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

For 2022, Chevrolet is going all in on the Zs. This year the 2022 Colorado can be ordered as a Work Truck, an upgraded LT version, the off-road biased Z71 and the bonkers ZR2. Similar to the full-size Silverado packages, Chevy puts some Zs on the Colorado. The Colorado is being redesigned for 2023, which means that some 2022s may be less expensive at the dealer.

There’s a lot of off-road potential in the Chevy Colorado

Chevrolet Colorado ZR2
2022 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 | Chevrolet

There’s a lot the same about the trucks. They’re both two-door, short bed, compact trucks that can be ordered with a variety of towing packages, infotainment systems, and a 308-horsepwer 3.6-liter V6. They can hold up to 1,550 pounds and tow up to 7,700 pounds. Either can be ordered with a Diesel, too, that has 369-pound-feet of torque. Both compete with the Ford Ranger in the mid-size truck market.

Both Z71 or ZR2 have a standard heated seats and steering wheels, as well as the Rear Vision Camera’s with HD view. The Z71 starts at almost $35,000, while the ZR2 starts at $42,600. But what do you get for that extra $7,600?

Is the ZR2 worth the extra dough?

A 2022 Chevy Colorado rips through the mud with its off-road capability
2022 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison | Chevrolet

The big difference with the ZR2 and every other Colorado is the Multimatic shocks. The shocks were designed for racing cars and have spool valve damping. It’s a lot to get into what spool valves do, but Aston Martin and Mercedes use the shocks on their racing cars and Chevy added them to the Silverado ZR2, too.

The ZR2 is the boss. It’s so boss, Chevrolet doesn’t just call it a Colorado with a ZR2 package, it sort of sells it as its own truck, separate from the Colorado. It has a two-inch lift. It has front and rear locking differentials. The Z71 or ZR2 trucks are built for rock crawling, and for desert running, but the ZR2 has more lift and control. It’s the most-expensive version of the Colorado, too.

For 2022, the Colorado ZR2 can be ordered in the Dusk special edition or the Midnight Special Edition for $3,215 extra. These two kits are basically appearance packages with light, wheels, and in the Dusk package, a sport bar. The Bison is the most expensive trim and offers AEV bumpers, skid plates, fender flares, and wheels. It also comes with fog lamps and can be outfitted with any number of overlanding accessories, including a snorkel.  

The Z71 can also be built for off-road adventure

The Chevrolet Z71 or ZR2 can be off-road ready. The Z71, however, is about $7,000 less expensive.
Z71 Colorado | Chevrolet

The Z71 has a lift, and special suspension so that it’ll bound over the tough stuff. It also has shields underneath so that if you hit the tough stuff, the expensive bits underneath won’t be damaged. The Z71 also has an automatic locking rear differential that locks the wheels if it senses too much slip. The ZR2’s lockers offer manual control.

The Z71 can be ordered in the Midnight Edition which comes in black, has a spray-on bedliner, floormats, and special 17-inch wheels with 31-inch Goodyear all-terrain tires. On the Z71 or ZR2 you get 17-inch rims.

Your local dealer can install the new Trail Boss package on the LT and Z71 that includes a one-inch suspension-leveling kit, front and rear skid plates, tow hooks, and removes the front air dam so you don’t remove it on the first rock you hit on the trail.

Regardless, whichever one you prefer, there’s also a GMC Canyon version of it.

RELATED: The 2022 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Is an Off-Road Machine