2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison promises to be the most capable mid-size pickup


After wowing us with the high-flying, rock-flinging capabilities of the Colorado ZR2 on our first drive of the off-road mid-sizer last month, Chevrolet teased a ZR2 Bison mule and let us get a peek. Now the wraps are off and everything we speculated about the mule has been confirmed.

The most obvious change is that the 2024 Colorado ZR2 Bison will boast a half-inch suspension lift that helps it fit a set of 315/70R17 tires. The 35-inch mud terrain rubber brings a host of off-road benefits, including best-in-class 12.2 inches of ground clearance, along with improved departure angle (26 degrees) and break-over angle (26.9 degrees). The Bison’s approach angle (38.2 degrees) is still impressive, although a winch-capable bumper does shave 0.4 degrees from the standard ZR2. Just as important as those new tires, the phenomenal Multimatic DSSV shocks that provide the ZR2 with confident vehicle control over a variety of terrain are joined by Multimatic jounce control dampers—aka bumpstops—that give even more damping when taking on high-speed desert terrain. This thing sounds like fun!

Lisa Linke


Like the previous iterations of the Bison, the 2024 Colorado ZR2 Bison will wear bumpers and underbody protection from American Expeditionary Vehicles (AEV). A winch-capable front bumper and rear bumper with extraction points bolster each end of the truck, while boron steel skid plates protect the radiator, steering gear, transfer case/transmission, fuel tank, and rear axle.


AEV also supplies the 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels for the Bison, as well as the unique flares that cover the truck’s one-inch-wider stance. The larger tires necessitated a bit of massaging to the wheel openings; the front fenders are the same stampings found on all other Colorado models, but the trailing edge of the wheel openings are modified for clearance so that the 35-inch tires don’t rub. The AEV flares are built to fit the new wheel opening, as are the truck’s unique fender liners.


The modifications that make the Bison the best-yet off-road version of the Colorado are almost all centered on the suspension and underbelly, although there are a couple of additional touches that help set it apart. The most obvious is the standard bed-mounted spare tire, a necessary move as the tires are simply too large to fit in the usual spot under the bed. While this does remove some cargo space from the bed, it does centralize mass and keeps the spare away from trail obstacles. Finally, the Bison wears AEV logos on the headrests and all-weather floor mats. Other than those few cosmetic changes, the Bison’s interior is identical to that of the standard ZR2, which proved to be a very comfortable place to be when speeding across a bumpy desert or cruising on a smooth highway. Also carrying over is the impressive 2.7-liter turbo four-cylinder powerplant from the rest of the Colorado lineup, which provides a peak output of 310 hp and 430 lb-ft of torque over a broad curve.


When we got to see the Bison up close at GM’s Milford Proving Ground we were surprised at how well the truck manages to fit its 35-inch tires. The larger rubber doesn’t seem like an afterthought, and the stance seems purposeful. The extra sidewall and ground clearance will be a welcome addition to the truck, allowing it to tackle taller obstacles and, in concert with the improved suspension, sail over whoops and jumps with confidence.

There are a few compromises that come with the ZR2 Bison, as the payload is reduced by 230 pounds (down to 1050) when compared to the standard ZR2, while the tow rating drops 500 pounds, down to 5500. Chalk that up to the added weight of the Bison’s components as well as the fact that the Bison keeps the standard ZR2’s final drive ratio of 3.42:1.

New for 2024, all Colorado frames will include the mount for the Multimatic jounce shock, shown here just aft of the Multimatic DSSV damper and coil spring. Brandan Gillogly

Just as we suspected when we saw the mule, Chevrolet has been testing the Bison’s suspension in Chad Hall’s off-road racing ZR2, where that extra ground clearance and suspension damping make for one speedy off-roader. Chevrolet’s own development team has tested the Bison on the dunes at Glamis and on the Rubicon Trail, where the 35-inch tires and electronic locking differentials made easy work of obstacles that would have lesser trucks turning tail and heading home.

The Colorado ZR2 was already a formidable machine, and the Bison’s hardware will only elevate the Colorado’s off-road reputation further while taking the off-road fight to Ford’s Ranger Raptor. We should have pricing closer to the Bison’s launch date and hope to get behind the wheel this fall.




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    Only issue is 2023 Colorado and Canyon availability. GM cannot seem to overcome supply chain or regulatory issues and get vehicles to customers. I looked hard at 2023 Canyon/Colorado for a new truck and few to be had and those available are marked up.

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