Chevrolet's long-awaited super truck aims to take on the industry's best.
After much anticipation, the Chevrolet Silverado has finally spawned a ZR2 variant. The truck was teased back in June of this year, and a month before that, we put some ideas together with what we thought would be the ideal setup for the newcomer to take on the likes of the Ford F-150 Raptor and the Ram TRX.
Sadly, it turns out that Chevrolet has opted to reveal the Silverado ZR2 with far less power than we expected and no forced induction whatsoever. Does that mean that this duel is over before it even begins, or can one make a case for the less astonishing Bowtie bruiser?
The Chevy Silverado ZR2 arrives as a 2022 model, so it gets a revised design with boomerang LED light accents below slim headlights. These frame a massive, meshed grille with a hollowed-out Bowtie badge, while red tow hooks sit below a new steel bumper that improves approach angles. New skid plates, a concealed dual exhaust, and 33-inch tires are also fitted.
By contrast, the Ford F-150 Raptor is more distinctive as a special model, wearing a wider body and various distinguishing decals. Like the ZR2, unique skid plates and tow hooks are fitted, but the molded arches and 35-inch tires as standard already push the balance in the Ford's favor. Add the optional 37-inch tires and the Raptor is by far the more aggressive machine.
Chevy has fitted the new ZR2 with a redesigned interior that features unique Jet Black/Graystone leather. You'll have a hard time noticing that though, as your eyes are immediately drawn to the 12.3-inch digital dash and enormous 13.4-inch infotainment display. There's a new electronic shifter here too, and the entire ambiance of the cabin is one of improved quality.
On paper, the Raptor is losing out. Here, you get a 12-inch digital driver display with a matching infotainment display. The entire design is far more traditional in here - bar the roof-mounted toggle switches - but also sportier. The Raptor gets a red center marker on the steering wheel along with a couple of red accents at each end of the dash. But on balance, the finish of the upholstery and that stunning new dash in the ZR2 puts this comparison firmly in favor of Chevrolet.
We'll start with the engines here. Rather disappointingly, Chevy has fitted the ZR2 with a fairly generic 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V8, delivering a sufficient 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. Or at least, that would be sufficient if it weren't for the existence of rivals like the Raptor and TRX. Nevertheless, there's more to trucks like these than just brute force. The ZR2 benefits from a two-inch lift, 33-inch tires, front and rear electronic diff lockers, and Multimatic DSSV spool valve dampers. A new Trail mode offers a crawl function for low-speed off-roading.
With the Raptor, you get 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque from the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, but the standout features are arguably the Fox Live Valve internal bypass shock absorbers and the option of 37-inch tires. You also get Off-Road, Rock Crawl, and Baja modes, with an adaptive exhaust singing its full song in the last-mentioned mode. We haven't driven the ZR2 yet, but it's going to have to be something truly special to sway us from the Raptor.
Pricing for the new Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 has yet to be revealed, but we expect that it will cost a little more than, or roughly the same as, the current top trim - the $55,000 High Country. Assuming that we're right, the Silverado ZR2 will look like quite a bargain alongside the $65,840 Raptor. Furthermore, the ZR2 offers better approach and breakover angles, as well as almost identical ground clearance. These factors should help it win some buyers over.
There's no denying the Silverado ZR2 looks like great value for those who don't always give it the full beans on an off-road trail. But it seems that the Raptor remains the better option overall. But who knows? Maybe if there's enough demand from buyers, we'll eventually get a ZL1-powered Silverado. Fingers crossed.