We recently brought to light that General Motors will significantly improve its trucks from the 2021 model year onward, starting with interior improvements for the T1 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks. However, that’s just the beginning. Sources familiar with General Motors truck plans have indicated that the pickup portfolio will include more off-road variants, as market demand continues to push further into this space. And we’ll see that with the Chevrolet Silverado ZRX.
MC&T has learned that Chevrolet aims to take the fight to both the full-size Ford F-150 Raptor and the Ram 1500 Rebel by fitting the Silverado with improved off-road suspension, Multimatic DSSV dampers, rear and front electronic locking differentials, as well as improved approach and departure angles. If this sounds a lot like the formula for the Chevy Colorado ZR2, it’s because it is. We expect amazing off-road capabilities from the Silverado ZRX.
However, like the smaller Colorado, don’t expect anything in terms of power upgrades. General Motors currently has two perfectly fine supercharged small block V8 warheads in the arsenal with the 650 hp LT4 and 755 hp LT5, but the company continues to be hyper-conservative in applying them.
As a small breadcrumb, General Motors recently trademarked the “ZRX” name to use on automobiles during the weekend of the 2019 Woodward Dream Cruise. Further details, such as pricing and reveal date, are unknown at this time. That said, rollout is scheduled for the 2022 model year. Considering what Chevrolet did with the Colorado ZR2, we may very well see this vehicle in concept form before the real thing.
Outside speculation is that ZRX would be a type of street performance truck, as it first appeared in the 2000’s as a trim level for GMC Sonoma, which came with a unique suspension system and bodywork. We understand that this new application will bear no historical relevance to a street-oriented performance pickup.
Without any power upgrades, this would mean that the forthcoming Chevrolet Silverado ZRX will, at most, feature a naturally aspirated 6.2L L87 small block V8 engine with a 10-speed automatic transmission. That’s good for 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. That’s plenty for most people, but shy of the 450 hp/510 lb-ft EcoBoost output of the F-150 Raptor. If Chevrolet does not price the Silverado ZRX accordingly, its efforts in providing the market an off-road truck could be seen as too little, too late.
That said, the USP for the Silverado ZRX is the likelihood of offering the 277 hp, 460 lb-ft 3.0L Duramax LM2 diesel engine. This is significant because where Ford and Ram both offer diesels in their full-size pickups, they so far have kept them out of their off-road variants. Whereas Chevrolet has shown it’s not shy in doing so with the smaller Colorado ZR2. Lastly, Chevrolet has built a relationship with American Expedition Vehicles with the special Colorado ZR2 Bison project. We wouldn’t rule out a second collaboration between the two companies with the incoming Silverado ZRX.