2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 First Mover Review

No one likes to feel left out – let alone an automaker.

That makes the arrival of the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 entirely unsurprising, despite the amount of time it took to get here of course. Ford’s start in the segment, as well as Ram’s own entry a year ago, meant Chevy needed to try something a little different, and that’s exactly what it did with this off-road-ready half ton.

Rather than chasing its rivals over sand dunes or engaging in brute force battles, the Silverado ZR2 is something of a jack-of-all-trades. It’s also not so extreme that it won’t serve as a trading truck, for those who might be so brave. Due to all the remote places this rig can roam, it remains a satisfying civilized machine elsewhere.

Mandela Effect

Believe it or not, this is the first time the ZR2 moniker has been given to the Silverado. Save your surprise with the same false memories as the entire Berenstain Bears disaster and move on. Despite the Trail Boss trim that came before – and still exists alongside this machine – the 2022 Silverado ZR2 elevates the entire experience by at least a few levels.

Much like its smaller sibling, the Colorado ZR2, this half-ton uses spool-valve dampers at all four corners that strike a kind of balance between compression and rebound in high-stress environments — like, say, ripping along a washerboard desert road at something around road speed. highway. They work in tandem with uniquely tuned springs that give the suspension about 50 mm (two inches) more movement up front and 25 mm (one inch) more rear than the Trail Boss.

Of course, four-wheel drive is standard fare, with high and low gears for off-road travel, plus a set-it-and-forget it automatic setting. There’s also a new terrain mode that allows single-pedal riding when one of the four-wheel drive modes is in use, plus front and rear electronic locking differentials to keep the wheels on each axle turning at the same speed regardless of whether one of them lacks traction to lower torque.

Stay Civil

And about that torque. The only engine on offer here is a powerful 6.2L V8 that makes 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. That’s a far cry from the supercharged 702 hp made by the Ram 1500 TRX, but not too far from the twin-turbocharged 510 lb-ft of torque made by the Ford F-150 Raptor motor. More importantly, it’s a completely different truck from any of those entries.

While this Chevy exhaust sounds boisterous, its appearance – not to mention the overall demeanor it carries – is much more subdued. He still looks capable, thanks to the 33-inch all-terrain tires he rides, plus the front bumper complete with cutouts. la Colorado ZR2, or exposed aluminum skid plate and shiny red tow hook. Otherwise, where its competitors boast massive wide bodies that emphasize their status, this truck occupies essentially the same footprint as other Silverado models of this configuration.

Far from being a hassle, this 2,063-mm (81.2-in) wide truck can go places the Raptor and TRX can’t because of their protruding fenders. Take a neatly carved fissure into the desert outside southern California’s Joshua Tree National Park; there’s no way a larger pickup could have escaped unscathed, which it was completely designed for. Likewise with the turndown exhaust tip which is tucked above and below the rear bumper. Where other 6.2L powered Silverados feature simple cuts to show off their pipeline, the ZR2 can’t accommodate that look. (Just ask the engineering folks how they figured it out.)

Fun to Drive

The ZR2 might sound a bit clunky on a washboard road, though that’s okay – even at speeds of up to 80 km/h. Actually, at least it sounds, it seems like it has more to do with the steering rack than the spectacular suspension setup, which at least removes surface dirt before it interferes with anything in the cabin.

Back on paved roads, this off-road ride is like any other Silverado on the market, and that means it’s one of the smoothest half-tons on the market despite the lack of air suspension. In fact, it’s never been short on those basics from the start even though the dreary interior has been weighed down for the last nine years or so. With an entirely new interface inside, nothing will ever feel foreign to the loyal Silverado – and that would probably be the best compliment.

Running through the 13.4-inch touchscreen attached to the front of the dashboard, the new Google integrated system brings the kind of functionality you might find with your smartphone right into this Chevrolet center stack. (Fear not – wireless Apple CarPlay, as well as Android Auto, are also standard.) With a full suite of physical switchgear for climate, infotainment, and trucking goods mounted just below the display, plus on the steering wheel, it’s no longer a third away between half ton truck for ease of use.

The new 12.3-inch digital instrument display can be used to call up a variety of functions and features, including pitch and roll angles, plus several different off-road custom settings to ensure you set up your Silverado ZR2 in the right way for whatever lies ahead. Take the bumpy gravel climb through the narrow pass, or the rocky terrain that follows shortly thereafter; all the information that pops up in front of you – transfer case settings, drive modes, differential locks, and more – plus a front-facing camera that acts as a virtual rangefinder replaces the real deal.

Either way, this truck’s capabilities are unquestionable, with its generous approach, departure, and breakover angles — 31.8, 23.3, and 23.4 degrees, respectively — plus a wild game-changing one-pedal system, and all sorts of wheel travel makes the Silverado ZR2 almost unstoppable. While it’s a large vehicle, like all modern half-ton vehicles, which limits the number of narrow roads it can drive, the Silverado ZR2 is the kind of dynamo that impresses when the going gets tough. But it’s also just as competent and structured as when all was well, bringing together the best of this truck before its update with a modern user interface and impressive driveability overall.

Final Thoughts

It can’t be hidden that it’s a half ton, from the trail to the almost clunky walk, all the weight up, over and down obstacles. But what’s more obvious is the off-road flair that makes the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 a worthy entry in this corner of this niche market. It’s not a question of whether this truck is capable of going where the curb ends – it’s a matter of how far the $80,000 rig owner is willing to go. But rest assured this Silverado ZR2 has what it takes to get there, back, and then some.

Competitor

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