Weight, Don’t Tell Me: Chevrolet Rounds Out ZR2 Family With HD Variant

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

As is the wont of most brands, Chevrolet has decided to wring every single ounce of goodwill from a popular trim. Having first shown up on the midsize Colorado about five years ago, the ZR2 name quickly migrated to the Silverado half-ton and is now being applied to the mighty Silverado HD.

And it’s heavy. Real heavy.

At least this is far more than a cynical marketing exercise. For example, GM has gone through the trouble of fettling the excellent Multimatic DSSV dampers for application on a heavy-duty truck, making sure this thing has the mouth to match its trousers. A 1.5-inch lift kit provides extra ground clearance, 35-inch Goodyear Wranglers on 18-inch wheels chew through the landscape, and larger skid plates are standing by in case the driver bashes into stuff. Also on board are specific upper and lower control arms up front plus unique steering knuckles, all of which should help deal with off-road abuse and the stresses of that factory lift.

The standard kit under the hood is a 6.6-liter gasser, making 401 horsepower and 464 lb-ft of torque. A diesel mill of equal displacement is optional, belting out 470 ponies and 975 lb-ft of Detroit twist. Chevy says about two-thirds of Silverado HD shoppers select the oil burner, though they expect approximately three-quarters of ZR2 buyers to live the diesel lifestyle. A 10-speed automatic is on deck for both.

Like other ZR2 trucks, a Bison package will be available. Layered on top of the ZR2 trim, it adds the likes of extra skid plates, unique steel bumpers, provisions for a winch, and a smattering of appearance items. Ground clearance in the Bison jumps by 0.2 inches over the ZR2, to 11.8 inches. This increases breakover angle to 22.6 degrees, though the departure angle is equal to the ZR2 at 25.7 degrees. Interestingly, the winch-ready gear reduces the angle of attack to 29.8 degrees from 32.5 in the standard ZR2.

This all adds up to weight. A lot of it. Diesel-powered Bison models will press into off-road trails to the tune of 8,495 pounds – plus fuel, passengers, and gear. With a 2,811-pound payload, it is not a stretch to imagine five tons of Chevy bounding its way over planet Earth. Note that gasoline-powered Silverado HDs are roughly 700 pounds lighter than a diesel, while Bison gear adds about 400 pounds.

The Silverado HD receives a sorely needed interior overhaul, cribbing much from the half-ton and being better off for it. Gone are the old-school tech and woefully small displays in most examples, though Work Truck and Custom trims retain last year’s interior for now. GM is taking the same approach with its half-tons as well.

Production of the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado HD ZR2 and ZR2 Bison begins later this summer at Flint Assembly in Michigan.

[Image: Chevrolet]

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Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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4 of 22 comments
  • InCogKneeToe InCogKneeToe on Apr 14, 2023

    I recall GM Product Plus Training in the 90's. After every Training Session we were handed a "Suggestion Card" that were supposedly sent to GM as sort of "Word from the Front Line". Everytime I wrote "Need a Factory Lifted Off Road Truck"

    3 times/year, 1992-1996, GM's response? The Sonoma ZR2 High Rider? It sold well, but wasn't even close to a Full Size Truck! so 30 years or so, isn't too bad?

    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Apr 14, 2023

      The Trail Boss 1500 has become GM's best selling pickup option. I saw a 1500 ZR2 yesterday.

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Apr 14, 2023

    "8,495 pounds"

    It is heavy because of the airbags. Source: TTAC comments

    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Apr 14, 2023

      The Bison kit adds quite a bit of weight due to skid plates. The Colorado ZR2 Bison is 200 pounds heavier than the standard ZR2.

  • Lichtronamo Watch as the non-us based automakers shift more production to Mexico in the future.
  • 28-Cars-Later " Electrek recently dug around in Tesla’s online parts catalog and found that the windshield costs a whopping $1,900 to replace.To be fair, that’s around what a Mercedes S-Class or Rivian windshield costs, but the Tesla’s glass is unique because of its shape. It’s also worth noting that most insurance plans have glass replacement options that can make the repair a low- or zero-cost issue. "Now I understand why my insurance is so high despite no claims for years and about 7,500 annual miles between three cars.
  • AMcA My theory is that that when the Big 3 gave away the store to the UAW in the last contract, there was a side deal in which the UAW promised to go after the non-organized transplant plants. Even the UAW understands that if the wage differential gets too high it's gonna kill the golden goose.
  • MKizzy Why else does range matter? Because in the EV advocate's dream scenario of a post-ICE future, the average multi-car household will find itself with more EVs in their garages and driveways than places to plug them in or the capacity to charge then all at once without significant electrical upgrades. Unless each vehicle has enough range to allow for multiple days without plugging in, fighting over charging access in multi-EV households will be right up there with finances for causes of domestic strife.
  • 28-Cars-Later WSJ blurb in Think or Swim:Workers at Volkswagen's Tennessee factory voted to join the United Auto Workers, marking a historic win for the 89- year-old union that is seeking to expand where it has struggled before, with foreign-owned factories in the South.The vote is a breakthrough for the UAW, whose membership has shrunk by about three-quarters since the 1970s, to less than 400,000 workers last year.UAW leaders have hitched their growth ambitions to organizing nonunion auto factories, many of which are in southern states where the Detroit-based labor group has failed several times and antiunion sentiment abounds."People are ready for change," said Kelcey Smith, 48, who has worked in the VW plant's paint shop for about a year, after leaving his job at an Amazon.com warehouse in town. "We look forward to making history and bringing change throughout the entire South."   ...Start the clock on a Chattanooga shutdown.