A white 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison is shown parked off-road.

Chevy Makes a Splash With the Colorado ZR2 Bison

There’s no doubt that the Off-Road Truck Wars are in full swing these days, and every manufacturer out there is pulling no punches in trying to deliver the new king of the trail. This is particularly true with midsize trucks, which are among the most popular options for going off-road since their smaller size makes them more maneuverable than full-size models. A prime example of this is the Colorado you’ll find at any Chevy dealer, with numerous options and features designed to make it a beast out on the trail. The peak offering in this regard has long been the popular Colorado ZR2, which comes with a slew of engineering choices and details perfect for the trail.

With so much competition right now, no brand is willing to settle for what has been a fan favorite; instead, they keep pushing further, and Chevy is no exception to this. They recently revealed the details of their new Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison for the 2024 model year, which is impressive in almost every conceivable way. I’m not here to declare it the new king of the trail—only time will tell on that title—but Chevy is definitely coming out swinging with this one. For anyone who wants to tackle some serious challenges and get home safely, the Colorado ZR2 Bison is definitely going to be at the top of their list. Let’s see why…

A white 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison is shown parked near a mountain.

A Remarkable Off-Road Partnership

Before we dig into some specs, the first thing worth noting about the Colorado ZR2 Bison is that this was not born solely from Chevy’s efforts. This isn’t a knock on Chevy or this model; some of the best vehicles to ever hit the road have come from joint efforts between two brands or a manufacturer with a partner. In this instance, the ZR2 Bison has been developed by Chevy and American Expedition Vehicles (AEV), one of the leading brands for off-road parts, accessories, and aftermarket modifications.

This goes beyond just the Colorado or even Chevy; AEV makes parts and accessories for a wide range of vehicles, including the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator, Ram 1500, and Ford Bronco. This partnership is a huge win for Chevy (and AEV, honestly) as it shows that their commitment to building an off-road beast is not just talk or purely for marketing. Having another company come in to work with them, provide extra insight, and deliver what people are looking for before hitting the trail is a great choice.

Bold Power and Performance

But what can the Colorado ZR2 Bison actually do? Well, for starters, it comes with a 2.7L Turbo High-Output engine that delivers 310 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque, which is massive performance for a midsize truck like this. This engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission for a smooth, responsive drive even in rough conditions, along with four-wheel drive—as you’d expect—with a two-speed transfer case. Even though this truck has been designed to take drivers anywhere they can imagine out on the trail; it still has 5,500 lbs of maximum towing capacity and more than 1,000 lbs of maximum payload. Someone can easily use it for practical reasons—or to haul a camper behind it to their favorite site—and still, conquer any trail they can imagine.

A white 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison is shown parked on a boulder.

Off-Road Engineering and Features

The engine’s nice, but that’s not what really sets the ZR2 Bison apart from the standard Colorado ZR2; that comes down to extra features and engineering designed to take it even further. For starters, this monster comes with segment-exclusive Multimatic front and rear Jounce Control Dampers. These bump stops on both the front and rear go along with the Bison’s Multimatic DSSV dampers to create a suspension that can handle serious bumps, drops, and jumps out on the trail. This remarkable design will help keep drivers more comfortable in the roughest conditions and protect the suspension and chassis from abuse.

Speaking of protection from the trail, the ZR2 Bison comes with boron steel skid plates and rocker protectors to prevent damage to its underside, even when rock crawling or climbing over rough terrain. This goes perfectly with the AEV heavy-duty winch-capable front bumper, AEV rear bumper and fender flares, and similar details to give the ZR2 Bison a distinct look while protecting it from whatever the trail throws at a driver. The only minor downside to this unique design is that it drops the approach angle of the Bison ever so slightly down to 38.2 degrees from the 38.3 degrees of the standard ZR2—but that’s almost nothing.

Far greater gains are achieved thanks to the unique design of the ZR2 Bison, especially the fact that Chevy has extended its wheelbase compared to the standard Colorado and ZR2. This was done largely to facilitate the Bison’s massive AEV 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels wrapped in segment-exclusive 35-inch OD Mud/Terrain tires. Allow me to repeat that: this is a midsize truck with 35-inch tires; it’s absolutely bonkers in exactly the right way for a pickup designed to dominate any trail imaginable.

These monstrous tires are in large part (no pun intended) responsible for the ZR2 Bison hitting the trail with 12.2 inches of ground clearance, the best in its class and more than an inch greater than the Colorado ZR2. Besides that slight decrease in approach angle we saw, the Bison improves on its departure angle, up to 26 degrees, and a breakover angle at an impressive 26.9 degrees compared to the ZR2. Across the board, it’s clear that Chevy was set on delivering a truck that can tackle anything, and it’s even proven itself through rigorous testing on the legendary Rubicon Trail in California.

A white 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison is shown driving on a mountain.

Not Skimping on Any Details

Since the Colorado ZR2 Bison has a focus first and foremost on its off-road performance, it’s no surprise that it has all of those features, but what impresses me nearly as much is how well Chevy has included a wide range of other things. They could’ve gone for trail performance and ignored everything else, but instead, you’ll find AEV badges and details outside and throughout the interior to set it apart from other Colorado models.

The Bison comes with an 11.3-inch infotainment display with Google built-in for added functionality on and off the trail, along with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Beyond that, it comes with the Chevy Safety Assist suite standard, which includes Automatic Emergency Braking, a Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and much more. This truck wants to be driven and celebrates how fun it can be to get behind the wheel in the city, out on the trail, and everywhere in between.

A white 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison is shown off-roading after visiting a Chevy dealer.

The Best Beast on the Trail?

Like I said upfront, I’m not here to try to crown a new king for the best truck out on the trail, but there’s no denying that Chevy has delivered something impressive. The Colorado ZR2 was already one of the finest options out there for going off-road, and the Bison upgrades—particularly things like the 35-inch tires, boron steel skid plates, and incredible suspension—take something fantastic to an even-higher level.

All I know is that there’s never been a better time for someone who wants a truck to take off-road since there are more options than ever before, with models like the ZR2 Bison pushing the boundaries of what we expect a midsize pickup to be able to do. I don’t know if it’s enough to win over fans of other brands, but if nothing else, it means Ford and Toyota are going to have to really push to keep up or try to surpass what Chevy has brought to the trail.