Some trucks are good for getting from point A to point B, some are good for adventure. The rare ones do both
The moment the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Dusk Edition four-wheel-drive test truck rolled into my driveway, I made plans to take this beauty to Sedona, Arizona, for a day of off-roading. I didn’t expect to be comfortable on the drive because, well, it’s a lifted off-roader designed to perform off the asphalt, not on it.
To my pleasant surprise, the cabin of the Colorado was downright comfortable, with its power leather seats and other modern conveniences, including an infotainment system that was Apple CarPlay compliant. I didn’t expect frills in a vehicle advertised as a trail tackler.
Previous lifted trucks I’ve driven have felt bulky or burdensome, especially in tight parking lots or merging onto a fast-moving freeway. But I felt totally comfortable zipping around in the ZR2. I suppose that’s the beauty of a midsize truck; it is absolutely a good daily driver, but don’t be deceived: it’s ready to take you down the most rugged roads.
I decided to ease the truck down to Devil’s Bridge Trailhead, as this drive requires a lot of rock crawling that would let me test the ZR2’s off-road capabilities. It can be intimidating taking a brand-new vehicle you’ve never driven before down such a rocky road, but given the tires, bumpers and protection plates, I figured I couldn’t do too much damage even if I tried.
About 30 seconds into the trail, I found myself smiling from ear to ear. I had no worries. This truck could handle anything and proved Chevy is still among the top marques after the pavement ends.
The ZR2 off-road suspension package adds wider front and rear track widths than the standard Colorado, and it is lifted two inches higher. It also has class-exclusive front and rear electronic locking differentials, Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve damper technology, StabiliTrack electronic stability control with rollover mitigation technology and cast-iron control arms.
If all that goes over your head, think of it this way: The ZR2 is ready for some serious trails.
Not only was I tearing up the terrain, I was turning heads. No hiker on the path could resist the ZR2’s beauty. The Cajun Red color caught eyes and the massive spare tire carrier in the bed and the racing stripe on the hood added to the tough-looking allure.
Oh, and the Dusk Edition adds an insane lighting setup. To put it simply, the black sport bar with LED lighting looks badass. Honestly though, I couldn’t figure out how to turn them on. It wasn’t in the manual and I didn’t have service out in the red rocks. I probably could have figured it out had I taken the time to do so.
The package also includes 17-inch black aluminum wheels, including the spare.
The optional 2.8-liter Duramax turbodiesel performed well and gave me power and torque when I needed them. The ZR2 can also be equipped with a 3.6-liter V6, but the diesel gives improved gas mileage, key for those looking to make a long weekend trip to places where gas stations are few and far between.
The ZR2 is a bit pricier than a standard model — the base Colorado starts at $20,200, while the ZR2 base is double that — but the thrill an excitement that comes with it is worth every penny.
2018 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Dusk Edition
Vehicle type: Five-passenger, four-door pickup, four-wheel drive
Base price: $42,000 Price as tested: $51,030
Engine: 2.8 liter Duramax turbodiesel, 185 horsepower at 3,400 rpm, 369 pound-feet of torque at 2,000 rpm Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 128.5 inches Overall length/width: 212.4 inches / 76.7 inches
Curb weight: 5,011 pounds
EPA mileage estimates: 19 city / 22 highway / 20 combined
Final assembly in: Wentzville, Missouri