GFORCENERD

Only Sasquatch Needs A Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison

Are you a hairy upright ape known for photobombing grainy camping footage? Do you consider boulder hurling a form of recreation? Are you in need of a most-extreme pickup for ferrying your equally hairy partner and three of your exceptionally hairy Squatchspawn deep into the backwoods? I have just the conveyance. Right this way sir.

It’s called the 2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison.

Quick Specs2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison
EngineTurbocharged 2.7-Liter I4
Output310 Horsepower / 430 Pound-Feet
TransmissionEight-Speed Automatic
Ground Clearance12.2 Inches
Base Price / As Tested$60,095 / $65,125

2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Review

It’s something like a gnarlier, overlanding-forward version of the Colorado ZR2, already our staff’s favorite midsize Ubertruck. Except this one ticks the “Bison” box, evoking that other super-hairy North American land mammal by… throwing a litany of overlanding farkles at an already excellent pickup? Yes.

This $11,700 option package specs most of the stuff you’d want on any overlanding rig—making for a taller, heartier truck—but would usually tap the aftermarket for.

That means a bed-mounted spare tire for convent trail-side swaps. That means unique front and rear bumpers, tons of Bison badging, and more quarter-inch plates than an armadillo disco.

2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Review 2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Review

Skid plates form a phalanx under the Bison’s belly, protecting the rear diff, the transfer case, the fuel tank, and oil pan. Jagged rocks tremble at the prospect. American Expedition Vehicles, known for their top-shelf overlanding rigs, supplies the armor.

Of course the ZR2’s divine spool-valve dampers carry over to the Bison. These are my favorite set of dampers on any vehicle on the market. Ever. They transform the Colorado’s ride from merely smooth to a magic carpet sailing on a sea of whipped butter. It’s hard to overstate just how good things are, even after you’ve scaled that ridiculous mountain of hyperbole.

Bison also includes 35-inch tires instead of the stock ZR2’s 33s, raising the ZR2’s ground clearance from 10.7 inches to 12.2 inches in the process. Those big knobby fellas wrap around a set of Bison-specific 17-inch beadlock-capable wheels.

2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Review

All Colorados sport Chevy’s turbo’d 2.7-liter inline-four, the Bison included. In ZR2 guise, that means 310 horses and a 410-pound-foot punch of torque. It makes for a quick truck; Car and Driver clocked 7.1 seconds to sixty and a quarter mile in 15.5 seconds at 88 mph.

The Bison trim does little to differentiate itself from the Colorado’s class-leading interior, save a badge in each seat’s headrest. That’s alright though. Chevy laid out a pleasant, usable, and organized interior here. No need to spruce it up.

So what does all this butch exterior posturing actually get you? Well you could argue it buys ultimate performance on the trails; The Bison’s 38.2-degree approach angle and 26-degree departure angles are best-in-class.

But there’s also huge penalties for ticking the Bison option box.

First and foremost, that spare tire. In some of the most dire overlanding hypotheticals, I could understand the reasons you’d want a spare in the bed. In practice, it’s awful. The chunky 35-inch tire effectively cuts out your entire rear view from the driver’s seat, a disconcerting phenomenon whenever you’re in traffic, on pavement. For me, that’s most of the time.

2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Review

That extra ground clearance from the 35s under the truck pares back a decent amount of usability, too. This truck is just so damned tall. Taller than a standard Chevy half-ton, and by a decent margin.

If you intend to use the Bison’s bed for anything beyond holding a spare tire that cuts out your rear view, good luck. I’m a hair over six feet tall I struggled to lift anything over the sides of the Bison’s bed. I loaded the Bison’s hold up with accoutrement for a weekend away from home with an infant.

Imagine, for example, grabbing a duffel or a cooler out of the bed that’s sat just behind the truck’s cab. If you’re not a seven-foot, hulking woods-ape, you’ll stand no chance.

Of course there’s a tailgate sat at the bed’s trailing edge and there’s even a little cubby set into the thing that closes and locks with these little wobbly latches. Rather than reach over the side of the bed, I dragged cargo back to the tailgate for unloading.

2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Review

But at the Bison’s height, even with the tailgate down, it’s still a chore to heft anything into or out of the bed. I backed the Bison next to my 2020 Tacoma Limited for comparison. It’s one hell of a contrast when you’re standing next to both trucks. Later on, I parked the Bison next to my wife’s dad’s half-ton Silverado. The Bison sat higher once again, with a far-less accessible bed.

The stock ZR2 isn’t hugely better in this regard, but the Bison is definitely worse. Of course the Bison is billed as an overlander. Just don’t expect the kind of truck that’ll meet you in your Carhartt coveralls.

What I’m saying is, if the “truck” part of the Bison’s equation is all that important to you from a lifestyle standpoint, it’s better to stay away from the Bison.

The “regular” ZR2 sets you back $48,395. While it’s not a cheap truck, the ZR2’s Godlike dampers, peerless ride, handsome interior, and sheer capability already offer excellent value. Its slightly lower stance and empty bed return some of that pickup functionality.

2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Review

The Bison package doesn’t add meaningful performance for anybody except those at the very fringes, the type of people who spend at least a dozen weekends per year crawling their trucks along the gnarliest trails on the continent.

You know, people sorta maybe like a Sasquatch. So, are you a hairy upright ape known for yodeling into the endless wilderness of the Pacific Northwest? If the answer’s “no,” we recommend a mainline ZR2 or the excellent Colorado Z71. For those hardest-core Squatches on the block, the Bison awaits.

Photos: Victoria Scott for Motor1

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2024 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison
EngineTurbocharged 2.7-Liter I4
Output310 Horsepower / 430 Pound-Feet
TransmissionEight-Speed Automatic
Drive TypeFour-Wheel Drive
Efficiency16 City / 16 Highway / 16 Combined
Weight5,265 Pounds
Seating Capacity5
Cargo Volume41.9 Cubic Feet
Towing5,500 Pounds
Ground clearance12.2 Inches
Trim Base Price$60,095
As-Tested Price$65,125

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