Trick dampers make Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 an off-road warrior

25 pictures

The Colorado ZR2 is a unique take on the off-road truck

View gallery - 25 images

Back in 2014, Chevrolet unveiled the Colorado ZR2 Concept in Los Angeles. It looked production ready, and company executives said they'd gauge public interest and think about building it. It would appear the public has spoken, because Chevy has pulled through and unveiled the production ZR2 in Los Angeles after two years of thinking.

The headline feature on the ZR2 is its high-tech Multimatic DSSV dampers, a technology Chevrolet has previously used in the Camaro Z/28 and the likes of which are common in the paddocks of Le Mans and Formula 1. DSSV (Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve) dampers make use of (you guessed it) a spool valve in their body rather than a regular deflected disk valve.

According to Chevrolet, this allows the shock to be precisely and consistently tuned, and allows compression and rebound damping to change based on the load and conditions they're facing. During regular driving, the spool valves in the aluminum damper housing have been tuned for a pliant ride, but a third piston-mounted spool valve offers additional (uniquely tuned) compression damping under extreme off-road use. The front dampers also have a separate rebound valve for when the suspension is close to full extension.

"From our experience on Z/28, we knew the performance advantages offered by DSSV dampers," says Mark Dickens, executive director of performance parts and motorsports engineering at Chevrolet. "A traditional, deflected-disc damper only offers two force-velocity curves for tuning. The ZR2 dampers offer six tuning curves for the front, four at the rear. For the driver, this translates to greater confidence and control in a wider range of driving experiences."

Along with the trick dampers, Chevrolet has fitted electronic locking differentials at both ends, and a proper transfer case as well. This setup allows nine drive configurations, and there's also an electronic off-road mode which loosens up the anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability control for more gravel-road fun. Although it's not nearly as complex as the multi-mode system on the Ford Raptor, it should still be enough to take you deeper into the wilderness than before.

Unlike the other off-road trucks on the market, buyers will have a choice of a diesel or petrol engine. The petrol V6 makes a handy 308 hp (230 kW) of power and 373 Nm (275 lb.ft) of torque, while the optional diesel pumps out 181 hp (135 kW) and 500 Nm (369 lb.ft) of torque, useful for boat-towing. Both engines are hooked up to an automatic eight-speed gearbox.

Although it's taller and wider than the standard Colorado, there aren't all that many unique styling touches to set the ZR2 apart. Even the skid plates and revised bumpers have been fitted for function, not form, improving ground clearance and approach angles compared to the regular model.

No pricing information has been announced for the Colorado ZR2. The car is on display at the Los Angeles Motor Show, where New Atlas is on the ground covering all the action.

Check out the ZR2 in action in the video below:

Source: Chevrolet

View gallery - 25 images

Top stories

Recommended for you

Popular automotive pictures

Latest in Automotive

Editors Choice