2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison: The Ultimate Off-Road Experience

In the automotive world, the 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison has made quite the entrance.

Elevating its game, this Bison proudly sports 35-inch tires, complemented by hydraulic jounce bumpers. The standard AEV enhancements, from the bumper to the wheel and skidplate, are all present.

One might be tempted to view the 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison as merely a ZR2 adorned with unique AEV wheels, robust AEV bumpers at both ends, a collection of boron-steel skidplates, and a smattering of AEV insignias. And honestly, who could blame them? This perception mirrors the original Colorado ZR2's blueprint, a design echoed in the Silverado 1500 ZR2 and 2500HD ZR2.

The underlying rationale? The ZR2 modifications weren't initially envisioned when these trucks were birthed.

However, the narrative shifts with the Colorado ZR2's sophomore edition. Crafted with the awareness of the ZR2's soaring popularity, it paved the way for foundational shifts. These were evident during a thrilling three-day Nevada desert drive. Key changes included a front axle repositioned ahead of the cabin to fit larger tires and the iconic Multimatic DSSV shocks relocated outside the leaf springs - their rightful place. These alterations didn't merely enhance the Colorado ZR2's prowess; they set the stage for an even more formidable ZR2 Bison.

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Diving Deeper into the Bison's Evolution

Exploring the advancements and updates in the 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison.
Exploring the advancements and updates in the 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison.

The Bison now boasts colossal 35-inch tires, a step up from the ZR2's impressive 33-inch ones.

This shift underscores the foresight in repositioning the front axle. Yet, housing these giants demanded more. Chevrolet reimagined the fender liners and elevated the suspension by half an inch. This adjustment and the tire's added radius boosts ground clearance from a respectable 10.7 inches to a whopping 12.2 inches. The Bison's LT315 tires have also gained girth, necessitating a wheel offset alteration to prevent internal friction. The result? A track broadened by 0.9 inches and a sidewall width expansion of approximately 2.1 inches. Thus, the ZR2 Bison now flaunts pronounced fender flares, stretching its width to 80.1 inches - a solid 2 inches more than the ZR2, lending it a fiercer posture.

Behind these tires is a Bison-specific feature: hydraulic jounce bumpers, or as enthusiasts might dub them, the "ultimate bump stops." These are courtesy of Multimatic, the brains behind the ZR2's spool-valve dampers. Typically, a shock return is advised with the introduction of heftier tires. However, these hydraulic jounce bumpers usher in innovations that render this imperative. They introduce an added layer of dedicated compression damping, necessitating harmonization with other components. While the Bison's Multimatics maintain the suspension travel, their midpoint has been recalibrated to ensure a balanced compression and rebound distribution.

Navigating the Terrain with the Colorado ZR2 Bison

Analysis of the off-road performance and terrain handling of the ZR2 Bison.
Analysis of the off-road performance and terrain handling of the ZR2 Bison.

As the wheels churned through the undulating dunes of the vast Californian desert, the prowess of the ZR2 Bison was undeniable. The vehicle's ability to maintain speed even through the most challenging terrains was commendable. While the hydraulic jounce bumpers ensured smooth landings, absorbing even the harshest of impacts with ease, there was a minor hiccup. A faint click was audible when the front bumpers made contact with the lower control arms, a standard occurrence on rugged terrains.

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In rocky terrains, the Bison showcased its might. The added ground clearance proved invaluable, especially when navigating trails littered with sharp, massive rocks. The rock rails did their job, taking the brunt of the impact. The boron-steel skidplates shielded the vehicle's undercarriage, ensuring its safety. The front and rear AEV bumpers were intricately designed, though the rear could benefit from enhanced protection, akin to the Jeep Gladiator.

The large 35-inch tires effortlessly maneuvered around obstacles that might have trapped smaller tires. The in-built lockers, both front and rear, were rarely needed, thanks to the Bison's superior design. If there were ever a need to reduce tire pressure significantly, the Bison's 17-inch AEV beadlock-capable wheels would be rescued, especially with the accessory beadlock rings in place. The full spare tire, positioned vertically in the bed, might reduce cargo space but enhance the vehicle's departure angle.

While the Terrain mode was initially exciting, its utility on rocky terrains seemed limited. On uneven terrains, where the vehicle might wobble or rocks could shift, the throttle's sensitivity made the ride jarring. The Off-Road mode seemed more apt for rock terrains, reserving the Terrain mode for smoother terrains like sandy paths or Moab's Slickrock.

The Baja mode shone when the path ahead was clear. However, without a corresponding gear adjustment, the larger tires made the Bison feel less energetic than the standard ZR2. A change in the gearing, perhaps to 3.73:1 from the standard 3.42:1, might make the Bison feel more responsive. The Bison's weight, approximately 300 pounds more than the standard ZR2, might affect its towing capacity and overall performance.

As for fuel efficiency, the standard ZR2 boasts 18 mpg combined. Given the Bison's added weight and broader structure, a slight dip in these numbers is anticipated.

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The True Worth of the 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison

The real question revolves around its price tag. With the 2023 Colorado ZR2 priced at $48,295 and considering the enhanced features of the new Bison, one can expect a steeper price. Estimations place the 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 at around $49,500, with the Bison package adding another $ 7,500. This brings the total to an approximate $57,000. A hefty sum for a mid-sized truck, indeed. But given its performance and rugged aesthetics, the 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison justifies every penny.

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