled garages only to be taken out for car and truck shows.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            “How much of the USA is desert?”

            If you go looking for backroads where anticipated policing is light enough to allow you to not be too much slower point to point than you would be by simply sitting at 10-over on the nearest freeway: You’ll find quite a few roads which are paved at both ends, but have a significant, sometimes less than maintained, section in the middle which is not Panamera friendly in the slightest….. And those roads, are pretty much guaranteed to offer far too low a return on investment for the donut grazers. So if you had a vehicle which lets you haul the mail even over cruiser-unfriendly terrain……

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            In that scenario, one would also need a kidney belt and an adult diaper.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @stuki – I prefer back roads and gravel roads over paved highways. The problem in my part of the world is that the majority of gravel roads are industrial roads used for logging, mining, and cattle ranching.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            @Lou_BC:

            I’ve been near lost on more or less abandoned logging roads in the BC interior on several occasions. Not much use for a Raptor’s talents there.

            The Colorado Bison with the diesel, would be much more useful: It fits better. And still has a suspension which allows for meaningfully higher speeds without shaking people to death in the more open sections, compared to more typical solid axle trucks and Jeeps.

            But in Nevada and thereabouts, there are open stretches of semimaintained dirt, with enough straight sections and vegetation-free visibility to let the Raptor stretch its engine. The way fuel prices are going, a Colorado diesel increasingly make more sense even there, though.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @stuki – There is a myriad network of old logging roads in BC. As a kid my dad pointed out that the road alignment points towards the sawmill or main highway. If a road splits you are heading further out and if a road merges into another like a “y” then you are heading towards a mill or town. Also roads get more narrow and less built up as you get closer to a cutblock.
            There are places where “cut-off” or “bridging” roads are in place were you can crossover to another road network. There are less and less areas with these roads because planners try to confine traffic to a single watershed basin. The “new” orthodoxy also involves “deactivation”. They will deliberately remove bridges and build erosion bars into roads to shut down access. Often that’s done more to appease liability lawyers than environmentalists.

            Active logging roads typically have kilometer markers and signage indicating “up” and “down”.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Oy! I can only imagine the carnage which probably resulted! Twisted Trans Ams around trees at best, with dead kids at the worst!

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      So in the process of boning up on European Geography, I ran across the Albanian flag and my ignorant American brain said “Firebird!!!” and now I can’t unsee it.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      I would not be so nostalgic for the stopping or turning abilities of a Screaming Chicken.

      From Car & Driver:

      https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/comparison-test/a15142491/chevrolet-camaro-z-28-vs-pontiac-firebird-trans-am-archived-comparison-test/

      https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/comparison-test/a34429175/2021-ram-1500-trx-vs-2020-ford-f-150-raptor-supercrew/

      Highlights:
      1977 Camaro – 208 ft stopping distance from 70 mph, 0.74g skidpad
      2020 Raptor – 195 ft, 0.72g
      2021 TRX – 189 ft, 0.70g

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Automotive tech has definitely come a long, long way since 1977. But you have to think that fitting that old T/A with modern tires and brakes might yield some huge improvements.

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          “Automotive tech has definitely come a long, long way since 1977.”

          Well let’s see… it looks like automotive technology has come 19 feet. 19 feet in 45 years. That’s 5 inches per year (less if you’re Ford).

          Probably unfair since the ’77 Camaro had rear drums? (thereby giving too much credit to automotive tech over the interval)

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Yep, they’re huge, but thanks to modern tech, they’re also respectable all-around performers.

            I suppose if you took a ’77 pickup and stuffed it with a ton of horsepower, you could get it to go as fast as a Raptor or TRX does, but Lord help you if you have to turn or stop…or keep you alive if you end up in a crash.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @FreedMike – American Top Gear had a Raptor on their track. It performed reasonably well considering.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Would be very interested to see the screaming chicken’s results on (1) a set of average 2022 tires and (2) a set of high-end summer tires.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “Bison”? Not enough toxic-manhood energy there. How about “Rockhard”?

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    “boron steel”

    In case you find yourself cutting apart a Volvo:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20181222170906/http://www.resqmed.com/BoronSteel1.pdf

    [Excerpt: “at the conclusion of the cut, a considerable jarring effect will reverberate through the seat and transfer to the casualty”]

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    In that scenario, one would also need a kidney belt and an adult diaper.

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