With its innovative Multimatic DSSV dampers, rugged good looks, front and rear differential locks, and robust standard features package, the Chevy Colorado ZR2 seems poised to elbow its way into the overland expedition pickup segment that is usually dominated comfortably by the Toyota Tacoma. In fact, we were half expecting Chevy to have a ZR2 booth at Overland Expo West earlier this year. It didn't, but it is highlighting the truck's expedition potential at this week's SEMA Show, debuting the ZR2 AEV developed with the help of the experts at American Expedition Vehicles.

American Expedition Vehicles is a staple of the off-road and overland markets, offering a full catalog of large and small accessories that includes the awesome Wrangler Brute Double Cab. Its vehicle builds regularly turn heads at both Overland Expo and SEMA.

So, although AEV defines itself as a "Jeep Wrangler company," it proved a natural choice when Chevy went looking for a ZR2 show truck partner. The stock ZR2 already includes rock sliders, a lift and skid protection, and AEV further fortifies it for the long, hard road, adding ruggedized bumpers, high-clearance fender flares and a fuller underbody skid protection package. The AEV DualSport beadlock wheels are finished with 35-in BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain KM2 tires.

To further ready the ZR2 for extended adventure (and the SEMA show floor), AEV accessorizes it out from bumper to bumper. A high-rise snorkel extends up out of the right front fender, and LED auxiliary lighting peeks out from the front-end and expedition bed rack. That bed rack looks a little naked without a roof-top tent straddling the top bars, but it does hold an awning from the roof-top tent specialists at James Baroud USA. An ARB fridge-freezer, Warn winch, Equipt aluminum storage boxes, NATO-style fuel cans, recovery shackles, Hi-Lift jack and Maxtrax traction aids fill out the truck's bountiful on/off-road capabilities.

Of course, a build like this wouldn't be complete without some chassis, powertrain or running gear tuning. Chevy leaves the ZR2's 2.8-liter Duramax turbo-diesel alone but adds in a Chevrolet Performance development suspension, putting a special tune to the signature Multimatic DSSV (Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve) shocks and adding front and rear jounce shocks, plunging front half-shafts, optimized high-angle ball joints and tie rods, long-travel rear leaf springs, an anti-wrap link and a rear-differential cover.

That same suspension system also cushions the ZR2 Race Development Truck appearing with the ZR2 AEV at SEMA. This truck builds on Chevy's work with Hall Racing, using long-travel DSSV shocks with a high-speed tune for fast, agile desert running. Other upgrades include a 1.5-in lift, off-road air intake, performance exhaust, 33-in Goodyear Wrangler MT/R tires, rear skid plates, a steel driveshaft, and wheel spacers with extended wheel studs. This truck is powered by the 3.6-liter V6 ZR2 engine.

SEMA won't be a relaxing trip in the desert for Chevy this year. The ZR2 AEV and ZR2 Race Development Truck will appear alongside about 20 other Chevy SEMA show models, ranging from additional trucks to Camaro and Corvette special editions.

SEMA got underway today, the perfect Halloween start for a show based around cars and trucks playing dress-up. New Atlas will be arriving in Las Vegas tomorrow to bring you details about all the latest news and novelties.

Have a look at the ZR2 AEV in the minute-long video below.

Source: Chevrolet

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