2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Duramax Diesel Review

The ZR2 Bison is unstoppable!! Never thought I’d find a factory off-road pickup that can hang with the Raptor, but the Colorado’s slimmer width is a big plus on narrow trails.

The diesel engine is packing a wallop at 365 pound-feet of torque and so you can tow an extra 700 pounds (up to 7700).

However, the 0-60-mph time drops 3 seconds from 6.5 to 9.5. It feels pretty glacial on the road until you adjust to its power delivery style. But then you start to love how it just surges forward without a gear change, or pops off the line in the 0 to 5-mph range. We could not convince it to downshift in nearly any passing scenarios, by the way, but this was flat land down here in the low country.

The six-speed automatic is a downside versus the snappy 8-speed transmission in the 3.6-liter V6.  The non-Diesel Colorado really blew me away in 2015 with its awesome handling and drive demeanor. The shift to diesel has lost much of that fun.

But then again, what other lifted and widened off-road special will top 22-mpg on the highway!? That is down about 8-mpg versus the 2WD regular Colorado Diesel but still terrific for something with steel half bumpers and a monster lift.

Speaking of bumpers.  No bumper cam on this one — the gopro fell off the silver front bumper element and was promptly run over by a dumptruck and totally pancaked. Not even the micro-SD memory card came out alive.  Hood mounted is best – the silver on front bumper isn’t clear-coated and doesn’t maintain suction.

Some chase cam from the off-road outing will hopefully make up for lack of forward view. Overall, for myself, I would get the gas motor in a heartbeat over this diesel, but for diesel lovers, only this one will do.

The first-ever USA midsize Duramax is long overdue and truly awesome – and AEV’s special upfit on the ZR2 is a great halo trim for the Colorado lineup in general.  A revision to ZR2 grilles for 2021 will actually see all of them adopt the flow-through Chevrolet lettered grille, so you know the style of Bison is a hit and a half.

The 2021 update does not, curiously, update the complete lack of LED lighting anywhere on this vehicle, whatsoever.  Just stuck in a 2015 time-warp in many other ways too, such as the lack of touch-unlock door handles, the twist-key start and the gauge cluster.  Respectable infotainment thanks only to Apple CarPlay. You do get the slight sense that the Bison was or is a bit of a run-out special.  The new Colorado is a 2023-model-year arrival, most predict, in case you wondered. This likely means May 2022 on dealer lots.

Pricing for the 2020 is fairly steep with the test truck ringing in at $53,000, which is exactly double the sticker price of the cheapest Colorado available.  $27k including destination.  $22,600 base for the extended cab!  Both pretty impressive versus Tacoma’s that are rarely found under $30k in any spec.  But then again with the AEV and Duramax options you really need to think hard before adding perhaps $200 to your monthly payment when going from ZR2’s base of about $44k.

My one final suggestion would be to go for the long box.  It smooths out the ride and gives you much more practicality in the bed for hauling and towing big things.







2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison Duramax Diesel