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GM Turns Colorado ZR2 into Defense Infantry Squad Vehicle

This is the new GM Defense Infantry Squad Vehicle based on Chevrolet’s Colorado ZR2 platform. How hardcore is this? Yes, this thing is being built by the General for the U.S. military with this prototype making way for 650 examples in 2020.

2020 GM Defense ISV-GM-00
2020 GM Defense ISV | GM

GM has this defense arm to develop vehicles for the military. It was recently awarded a paltry $1 million to come with a super-rugged, lightweight, go anywhere-type of vehicle. While that amount of money is chump change, the opportunity to crank out vehicles for the US military is like printing money.

Infantry Squad Vehicle Requirements

Here’s what GM Defense President David Albritton says about the stripped-down hauler, “Infantry Squad Vehicle entry is a fully-integrated platform that leverages decades of GM’s engineering, manufacturing, and quality expertise at scale to provide the most cost-efficient, reliable and effective answer possible to meet and exceed the Army’s demanding requirements.”

2020 GM Defense ISV-GM-00
2020 GM Defense ISV | GM

Some of the U.S. Army’s mandates are:

  1. To be light enough so it can be sling-loaded from a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter 
  2. Compact enough to fit inside a CH-47 Chinook helicopter
  3. To be versatile enough to carry up to nine soldiers and all of their gear at highway speeds on pavement and off-road under extreme conditions.

70% Off The Shelf

GM’s ISV utilizes 70% off-of-the-shelf GM components including some parts spec’d from the ZR2 Bison while others come from the Chevy High Performance catalog. GM mentions components like Multimatic DSSV dampers, long-travel rear leaf springs, jounce shocks, front control arms, driveshaft, Colorado skid plates, and half-shafts. 

Power is provided by the ZR2’s 186 hp 2.8-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. GM says that the Colorado chassis is the basis for a custom-built upper structure that has been built upon the Infantry Squad Vehicle.

2020 GM Defense ISV-GM-00
2020 GM Defense ISV | GM

Layout-wise it seats two in the front, three in the middle row, then two facing back and two behind the rear axle facing out, for a total of nine, as per the Army’s requirements. About the only body components are the hood and rear fenders which are comprised of flat panels that are sheet-broken to form their basic designs. 

ISV Builds Upon The Original Jeep

In many ways, GM is just building upon the premise behind the original Jeep, except it holds nine soldiers instead of four. There is a cargo hold in the back between the two outward-facing seats, with extra storage that could be strapped onto the roll cage. 

GM Defense and the Army have field-tested two prototypes at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and will finish testing by the end of the year to begin production in early 2020. 

2020 GM Defense ISV-GM-00
2020 GM Defense ISV | GM

“We’re very proud of the opportunity to move forward in this competition and continue our development of a vehicle that will enable Army units to move around the battlefield with greater ease and reliability,” concludes Albritton. 

With some supporting side structure or slightly more body protection, we could maybe see this being offered to the public in limited quantities, not that this is going to happen. But if Jeep can manufacture vehicles with doors that remove, as rumored to be the case with the upcoming Ford Bronco as well, then why not?