Colorado ZR2 Bison flaunts 35-inch tires, hydraulic jounce shocks

Brandan Gillogly

Chevrolet recently gave us the opportunity to drive the 2023 Colorado ZR2, which we’ll detail in a story later this week, and the automaker chose that setting to give us a camouflaged peek at the upcoming Colorado ZR2 Bison. Chevy gave us no details about the development mule parked before us, but a quick inspection proved our suspicions, with “Bison” clearly visible on its Multimatic DSSV shocks.

Like its predecessor, the Bison will add some extra underbody protection to the regular ZR2, but this upcoming iteration takes the ZR2’s off-road capability to an even higher level with the addition of significant suspension changes. Most apparent is the Bison’s taller stance and 315/70R17 Goodyear Duratrac Wrangler tires. Those dimensions are very close to those of the 35-inch tire worn by the Chad Hall Racing truck. The tires also have a different tread pattern than the Goodyear Wrangler Territory M/T worn on the standard ZR2.

Brandan Gillogly

With the camouflaged prototype parked next to Chad Hall’s 7300-class desert racer, it’s apparent that Chevrolet was using Hall’s truck to test the Bison’s upgraded suspension in plain sight.

A look at the rear suspension shows hydraulic jounce shocks mounted to the frame and crossmember, just like the optional Chevrolet Performance Parts bits for the current ZR2. The front suspension shows similar jounce shocks. Also, note that the differential has a skid plate that extends forward to shield the pinion and rear U-joint.

The larger tires likely won’t fit in the under-bed location used by the standard Colorado ZR2, so the Bison will get a bed-mounted spare.

The spare-tire mount incorporates a hoop and a bracket that bolts into several spots in the front of the bed. Brandan Gillogly

There are some other changes we expect to come with the Bison package, including a bumper that incorporates a winch. The camo was obscuring most of the details, but we did spot some cast recovery points in the new bumpers that are similar to those found on the previous Colorado AEV Bison. Considering the change in tire size, we are also likely to see different ring-and-pinion ratios in the axles. The current ZR2 uses the same axle gearing as every other Colorado, but the 35-inch tires will likely require some additional mechanical advantage to keep the same performance level.

Chevrolet wowed us with the last Bison, and this one looks even more impressive. As the off-road arms race keeps churning out more capable vehicles, the mid-size truck and SUV market has never been more exciting.

The standard ZR2 has a thick aluminum front skid plate, while the Bison appears to use a stamped steel piece. It also has an additional skid plate protecting the fuel tank. Brandan Gillogly




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    Chevy should make a Silverado Bison, possibly with an even higher strung version of the c7 zo6/V series motor, if ICE is going away may as well full send it

    There will be a Silverado ZR2 Bison and a Silverado HD Bison. Chevrolet showed the HD last week.

    This is going to be a monster of a truck. No emblem and decal package here.

    The Silverado up rated model will be here soon too.

    The photo caption surmising on the skidplate being steel is correct. AEV uses high-strength boron steel on their skidplates which are also fairly light because they can use a thinner cross-section.

    Nice to see that Chevy is still using the former Light Racing/now Specialty Products Jounce Shocks that Bryan Kudela designed for the Chevy trucks oh-so-many years ago.

    My son has a 2019 Colorado ZR2 and it’s a seriously impressive vehicle that doesn’t punish you in daily driving. The new one looks to an improvement, especially the interior. No more V6, but the Turbo four looks to put out comparable power.

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