Rubicon Trail-tested pickup boasts Multimatic dampers and other impressive technologies.

Need to go over, through, or around pretty much anything? Chevy hopes you’ll consider the new Colorado ZR2, its most off-road-focused version of the midsize pickup truck yet that goes way further (and farther) than the existing Z71 package.

The idea of resurrecting the ZR2 name was hinted at by the diesel-powered Colorado ZR2 concept shown at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. Our spy photographers also caught prototypes of the truck testing earlier this year, signaling that the tough off-roader was headed to showrooms.

As with any off-roader worth its salt, the Chevy Colorado ZR2’s biggest upgrades come in terms of the suspension. It’s been lifted by two inches, and new durable cast-iron control arms widen the track by 3.5 inches. ZR2-specific 17x8-inch wheels are wrapped in 31-inch Goodyear Duratrac tires – and before you ask if those tires are big enough, Chevy engineers want you to know that the ZR2 has already proven itself at off-road parks in a dozen states, including the challenging Rubicon Trail.

2017 Chevy Colorado ZR2
2017 Chevy Colorado ZR2
2017 Chevy Colorado ZR2
2017 Chevy Colorado ZR2

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Perhaps the most interesting suspension change, though, is the use of Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) dampers from Multimatic. If those sound familiar, it’s because DSSV dampers were also used on the Camaro Z/28 track monster. With several spool valves that vary damping force based on speed and position, Chevy engineers were able to more finely tune the truck’s suspension performance. To put it into simple terms, Chevy says traditional dampers essentially provide two damping curves (compression and rebound), while the DSSV ones allow for six curves. More variables, more likely the suspension is doing what you want when you need.

Other functional changes include skid plates and rock rails, as well as electronically locking front and rear differentials. The front fascia has been dramatically cut out to improve approach angles. How dramatically? It’s scooped out so much that the truck’s tires are fully visible from the front. Out back, there are no more bed-assist steps to aid departure angles. And, uh, because engineers accidentally crunched the steps to oblivion when testing early prototypes of the ZR2.

Underhood, buyers will be able to equip their ZR2 with either the 3.6-liter V6 gas engine or the 2.8-liter Duramax turbodiesel. The bed-mounted full-size spare tire pictured here will be an option.

Source: Chevrolet

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