Truck Review: 2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

The Chevrolet Colorado has been well-received since the new model came out. As an owner of the first-gen body style, I had the chance to drive the truck and realized that Chevy had hit a home run with it.

In the ever-growing and popular mid-size truck market, the competition is fierce and Chevy came out swinging with the Colorado ZR2. The ZR2 is in competition with the Toyota Tacoma TRD and the recently announced Ford Ranger Raptor, but how does it compare?

The Truck

We got the keys to a 2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 in Cajun Red for a week. No test is complete without trying the vehicle in dirt and asphalt, so we set out to see what the ZR2 could do.

The ZR2 that we tested out was loaded with features, but was it worth the high price tag? We would find out.

The truck we received was loaded with features inside and out. Among these were the Multimatic DSSV Damping System, increased clearance and track width, and front and rear electronic locking differentials. All of it was geared toward allowing the ZR2 to take on the harshest of terrains.

Under the hood of our model was the 2.8-liter I4 Duramax backed by a six-speed automatic transmission. Chevrolet also offers the ZR2 with the 3.6-liter V6 DI DOHC VVT engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. We got the diesel model to test out how the extra torque could handle in the dirt.

With all of its added features, the ZR2 seemed to be ready to go. However, with a price tag as tested of $47,970, was it worth it? We dug deeper to find out.


The ZR2 came loaded with features that are only available on the ZR2 trim package. Most of these items could be seen on the outside of the vehicle.

The rear bumper on the ZR2 removed the steps. Also, the rock sliders on the sides of the truck looked good and were functional, too.

A spray-on bedliner with ZR2 logo, unique hood, fascia and grille, black rear bumper, and front and rear wheel flares were all specific to the ZR2 trim. In addition, the ZR2 had rock sliders. These were not some cheap plastic bolt-ons, but actual metal tube sliders. This made them actually functional, in addition to being good-looking.

From more aggressive tires to the ZR2 logo on the truck, the ZR2 looked good sitting still or moving through the whoops.

The same features found on the standard Colorado were also found on the ZR2. These included halogen projector-beam headlamps, cab-mounted cargo area lamps, an EZ-Lift and lower tailgate, and a locking tailgate.

The ZR2 we tested had a great look and the black accents really helped the look of the red truck. With the exterior of the truck scoped out, we opened the door to check out if the interior matched up.


The interior of the ZR2 had many of the creature comforts seen elsewhere in today’s pickup truck market. These included power and heated seats, eight-inch touchscreen display, and power windows. One nice touch was the optional rubberized floor, which made cleaning up a breeze.

Top: changing into four-wheel-drive was easy. All we had to do was turn a knob, left of the steering wheel. Bottom: wireless charging for cell phones is not just for the house. The wireless charging pad was in the center console. Having the rubberized flooring was a nice touch for a truck that gets more time in the dirt.

One part that we did miss and enjoyed on other trucks was the 110-volt AC power plug. In a truck designed for off-road use, the plug comes in handy for charging your gear, blowing up an air mattress, or anything else needed off the grid.

On the flip side of things, one feature that we enjoyed, especially off-road, was the 4G LTE built-in WiFi. Being off the grid does not mean that you have to be disconnected from the world. We used this feature quite a bit when we tested the truck off-road in Ocotillo Wells. It allowed us to connect to the internet and livestream the fun we were having.

Off-Road Capabilities

Off-road was where the truck shined.

The truck may have been set up for off-roading, but the drive out to Ocotillo Wells, California was just as comfortable. The truck seemed at home on the pavement until we turned down the first desert dirt road.

The 2.8-Liter Duramax had plenty of get up and go in the dirt. Driving the ZR2 in the dirt was a blast as we were able to point the wheel and go where ever we wanted.

Driving on the dirt for some vehicle may be a teeth-rattling experience, but the Colorado ZR2 was anything but that. On the dirt, we truly felt the ability of the Multimatic DSSV shocks for the first time. We took the truck down washboard roads to the sand dunes and the truck rode smoothly, no matter what was below it.

The extra width and height of the ZR2 made cornering and driving off-road enjoyable. The truck had a firm plant on everything we went on, even some 21-degree embankments.

The ZR2 handled al of thel terrains Ocotillo Wells had to toss at it.

We did catch some air a few times. Coming back to earth, it was like landing on a cloud. The suspension soaked up everything in the dirt and made the trip home enjoyable.

Final Thoughts


Overall, the 2018 Chevrolet Colorado was fun to drive on and off-road. It was comfortable for daily driving and still had plenty left to play around with on the weekend.

The Multimatic DSSV shocks are a huge upgrade over the factory suspension. The ride quality off-road showed. These advanced units have multiple damping curves to allow for jumps and made for a fine, smooth, and responsive ride when the ZR2 was on pavement. Minus missing some minor creature comforts, the truck had everything that a late model truck should have.

We cannot wait to get behind the wheel of a ZR2 with some of Chevrolet Performance’s parts on it that were unveiled at SEMA. The Colorado ZR2 is perfect for someone looking for a mid-size truck that wants to still hit the dirt on the weekend.

About the author

Steven Olsewski

Steven Olsewski grew up with a true passion for anything with a motor. He loves his wife and kids, and during the year can be found enjoying quality time together. They are a huge part of his life and their passion for God.
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