Chevrolet has officially debuted their most capable Colorado variant yet, the 2024 ZR2 Bison, an overland and off-road outfitted exploration vehicle bristling with both GM OEM factory upgrades and some worthy additional bits from American Expedition Vehicles (aka AEV). The big Bison joins the other Colorado variants we test-drove earlier this year. At that time, the Bison and ZR2 were not available for close inspection or any driving impressions. We hope to get some seat time with these off-road-focused models in the near future.
The Bison is powered by the top-tier High-Output version of the 2.7-liter turbo four that powers all Colorado models. Software changes and small tweaks to the internals boost power to 310 ponies and a stout 430 pound-feet of torque. During the Colorado’s introduction event in February, GM told Overland Expo that the motor borrows some tech from GM’s diesel engines in order to make big torque numbers while ensuring reliability, including an electrically-driven cooling system that better responds to extreme conditions and demands. The Bison is rated for 1,050 pounds of payload and 5,500 pounds of towing. Power flows through GM’s 8-speed Hydramatic auto with manual (but clutchless) gear control.
The ZR2 Bison’s buffalo stance is helped even more by numerous additions from AEV, whom GM worked closely with to create a more overland-worthy platform. AEV front and rear bumpers pair with AEV fender flares, and the front bumper is winch-ready. Below decks, five AEV boron steel skid plates protect the undercarriage. The Bison’s 35-inch ODF Mud/Terrain tires ride on 17-inch AEV wheels with beadlock capability, and in a segment first, the Bison includes Multimatic Jounce Dampers front and rear to go with the Multimatic DSSV suspension bits. This results in a softer landing if the Bison takes flight or encounters a big hit at speed, and a claimed best-in-class ground clearance of 12.2 inches, along with a 38.2-degree approach angle, 26-degree departure angle, and 26.9-degree breakover angle. Differentials front and rear feature powered locking.
No pricing was announced, but it’s a good bet the Bison will easily clear $50,000 (plus whatever dealer markup is added), and for that dosh, the Bison does come loaded with a swank interior with AEV badging and every tech trick in Chevy’s playbook. There’s a full suite of Chevy Safety Assist features, including adaptive cruise control, auto high beams, lane keeping, auto emergency braking, and more. A wifi hotspot, Apple Carplay, and Android Auto are all included, and the truck can be tweaked further through an 11.3-inch widescreen format center touchscreen display, which can also show G-forces and 3D pitch and roll data. It also comes with a sprayed-in bedliner and the spare mounted in the bed rally-style for quick access.
As noted, pricing has not yet been announced, but Chevy did say the Bison was vetted by “champion off-road racer Chad Hall in competition and underwent testing on the Rubicon Trail,” so it’s likely capable of handling well in most places more typical drivers wander off to. Expect pre-orders to open towards the fall as production begins.