The facelifted 2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison was recently proclaimed as Overland Truck of the Year by Overland Journal. And if you’ve never heard of overlanding, it’s essentially similar to off-roading. But with the former, priority is spent on the journey instead of the destination itself.
Equipped with a plethora of standard off-road-ready features, the new Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison lorded it over its well-established peers like the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, and Jeep Gladiator.
“Our 2019 Overland Truck of the Year (midsize) goes to the Bison. Just a list of its features makes it the truck we always wanted, only better,” said Overland Journal editor Scott Brady. “It’s available with a small-displacement turbo-diesel, front and rear locking differentials, a winch-ready steel front bumper, steel rear bumper with 1/4 panel protection, full-length rock sliders, and class-leading suspension. It checks all the boxes.”
The Colorado ZR2 Bison is an overlanding spectacle
Starting with a Chevy Colorado ZR2, the Bison package adds an array of visual and performance upgrades starting at $5,750. The Colorado ZR2 already comes with chunky all-terrain tires, a trailer hitch with an integrated trailer brake controller, Multimatic DSSV dampers, raised off-road suspension, a unique hood and front fascia, and an off-road appearance package. However, choosing the Bison package adds more to the mix.
It starts with larger fender flares and new 17×8-inch AEV aluminum wheels, the latter of which is designed specifically for the ZR2 Bison. The Bison package also includes AEV fender flares, an AEV front and rear bumper, and AEV Boron steel skid plates for the front differential, oil pan, transfer case, rear differential, and fuel tank.
The Colorado ZR2 Bison also has cast-iron control arms, a 2-inch lift kit, wider front and rear tracks, and a factory-modified 3.42 axle ratio.
“From our very first meeting, Chevrolet and AEV agreed on a common goal: To build a truck capable of extreme off-road use and backed by a limited factory warranty,” said Darren Bohne, Chevrolet Colorado chief engineer. “As such, to be named the ultimate overland vehicle by the ultimate authority in overland travel is a huge honor for the entire team at Chevrolet and AEV.”
Two engine choices
The good thing about Chevy’s new Colorado ZR2 Bison is the optional 2.8-liter Duramax turbo-diesel 4-cylinder engine. Producing 181-horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, this motor is mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic gearbox.
The standard engine is a 3.6-liter gasoline-fed V6 engine with an eight-speed automatic. This motor is good for 308-horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque.
It stood out from the competition, literally
In order to bag Overland Journal’s first-ever Overlanding Truck of the Year award, the Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison had to endure thousands of miles of road and dirt trails. However, the truck faced some serious competition from the Ford Ranger XLT FX4, Jeep Gladiator Sport, Nissan Frontier PRO-4X, Honda Ridgeline, and the Toyota Tacoma TRD PRO.
It didn’t take long for the Colorado ZR2 Bison to blow away the competition. With an enviable mix of rugged looks, standard off-road equipment, and the option of a diesel engine, the ZR2 Bison is as capable and as tough as Chevy intended it to be.
The 2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 starts at around $44,000 with the V6 and $47,500 for the turbo-diesel engine. The Bison package adds $5,750 for a starting base price of around $52,000.