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Friday, June 21, 2024

How Does the ZR2 Family Compare to Past Chevy Silverados?

Image Credit: General Motors

Chevrolet has slowly rolled out the regular production option ZR2 for its various models. While the Colorado ZR2 came first in 2017, Chevy has given the ZR2 treatment to the Silverado. How has its leading truck changed since moving to the new suspension package?

While the Silverado has been in production since the late 1990s, Chevrolet revamped the truck for a better driving experience. Here are five key differences.

Table of Contents

Chevy Silverado ZR2 Engine

The Silverado ZR2’s newly available 3.0L Duramax Turbo-Diesel engine.

Image Credit: General Motors

The Silverado ZR2 changes start with the engine because the new generation of trucks packs power. Each comes with a 6.2L V8 engine, providing a powerful punch and excellent towing capacity for off-roaders.

Previous Silverados came with numerous engine options, including the V6 or V8. The size also differed in the 2021 Trail Boss trim, equipping the 4.3L, 5.3L, or 6.3L engines. Silverado ZR2s have a 3.0L Duramax turbo diesel engine, but you can upgrade to the 6.2L EcoTec V8 engine in the 2024 model.

This year’s truck has a 10-speed automatic transmission standard with each model. You also have an electronic precision shift and front bucket seats.

Chevy Silverado ZR2 Tires

A side profile view of the 2024 Silverado ZR2.

Image Credit: General Motors

One of the best upgrades for the ZR2 is the tires, as the new generation of Silverados has 33-inch Goodyear tires in an 18-inch wheel. Chevy gives you the Wrangler Territory MT tires for better off-road performance than standard options.

How do these tires compare to others? You get an open-tread design to eliminate as much mud as possible. The shoulder design improves traction and makes off-roading easier, whether the Silverado ZR2 is in deep snow or mud. Driving these new trucks makes you more conscious of noise because the sequenced pitch patterns lower the vibrations from your tires.

The Wrangler Territory MT tires have a black sidewall and are the standard options for other popular off-road vehicles. For example, you can find them in the Ford Bronco, GMC Sierra 1500, and Hummer EV.

Chevy Silverado ZR2 Suspension

The Chevrolet Silverado ZR2's Multimatic DSSV damper

Image Credit: General Motors

The suspension is another significant change with the newer Silverados. Chevrolet equips these trucks with the ZR2 suspension package to strengthen them. This feature gives you a high-performance lifted suspension to protect your undercarriage from damage. The 2024 Silverado HD ZR2 has an 11.6-inch ground clearance that increases to 11.8 inches on the Bison trim.

The ZR2 suspension package also includes multimatic DSSV dampers to stabilize the suspension. GM equips the dampers with a spool valve design to increase control and mitigate the impact from the off-road terrain. Bumps and sharp turns won’t affect your Silverado ZR2 as much as a typical passenger vehicle. Chevy also utilizes the DSSV dampers on the Colorado ZR2 for increased off-road performance. 

Chevy Silverado ZR2 Front Bumper

The 2024 Silverado ZR2 in motion driving through the desert

Image Credit: General Motors

Off-roaders expect and welcome rough terrain, so a strong front bumper is necessary. The Silverado ZR2 protects your engine and other under-the-hood parts with a powerful steel bumper leading the charge. This integral piece has a 33.5˚ approach angle to aid drivers in tackling steep inclines. You wouldn’t want to approach a large rock without this high angle.

The Silverado ZR2’s bumper differs from previous models because the older trucks utilized high-strength plastic for their lighter weight and easy installation. Steel bumpers are more durable and are necessary for off-roading, considering the amount of wear and tear you’ll see off the beaten path. Plastic options are more susceptible to breaking if you take them overlanding.

Chevy Silverado ZR2 Towing Capacity

The Silverado HD ZR2 towing side-by-sides with trailer.

Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 HD; Image Credit: General Motors

Off-road towing can be challenging because pulling a trailer can tax your engine when traversing rough terrain. The heightened stress on your engine means you burn more fuel and strain your transmission and axles. Fortunately, the ZR2 suspension package gives you plenty of towing capacity to keep your efficiency on the trail.

The 2024 ZR2 can haul up to 16,000 pounds with the gas-powered option. Upgrading to diesel power means you’ll get up to 18,500 pounds of maximum trailering with the conventional setup. The Silverado’s towing capacity has significantly increased since the pre-ZR2 days, when you got a 13,300-pound maximum.

Digital Displays

Front-facing view of the 2024 Silverado ZR2’s interior showing the steering wheel and center console.

Image Credit: General Motors

The screens in your Silverado ZR2 aren’t just for music and entertainment. This display provides in-depth information about your truck, including the drive mode. When driving in sand or mud, change from normal to off-road or terrain mode for increased traction and a better driving experience. The truck even has a miniature display on your windshield to reduce the need to look away from the road.

Off-road and overlanding fans benefit from the various camera views on the infotainment screen. The Silverado ZR2 shows you the view from the front, back, side, and above to heighten safety. The tire views are excellent for driving off-road because you can see what your truck is moving over. Your vehicle’s hitch view lets you know the status of your trailer if you haul attachments to your destination.

Has Chevrolet Produced ZR2 Vehicles Before?

Chevy Silverados have come a long way since debuting in the 1990s. The original Silverado had 270 horsepower and a 5.3L V8 engine, paling compared to today’s models. Nowadays, you’ll get over 400 horsepower and a 6.3L motor to improve your driving experience.

While GM has also improved the Colorado through ZR2, it’s not the first time they’ve tried this suspension package. Chevrolet produced ZR2 vehicles from 1994 to 2005, equipping the S-10, Tracker, and Blazer with this technology. The manufacturer put ZR2 production on hold in 2005 and reintroduced it in 2017 with the Colorado. The Blazer has demonstrated its off-roading capabilities, so will it be next to get the ZR2 treatment?

Transforming the Silverado With ZR2 Technology

The 2024 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 on a desert off-road trail.

Image Credit: General Motors

When you go off-roading, you need a powerful vehicle to get through the gravel, mud and snow. Past Chevy Silverados got the job done, but the ZR2 suspension package elevates the terrific vehicle.

The ZR2 trucks have significantly better towing capabilities, a better front bumper, and a powerful engine. Their massive tires also make off-roading easier, regardless of the terrain you drive.

Author Bio

Jack Shaw is an accomplished automotive writer with a flair for adventure and a passion for all things off-road. Having written for notable sites such as Modded, Ford Muscle, Offroad Xtreme, and more, his articles are a testament to his knowledge and love for the automotive industry. Reach him via LinkedIn.

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