After a preview last month, the 2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison – the mid-size truck with the best off-road capabilities – was unveiled to little fanfare. The second-generation Bison was not presented extravagantly, nor did it have a special stage. There were no obvious efforts to show the Bison. It builds on Colorado ZR2’s extensive off-road upgrades. We were invited by Chevy to GM’s proving grounds to view the new pickup. It was located in a low grassy area, not quite a dumping ground, near an overflow parking. This part was at least in our notes. Once we saw the new Colorado ZR2 Bison the surrounding area became less important.
2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Review
The 2024 Colorado ZR2 Bison is the first Colorado ZR2 to bring the Bison treatment from the previous generation Colorado. This Colorado was completely new for 2023. It looks larger and more rugged than the competition. This includes the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor and the 2024 Toyota Tacoma Trailhunter. This is largely due to the wheel-and-tire package. Chevy has finally given the public what they want in a serious midsize off-road truck: 17″ AEV wheels with Beadlock capability wrapped in 35″ Goodyear rubber. The 33-inch rubber on the Ranger or Taco is no match for this. Is the size of the tires the deciding factor for an off-road truck? Some people do think so. Ford makes a big fuss about the 37s on its F-150 Raptor.
Chevrolet thought it so important, it moved the Colorado front axle forward by 3.1 inches in comparison to the previous generation model to accommodate the rollers. This change is applicable to all Colorados of the new generation, but the longer wheelbase and improved ride are not the only reasons. The factory trims the back half of the front fender. This increases the track to 66.3 inches (1. o inches over the ZR2) and is topped off with AEV flares.
Chevy engineers claim that the Bison suspension is designed to maintain the ZR2’s 9.9-inch front suspension travel and its 11.6-inch rear suspension travel. They also added a half-inch body lift to back up this claim. According to reports, the ZR2’s turning radius has not been affected. The Bison is on par with Ranger Raptor’s 10.0-inch front travel and 11.5-inch rear travel. The bigger tires provide 12.2 inches more ground clearance than the Raptor and a break-over angle that is best in class at 26.9°. Then, yes, bigger tires may be better.
Chevrolet wanted to make the purchasing process easier for their customers. So, they added the Bison package on top of a ZR2 Colorado. This gives them all the off-road features. Bison-specific options include interior materials (cloth or AEV leather with yellow stitching), seat belts in yellow, and AEV underbody cameras with lens washer nozzles mounted near the transmission to view the front or back of the truck.
The Bison is only available in a four-door crew cab, with a bed of 5.1 feet. It will also feature a new spare tire carrier that mounts on the bed (with a full-size wheel and tire) to keep the spare as vertical as possible and as close as possible to the cab. Five AEV boron-steel skid plates protect the underside of the vehicle. They are located at the radiator and steering gear as well as the gas tank, differential, and transmission. Chevy equips the Bison also with AEV stamped-steel front and rear bumpers. The front piece can be used to winch, and the rear piece has two recovery eyelets left and right. The larger steel bumper on the front reduces the approach angle slightly, from 38.6 to 38.2 degrees. However, the departure angle is increased from 25.2 to 26.0 degrees. The cab is protected by tube-style rock sliders.
Multimatic DSSV dampers on the ZR2 are returned to the Bison in three different positions based on travel. A heavier spring rate is also added for the front bumper, which can accommodate a possible winch and a heavier bumper. Multimatic provides hydraulic jounce-bumpers at each corner. Chevy chose the upgraded bumpers for better high-speed absorption. The pieces will be offered as an aftermarket option by Chevy. 2024 ZR2 customers will find the mounting bracket on the frame.
Engine & Specs
The 2.7-liter turbocharged I-4 is powered by gas and produces 310 hp with 430 lb.-ft. as in the ZR2. This output is behind the Ranger Raptor’s twin-turbo I-6 engine (which matches its torque) and Tacoma Trailhunter’s new hybridized turbo I-4 with 326 hp and 465 lb-ft. We were happy with the power of the Colorado ZR2s that we drove, so we expect the Bison to be able to make quick work across deserts and push its 35s up steep rock faces.
The Bison retains the ZR2’s eight-speed automatic, two-speed transmission, electronic locking differentials, and 3:42 differential. The Bison can tow up to 5,500 pounds and has a payload capacity of 1,050 lbs (as opposed to the ZR2 due to the weight of the extras). Standard is the 17-inch AEV beadlock wheels, which come with a locking ring placeholder and nylon screws for keeping threads clean.
Chevrolet has introduced a new feature for 2024: Launch Control. This function is available in ZR2 or Bison mode when in Baja. This adaptive system is best suited to loose surfaces like gravel and sand. Hold the brake pedal and the accelerator to the floor as instructed. When the driver is ready to launch, they simply let go of the brake. The system is said to refine launch rpms and power delivery after the first launch. It’s also claimed to continue improving with each subsequent launch. Launch control can be used in both two-wheel and four-wheel drives. It disables the stability and traction control until 35 mph.
The one-pedal mode of off-road driving is a notable carryover. It allows drivers to lift the accelerator pedal and bring the truck to an immediate halt. The system will not regenerate fuel in the same way as a one-pedal EV recovers electricity. However, it has a similar feeling and should help with slow maneuvers, just like we found in the Colorado AT4X and GMC Canyon AT4X. A feature that is not exclusive to the Bison. Drivers can set their tire pressures in the Off-Road menu. The horn will sound when the desired tire pressure is reached to help deflate or reinflate tires after off-road usage.
Chevy engineers say the 35-inch tires will perform well at low pressures of 20 psi before bead locks are needed, but no official number has been reported. The Bison has the same standard Colorado 11.3-inch screen and a camera system that offers 10 views. The screen in Off-Road mode can be configured to show multiple camera views including the underbody AEV cameras.
The 2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison is built on the proven race-proven design of Chad Hall’s 39 races in the Best of the Desert and Mint 400 as well as the Legacy Racing Association. It has over 12,000 miles of hard testing. The 35-inch wheels help the Bison to stand out among its competitors. And until the GMC Canyon AT4X AEVO Edition, which is likely to be mechanically very similar, arrives, Chevy’s suspension design, with hydraulic jounces bumpers, will remain novel. The ZR2 Bison offers the best of both worlds with its combination of features.
2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Release Date & Price
Bison will be available for purchase in the fall of 2024. Pricing is not yet available. The ZR2 is priced at $48,295, and you can expect the Bison will be more expensive, considering its location atop the Colorado range. The 2024 Silverado HD ZR2 Bison is $6,000 more expensive than its ZR2 counterpart. We hope that the Colorado ZR2 Bison MSRP will be in the $55,000-$60,000 range.