Chevy Silverado buyers have had no choice but to look enviously at Ford and Ram’s high-speed off-road specialist pickup trucks since the SVT Raptor invented the segment in 2010. That’s a long time to wait for desert runners with the Bowtie badge, and there are few things more. important to the buyer of a full-size truck in addition to the bragging rights. Enter the 2022 Chevy Silverado ZR2, which adds a set of high-performance shocks, locking front and rear differentials, and greater ground clearance and suspension travel than any other full-size truck in GM’s portfolio.
But is it a real Raptor competitor? The answer is yes qualified or ineligible, depending on your point of view. And we think it’s entirely by design. The ZR2 delivers more capabilities than Chevy’s own Ford F-150 Tremor, Ram 1500 Rebel, Toyota Tundra TRD Pro and Silverado Trail Boss, but occupies its own place in the segment. Think of it more of a Raptor alternative, and also consider that GM may have left some room for future off-road editions that might be on the product line.
First, let’s talk numbers. The Silverado ZR2 offers an approach angle of 31.8 degrees, a breakover angle of 23.4 degrees, and a departure angle of 23.3 degrees. Those numbers are superior to Trail Boss, and in average Tremor (27.6 degrees, 21.2 degrees and 24.3 degrees) and Raptor (31.0 degrees, 23.9 degrees and 22.7 degrees) . Ground clearance measures 11.2 inches, and travel check-in suspension is 9.84 inches at the front and 10.62 inches at the rear. That’s a long way from the Raptor’s 14 inches of front or 15 inches of rear wheel travel. Also, the ZR2 hits the numbers with 33-inch tires instead of the standard 35s Ford Jurassic Truck and certainly not the optional 37s.
Those off-road-specific calculations make headlines, but there are other equally important numbers to consider, and some have to do with daily drivability and track survivability. Simply put, the Raptor is an impressive beast. Notably, it’s about 5 inches wider than the ZR2’s rated width of 81.2 inches (excluding mirrors). Those are a few inches that mean a lot when navigating tough off-road terrain as well as the average suburban driveway or city parking garage.
Without a proper side-by-side tow comparison, we can’t compare the overall feeling of putting a few tons behind the ZR2 or Raptor, but we bet the Chevy will inspire more confidence because of its less extreme tires and wheels. traveling. With numbers, the ZR2’s 1,440 pound payload rating and 8,900 pound tow rating add up to a small win over its Blue Oval rival.
One area where the Raptor really beats the ZR2 is under the hood. Chevy sticks with the tried and true 6.2-liter V8 engine, which sends 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission. That’s more than 400 hp from the F-150 Tremor, but the Raptor comes standard with an upgraded 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 with 450 hp and 510 lb-ft. While Chevy hasn’t provided final figures yet, the weight difference won’t be as dramatic. In a classic quarter-mile race, the Raptor very likely has a sizeable advantage. And we won’t even mention the 702-hp TRX Ram… um, oops, guess we just did.
In a real world where owners won’t be aiming for a holeshot at every green light, Chevy’s large-capacity V8 engine is a powerful truck engine. Our test truck was equipped with the Borla-branded performance exhaust system that would be available from Chevy (should be completely standard), exiting via double pipes tucked under the rear bumper so it wouldn’t be damaged off the pavement. There are few sounds sweeter than the rumbling roar of a classic American V8, and as good as the Raptor’s engine is, it can’t quite match the Chevy burble. Estimated fuel economy sits at 14 mpg in the city, 17 on the highway and 15 combined. That’s 1 mpg behind the Raptor and a few behind the Tremor, for those tracking… and we’re betting that won’t cover a possible buyer of one of these trucks. What’s perhaps more important is that the Raptor’s 26 gallon tank means it can reach 416 miles per tank compared to the ZR2’s 24-gallon 360-mile range. The Ram TRX scores a really dismal combined 12 mpg, so it’s a good thing it holds 33 gallons.
The ZR2’s 10-speed automatic transmission works flawlessly with no bad shifting glitches, and it responds quickly with timely gearshifts when called upon. No complaints there.
The single biggest piece of the Silverado ZR2 puzzle is the quartet of Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) shocks. Similar technology is found in all types of high-performance engines, including the Chevy Colorado ZR2 and Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE and the Ferrari SF90 Stradale Assetto Fiorano. Obviously there are differences between the shocks used in different applications, but they perform very well in each and every shock, including the new Silverado ZR2. GM says this 40mm DSSV shock has three separate spool valves and three connected chambers for fluid flow. You can read more about how they do what they do here.
