An exclusive, flow-through “CHEVROLET” lettered grille replaces the traditional bow-tie on Bison’s front end.

Your Midsized Off-Road Dream Truck Has Arrived: AEV ZR2 Bison

Is your ideal truck a lifted, midsized diesel 4×4 with great shocks? Does it also have fully locked differentials and full off-road armor with all the modern conveniences and tech? If so, American Expedition Vehicles and Chevrolet have the truck for you. Meet the 2019 Chevrolet ZR2 Bison.

The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 concept truck, from American Expedition Vehicles (AEV), unveiled at the 2018 SEMA Show has come to life. The 2019 Chevrolet ZR2 Bison will show up at your local Chevrolet dealer in 2019. It will be backed with a full factory limited warranty.

Colorado ZR2

The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is already an impressive off-road truck directly from the factory. It offers class-exclusive front and rear electronic locking differentials, impressive Multimatic DSSV dampers, rock sliders, and so much more. A track width widened by 3.5 inches, as well as a 2-inch suspension lift, make the ZR2 great to drive on and off road.

Colorado ZR2 Bison features five hot-stamped Boron steel skid plates that protect key undercarriage elements.

Chevrolet ZR2 Gets the AEV Bison Treatment

AEV is a well-established premium off-road aftermarket manufacturer. But up until now, it has focused on RAM and Jeep vehicles. At the 2018 SEMA Show, the brand’s show truck, based on the Colorado ZR2, was the first time it had ever worked outside the FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automotive) vehicle stable.

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The 2019 Chevrolet ZR2 Bison is the culmination of a lot of testing, including crash testing of its new bumpers. The stamped steel front and rear bumpers offer great impact resistance, better entry and departure angles, and solid recovery points. The front bumper also has standard fog lights and an integrated winch mount.

The Colorado ZR2 Bison offers customers an even more extreme turnkey off-road truck ready to tackle your next adventure.

The front grille on the Bison is also unique. Instead of the traditional bowtie, it sports “CHEVROLET” in “flow-through” lettering.

The Colorado ZR2 Bison is Chevrolet’s first collaboration with AEV.

AEV is also all about protecting the truck from impacts off road. Besides the upgraded bumpers, you also get five hot-stamped boron steel skid plates. The skids protect the engine oil pan, fuel tank, transfer case, and front and rear locking differentials.

While the new ZR2 Bison doesn’t offer the 35-inch BFG MT tires shown on the AEV SEMA concept truck, it does offer 31-inch Goodyear Duratrac tires wrapped in Bison-specific 17 x 8-inch aluminum wheels. This setup should be a good compromise balance of on- and off-road performance for most people.

Bison features embroidered “AEV” logos on the floor liners and front head restraints.

AEV Parts for Your Colorado

Like in the past with Jeep and RAM parts from AEV, you can expect to be able to buy the new parts seen on the Bison separately. This will allow you to upgrade your Colorado to new levels of off-road performance with high-quality OEM certified parts.

The ZR2 Bison will not come standard with the AEV snorkel but can be purchased separately. The snorkel is ideal for air filtration on dusty trails and is compatible with all Colorado pickup variants.

Spec It Your Way

You can get the ZR2 Bison with either a 3.6L V6 coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission, or a 2.8L Duramax paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. You can also choose either crew or extended cab configurations, with a 61.7-inch bed on the crew cab or 74-inch bed on the extended cab.

AEV-designed stamped steel rear bumpers house integrated recovery points and chassis-mounted tubular corner protection.

I’d spec my new ZR2 Bison with the 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel in the extended cab configuration. This will give you 186 horsepower and a massive 369 pound-feet of torque, while also providing a longer 74-inch truck bed.

The bigger bed allows for more room to set up a sleeping system and carry more adventure gear. I’d also add a winch to the front bumper, the AEV Colorado-specific snorkel, and some LED off-road lighting.

While no pricing has been announced, you can expect the new ZR2 Bison to be considerably more than the $45,000 price tag you’d find on a well-appointed diesel ZR2.

For those interested in this slick build, learn more on AEV’s website.

Bryon Dorr

Bryon Dorr is the Motors Editor of GearJunkie and EIC of AutoWise. He has been writing about overland travel, off-road vehicles, whitewater kayaks, and outdoor and travel gear for 11+ years, with over 2-years of that at Lola Digital Media. Prior to his current role, he freelanced across a wide range of outdoor, automotive, and travel media outlets, both online and in print, as well as with wide range of commercial clients as a photographer, social media marketer, and copy editor. Based in Portland, Oregon, Dorr is an avid kayaker, cyclist, skier/snowboarder, runner, and photographer. When not outdoors doing human powered adventures you’ll find him behind the wheel or bars of something with a motor and wheels or enjoying a dark caft beer with friends.