When people decide to purchase a heavy-duty truck, more often than not, their goal is to tow some hefty items. Generally, we don’t see heavy-duty vehicles making their way up an off-road trail or down one, but instead bringing one or even two UTVs (Utility Side by Sides) to the trail to spend the day racing up rugged terrain. However, instead of investing in a trailer, then the UTV, and the truck, why not put it all into one beautiful vehicle that can get you where you need to go even if it isn’t on the pavement and can pull up to 18,500 pounds (with the 6.6L Duramax L5P diesel) when needed. Enter the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado HD ZR2 Bison, a heavy-duty truck that is purpose-built to perform wild things whenever and wherever the pavement ends.
To prove that, Chevrolet invited us to Johnson Valley, California, to see just what the Silverado’s answer to the Ram Power Wagon can do.
Par for course these days (more millionaires buy large pickup trucks than anything else), the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado HD ZR2 Bison offers an assortment of comfort features, such as a massive infotainment screen with easy-to-understand icons that are big enough to press, even with bobbing fingers over bumpy terrain. There’s an assortment of cameras around the truck, making spatial awareness a breeze. If you’re towing, a camera faces the hitch for easier alignment, and a 360-degree view ensures that even those not used to driving wider vehicles won’t scrape against anything. The front-facing camera truly makes off-roading a breeze. As far as road noise, it’s almost entirely nonexistent. The truck is extremely quiet, even with the aggressive tread of its 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler tires. One might say that full-sized luxury sedans morphed into these big bodied crew cab pickups.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado HD ZR2 Bison: Power Wagon Who?
The 2024 Chevrolet Silverado HD ZR2 Bison features a suite of AEV hardware to provide a factory package for the most avid off-roaders, building on the HD ZR2’s standard features and adding even more goodies to further boost confidence on the more challenging terrain. However, be prepared to climb if you aim to get into the vehicle due to its tall stature. Luckily, Chevrolet offers optional side steps for the truck, making climbing in and out significantly less of a challenge. You’ll want to remember that those can be ripped off if you’re going over tougher terrain, so maybe bring a step stool and remove the side steps when going off-road. Or, learn how to jump.
Perhaps the one true vulnerability of the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado HD ZR2 Bison is its lack of a locking front differential. Yes, you can have it in both gasoline and diesel, yes it has the signature Multimatics. And things will only get more interesting when American Expedition Vehicles inevitably debuts an upgrade package of its own. Maybe AEV will find a way to incorporate one.
So, you can either have a full-sized diesel off-road truck with no front locker in the Silverado HD ZR2, or you can have a front-locking truck with no diesel in the Ram HD Power Wagon. One has the delicious diesel torque and the tenacity to will itself out of predicaments, while the Hemi-powered bruiser from Auburn Hills other can do one-arm chin-ups with the front wheels. Tough call.
In any case, with a price tag of around $95,000 and the wide body of the pickup, you’ll probably think twice about putting the Chevrolet Silverado HD ZR2 Bison in the kind of space where you might regret it. Because, even if the truck can do something, could you? Just like the Corvette setting a lap time. It takes both the machine and one with the skill to properly operate it.
Making up for lack of ability, however, is an off-road technology suite of many things. Hill Decent control on the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado HD ZR2 Bison allows drivers to select their desired speed via the + and – buttons (the same used for for the cruise control) to set the pace, and the truck will do the rest. It’ll apply brakes when needed and essentially take itself down the steep terrain while you focus on putting your tires exactly where they need to be to avoid any unwanted obstacles. In all, the Silverado HD ZR2 Bison has 12 different drive modes when accounting for low and high gears, and terrain settings. But you’ll probably end up only using maybe four of them.
Chevrolet has stepped up its game for its trucks, particularly those competing within the off-road segment. Based on the capability we saw this truck display, along with the price tag, it’s safe to say the truck will likely be more popular for overlanders, people who live their life on the road, traversing roads less traveled in order to find a spot to rest their heads for the night. The truck can get you there, that’s for sure, so long as the path isn’t too narrow. There’s plenty of room in the truck to build your rig, adding comfortable living arrangement if needed; it doesn’t matter if you’re towing it or if it’s built into the bed.
Indeed, the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado HD ZR2 and ZR2 Bison have DNA to do proper hauling and towing work, but with long list of off-road hardware they can do so much more. You’d be remiss if were not to experience that for yourself.