by Travis Langness, Automotive Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
The 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 has only been in our fleet a few months, but it’s seen off-road action in nearly every month that’s passed. It begs to be driven where the pavement ends, and when you get it there, it takes on a much more entertaining character. This month, our ZR2 did all the regular commuting duties along with a few freeway journeys. I took it upon myself to cover the truck in mud and climb up a few questionable hillsides.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
In the three months we’ve been driving the diesel-powered ZR2, it’s beaten the highway mpg rating 10 times. On 10 separate occasions it’s crested 22 mpg with no extra-special circumstances to get it there and no specific mindfulness about babying the throttle. While 22 mpg isn’t exactly stellar, it’s almost certainly a better number than we’d be getting with the V6-ZR2 combo, which is rated at 17 mpg combined (16 city/18 highway).
For comparison, our long-term 2015 Colorado with the Z71 package and the V6 averaged 18.3 mpg over 20,000 miles.
Average lifetime mpg: 21
EPA mpg rating: 20 combined (19 city/22 highway)
Best fill mpg: 25.7
Best range: 453.1 miles
Current odometer: 9,144 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
“The Colorado is hilariously good off-road. It feels jubilant and light-footed over bumps and hills, and even the biggest obstacles don’t stand a chance. This ZR2 feels like a less stressful version of the F-150 Raptor. They’re in different classes, sure, but where the Raptor is brutish and large, the ZR2 feels relatively nimble and brisk. With the recent announcement of a Ranger Raptor, this segment is about to get a big infusion of fun and healthy competition. I can’t wait.” — Travis Langness, automotive editor
“I am not a fan of this diesel powertrain for a lot of reasons. It doesn’t offer much more range than the V6 (21 miles, per EPA estimates). The six-speed transmission is a HUGE step down from the V6’s eight-speed. The diesel is sluggish, slushy and slow, and with the ZR2 package, there’s no towing benefit over the V6; they’re both capped at 5,000 pounds. It also costs almost $3,500 more. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the worst option you can put on this truck.” — Will Kaufman, associate staff writer
“Went for a bit of a drive with my wife in our lifted Colorado and each of us had different ingress/egress issues. She really had to hoist herself up, and basically jumped out of the truck every time she got out. I could deal with the high step-up, but because I like to sit high in trucks and have the seat set a little higher, I also had to duck to fit myself under the door. I’m 6 feet tall and she’s … shorter. Both of us have issues with the ZR2.” — Will Kaufman
“Maybe it’s our gray-on-gray color combo, maybe it’s the dated plastics, or maybe it’s just the simple no-frills nature of this particular truck, but our ZR2 just doesn’t feel special. If I were buying one, I’d at least opt for a different exterior color so that this drab gray interior would have some contrast on the outside. Strangely, in a local parking lot, I found our ZR2’s twin, another ZR2, also with the diesel powertrain, and it also failed to stand out. Even parked next to each other, the two trucks seemed so bland. That shouldn’t be the case with a truck this capable.” — Travis Langness