The Chevy Z71 Package Doesn’t Make Your Silverado Faster

We’ve all seen the giant Z71 badges on the back of Chevy Silverado trucks. The Z in the Z71 certainly makes many of us think of the legendary ZR1 Corvettes and ZL1-badged Camaros. On those cars, the Z is Chevy speak for, “Hold on, this thing is fast.” That’s not the case on the new Silverado. Instead, the Chevy Z71 package means that the truck has an off-road-tuned suspension, not a hotter motor.

What does Z71 on a Chevy mean?

The Z71 badging means that your truck has some extra goodies to go off-road, but not a bigger or better engine. Instead, Z71 trucks get better springs. The Z71 package includes Rancho brand shocks front and rear. It also adds a heavy-duty air filter and skid plates underneath, as well as some electronic goodies, like hill descent control. The Chevy Z71 package adds about $1,700 to the base price of a new Silverado, which was first offered in the 1970s, according to AutoTrader.

It can put the power down in the dirt better than a regular Silverado truck, however, since you also get a two-speed transfer case, which means you get an extra-low gear for off-road (or stump-pulling) work. That also means you get an automatic locking rear differential, which helps with traction in the loose stuff.  Of course, the Z71 also comes with Z71 badging on the grille, the bed, and even the floor mats, on some trucks. You can’t get the Max Trailering Package, however, with the Z71 package.

Not all Chevy Z71 package trucks are the same

The 2022 Silverado's Z71 package is a suspension, not engine, package.
2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Regular Cab Short Box | GM

The Z71 is available for the WT, LT, RST, LTZ and High Country trim levels of the Silverado. The Z71 with the two-inch factory lift is standard on the Custom Trail Boss and LT Trail Boss. However, the LT and RST includes dual-outlet exhausts with polished tips, and 18-inch silver wheels. The LTZ gets larger 175/60R20 sized tires, compared to the 265-series tires on the LT and RST. On some trims, you can also get the Z71 Off-Road Protection Package, which includes a factory spray-on bedliner.

Also, since the top-of-the-line High Country already has its own special badges, someone at Chevy decided that Z71 badges were probably overkill and Chevy doesn’t include them. It’s assumed that your High Country has the upgraded suspension because it already comes with everything else. And, yes, you can get it on the two-door Silverado.

What is the Z71 motor?

2023 L87
2023 L87 Chevy Silverado 6.2-liter V8 | GM

The Z71 package can be ordered for many 1500 Silverado trims, so there is no specific Z71 motor. But, that’s not a bad thing because the Silverado has several engine options. For 2022 you can order a 2.7-liter turbocharged motor, with 310 horsepower, a 5.3-liter V8 with 355 horsepower, the 6.2 liter with 420 horsepower. If you prefer a diesel, the 3.0-liter inline-six makes 277 horsepower, but a monstrous 460 lb.-ft of torque.

What is the ZR2 package on Chevy trucks?

2023 Chevy Silverado 1500 price
2023 Chevy Silverado ZR2 Bison | Chevrolet

While the ZR1 is the flagship Corvette, the ZR2 is the new flagship off-road Silverado trim. The 2022 ZR2 is the first time the package has been offered on a Silverado, as it’s been an option on smaller Chevy trucks off-and-on for several decades. It comes standard with the mighty 6.2-liter V8 that makes 420-horsepower and a 10-speed transmission.

You can get the V8 on other trucks, but you can’t get the higher-performance suspension that the ZR2 offers. It gets the magic Multimatic DSSV dampers, which use a special fluid that lets them rebound incredibly quickly. That quick rebound allows the ZR2 to bound over the rough stuff like a trophy truck.  The ZR2’s transfer case gets Autotrac push-button control.

RELATED: Z71 or ZR2, Which of the Zs do You Need?