Full-size pickup trucks account for more than half of all passenger vehicle sales here in Canada and south of the border. They also appear to be inflation-proof. The best-selling models are high-end trim levels with all the bells and whistles.
And, fuel prices be damned, power sells.
The major players have all recently introduced jacked up ‘off-road’ models with more than 400 horsepower and abysmal fuel economy. These tall brutes stretch the wallet – and the ability to climb aboard. They are all supremely capable of extreme off-road ventures. But, at prices in excess of $75,000, few are likely to wander anywhere they might get scratched or dented.
Serious off-roaders are more likely to use them to tow their off-road vehicles – older used trucks, equipped with the necessary suspension, and other upgrades – to off-road ventures.
Chevrolet’s entry in the emerging segment, the Silverado ZR2, can tow 8,900 pounds and carry up to 1,400 in the bed.
With a starting price of $78,000, 420 horsepower, and 460 lb. ft. of torque, it is up against the Ford Tremor: $63,145, 400 hp/500 lb ft.; Ram Rebel: $71,485, 395 hp/410 lb ft, and Toyota Tundra TRD Pro: $84,060, 437 hp/583 lb ft.
In addition to gobs of power, these trucks boast heavily modified suspensions and sophisticated four-wheel-drive systems.
The Ford and Toyota rely on turbochargers to boost the output of their V6 engines. The crew cab Chevy ZR2 comes with a normally-aspirated 6.2 litre V8.
The sound alone is reason enough to want this brute. From the neighborhood-rattling loud bark upon a cold start, to the mellow bellow under heavy throttle, this is a great eight.
The ability to move this three-ton beast from rest to 100 km/hr in less than six seconds is impressive to say the least.
Looking not too far down the road, it is reasonable to assume we won’t see gas guzzlers like this much longer. Until then – enjoy!
The silky smooth but potent 6.2 is paired with a quick-witted 10-speed automatic controlled by a rather funky little electronic gearshift. The transfer case offers 2 High, Auto, 4 High, and 4 Low modes. The ZR2 has electronic locking differentials front and rear.
There are two specific drive modes – Off-Road and Terrain. The latter offers one-pedal driving, for rock crawling. A camera mounted behind the front bumper allows you to monitor progress in when in use.
The Silverado ZR2 benefits from the brand’s collaboration with Chad Hall Racing. The frame, engine, transmission, transfer case, and chassis/suspension calibrations are shared with the production and race trucks.
The most noticeable, and appreciated, result is the use of MultiMatic DSSV (Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve ) shock absorbers.
These fast-acting and brilliantly-tuned magnetorheological units utilize three connected fluid chambers to make this big truck act like a sponge, soaking up both major and minor road blemishes. The on-road ride is better than lesser Silverados. These shock absorbers are different than conventional units, and have been proven in off-road racing.
Specific springs maximize the ZR2’s front and rear suspension travel, 250-mm and 270-mm respectively.
28 cm of ground clearance! You might need stilts or a stool to climb aboard the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2
Unique 18-inch wheels are wrapped in 33-inch BF Goodrich Wrangler Territory MT tires—the largest that the Silverado body will accommodate. That, and the unique suspension, result in 28 centimetres of ground clearance.
You’ll certainly make use of the big grab handles and an athletic jump to get into the truck. Side steps are not available or recommended because they would be easily damaged in any serious off-road use. With that in mind, the tester had $1,360 worth of ‘Rocker Protection’ units.
Other items specific to off-road use are a unique skid plate package, exhaust system, and bumpers. The latter feature removable end caps which can be replaced rather than the entire bumper when damaged. The exhaust outlets are tucked up ahead of the rear bumper to avoid damage in severe off-road situations.
The ZR2 comes completely equipped. None of the $6,000 in optional equipment on the tester had anything to do with its off-road prowess.
The ZR2’s hood features a power dome cloaked in black. Other details specific to the ZR2 include twin red tow hooks in the lower fascia, a unique grill, vertical fog lights and a silver-toned skid plate. Inside you will find exclusive jet black, and Greystone leather upholstery with ZR2 embossed seat inserts.
The entire Silverado lineup came in for a major mid-cycle makeover for the 2022 model year.
The biggest changes occurred inside where the new generation Silverado is much more upscale and modern. This includes a pair of large digital screens – 31-cm in front of the driver and 34-cm above the center stack, both with crisp, clear graphics. Large easy-to-use real knobs and buttons are used for HVAC and secondary controls.
This big, blue Silverado flagship is anything but subtle in either looks or sound. This might be one of the last great eight-cylinder pickups.
FACTS & FIGURES – 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 4WD Crew Cab ZR2
As tested: $86,098 including freight
Chevrolet Infotainment 3 premium system with Google built in, seven-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, Wi-Fi capable, 30-cm colour touchscreen, Bluetooth streaming audio for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice recognition, wireless charging
Automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, rear pedestrian alert, rear cross traffic braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, forward collision alert, trailer side blind spot alert
18-in machined aluminum wheels with black spokes and oxide gold trim, 10-way power operated, heated and ventilated, perforated leather seats with driver memory, heated second row seats, heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, 120-volt outlet in cargo bed, dual zone automatic climate control, ultrasonic rear park assist, bed view camera and trailer camera provision, hitch guidance with hitch view
Glacier blue metallic paint, $495; power sunroof, $1,325; Technology package (rear camera mirror, 33-cm diagonal heads-up display, adaptive cruise control, power tilt/telescope steering wheel), $2,355; engine block heater, $195; Rocker protectors, $1,360; multi-flex tailgate, $525
6.2 litre V8, 420-horsepower, 460 lb.ft. of torque. Ten-speed automatic transmission, part-time four-wheel-drive with two-speed transfer case, NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway):16.7/14/1
Length, 5,912-mm; wheelbase, 3,747-mm, width, 2,063-mm; weight, 2,590-kg
Ford F-150 Tremor, Ram Rebel, Toyota Tundra TRD Pro
Having purchased a ZR2 in January and just now getting it out to drive, I love everything about the truck. It’s now the preferred road trip truck for us.
Yes, the perfect road trip truck – a beauty on the inside and a beast on the outside!