2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2 review: A rough-and-tumble midsize truck

Not everybody enjoys the Colorado ZR2’s up-to-date grille, but it really is absolutely much more intense than prior to.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The Chevrolet Colorado is an oldie but a goodie. Yeah, this midsize truck feels outdated, but inspite of a couple deficits listed here and there it remains a reliable selection in a phase rife with less-than-stellar rivals. If you need to have enhanced off-street capability or the open-bed hauling usefulness only a pickup truck can provide, but will not want or need to have a full-measurement rig, this Chevy is a respectable option.

Table of Contents


  • Workable dimensions
  • Decent performance
  • Off-street hardware

Really don’t Like

  • Comprehensive-measurement pickup gasoline economic system
  • V6 could be smoother
  • Troublesome rock rails

To continue to keep issues new, the Colorado been given a couple enhancements for 2021. Mainline models obtain a reworked — and arguably much more handsome — front finish, an eight-inch infotainment display is conventional on the LT trim and higher and seventeen-inch wheels are now provided at no further demand. The off-street-all set ZR2 model capabilities similar improvements, although its face is noticeably much more intense, hunting considerably like the boxy Silverado 1500’s prow, for greater or even worse. At last, 3 new exterior colors are offered across the selection including Cherry Red Tintcoat, which is what you see listed here.

What sets the ZR2 apart from lesser Colorados is its off-street hardware. The suspension added benefits from a two-inch carry and the monitor, both equally front and rear, is 3.5 inches wider. Preserving issues beneath control while bombing by the desert, clambering above boulders or just cruising your neighborhood Dwelling Depot parking lot is a established of Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve dampers. These shocks assistance regulate the Colorado ZR2’s starchy springs, which deliver a company on-street ride. Though the truck laughs at pothole impacts and massive bumps, you sense practically each individual expansion joint on the highway. Its Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires are mounted on trendy, multicolor seventeen-inch wheels and really should present ample grip while path-bashing, even if they broadcast a lot of sounds on pavement.

The Colorado is made available with 3 unique engines, two of which are offered in the ZR2. This instance capabilities the 3.six-liter gasoline V6, which cranks out 308 horsepower and 275 pound-toes of torque. For all you compression-ignition aficionados out there, a two.eight-liter Duramax diesel is made available. Decrease-trim Colorados can be had with a four-cylinder gasoline motor, although it really is almost certainly very best to stay clear of this malnourished selection. Matched to a swift-witted and polished 8-pace automatic transmission, the V6 has no difficulty going this midsize truck with reasonable authority. The turbocharged Ford Ranger could have much more lower-finish grunt and a Honda Ridgeline’s V6 could be smoother, but this Chevy’s motor receives the work done with minimal fanfare.

The Colorado could be much more maneuverable than a full-measurement truck, but it really is no much more efficient. As it sits, this instance is rated at sixteen miles for every gallon in the town and eighteen mpg highway. Put together, it really should return seventeen mpg, a figure I topped by about .four mpg in actual-planet driving. It can be constantly great when you can exceed a vehicle’s merged gasoline-economic system rating without even striving, although this Chevy really should almost certainly be much more efficient than it is. I mean, a Silverado 1500 TrailBoss with the prime-puppy six.two-liter V8 has the exact same merged gasoline economic system rating and it even beats the Colorado on the highway, returning an marketed 19 mpg. What’s the point of receiving a midsize truck if a common half-ton is much more cost-effective?

2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

It can sense a minimal buzzy at periods, but this 3.six-liter V6 motor receives the work done.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

If you tow or haul sizeable hundreds on the reg, you can expect to almost certainly also want a burlier truck than this Chevy. The Colorado ZR2’s greatest payload rating is just one,350 lbs . and it can only drag up to 5,000 lbs .. The Ranger and Jeep Gladiator’s┬ápeak figures easily eclipse the Chevy’s — hell, the car-centered Ridgeline can haul 233 lbs . much more, even if its towing capacity is the exact same. It is value noting, nevertheless, that non-ZR2 Colorados are much more capable. Their greatest payload rating is a much more-aggressive one,550 lbs . and they can tow up to 7,seven-hundred lbs . when fitted with the diesel motor.

