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- Highs Least likely Silverado to get stuck, compliant ride, narrow-ish width aids its off-road maneuverability.
- Lows Worse fuel economy than a 755-hp Corvette ZR1, lacks 37-inch tire option, funky electronic shift lever.
- Verdict The ZR2 has as much off-road capability as any sane person should ever need, but the Raptor and TRX are even crazier.
When the best way out of something is through it, the Chevy Silverado ZR2 is there to help. Based on the standard half-ton Silverado 1500 pickup, the ZR2 is an all-business off-roader that kicks things up with a more aggressive appearance, 33-inch all-terrain tires, additional ground clearance, trick Multimatic spool-valve dampers, and Chevy’s faithful 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8. While not as untamed as the Ford F-150 Raptor or Ram 1500 TRX, the ZR2 favors the reality of a work week spent on pavement that ends with a muddy weekend. Its comfortable ride is a major benefit of its rugged suspension. Its 8900-pound max tow rating is higher than those of both the Ford F-150 Raptor and Ram TRX, but its EPA-estimated 17 mpg highway mileage is mid-pack between those two. The ZR2 is only available as a four-door crew cab with the five-foot, ten-inch bed, and it comes standard with an enormous 13.4-inch touchscreen that powers its navigation and infotainment functions.
Where This Vehicle Ranks
What's New for 2023?
Following last year’s debut of the Silverado ZR2 model, 2023 adds the ZR2 Bison package—an even more sharply focused off-road package with added accessories from Montana-based aftermarket company American Expedition Vehicles (AEV). Detailed information on the Bison’s equipment list, exact pricing, and on-sale date have yet to be announced. When that’s available, we’ll update this report.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The Silverado ZR2 starts at around $70,000, which is almost $10k higher than the fanciest non-ZR2 Silverado, the High Country. Chevy's ultimate off-road pickup also has a similar starting price as the F-150 Raptor ($70,370), but it's a lot cheaper than the Ram TRX's base price of almost $80,000.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Under the ZR2's bulging hood is the same naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 that's available in the regular Silverado 1500. The engine makes 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque and pairs with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Every ZR2 features a four-wheel-drive system with a two-speed transfer case and electronic-locking front and rear differentials. Stabilizing the truck's 18-inch wheels, which are shod with gnarly 33-inch off-road tires, is a specially tuned suspension that includes high-performance spool-valve dampers. The truck's underside is protected by a unique skid-plate package, and Chevy says the ZR2's high-mounted steel bumper provides a 31.8-degree approach angle, which is more than what's offered on the similarly lifted Silverado Trail Boss models. Now that we've driven the Zr2 around Joshua Tree State Park, we have a greater appreciation for its capabilities as well as its reduced width compared with the F-150 Raptor and Ram TRX, which make the Chevy easier to maneuver on tight trails.
Towing and Payload Capacity
With a conventional trailer hitch, the Silverado ZR2 can tow up to 8900 pounds. The half-ton pickup can also handle a payload of up to 1440 pounds.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The Silverado ZR2, with its 420-hp V-8, is rated at 14 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway, contributing to a combined rating of 15 mpg. While those estimates are better than the Ram TRX and its 702-hp supercharged V-8, which nets 12 mpg combined, they're unimpressive, nonetheless. Meanwhile, the F-150 Raptor and its 450-hp twin-turbo V-6 has combined estimates of 15 and 16 mpg, with the lower number applying to models with the optional 37-inch tires. Once we can run the ZR2 on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, we can evaluate its real-world mpg. For more information about the Silverado ZR2's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the Silverado ZR2 has a slick-looking dashboard that features a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument panel next to a massive 13.4-inch touchscreen. The cabin includes leather-trimmed seats and sporty dark trim. Between the front buckets is a center console that features a T-shaped electronic shifter. However, we found the gear lever's shape to be cumbersome, and we even accidentally activated the Park button on top with a resting hand. The ZR2 is only available in a crew-cab body style, so there's expansive passenger space, particularly in the back seat. Those who plan on carrying more stuff in the cargo box will want to opt for the longer standard-length bed versus the short bed.
Infotainment and Connectivity
A huge horizontally oriented 13.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system comes standard on the Silverado ZR2. Along with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the system is compatible with Amazon Alexa and features built-in Google voice assistance, maps, and an app store.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Every Silverado has a suite of standard driver-assistance technology and there is an assortment of optional assists that make driving and even towing more carefree.
For more information about the Silverado's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Chevy covers the half-ton Silverado with a competitive warranty that doesn’t quite match the lengthy powertrain coverage of the Nissan Titan. However, every Silverado 1500 does get one complimentary scheduled maintenance visit.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit
2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ZR2
Vehicle Type: front-engine, rear/4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door pickup
pushrod 16-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 376 in3, 6162 cm3
Power: 420 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque: 460 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
Wheelbase: 147.5 in
Length: 232.8 in
Width: 81.2 in
Height: 78.7 in
Passenger Volume: 136 ft3
Curb Weight (C/D est): 5800 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 5.6 sec
1/4-Mile: 14.1 sec
Top Speed: 100 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 15/14/17 mpg