Automobile

2022 Silverado ZR2 Is Chevy’s Gnarliest Off-Road Pickup Truck

  • The new ZR2 model is the most distinctive and off-road-ready 2022 Chevy Silverado 1500.
  • The Silverado ZR2 has a 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8, 33-inch tires, Multimatic spool-valve dampers, and electronic-locking front and rear differentials.
  • Despite its notable hardware, Chevy’s beefiest half-ton Silverado isn’t as impressive as the Ford F-150 Raptor or Ram 1500 TRX.

    The 2022 Chevy Silverado ZR2 doesn’t share a nickname with prehistoric predators. It also doesn’t make 700-plus-horsepower like the Hellcat-powered Ram 1500 TRX, and it doesn’t offer 37-inch tires like the high-flying Ford F-150 Raptor. Hell, the Chevy doesn’t even have 35-inch tires. What the first-ever Silverado ZR2 does have is a 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8, 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory off-road tires, and advanced Multimatic spool-valve dampers. All these goodies make it the bow-tie brand’s most formidable off-roader, even if its stat sheet isn’t likely to impress anyone who lusts after a Raptor or TRX.

    Even though the Silverado ZR2’s proportions aren’t as visually stimulating as the Raptor or TRX, it sports a distinctive front end. Unlike its supercharged and twin-turbocharged rivals, the Chevy’s small-block engine is naturally aspirated, but its gaping grille—with its hollowed-out bow-tie logo—looks capable of both swallowing large air masses and unsuspecting jaywalkers. Which is to say, the ZR2 looks appropriately aggressive, even if it’s now as distinctive as its wide-bodied little brother, the Colorado ZR2.

    Above the red tow hooks and the skid plate on the Silverado ZR2’s chin is a high-mounted steel front bumper. Not only does it look badass, it also contributes to the truck’s 31.8-degree approach angle, which Chevy says is more than you’ll get on any other Silverado. That would include those with the Z71 Off-Road package or Trail Boss models with their standard 2.0-inch lifted suspension. The ZR2 sits a half-inch taller than Trail Bosses, and it’s only offered with a crew-cab body style and either the short- or standard-length cargo boxes.

    While specifications for the Silverado ZR2 indicate it can tow 8900 pounds with a conventional trailer hitch and haul up to 1440 pounds of payload, we don’t know how much ground clearance it has or the range of wheel travel. We do know that along with the aforementioned spool-valved dampers that it has specially tuned springs that Chevy says give it increased wheel travel versus the Trail Boss. Likewise, the ZR2 benefits from other specific chassis and suspension tuning, and its selectable Terrain Mode allows drivers to crawl across rocks and other terrain using a single pedal. Think of it as an off-road cruise control.

    Chevy introduced the ZR2 along with a slew of significant changes to the standard Silverado 1500 for the 2022 model year. The biggest transformation happens within, where the truck benefits from a drastically different dashboard and dazzling digital displays. Alongside a 12.3-inch fully digital gauge cluster is a 13.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The materials are prettier, the switchgear looks sturdier, and there’s even an electronic shifter mounted on the center console that looks similar to what you’ll find in the upcoming Hummer EV. Interior improvements and techno-wizardry aside, the ZR2 is intended to look intimidating and have fun when the blacktop ends.

    Chevy hasn’t said how much the 2022 Silverado ZR2 will cost, but we imagine it’ll be as much or more than the current top-of-the-line High Country, which starts around $55,000. If so, that’ll at least make the ZR2 considerably more affordable than the Raptor or TRX, which start at $65,840 and $72,120, respectively. The ZR2 is expected to arrive on dealer lots in spring 2022.

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