The wait is over. The first-ever 2022 Chevy Silverado ZR2 is finally here. This is the most off-road-worthy full-size truck from Chevrolet. Here are its top 10 coolest features. Will this ZR2 compete directly against the Ford Raptor or a Ram TRX? It may just be a whole new animal that does not have a direct competitor. Let’s dig in.
All refreshed 2022 Chevy Silverado trucks get a redesigned front fascia. The new ZR2 is no exception. It has a unique new front grille with a ZR2 badge and a flow-through “flow tie” Chevrolet emblem with red accents. The LED running lights have a new welcome light sequence when you first approach the truck or unlock it remotely. The ZR2-specific front bumper is made out of steel. It has front-wheel cutouts (similar to the Colorado ZR2) and removable front bumper end caps. If an end cap is damaged, the whole front bumper does not need to be replaced.
The ZR2 will only be offered as a crew cab with a short bed. The cab and the bed are the same as the existing T1 generation of Chevy Silverado trucks. The ZR2’s side profile stands out thanks to fender flairs and larger tires (more on this later).
Let’s dig deeper into the spec sheet. The Silverado ZR2 shares the frame/chassis with the other Silverado 1500 crew cab 4×4 trucks. It also has the same overall width and approximately the same track width. It does not have a wide-body and long-travel suspension similar to the Ford Raptor or a Ram TRX. The ZR2’s front bumper allows for an impressive 31.8 degrees of approach angle. This angle is about the same as that of the 2021 Ford Raptor on 35-inch tires and it’s the same as the current 2021 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. This approach angle is steeper than that of the F-150 Tremor, Ram Rebel, Chevy Trail Boss, or Nissan Titan PRO-4X.
In the rear, the departure angle is helped by the dual exhaust system that is tucked ahead of the rear bumper (it does not exit through or underneath the rear bumper). The breakover and departure angles are also competitive for the class. The larger tires and the truck’s unique suspension system combine for 11.2 inches of total ground clearance. This is approximately 0.5 inches more than the clearance underneath the Chevy Trail Boss.
The Silverado ZR2 is riding on new DSSV Multimatic spool valve shocks and unique springs. While these shocks utilize the same technology as those underneath the Colorado ZR2 – the Silverado ZR2 shocks are physically larger and specially tuned for the larger and heavier truck. These springs and shocks offer the ZR2 more suspension travel than the current Trail Boss. Chevrolet lists the front suspension travel at 9.8 inches and the rear wheel travel at 10.6 inches. These specifications are not near those of the Raptor or the TRX, but it’s good articulation nonetheless. The Silverado ZR2 has about 1.9 inches more travel in the front and 1.5 inches more in the rear than the current Trail Boss.
While the ZR2 is focused on off-road performance, it is still a pickup truck that is capable of doing some work. The ZR2 is rated at a maximum payload rating of 1,440 lbs and a maximum towing rating of 8,900 lbs. The specs are higher than those on the new Raptor and the TRX. While the ZR2 may not have the long-travel suspension, it should be able to tow a very sizable trailer.
What under the hood of this beast? It’s the familiar 6.2-liter gas V8 and a 10-speed automatic transmission. There is no supercharger attached to this engine, and it does not have special tuning. The power rating is still 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. This is the only powertrain available on the ZR2. If you love the exhaust sound of a large V8 – this truck has it. Chevrolet did not yet specify the 0-60 MPH acceleration time or the EPA-estimated fuel economy for the ZR2.
Let’s get to the tires! The Silverado ZR2 is wearing 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires. They offer a very aggressive tread design and good traction in a variety of conditions. While each truck (or SUV) have their unique tire construction and specifications = the Wrangler Territory MT tire tread design is offered on many other new trucks and SUVs. This tread design is available on the Ram TRX and the Ford Bronco – just to name a couple. Chevrolet worked with Goodyear on the precise compound and construction of the tire. Naturally, we still need to drive the Silverado ZR2 to know exactly how it performs. This will come later. These tires are wrapped around unique 18-inch wheels.
The Silverado ZR2 tire size is similar to that on the Ford F-150 Tremor and the Ram Rebel.
The ZR2 is showing off Silverado’s fully-redesigned interior. We get to see and experience it for the first time. The new interior and the dash design are a huge improvement over the existing Silverado interior. Most (but not all) new 2022 Silverado trim levels will get this interior. It will be available on Silverado LT, RST, LT Trail Boss, LTZ, ZR2, and High Country. The central landscape-oriented infotainment screen measures 13.4 inches. The all-digital gauge cluster screen measures 12.3 inches. While the steering wheel remains very similar to the current one, the ZR2 also gets paddle shifters for the 10-speed automatic transmission.
The Silverado ZR2 offers selectable rear and front lockers. It is now the only full-size half-ton truck with this important off-road feature. Most off-road trucks in this segment have a selectable rear locker. Many trucks offer a limited-slip front differential. For example, the F-150 Tremor and the F-150 Raptor offer a Torsen front differential. However, this Silverado ZR2 is the first to offer a driver-selectable front locking differential. This should offer great and predictable four-wheel traction in dicey situations.
Price & Availability
Chevrolet has not announced the 2022 Silverado ZR2 pricing yet. It will come fully loaded with every off-road and luxury feature. This includes the 360-degree camera system, heads-up display, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and more. For the 2021 model year, the Chevy Colorado ZR2 carries approximately a $6,000 premium over a comparable gas-powered Colorado Z71 crew cab truck. The current 6.2L V8-powered LT Trail Boss has a starting price of $55,640.
Let us know what you think the Silverado ZR2 starting price will be.