Chevrolet has finally attached a price tag to the Colorado ZR2 pickup it introduced at last year's LA auto show, and at $44,215 it becomes the most affordable off-road ready mid-size pickup you can buy straight from a dealer showroom.
The new package lets the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado go up against the 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, a solid off-road truck that starts at $50,000 with a manual transmission, but climbs to more than $53,000 by the time you add the automatic that's part of the Colorado's list of standard features. Evening the score is the ZR2's extended-cab starting point; the five-seat crew-cab body style -- equivalent to the TRD Pro's Double Cab configuration -- is an option. Chevrolet hasn't priced that upgrade yet for the new model, but in the existing Colorado Z71 trim, it costs about $3,000 to go from extended- to crew cab configuration.
Cab preference notwithstanding, what Chevy can't boast is a factory-installed Go-Pro camera mount, a feature Toyota famously made standard in the Tacoma when it was redesigned for 2016.
The Colorado ZR2 marks the return of a label we haven't seen attached to a small GM pickup since the days of the Chevrolet S-10 that preceded the original Colorado. Like that S-10, the all-new Colorado ZR2 boasts some legitimate off-road cred, and goes slightly beyond the TRD Pro's spec: Key among the new truck's off-road features is a set of trick shocks made by Canada's Multimatic that use spool valves to improve suspension compression in the rough stuff while maintaining compliance and ride comfort on-road. The standard feature list also includes front and rear locking differentials (the TRD Pro only includes a rear locker), off-road rocker panel protection, modified bumpers for improved approach and departure angles, 31-inch Goodyear off-road tires, cast-iron front suspension control arms, aluminum skid plates for radiator, oil pan and 4WD transfer case, a 50-mm suspension lift and front and rear tracks nearly 90 mm wider (Toyota leaves the Tacoma's wheels where they are on the TRD Pro).
Other ZR2 additions to the Colorado's standard kit include trim-specific grille and hood, off-road mode technology and four-wheel disc brakes. Colorado owners are on their own if they want
The Colorado ZR2 goes on sale this spring, powered by a standard 3.6L V6 (308 hp/275 lb-ft), and an optional 2.8L Duramax diesel (181 hp/369 lb-ft).