The Ford F-150 Raptor has been alone at the top and in a category of its own for awhile now. Supremely equipped for the everyday drive yet completely off-road-ready right out of the box, it’s really a privilege to see in action. Simply nothing else in its class was as diverse in its capabilities, whether pavement, gravel, or the rockiest off-road challenge. But that’s about to change, as the first 2017 Chevy Colorado ZR2s are rolling off the assembly line and into the driveways of eagerly-awaiting customers. The segment just got a bit more crowded if you ask us…
Built to Compete
The 2017 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is equipped with a 3.6L V6 engine that makes a respectable 308 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque. Additionally, it has an eight-speed automatic transmission to complement. A diesel option is also available, with a 2.8L turbo that has 186 horsepower, 369 lb-ft of torque, and is connected to a six-speed automatic transmission. The ZR2 is offered with a short wheelbase, as well as extended cab and crew cab varieties. The ZR2 is a more capable evolution of the popular mid-size Chevy Colorado. The platform improves upon its performance with a 2” suspension lift and wider front and rear tracks. There’s also a new front fascia that brings the approach angle to 30 degrees. It’s nearly a 13-degree improvement, which also enhances the departure and breakover angles of the standard Colorado and increases ground clearance tremendously.
The chassis is equipped with both front and rear locking differentials. And the rock sliders that come standard help protect when the crawling gets tough. Spool-valve shocks from Multimatic offer a new technology. This tech is most notably seen on the latest-generation Camaro and even in Formula 1 race cars. Essentially, the spool-valve shocks monitor the vehicle’s response to various situations and remove the need for the driver to choose the right setting in a current situation. Be it off-road, gravel, pavement, or whatever Mother Nature can hurl their way.
You want some fun extras? The 2017 Chevy Colorado ZR2 has ‘em.
- A touchscreen with the Chevy MyLink system
- Four USB ports
- OnStar 4G LTE network
- Built-in Wi-Fi, wireless phone charging, and more
Other standard perks include a bed liner, tow hooks, and a recovery package. What’s not to love about a crazy-equipped, Raptor-eating beast? But there’s always room for improvement, right?
The Aftermarket Treatment
For those whose mission is to get their rig stuck off-road no matter how capable it is (we know you’re out there), then you’re still going to need some heavy-duty aftermarket products by brands like WARN, Bubba Rope, Factor 55, TrailFX, Westin, Rugged Ridge, and N-FAB. These trusted names offer peace of mind if and when that mud finally gets too deep. And if the 31” tires and ZR2-specific 17” wheels aren’t quite enough for the customized build you have planned, the gang at Mickey Thompson, Pitbull, Pro Comp, or Toyo have everything south of monster-truck big to help on your travels.
The 2017 Chevy Colorado ZR2 is definitely within the Raptor’s ballpark in terms of capability. But there is one facet of this comparison where there simply is NO comparison: cost. The ZR2 starts at $40,995; that’s roughly ten grand less than the Raptor. The diesel option will be another $3,500, still well below Ford’s base price. Whether you prefer the Colorado ZR2, The Toyota TRD, or any of a host of other competitors vying for the top slot in their class, one thing is for certain: when it comes to well-equipped, off-road capable mid-size trucks that can still perform on pavement, the Raptor is certainly no longer alone.