Will the Silverado ZR2 Bison Finally be a Raptor Killer?

The coming 2022 Silverado ZR2 pickup was supposed to buck heads with the Ram TRX and Ford Raptor. But Chevy enthusiasts are more than a little disappointed its numbers don’t come close to either of its competitors. Everyone has been wondering if Chevy has something more potent in the pipeline? The Silverado ZR2 Bison is finally the answer. We hope.

Does the Silverado ZR2 really compete against the Raptor and TRX?

Chevy Silverado ZR2
Chevy Silverado ZR2 | GM

At $68,000, the Silverado ZR2 is a better deal than its rivals. But it doesn’t have the performance its rivals have. So is it a better deal? Not really.

But the rumored ZR2 Bison is supposed to go many steps farther to become a real performing off-road monster variant of the ZR2. Looking at spy shots of the muscled-up Bison, though some parts are camouflaged, what is peeking out looks a lot like the Chevrolet Off-Road concept called “The Beast” we saw last year at the SEMA Show. 

Will the LT4 Escalade-V V8 land in the ZR2 Bison?

2022 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 tearing up a dirt trail
2022 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 | Chevrolet

Maybe some of the biggest news is that the LT4 V8 found in the Cadillac Escalade-V is the intended powerplant. But it should be noted that the beefier Colorado ZR2 Bison variant saw nothing done to increase engine performance. That means no supercharger. 

But the Colorado is a different animal than the Silverado. The midsize pickup just might not be able to handle any more torque or low-gear hammering. If it follows along the lines of the Colorado Bison, then the ZR2 Bison will see big skid plates and rock sliders to protect that shiny new paint. 

What else will the ZR2 Bison feature?

Chevy Silverado ZR2
Chevy Silverado ZR2 | GM

All of these mods are being developed in conjunction with American Expedition Vehicles. They’re the upfitter handling the Colorado ZR2 Bison upgrades. It sees unique AEV-produced modular wheels. As the spy shots show covered wheels, we expect the Silverado ZR2 Bison will roll on another unique AEV wheel design. And natch, the truck will feature a unique grille and bumper, which is de rigueur for special off-road versions from all of the truckmakers. 

Chevy was late to the Baja-inspired limited truck segment. Actually, it never had a dog in that fight. It says it prefers the rock-crawler-inspired arena. Yet, the Raptor has done quite well for Ford. 

It seems like a similar truck from Chevy would appeal to the Chevy truck enthusiasts, and maybe some Ram and Ford fans too? But as we’ve said plenty of times before, GM works in mysterious ways. So the question becomes, with the Bison break from the Chevy norm, or will it double down on the rock-crawler direction?

Will AEV finally come through?

Chevy Silverado ZR2
Chevy Silverado ZR2 | GM

After the debut of the Colorado ZR2 Bison, AEV rolled out its own version, with a bit more teeth. Could it be conjuring a Silverado Bison of its own that leans more toward the Raptor? We’ll have to wait a while to find out.

The Silverado ZR2 Bison will see the light of day in 2023. So anything similar from AEV wouldn’t show up until 2024. Let’s hope that Chevy’s version more closely aligns with the Raptor/TRX model and that the Chevy truck fans have something soon to flaunt.