When it really is time to go path-bashing, the ZR2 has a leg up above all of its midsize rivals besides, perhaps, the Gladiator. Locking differentials front and rear assistance it get out of tricky circumstances. It can be also graced with a lot of underbody shielding and other capabilities like hill-descent control. Rock rails together each and every sill are great for guarding the overall body from jagged terrain, although coupled with that elevated ride height they make receiving into and out of this truck difficult if you will not want to soil your pant legs with filth or mud. A pair of bright purple restoration hooks punctuates the ZR2’s front finish and is at the all set really should you get in far too deep while off-roading.

The ZR2 is offered with a selection of appearance-boosting solutions teams, but if more capability is what you crave, look at the $5,750 Bison offer. This update turns an currently capable truck into a actual mountain goat. It receives you a bunch of package from American Expedition Automobiles including a unique front bumper with provisions to mount a winch, boron-metal skid plates for extra underbody protection, exclusive fender flares, unique seventeen-inch wheels and much more.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

The Colorado’s inside is a no-frills zone.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The Chevy Colorado’s fundamentals are mostly spectacular, but its inside and tech are what bely its highly developed age. For greater or even worse, this truck’s inside is in essence the exact same as it was five or 6 yrs ago, which implies you get a lot of so-so tricky plastics and leather-based that feels much more like vinyl than everything shucked off a dwelling creature. The dashboard’s all round structure is also as conservative as a Southern Baptist, with no frills or interesting design and style prospers to be had. The gain of this easy, honest structure, nevertheless, is that all the secondary buttons and knobs are simple to reach and see, with the climate controls being mounted up large and the seat-heater switches in an evident position.

The Colorado is comfortable, with the front chairs modifying properly to accommodate taller folks, even if the cushions are pretty flat. The crew-taxi body’s rear bench seat is a bit on the upright aspect, par for the midsize-truck system, but it can healthy a few of six-foot-tall adults without substantially difficulty. The lessen cushions also flip up, revealing a storage cubby for stashing issues absent from prying eyes.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

These Multimatic dampers assistance make the ZR2 model an attained off-roader.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Like its all round inside design and style, this truck’s tech is driving the periods. Positive, my tester’s eight-inch dashboard display is pleasant plenty of, property to a speedy and thoroughly clean infotainment procedure that is a enjoyment to use, but built-in navigation prices an more $995, even on the large-finish ZR2 model. Thankfully, if you will not sense like shelling out an further grand of tricky-gained scratch, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are all set, keen and conventional across the board.

But no make any difference how substantially you expend, you are unable to get thrust-button get started in this truck. Alternatively, each individual Colorado comes with an previous-fashioned adhere-and-twist essential. For you little ones that aren’t common, you consider a skinny piece of metallic, jab it into a receptacle on the steering column and convert it to fire the motor up. In the same way, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-website traffic alert and lane centering are not made available, but at minimum keyless entry is offered on even the most-simple Operate Truck model, and you can get the Colorado with distant get started.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

Irrespective of its yrs, the Colorado is even now a fantastic midsize truck.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Speaking of dollars, a foundation, rear-wheel-generate variation of this truck with the four-cylinder motor commences at 26 grand and modify. With quite a few much more capabilities and a crew-taxi overall body, the Colorado ZR2 examined listed here checks out for a substantially-steeper $44,890, including $one,195 in vacation spot charges. The sole selection padding that figure is the paint work, which prices $495.

The Chevy Colorado’s grey hairs are absolutely exhibiting, but inspite of its age, this truck remains a fantastic selection — a single I prefer in some approaches to the Ranger and Gladiator. For common-goal use, the Honda Ridgeline is even now the very best all-close to midsize pickup in my humble view, but if you want anything with much more rugged seems and a lot much more off-street capability, the ZR2 could healthy the monthly bill.