Chevrolet Colorado has been a favorite amongst people looking to buy a midsize pickup truck. That said, competition is robbing its sales with the likes of the Toyota Tacoma getting more market share. Others like the Nissan Frontier and the Ford Ranger are also in the minds of potential buyers.
But if you do have enough budget to spend on one of the more off-road centric versions of a truck, why hold back? Inevitably you’d have to end up choosing one and it’s quite hard given the number of offerings currently available. The Chevy Colorado ZR2 is more of an off-road specific build than a daily. With an impressive fanbase the Colorado soldiers on whilst its corporate sibling, the GMC Canyon caters to a different clientele.
For 2021, the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 remains relatively unchanged with a few minor tweaks across the exterior and interior. With prices starting at $41,600, is the midsize Chevrolet pickup all show and no go? Let’s find out.
The 2021 Colorado has retained its engine options as before. The Chevy offers a choice of either a diesel-powered 2.8-liter Duramax engine and an optional 3.6-liter gasoline V6. Power figures are rated at 308 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque for the V6 Colorado. The Duramax diesel is good for 186 horsepower and a whopping 369 lb-ft of torque, ideal for someone looking to exploit the road less traveled. In terms of transmission, the Chevy gets a 6-speed auto for the inline-four diesel and an 8-speed automatic for the V6. The Colorado ZR2 gets both front and rear locking diffs plus a switchable four-wheel-drive system making it more versatile across demanding scenarios. Towing capabilities of the 2021 Chevy Colorado remain impressive at 7000 pounds for the V6 and 7700 pounds with the diesel when equipped with the Trailer package.
Although the Duramax diesel has less oomph on paper, the amount of twist it generates surpasses whatever the gasoline engine offers. The choice of which engine should you equip relies on what you expect from the ZR2. For instance, if you’re a serious off-road junkie, the torquey diesel should prove ideal, however, if your commute is more on the pavement, opting for the better-refined gasoline engine should be appropriate. Irrespective of engines, on the road, the Colorado is surprisingly well behaved and handles corners with minimal roll. Further complementing its on-road abilities is the lack of judder or flex usually exhibited by body-on-frame designs.
Notable exterior changes for 2021 include a revised grille for the Colorado ZR2. You get a unique grille design with layered protrusions that give the front fascia a dominating appeal. A similar design can be seen on Chevy’s larger Silverado making the design ethos cohesive across the range. Also new for 2021 is the “Chevrolet” badge spelled out and the “bow-tie” being offset to the side. Instead of a solid design, the logo is actually hollowed out in order to improve airflow, Chevy calls it the “flow tie.” The rest of the design is largely familiar to the outgoing model with similar projector headlamps, which, is more of a sore thumb by 2021 standards.
That said, the contoured front bumper design enhances the overall presence since it exposes a portion of the massive front tires. The side profile is reminiscent of previous Colorados and so is the rear tailgate. Side exit exhaust further adds to the drama along with a fixed spare wheel on top of the bed and adjustable auxiliary lights mounted on the exterior roll cage. Interiors have no noteworthy highlights and carry over the existing design, which is really a shame given most of its competitors offer a slightly better interior ambiance. As standard, the 2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2 gets an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Every other function seems rudimentary and the available smartphone integration does improve the infotainment’s user interface. The lack of modern driver-assistance tech is also one of its shortfalls which we hope GM will be addressing in future models.
The 2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 comes at a starting price of $41,600 for the extended cab and $43,200 for the crew cab. In its ZR2 guise, the Chevy Colorado gets a host of accessories as standard. Painted stainless steel tubular rocker protectors and a full suite of skid plates along with off-road spec DSSV dampers are standard equipment. In addition to this, the ZR2 gets a 3.5-inches wider track, increased ride height of two-inches, and an optional snorkel. Wide Goodyear off-road spec tires are available for the ZR2. Couple that with its capable powertrain, the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 has enough oomph to get you through the gnarliest of terrains without much drama.
Sources: Motortrend, YouTube, Edmunds