By Veeno Dewan  

At the time of writing Chevrolet Canada offered a choice of no less than eight different models of its award winning mid-size Colorado pickup, equipped with various appearance packages. But the most interesting model is the 2019 Colorado ZR2 (As tested) a more serious off-road trail and desert machine, with a raised height, a wider track, uprated suspension, skid plates, fender flares and 31-inch Goodyear all-terrain tires. Otherwise, the handsome Colorado offers a range of special edition extended or crew cab models. Extended cab trucks come in two or four-wheel drive, with a 6’2″ box. Crew cabs have either the 6’2″ box or a shorter 5’1″ bed.

The Colorado is also available in either rear- or four-wheel drive, depending on model. The base engine is a 2.5-liter four cylinder, 200 hp and with Torque at 191 lb.-ft. While the most popular option will probably be the 3.6-liter V-6 offering best in class horsepower 308 hp with best in class and Torque  275 lb.-ft. The V6 has Towing Capability7, 000 lb. (3,175 kg) while fuel efficiency is rated at 9.6 L/100 km highway 7.0 with a 6-speed automatic or manual transmission. A 2.8-liter turbodiesel L4 is also available, with impressive best-in-class horsepower at 181 horsepower with best in class Torque  at  369 lb.-ft. and  best in class fuel efficiency 7.9 L/100 km highway.

Back to our test ZR2. Powered by the 3.6 liter V6, it has some serious off-road credentials in the form of:  Multimatic’s Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) dampers, with a 2-inch suspension lift and 3.5-inch-wider track, for both off-road rock crawling, and improved ride quality and performance on road. There is also a locking rear differential, a segment-exclusive locking front differential, more robustly engineered rear axle and front control arms, rock sliders, aluminum skid plates on the radiator, engine oil pan, and transfer case, and new aggressive looking front and rear bumpers designed for better approach and departure angles off road. Finally the 17-inch wheels are fitted with high performance 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires. You also gain a cool, black contrasting power bulge and exterior graphics.

The ZR2’s interior featured a large, neat, well apportioned cabin with big, comfortable seats. Everything seems well-built and of good quality, All Colorado’s arrive with power windows and locks, a four-way power driver’s seat, air conditioning, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Leather trim and seat are available on higher LT, Z71 and ZR2 trims, along with premium luxury and convenience features such as heated and cooled seats, and uprated safety aids.

On the road performance is good, The V6-powered ZR2 delivers decent enough grunt, with plenty of acceleration and torque. The ZR2’ suspension is superb in my opinion the DSSV dampers have magical ability to offer good, steady ride on paved streets without the jumpiness and body roll you would associate with lift kit and long travel shocks. They provide a largely comfortable, forgiving ride. The steering is good, light, and dead on center steering. We took the ZR2 to the wilds of Abbotsford, to a rough trail area where Colorado ZR2 performed very well, if not exceptionally thanks to its professional grade off- road hardware and suspension. With its controllable low end low-end torque, responsive four-wheel drive and the hyper aggressive tread on the Goodyear Duratrac tires, it made light work of the trails with ease. Nothing much to complain about.

The 2019 Chevrolet Colorado is a jack-of-all-trades: stellar work truck, and urban everyday hauler. It’s a smartly-sized truck with efficient and powerful engine choices, and a comfortable daily driver. The ZR2 version on the other hand is all that, but also a seriously impressive off-road fanatics truck that’s incredibly well priced when you take into account all the off-road hardware included. Overall, the Colorado is a very capable work, play and family vehicle, and the ZR2 is cream of the crop in this lineup. Highly recommended.

2019 Chevrolet Colorado: Base priced from $23,000 – $38,000. Colorado ZR2 model priced from: $47,000.