The 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison combines the efforts of Chevrolet, Chad Hall Racing, and AEV to create “the most off-road-capable midsize truck” yet, a statement that is hard to argue with. Highlights include massive 35-inch M/T tires, Jounce Control Dampers at all four corners, loads of Boron steel armor, launch control, and over a foot of ground clearance.
The Colorado ZR2 Bison prioritizes high-speed off-road fun over slow-speed crawling over obstacles. Engineers told us that this focus is one reason the truck doesn’t have a sway bar disconnect — something the 2024 Tacoma TRD Pro has — and does have Multimatic Jounce Control Dampers at all four corners — something no midsize truck offers.
I’ve already spent hundreds of miles off-road testing the 2023 Colorado ZR2 — which you can read about here — and came away very impressed. Now, let’s dive into the evolution of this already extremely capable and sporty midsize pickup.
- Engine 2.7L 4-cylinder turbo HO
- Power 310 horsepower; 430 lb.-ft. of torque
- Transmission 8-speed automatic
- Wheelbase 131"
- Approach/Break-Over/Departure Angles 38.2, 26.9, and 26 degrees
- Ground Clearance 12.27"
- Max Trailering 5,500 lbs.
- Curb Weight 4,940 lbs.
- Payload 1,050 lbs.
- Wheels/Tires 17×8.5 wheels wrapped in 35" (LT315/70R17) tires
Colorado ZR2 Bison: AEV Upgrades
Let’s first dive into the upgrades American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) has thrown at this latest Colorado ZR2 Bison — the follow-up to the impressive first collaboration with Chevrolet.
You’ll probably first notice the signature style AEV steel bumpers at each end of the truck, with prominent recovery points. The front bumper also comes winch-ready. A ComeUp winch is available from the dealer.
You might next notice the spare tire mounted in the truck bed. That’s because the 35-inch mud-terrain tires the Colorado ZR2 Bison rolls on won’t fit in the spare location under the truck between the frame rails. The Bison comes with no spare hoist or anything in the spare location under the truck. That area is just ripe for aftermarket accessories like a long-range fuel tank or gear storage solutions.
Those big tires are wrapped around AEV 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels. This wheel and tire combo provides tons of sidewall to work with. This is great for airing down and creating maximum traction and comfort off-road. Keeping those big tires contained under the truck are AEV fender flares.
Under the truck is where a lot of the AEV special sauce has been added. The 2024 Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison features five AEV Boron steel skid plates. This includes skids to protect the radiator, steering gear, trans/T-case, fuel tank, and rear diff.
You’ll also know that the truck is a Bison edition from the branding throughout. The 2024 Colorado ZR2 Bison comes with AEV graphics on the bedsides, on the tailgate, on the headrests, and on the floor mats.
If you don’t have the coin up front to step up the full Bison edition of the Colorado, Chevy executives assured us that all these parts would fit on 2023 and above Colorado ZR2 and most other Colorado trims. They should also be available through Chevrolet dealerships soon.
Chad Hall Racing Colorado ZR2 Bison
Chevy has been racing the Colorado ZR2 platform with Chad Hall Racing for many years now. The two generations of Colorado ZR2 have now entered and completed 39 off-road races. That’s over 12,000 race miles.
Most of the parts and pieces of this latest-gen ZR2 and the Bison edition have all been tested on the race track before making it to production. Bottom line, the 2024 Colorado ZR2 Bison has been race-proven.
2024 Colorado ZR2 Bison on Paper
On paper, this truck is going to be a real winner. The testing I’ve done already in the 2023 Colorado ZR2 leads me to believe the same will be true once we get to experience it in the real world.
The 2024 Colorado ZR2 Bison gets the same turbo-four and eight-speed transmission as the ZR2. Both work well but are uninspiring.
A first for a midsize pickup from the factory are 35-inch tires. This is a massive deal and something off-road fans have been begging for.
Those massive tires help to provide massive ground clearance (best in class), 12.2 inches of it. That’s 1.57 inches more than the already impressive 2023 Colorado ZR2 offers. While the approach angle of the Bison is slightly worse than the ZR2 — because of the winch bumper — the departure angle is slightly improved, and breakover is greatly improved.
The curb weight increases by 325 pounds over the ZR2, while GVWR increases by 100 pounds. Payload capacity drops 260 pounds (to 1,050 pounds) and towing capacity decreases by 500 pounds (to 5,500 pounds).
The trackwidth grows by over an inch over the ZR2. The gear ratio stays the same. The Multimatic shocks stay the same, as does the total travel of the shocks. Multimatic jounce control dampers are added to all four corners of the truck, which should really smooth out big impacts at speed when off-road — or over those deep city potholes.
The team at Chevrolet couldn’t leave the software alone on the Colorado ZR2 Bison, either. The biggest news here is the addition of launch control, something not found on any other midsize pickup on the market. Launch control is available in Baja mode only, but can be active in both 2WD and 4WD. It’s even a smart system, which adapts to conditions to minimize wheel spin and increase traction/speed.
Another cool software update is a refined PSA (Performance Shift Active) system. This is another Baja mode-only system. It is activated with aggressive throttle and basically holds gears longer and makes the throttle pedal more responsive. I used the feature a lot on the new Colorado ZR2 and loved it. The refined PSA will also roll out soon with an over-the-air update to all 2023 and newer Colorado ZR2s.
2024 Colorado ZR2 Bison: Get Some!
The 2024 Colorado ZR2 Bison basically comes fully loaded. The only real options you have when ordering one are color, sunroof, interior materials, and the tech package. Expect to see the first trucks hit dealer lots in early fall 2023.
Chevy is so confident that these trucks will sell well that they are doubling the availability over the current-gen Colorado ZR2 Bison. Although, they wouldn’t give us any hard numbers on that front.
Michael Macfee, director of Chevrolet Truck Marketing, says the target buyer for the 2024 Colorado ZR2 Bison is “off-road enthusiasts.” He also went on to say that “overlanding is a massive growth segment and we plan to go deeper in that space.” We can’t wait to see what that looks like.
Remember, by 2024 you’ll be able to get an AEV Bison upgrade package on the full Chevrolet truck lineup — Colorado ZR2, Silverado 1500 ZR2, and Silverado HD ZR2. That is also true of the entire GMC truck lineup as well — Canyon AT4X, Sierra 1500 AT4X, and Sierra 2500 HD AT4X.