Chevrolet is going bigger with the 2024 Colorado ZR2 Bison.
On Wednesday, the 2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison debuted boasting bigger tires, better breakover and departure angles, and more ground clearance. There’s also extra under-body protection should someone bash into a rock while avoiding another rock.
Chevrolet isn’t talking pricing or production numbers, but Chevrolet Performance executives noted that production of the ZR2 Bison will be doubled in response to customer demand. The last-generation Colorado ZR2 Bison sold out quickly and the automaker attempted to boost production to meet demand but ran into supply chain issues. Chevy said those issues have been addressed.
Colorado ZR2 Bison gets 35s
The latest Colorado ZR2 rides on 33-inch Goodyear Territory Mud Terrain tires, and GM engineers said 35s wouldn’t fit without rubbing.
For the Bison, those same engineers cut the fenders and wheel liners and added fender flares to make 35-inch Goodyear Territory Mud Terrain tires fit. Those 35s wrap AEV-designed 17-inch beadlock capable wheels. “You’d need some pretty big modifications,” Chevy Performance executives told Motor Authority when asked if 37s would fit.
An AEV vertical tire carrier has been mounted on the driver side of the bed behind the cab because the spare tire is now too large to fit under the bed. This setup makes it easier to grab the spare tire while off-road, but also takes up valuable bed space. The space where the spare usually resides under the bed is now open and owners can customize it or mount things under there.
Colorado ZR2 Bison angles and suspension
While the ZR2 Bison’s 38.2-degree approach angle is a slight 0.2 degree worse than the standard ZR2’s, the larger tires provide a better departure angle of 26 degrees (up 0.7 degree) and a better breakover angle of 26.9 degrees (up 1.9 degrees). Ground clearance also increases, checking in at 12.2 inches versus the standard ZR2’s 10.7 inches.
The ZR2 Bison sits higher than the 2024 Ford Ranger Raptor and bests it in every off-road angle except for the Raptor’s slightly better 26.4-degree departure angle. Ford Performance boss Carl Widdman told Motor Authority that 35s might fit on the new Ranger Raptor, but they also might rub and would cut into suspension travel.
The ZR2 Bison has the same suspension travel as the standard ZR2: 9.9 inches up front and 11.6 inches in the rear. To keep those numbers the suspension’s been lifted and shifted using shims to ensure jounce and rebound travel weren’t compromised, according to Chevy Vehicle Dynamics Performance Engineer Julio Bombachini.
Colorado ZR2 Bison gains AEV protections, upgraded shocks
The ZR2 Bison boasts five Boron steel skid plates that protect the radiator, steering gear, transmission, transfer case, fuel tank, and rear differential. Rock sliders protect the body from scrapes and dents.
The front and rear bumpers have been swapped for AEV-made units featuring cast-iron recovery points, and the front is outfitted for a winch with a backing plate already installed. That backing plate is the reason for the slight loss in the approach angle compared to the standard ZR2.
The Multimatic Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) shocks have been upgraded with front and rear jounce control units for when things get a bit too compressed during hard impacts.
Colorado ZR2 Bison gets launch control
The ZR2 Bison expands on the ZR2’s Performance Shift Algorithm (PSA) programming by adding launch control.
The truck needs to be in Baja mode to engage launch control. With the brake applied, the driver needs to floor the accelerator pedal and the 8.0-inch digital gauge cluster will flash, telling the driver launch control is ready. The driver then has to simply lift off the brake and go. Chevy programmed the launch control to learn the surface based on the coefficient of friction at the tires. It will then adapt by modifying throttle speed to minimize slip. Notably, launch control works in both 2- and 4-wheel drive because Baja mode works in both as well.
The ZR2’s 2.7-liter turbo-4 rated at 310 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque carries over, as does the truck’s 8-speed automatic. Paddle shifters are still missing. The ZR2’s Performance Shift Algorithm has been refined for the Bison because the upgraded truck can carry more speed with the larger tires and jounce control dampers. Fuel economy ratings will be released closer to launch, but Chevrolet didn’t change the ZR2’s gearing for the Bison.
Every Bison will feature automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and active lane control, while adaptive cruise control will be an option. The Bison is an upgrade package on the ZR2, which means buyers will be able to get the truck with a cloth or leather interior.
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