2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2 review: A rough-and-tumble midsize truck

Maria J. Danford

Not anyone loves the Colorado ZR2’s updated grille, but it is really surely additional intense than right before.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The Chevrolet Colorado is an oldie but a goodie. Yeah, this midsize truck feels outdated, but regardless of a handful of deficits in this article and there it stays a strong possibility in a section rife with a lot less-than-stellar opponents. If you want enhanced off-road capability or the open up-bed hauling usefulness only a pickup truck can supply, but never want or want a whole-size rig, this Chevy is a decent selection.


  • Workable proportions
  • Decent performance
  • Off-road hardware

Never Like

  • Comprehensive-size pickup gas financial system
  • V6 could be smoother
  • Aggravating rock rails

To maintain points contemporary, the Colorado obtained a handful of enhancements for 2021. Mainline versions attain a reworked — and arguably additional handsome — front end, an 8-inch infotainment monitor is normal on the LT trim and better and seventeen-inch wheels are now included at no added cost. The off-road-ready ZR2 product characteristics very similar advancements, nevertheless its experience is significantly additional intense, looking considerably like the boxy Silverado 1500’s prow, for better or worse. Lastly, 3 new exterior colours are available throughout the range which includes Cherry Red Tintcoat, which is what you see in this article.

What sets the ZR2 aside from lesser Colorados is its off-road hardware. The suspension benefits from a two-inch lift and the observe, each front and rear, is 3.five inches broader. Retaining points less than control whilst bombing by way of the desert, clambering over boulders or just cruising your community Residence Depot parking whole lot is a set of Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve dampers. These shocks help control the Colorado ZR2’s starchy springs, which deliver a business on-road journey. When the truck laughs at pothole impacts and significant bumps, you sense almost every single growth joint on the highway. Its Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires are mounted on stylish, multicolor seventeen-inch wheels and need to present sufficient grip whilst path-bashing, even if they broadcast loads of noise on pavement.

The Colorado is available with 3 distinctive engines, two of which are available in the ZR2. This illustration characteristics the 3.six-liter gasoline V6, which cranks out 308 horsepower and 275 pound-ft of torque. For all you compression-ignition aficionados out there, a two.8-liter Duramax diesel is available. Decreased-trim Colorados can be experienced with a four-cylinder gasoline motor, nevertheless it is really in all probability finest to steer clear of this malnourished possibility. Matched to a swift-witted and polished eight-velocity automatic transmission, the V6 has no difficulties shifting this midsize truck with affordable authority. The turbocharged Ford Ranger may have additional small-end grunt and a Honda Ridgeline’s V6 may be smoother, but this Chevy’s motor will get the job carried out with tiny fanfare.

The Colorado may be additional maneuverable than a whole-size truck, but it is really no additional productive. As it sits, this illustration is rated at 16 miles for every gallon in the metropolis and 18 mpg highway. Merged, it need to return seventeen mpg, a figure I topped by about .4 mpg in authentic-environment driving. It’s always excellent when you can exceed a vehicle’s blended gas-financial system score without even attempting, nevertheless this Chevy need to in all probability be additional productive than it is. I signify, a Silverado 1500 TrailBoss with the top rated-dog six.two-liter V8 has the identical blended gas financial system score and it even beats the Colorado on the highway, returning an advertised 19 mpg. What’s the level of acquiring a midsize truck if a conventional fifty percent-ton is additional inexpensive?

2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

It can sense a tiny buzzy at moments, but this 3.six-liter V6 motor will get the job carried out.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

If you tow or haul major hundreds on the reg, you are going to in all probability also want a burlier truck than this Chevy. The Colorado ZR2’s greatest payload score is just 1,350 kilos and it can only drag up to five,000 kilos. The Ranger and Jeep Gladiator’s peak figures simply eclipse the Chevy’s — hell, the car-dependent Ridgeline can haul 233 kilos additional, even if its towing ability is the identical. It is worthy of noting, however, that non-ZR2 Colorados are additional capable. Their greatest payload score is a additional-competitive 1,550 kilos and they can tow up to seven,700 kilos when fitted with the diesel motor.

