The new ZR2 will be an underdog to the Raptor and mighty TRX.
The truck market never rests, even when we're in the middle of a pandemic, and a global semiconductor chip shortage. In the past 16 months, we've seen new electric sheetmetal from both Ford and GMC in the Lightning and Hummer, but the 2022 Chevy Silverado will be using one form of propulsion, the internal combustion engine. The Bowtie brand improved its smallest mill for the new year, added Super Cruise to the top trim, and finally brought the off-road ZR2 moniker to the big truck lineup.
We'll start with the new model. The 2022 Chevy Silverado ZR2 will come exclusively with the company's 6.2-liter pushrod V8 making 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque with a ten-speed automatic transmission. It gets a 2-inch lift, like the Trail Boss, but with 33-inch tires to the Trail Boss's 32-inchers. Those bigger tires plus the new bumper give the ZR2 an improved approach angle measuring 31.8 degrees. Departure and breakover are 23.3 degrees and 23.4 degrees, respectively.
Chevy has been testing the ZR2 Silverado at off-road events like Best in the Desert and on the trails at Moab since 2019, to bring customers the hardest-core Silverado yet. It features Multimatic DSSV spool valve dampers that have three separate spool valves to control damping and three connected chambers for fluid flow. They basically keep the tires connected to the road more often.
The other new feature on the ZR2 is the Terrain Mode, which allows for one-pedal rock crawling in certain situations. Front and rear e-lockers are standard, as is a unique skid plate package. Payload is rated at 1,440 pounds and trailer tow weight is 8,900 pounds.
Moving on to the rest of the lineup. We still have four engines to choose from. It starts with the 2.7-liter turbo four that now makes 310 hp and a solid 420 lb-ft, that's up from 348 lb-ft last year. Chevy used a more rigid cylinder block casting and a 30% stiffer crankshaft, which also reduces noise, says Chevy. It pairs with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 3.0-liter diesel can now be had with the max tow package, giving it a rating of 13,300 pounds. That's a 4,000-pound improvement over the Silverado LTD. Output is rated at 277 hp and 460 lb-ft. The 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V8 continue making 355 hp/383 lb-ft and 420 hp/460 lb-ft, respectively.
The final killer app is Super Cruise, which we believe to be the best current hands-free (but still paying attention) autonomous driving system on the market. The option will be available on the High Country trim and will work on over 200,000 miles of compatible roads in the US and Canada. Super Cruise uses a camera to watch the driver to make sure they're paying attention, as all good systems should. It can now be used while trailering, "with specific calibrations designed to account for the additional drag and increased braking distance that comes with trailering," says Chevy.
Other big tech features include Trailer Side Blind Zone alert, which shows not just the car's blind zone, but also the trailer's with a red square noting when cars are in the space you want to occupy. Chevy Safety Assist is standard with forward collision warning, lane keeping, with lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, following distance indicator, auto high beams and front pedestrian braking.
Inside, the 2022 Silverado is offered with a 13.4-inch touchscreen in addition to a new 12.3-inch driver cluster. Chevy showed some welcome animation, which displays fields and mountains and streams (along with the Chevy logo) when a driver enters the vehicle. It also comes with a new horizontal dash with open pore wood and other improved materials.
Chevy says that right now, 30 percent of Silverado sales are of the Trail Boss, and another 30 percent are Z71. That means 60 percent of Silverados are already lifted and ready to go off road. Will adding another even tougher trim increase that, or just spread the sales around? We don't know yet. We also don't know the price.
The 2021 Silverado started at a little over $30,000 and went up to a little more than $60K before options. We'll note that the Colorado ZR2 trim starts at about 40% more than the base trim, in which case we could be looking at about $50K for the Silverado ZR2. We'll find out more before it launches in the first quarter of 2022.