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2022 CHEVROLET SILVERADO ZR2 DEBUTS AS GM’S MOST OFF-ROAD CAPABLE HALF-TON TRUCK

The New Trim Level Sits At The Top Of The Silverado Lineup

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 1500 Design
Image via Chevrolet

The Chevrolet Silverado lineup has a pecking order, just like any other pickup truck family. At the bottom you have the WT and Custom trims, which keep the frilly comforts at home and just focus on the essentials. And up top you have the buttoned-up High Country trim. The well-to-do alpha male. But for every alpha male, there’s a sigma. One that operates on the same plane of existence, but refuses to fall in line. Gritty and unwavering, and doesn’t care about champagne problems. That’s what we see with the all-new 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ZR2. The grittiest, most off-road capable Silverado of the bunch. Let’s take a closer look.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ZR2 approach departure breakover angles
Image via Chevrolet

Design

The 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ZR2 can be easily distinguished from the rest of the lineup thanks to a unique steel front bumper that’s been designed with removable end caps for easier replacement in the event of close encounters with rocks or other off-road objects. In the rear, the dual exhaust system has been placed before the rear bumper to eliminate potential damage.

The overall design of the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 helps the truck provide a class-leading 31.8-degree approach angle. These class-leading standard measurements continue with a 23.4-degree breakover angle, and a respectable 23.3-degree departure angle. By comparison, the F-150 Tremor has a 27.6-degree approach, 21.2-degree breakover, and a 24.3 degree departure angle. Even better, the Silverado ZR2 beats the standard Ford F-150 Raptor (35-inch tires) in approach and breakover angles (31-degree approach, 22.7-degree breakover, and 23.9-degree departure for the Raptor).

Silverado ZR2 ground clearance comes in just under a foot, at 11.2 inches. All of these measurements are accomplished with 33-inch tires, which we’ll touch on in a minute.

Minor finishing touches on the Silverado ZR2 exterior are a black hood insert, a unique grille with integrated lighting and a “flow-tie” emblem, ZR2 badges, unique 18-inch wheels and a unique Jet Black/Graystone leather-trimmed interior.

The Silverado ZR2 is only available in crew cab configuration, with a short box. That might change later, but considering the take rates on crew cabs, we don’t expect it to.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 1500 Engine L87 V8
Image via Chevrolet

2022 Silverado ZR2 Engine And Powertrain

As MC&T first reported, the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 will have just one engine choice out of the gate, the 6.2L L87 V8 engine producing 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. All of this pushrod goodness is sent to the wheels via GM’s 10-speed automatic transmission, which is now controlled via a console-mounted gear selector in lieu of a steering column shifter. Power is sent to either the rear wheels or all of them via an electronically controlled transfer case.

Following the same formula as the smaller Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, the Silverado ZR2 will also feature both front and rear locking differentials, which will help the truck excel in rock crawling. A low-speed one pedal drive mode is also a standard feature, which will help drivers during low speed events, which could be the difference between the truck overcoming an obstacle, or receiving a nasty battle scar from the trails.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ZR2 Wheels Tires Suspension
Image via Chevrolet

Race Proven Multimatic DSSV Suspension And Chassis

Also like the Colorado ZR2, the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 will feature a set of Mutlimatic DSSV dampers and unique springs as the main suspension upgrade, measuring 40 mm in diameter. These dampers are fortified with three separate spool valves to control damping, and three connected chambers for fluid flow and thermal management. Chevrolet says that the maximum front and rear suspension travel is also increased compared to the Silverado Trail Boss. The underbody is also fortified with a unique skid plate package that protects the essential components of the truck, such as the oil pan and the fuel tank.

As first teased with the Hall Racing Chevrolet Silverado 1500 that debuted at the 2019 SEMA Show, the chassis of the new Silverado ZR2 was validated not only by GM engineers taking things to the trails all over North America, but also through the grueling Best in the Desert off-road racing series. In fact, the Silverado ZR2 shares most chassis and drivetrain components with the Hall Racing truck, including the frame, transmission, 2-speed transfer case, and 6.2L L87 V8 engine.

The choice in tire size seems to be the only puzzling decision with the Silverado ZR2. At 33-inches, the size of these Goodyear Wrangler MT tires are dwarfed by the Ford F-150 Raptor’s standard 35-inch tires, and even more so with the truck’s giant 37-inch tire package. And these big rubbers are great for low speed rock crawling, which is where the ZR2 would be most at home. Unlike the Hummer EV, the Silverado ZR2 does not have an integrated wheel-speed sensor calibration in the event that customers opt to upgrade their tire size.

Maximum payload for the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 is 1,440 pounds, and the conventional tow rating is 8,900 pounds.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Interior
Image via Chevrolet

New Silverado ZR2 Interior

Like with most of the 2022 Silverado family, the ZR2 interior is highlighted by the slew of new technology hardware and software backed into its design. The centerpiece is of course the 13.4-inch-diagonal standard touchscreen, complimented by a 12.3-inch-diagonal digital instrument cluster. No more analog gauges, folks. New tech in the ZR2 also includes built-in Google Assistant, Google Maps and Google Play right on the infotainment screen. This new feature works with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, and offers new levels of customization and flexibility for customers.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Price

Tried as we did during yesterday’s Q&A session of the 2022 Silverado 1500 backgrounder, Chevrolet is not yet ready to talk pricing of the ZR2, or for the rest of the lineup in general. That said, with the Ford F-150 Tremor coming in a hair under $50,000, and the the F-150 Raptor coming in just above $64,000 USD, we expect the Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 and its class-leading off-road capabilities to split the difference between the two. We’ll know for sure as we get closer to the production of the updated Silverado, which starts in Q1, 2022.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 1500
Image via Chevrolet

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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