When it is really time to go path-bashing, the ZR2 has a leg up over all of its midsize rivals besides, perhaps, the Gladiator. Locking differentials front and rear help it get out of hard predicaments. It’s also graced with loads of underbody shielding and other characteristics like hill-descent control. Rock rails along each individual sill are excellent for safeguarding the human body from jagged terrain, nevertheless coupled with that elevated journey peak they make acquiring into and out of this truck complicated if you never want to soil your pant legs with grime or mud. A pair of brilliant purple restoration hooks punctuates the ZR2’s front end and is at the ready need to you get in far too deep whilst off-roading.

The ZR2 is available with a assortment of look-maximizing selections groups, but if additional capability is what you crave, think about the $five,750 Bison bundle. This up grade turns an now capable truck into a authentic mountain goat. It will get you a bunch of package from American Expedition Automobiles which includes a distinctive front bumper with provisions to mount a winch, boron-metal skid plates for included underbody defense, special fender flares, distinctive seventeen-inch wheels and additional.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

The Colorado’s interior is a no-frills zone.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The Chevy Colorado’s fundamentals are typically remarkable, but its interior and tech are what bely its highly developed age. For better or worse, this truck’s interior is in essence the identical as it was 5 or 6 several years in the past, which indicates you get loads of so-so challenging plastics and leather that feels additional like vinyl than anything shucked off a dwelling creature. The dashboard’s total structure is also as conservative as a Southern Baptist, with no frills or interesting structure prospers to be experienced. The advantage of this straightforward, honest structure, however, is that all the secondary buttons and knobs are uncomplicated to reach and see, with the local weather controls currently being mounted up high and the seat-heater switches in an evident area.

The Colorado is comfy, with the front chairs adjusting nicely to accommodate taller folks, even if the cushions are fairly flat. The crew-taxi body’s rear bench seat is a little bit on the upright facet, par for the midsize-truck system, but it can in good shape a pair of six-foot-tall grown ups without substantially difficulties. The decrease cushions also flip up, revealing a storage cubby for stashing points absent from prying eyes.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

These Multimatic dampers help make the ZR2 product an achieved off-roader.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Like its total interior structure, this truck’s tech is powering the moments. Guaranteed, my tester’s 8-inch dashboard monitor is nice more than enough, household to a fast and clean infotainment process that is a enjoyment to use, but integrated navigation prices an additional $995, even on the high-end ZR2 product. Thankfully, if you never sense like shelling out an added grand of challenging-gained scratch, Apple CarPlay and Android Car are ready, inclined and normal throughout the board.

But no issue how substantially you spend, you can not get drive-button start out in this truck. In its place, every single Colorado arrives with an outdated-fashioned stick-and-twist critical. For you youngsters that usually are not familiar, you acquire a skinny piece of steel, jab it into a receptacle on the steering column and transform it to hearth the motor up. In the same way, blind-location monitoring, rear cross-website traffic inform and lane centering are not available, but at the very least keyless entry is available on even the most-standard Do the job Truck product, and you can get the Colorado with distant start out.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

Regardless of its several years, the Colorado is nevertheless a very good midsize truck.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Speaking of revenue, a foundation, rear-wheel-drive model of this truck with the four-cylinder motor starts off at 26 grand and adjust. With lots of additional characteristics and a crew-taxi human body, the Colorado ZR2 examined in this article checks out for a substantially-steeper $44,890, which includes $1,195 in place service fees. The sole possibility padding that figure is the paint job, which prices $495.

The Chevy Colorado’s grey hairs are surely demonstrating, but regardless of its age, this truck stays a very good possibility — a single I prefer in some techniques to the Ranger and Gladiator. For common-reason use, the Honda Ridgeline is nevertheless the finest all-all-around midsize pickup in my humble view, but if you want some thing with additional rugged appears to be like and a whole lot additional off-road capability, the ZR2 could in good shape the invoice.

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