Chevy’s New High End Off Road Vehicle

The ZR2 Bison: Chevy’s New Top Of The Line Off-Roader

American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) has built itself a well-earned reputation for delivering quality parts and accessories to serious off-road enthusiasts. Their latest venture is a bit more ambitious; they’re the experts Chevrolet called in to help create a factory off-roader in the form of the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. This new truck is clearly designed to cater to the market segment that is breathlessly awaiting news that Ford might someday bring its Ranger Raptor (so far only offered in Europe and Asia) to the US market.

red chevy truck

The ZR2 was already a very tough (and tough-looking) truck, and the Bison edition ups performance and ruggedness significantly. Underneath the bison is protected by five new skid plates. Hot-stamped boron steel plates cover the fuel tank, oil pan, transfer case, and both the front and rear differentials. On the Bison, the traditional bowtie logo is banished from the front grill, replaced by “CHEVROLET” in bold letters.

AEV has also designed the Bison’s unique bumpers (front and rear). The front bumper is built expressly to accept a winch, and the rear bumper includes fully-integrated recovery hooks for getting the Bison out of trouble.

The truck comes with exclusive 17-inch rims and 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires.

Naming the model the Bison is undoubtedly a nod to AEV’s own history; the company already uses the same animal as its brand logo. The truck’s unique pedigree is expressed loudly with a tailgate-mounted “AEV Bison” badge and Bison decals mounted on both bedsides. The brand appears in the truck’s interior design as well; the floor liners and front headrests all feature embroidered AEV logos.

Though the AEV extras serve to make the Bison truly exceptional, the underlying ZR2 package includes plenty of formidable off-road features.

The Bison ZR2 includes electronic locking differentials fore and aft, control arms made of cast iron, off-road rocker protection, Multimatic DSSV dampers, and an Autotrac transfer case. This model also shares the standard ZR2’s 3.42 gear ratio and modified rear axle. The Bison, like other ZR2s, has a two-inch suspension lift when compared to the standard Colorado ZR1. The front and rear tracks are also 3.5 inches wider on the ZR2 and the Bison.

The Bison’s standard powerplant is the same 3.6-liter V6 (plus an automatic eight-speed transmission) featured on the ZR2. This can be replaced, at the buyer’s discretion, with a 2.8-liter turbo diesel with a six-speed automatic. Chevy offers a full range of body styles for the Bison; it’s made in both crew and extended-cab versions and comes with either a long or short bed.

Both the 2019 Colorado ZR2 and the off-road-centric Bison edition go on sale in January. Prices for standard ZR2s start at $42,290. Chevy hasn’t published a price for the Bison yet, but it’s reasonable to expect to pay a significant premium when compared to the ZR2.

Only time will tell if this strong competitor inspires Ford to start selling its Ranger Raptor in the US.