Without the benefit of back-to-back testing between Chevy and Ford trucks, we think the ZR2 appears stiffer than the Raptor—perhaps unsurprisingly given the difference in wheel travel—but the overall control feel of the off-road Silverado is excellent. Ford uses coil springs at all four corners, but Chevy has used traditional truck-spec leaf springs for the rear of the ZR2 (and all other Silverados for that matter). No matter, we never had an unpleasant feeling from the back of the truck whether we were jumping over boulders, sliding on sand or even speeding down the highway at 75 mph. In the case of the ZR2, it’s the shock, not the spring that matters.
Another serious improvement over the lower Silverados is the difference in front and rear electronic locking. This is a differentiating point from the Raptor, which comes standard with rear lockers and can optionally be equipped with a Torsen limited-slip front unit. In theory, front lockers may be superior in certain low-traction situations. We tested it on a steep incline with a slope big enough to lift one tire off the ground at a time. We made it without drama, and while we think the Raptor will find enough traction to make the climb, it may require more wheelpin to do so.
Several other pieces of technology are worth mentioning. The ZR2 comes with what Chevy calls a Terrain Mode, which has settings selectable via a scroll wheel that includes a single-pedal driving option. Basically, this means the driver can lock the Silverado ZR2 to 4WD Low, manually select first gear and then use nothing but the gas pedal to advance a few inches. Releasing the gas will slow down the truck and even stop it without touching the brakes. There’s also a forward-facing camera that allows the driver to clearly see what’s in front, as well as offering views to the right, left and rear.
The Silverado ZR2 model gets unique styling details inside and out. Most notable is the unique grille with perforated Flowtie Bowtie, black non-functional hood dome, and the three-piece steel bumper arrangement that includes replaceable side sections with inner contours to minimize the chance that the owner will damage it on the road. Chevy’s luxurious Multi-Flex tailgate is optional.
Now that we’ve covered what sets the ZR2 apart from other Silverado trucks, let’s get to the next elephant in the showroom: the interior. The entire Silverado lineup gets a number of upgrades for 2022 that apply to as much of the ZR2 as the luxurious High Country, especially in the dashboard and infotainment system.
We’ll cut straight to the chase. The Silverado’s new interior is a drastic improvement over the previous truck (the old interior is still standard on the Work Truck, Custom and Custom Trail Boss), looks and feels very competitive with its rivals from Ford, Ram and Toyota. Which interior is best in class is debatable, but suffice to say that GM is now officially in the game. There’s a strong horizontal theme to the new interior, highlighted by a nice array of buttons between the touchscreen above and easy-to-use climate controls below. There’s a beefy electronic gearshift selector on the console, replacing the previous mandatory column shift, plus a cordless phone charging stand and a pair of large cupholders.
The ZR2 features a unique version of the new Silverado interior with black and gray leather seating surfaces and glossy black chrome trim trim that is better than the standard piano black plastic. The 13.4-inch touchscreen runs software based on Google’s Android Automotive package. Google Maps, Assistant, and Play Store are all neatly integrated, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are fully supported. We had a very good success rate when using integral voice recognition — “Hey Google, find me a closed parking lot” returning some of the closest results we could map with one touch.
The 2022 Chevy Silverado ZR2 starts at $69,205 including a $1,695 destination fee. That’s barely under the $70,470 it would take to get home with the Raptor with no options. We’ve had a hard time considering either of these trucks a “bargain,” but given the overall package, we’d think Chevy would be more aggressive in reducing Ford’s asking price.
So, back to the question at hand. Is the Chevy Silverado ZR2 a competitor to the Ford Raptor? Yes, because it offers Bowtie buyers a legit, high-end off-road package with specs that allow it to traverse very tough terrain. We really like the high-tech DSSV shocks. But neither does it, as the ZR2 doesn’t offer a powertrain or wide-body exterior upgrade to fully match Ford’s offerings. It also doesn’t come close to the performance capabilities of the $78,675 Ram TRX, though to be fair nothing else either.
Really, the ZR2 sits in a unique place in the truck market. It’ll do all the off-road stuff – its standard locking difference might be an important differentiator for some buyers – and it’ll also play (relatively) nice with real-life pickup duties. It should fit into more garages and parking lots than the Raptor too. Perhaps most importantly, Chevy is now completely engaged in the off-road truck conversation, which should be enough for a number of die-hard Bowtie fans.