As with the previous generation, the 2024 Chevy Colorado is getting a special ZR2 variant with unique parts from American Expedition Vehicles (AEV). It’s once again called the Bison, and it blends visual and functional upgrades to increase the ZR2’s trail capability above its already high levels.
Much of the Bison is the same as a regular ZR2. It has the same chassis and powertrain, the latter being the high output turbo four-cylinder making 310 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque. Electronic locking front and rear differentials, and of course the Multimatic spool valve shocks are all standard.
But the suspension isn’t quite the same as the ZR2. The Bison picks up a set of jounce shocks or bump stops, also from Multimatic. These help make hard landings less jarring. The Bison also sits on 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels from AEV, and they’re wrapped in 35-inch mud-terrain tires, rather than the ZR2’s 33s. These tires help increase ground clearance by 1.5 inches to 12.2, which gives it more clearance than Jeep Gladiator Mojave and the new Ford Ranger Raptor. And as for approach, breakover and departure numbers, they’re 38.2, 26.9 and 26 degrees respectively. It tops the Ranger Raptor in all those areas, if just barely, though the Gladiator has a better approach angle.
Furthermore, AEV has upgraded the exterior. There are sturdy steel bumpers front and rear, with the front having a provision for a winch. Unique fender flares cover the aforementioned giant tires. Underneath, the Bison has a full complement of skid plates for the radiator, steering, transmission, transfer case and fuel tank. The rockers are protected by rock sliders. And in the event that one of those 35-inch tires goes flat, there’s a full-size spare mounted in the bed, which also gets a bedliner. This mount is necessary, as the Bison’s tires don’t fit in the standard position below the bed.
Chevy is also introducing launch control on the Bison. It’s available in Baja Mode-only, but functions in both two- and four-wheel drive. It works like most launch control systems in which you hold the brake, hold the gas and lift off the brake once the revs are up. But it’s designed to adjust power application in real-time based on the traction available. So it will optimize itself if its detecting greater slip, say, on sand, than if you were launching on pavement.
The Bison isn’t all gravy, though. It’s 325 pounds heavier than the regular ZR2, and probably because of those steel bumpers. Likely related are the reduced payload and towing capacities compared to regular ZR2. Payload drops by 230 pounds to 1,050, and towing down by 500 to 5,500. Also worth noting is the fact that the Bison’s gearing is the same as the ZR2’s, despite the larger, heavier wheels and tires, so the Bison may be a bit more sluggish.
Pricing hasn’t been announced for the Bison, but it will go on sale this year. Chevy also plans on building more of them than before, citing increased demand. Also, if for whatever reason the Bison isn’t quite doing it for you, some of the parts will be available as accessories, such as the rock rails and Multimatic jounce shocks.