The Off-Road-Focused Chevy ZR2 Silverado Isn’t All It’s Cracked up to Be
Chevrolet created the Colorado ZR2, which took the midsize truck world by storm as the most powerful and off-road-focused truck in the class. The ZR2 treatments moved upmarket to the Silverado, but the same can’t be said of this full-size pickup.
Why isn’t the Chevy Silverado ZR2 the top pickup truck in its class?
If we’re looking at high-powered premium off-road trucks as a category, the ZR2 Silverado falls short of the Ram 1500 TRX and Ford F-150 Raptor. Now that Ford has the F-150 Raptor R, three trucks are ahead of the Chevy model. Still, the Silverado ZR2 might be the ideal off-road truck for most consumers. Let’s see why.
What does a premium off-road truck need?
According to The Fast Lane Trucks team, any premium off-road truck must have several qualities to be competitive. These qualities are:
- Plenty of power
- An excellent suspension
- Great tires
- Impressive ground clearance
- A premium interior
- The latest technology
Does the Chevy Silverado ZR2 deliver on all of these qualities?
Chevy stuck with a proven winner under the hood of this full-size truck
Before we get to the off-road accessories of the ZR2 Silverado, let’s look at this powertrain. This off-road-focused truck uses the 6.2-liter V8 engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain delivers 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque.
Unfortunately, this is the greatest weakness of this truck compared to the Ram TRX and Ford Raptor models. All three other trucks use specialized powertrains to give them incredible power numbers.
How does this Chevy off-road truck do in the other categories?
The suspension offered for the Silverado ZR2 uses bespoke DSSV Multimatic spool-valve dampers. This system is race-proven and soaks up the harshness of off-road trails with ease. The suspension travel is 9.8 in the front and 10.6 inches in the rear. Both the TRX and Raptor models offer at least 13 inches of travel.
This Chevy truck uses 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires, providing excellent take-off. These tires are used in other top-end trucks, and SUVs, including the GMC Hummer EV, Ram TRX, and Ford Bronco. The Raptor can use 37-inch tires, the TRX rides on 35s, and the Hummer EV can ride on 35 or 37-inch tires. Also, the ZR2 is limited to a top speed of 98 mph, while the TRX and Raptor reach 118 mph.
Ground clearance is extremely important in off-roading. The Chevy Silverado ZR2 provides useful off-road angles which are:
- Departure Angle – 23.3 degrees
- Approach Angle – 31.8 degrees
- Breakover Angle – 23.4 degrees
Does the ZR2 Silverado beat the Ram and Ford trucks in any category?
While the 2023 Chevy Silverado ZR2 doesn’t best the Ram 1500 TRX or Ford F-150 Raptor models in any off-road category, it does have an advantage in one area. The Silverado has a maximum payload of 1,440 pounds and a towing capacity of 8,900 pounds. Comparatively, the Ram TRX tows up to 8,100 pounds, and the F-150 Raptor only pulls 8,200 pounds.
Maybe Chevy shot too high with this full-size truck?
Instead of putting the off-road-focused Silverado up against the Ram TRX and Ford Raptor, maybe this Chevy truck is better off being compared to other off-road trucks. The equipment and performance of the full-size Chevy are more similar to the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, Ford F-150 Tremor, and Ram 1500 Rebel GT. This is where the Chevy Silverado ZR2 belongs.
Next, check out how much fun this off-road Silverado can be, or learn more about the new ZR2 Silverado in this video below: