So you are out on the trail, far from the confines of civilization and the limitations that paved roads and city streets place on you. The day is going well, and though you have encountered a few challenges, nothing proved trickier than you could handle. That is, of course, until you come to a tight spot—maybe a passage between boulders or a spot with tight quarters and narrow turns —it is simply impossible to get through with a beastly, full-size truck. You have just discovered why many people prefer the feel and maneuverability of a midsize truck for going off-road, which is why the Chevy Colorado has become so popular on the trail.
There are a variety of Chevy trucks for sale these days, yet Chevrolet is constantly adding to and improving their lineup of what is available. While the standard Chevy Colorado is fine for daily driving and even some light off-roading, the Colorado ZR2 has been a favorite amongst off-roaders since it was first introduced because it offers several dedicated off-road features. For the 2024 model year, Chevy is going even further, and they have developed an all-new Colorado ZR2 Bison, designed to be the ultimate off-road machine. Let’s look at this new monster that will be tearing up trails for many years ahead.
Development of the 2024 Colorado ZR2 Bison
While it is easy to dismiss the ZR2 Bison as just another special edition, most editions like that are marked by purely aesthetic touches and details that have no real impact on performance. Although the Bison certainly has some unique design cues, there is much more here than just a special edition with exclusive badging or colors. The biggest thing to remember about this impressive off-road truck is that it was not developed solely by the engineers at Chevy or GM. Instead, they worked in partnership with American Expedition Vehicles (AEV), which had a tremendous impact on the result.
For more than 25 years, American Expedition Vehicles has been a leader in aftermarket accessories and modifications focusing on performance and off-road capability. AEV formed in the 1990s when its founder began stretching Jeep Wrangler TJ models and opened a shop in a single-room garage. Once they started winning awards at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show, AEV began to make contacts in Detroit and across the US that could provide them with original-equipment-quality parts and advice to push their designs further.
Since then, AEV has grown into a world leader when it comes to taking impressive vehicles and transforming them into something truly incredible. One of the hallmarks of AEV design and engineering is that they strive to go beyond visual impact and instead focus on conversions, additions, and changes that improve performance and capability. This is the kind of vision that AEV brought with them to Chevy in the development of the 2024 Colorado ZR2 Bison—it is worth noting that the Colorado is not the only model with a ZR2 Bison edition this year: you can find one for the Silverado 1500 and all-new Silverado 2500 HD off-road truck.
Incredible Off-Road Design and Capability
With so much talent behind the scenes in the development of the Colorado ZR2 Bison, both from Chevy and AEV, you would expect the results to be something special. And you would be absolutely right. The 2024 Colorado ZR2 Bison is one of the most capable and impressive midsize off-road trucks I have ever seen. Their goal was clearly to make something that stood out visually and then deliver power and ability worthy of such a stylishly powerful model. Chevy calls it “America’s ultimate off-road beast,” and it is hard to argue with that claim.
For starters, you have segment-exclusive Multimatic front and rear Jounce Control Dampers; Jounce bumpers are used in vehicle suspension as a way to absorb impact and dampen vibration and harshness from the suspension springs compacting. Let’s say you are driving in a vehicle with a mediocre suspension, and you hit a pothole; what happens? You feel like the world just bottomed out from under you and then immediately came crashing back up, and your internal organs just got rearranged in a way that few would describe as pleasant. With the Multimatic Jounce Control Dampers on the ZR2 Bison’s suspension, tackling obstacles or ditches on the trail is a piece of cake, and you remain surprisingly comfortable inside.
The 2024 Colorado ZR2 Bison also features an AEV heavy-duty winch-capable front bumper, along with an AEV rear bumper and AEV fender flares. These are designed to help protect your truck without getting in the way, so they do not negatively affect overall off-road performance: the ZR2 Bison has a best-in-class approach angle of 38.2 degrees, with a 26-degree departure angle and a 26.9-degree breakover angle. It rides on AEV 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels wrapped in segment-exclusive 35-inch OD Mud/Terrain tires, which helps the ZR2 Bison attain a best-in-class ground clearance of 12.2 inches.
But I’m not done yet; the Colorado ZR2 also features Boron steel skid plates and rocker protectors that help give it best-in-class underbody protection. Even though the ZR2 Bison has excellent clearance and angles, things can still happen, so it is great to see that underbody components are well protected. You will find Multimatic DSSV dampers on the suspension, which is a staple of Chevy’s ZR2 off-road models, and more details like a Flowtie front badge that looks great and increases airflow to the engine for superior performance.
Comfortable and Innovative Inside
In discussing the Jounce Control Dampers, I mentioned that you would remain comfortable inside the ZR2 Bison no matter what you encounter, but that is not the only reason for it. Chevy has gone all-out with the interior of this model to ensure everyone inside will have a good trip no matter where they are going. An 11.3-inch Infotainment display with Google built-in is standard, which has support for wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with Wi-Fi hotspot functionality. While I said that the ZR2 Bison is not just about aesthetics, they certainly have yet to be overlooked: you will find AEV badging on the front headrests and all-weather floor liners, with other details and unique touches inside and out. It all comes together nicely and makes for a truck perfect for getting around town, helping you get your job done, and letting loose on the weekend on the most challenging trails.
Ready to Work and Play
Speaking of getting your job done, the 2024 Colorado ZR2 Bison is no slouch when it comes to overall performance and capability. It is a monster when you take it off-road, but even getting around town is easy with this beauty. The ZR2 Bison is powered by a 2.7L TurboMax I-4 engine that delivers 310 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque, which is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. This is a fantastic amount of power for a midsize truck like this, and it comes with four-wheel drive using a two-speed transfer case, as you would expect in an off-road pickup.
In terms of overall strength and capability, the Colorado ZR2 Bison can handle up to 5,500 lbs of maximum towing. Some other Colorado models can haul up to 7,700 lbs behind them, so this is not quite at the top end, but that is a small sacrifice to make for such unparalleled off-road capability. The ZR2 Bison can also handle up to 1,050 lbs of maximum payload, which is plenty of weight for a wide range of jobs or enjoying a weekend (or longer) of camping, hiking, and getting away from it all.
There’s Nowhere the Colorado ZR2 Bison Can’t Go
It is easy to imagine that the Colorado ZR2 Bison is the ultimate truck for adventure and exploration because it is. By partnering with AEV in developing the new Bison models, Chevy has gone further than ever before and fully embraced its goal of meeting the needs of drivers looking to travel where most trucks fear to tread. For anyone interested in another mall crawler or who strictly needs a work truck they can rely on, there are several other Colorado models better suited for such tasks. But anyone needing a midsize truck that can go anywhere and leave the road behind for extended periods will find that the Colorado ZR2 Bison is essentially impossible to beat.