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Chevy Openly Admits That The Raptor Was Not Exactly The Benchmark

2022 Cherolet Silverado 1500 ZR2 First Drive
Image copyright Manoli Katakis, Muscle Cars & Trucks

Chevrolet insists that the the Silverado ZR2 has something that its main competitors do not. It might not be 35-inch tires, forced induction, or long-travel shocks, but the ZR2 does deliver on an arguably more crucial element: balance.

“It’s all about balance… if you look at the ZR2 we’re really in a segment of our own,” said Sean Cratty, Silverado Product Manager in an interview with MC&T. “A lot of the customers we’re going for, for the most part… it’s the balance of off-road and on-road. I think that’s what we tried to hit.”

While the Ford F-150 Raptor and Ram TRX are multi-role trucks in their own right, the Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 leads both of them in payload and towing, while a true front locking rear differential allows the truck to claw its way up a rutted slope like it’s nothing. Compared to the Ram and Ford, you can also run a ZR2 through an automated carwash without much issue. No “Raptor disclaimer” equivalent sign here.

Ford F-150 Raptor The Mounds ORV Park Steven Pham
Image copyright Steven Pham, Muscle Cars & Trucks

“To that degree, I don’t really view the Ford F-150 Raptor and Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 as direct competitors in many ways,” said Cratty. “I think we have a more on-road type experience that’s also given. Which is also where our customers are coming from.”

Still, the off-road truck arena doesn’t have that many serious contenders, and it’s likely that customers will be comparing and cross-shopping Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 and Ford F-150 Raptor trucks, despite fierce brand loyalty in the segment.

“There’s going to be customer overlap… I think frankly our target customer is a mix of both (Chevrolet Silverado and F-150 Raptor customers), and if you look at the venn diagram we probably have a shift there. But I think the overlap is pretty significant.”

Image copyright Manoli Katakis, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

2022 chevrolet silverado zr2 build and price configurator

ZR2 Pricing Aims To Be A Value

The elephant in the room for all of these full-size performance is of course the price. As of this writing, the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ZR2 asks for $69,695 USD, plus an inflated $1,795 destination charge. The Ford F-150 Raptor, which is more powerful, has more tire, and more shock travel, starts at $69,525, plus another $1,795 in destination fees.

“With Silverado ZR2 (pricing)…that’s all-in. When you look at a Raptor, with the options you get, you’re going to start seeing $7,000 above just the base, and you’ll see less of that on our side,” said Cratty, emphasizing that the interior of the base ZR2 comes better equipped than the base Raptor. Indeed, it starts to get close to the $80,000 mark when optioning up an F-150 Raptor to get the interior to have things like a premium audio system, a wireless charging mat, satellite radio, and more. That’s not to say anything of other upgrades like the 37-inch tire package.

“I think we can steal customers just on (a premium interior),” said Scott Janson, Engineering Group Manager – Chevrolet Performance Variants, Parts and Motorsports. “Where they’re like: ‘I only need one truck, I don’t need this $90,000 off-road truck and then have a daily driver. I think we’ll see that happen over the next couple of years.”

The Near Future Of The Chevrolet Silverado ZR2

With current market conditions, Chevrolet is also in no hurry to bite off more than it can chew with Silverado ZR2 demand.

“We’ve got two plants today, Fort Wayne and Silao, and we’re at max capacity, and we’re gonna sell every unit, and our days of supply is extremely low,” said Janson. “So there is no conquest need in the current environment, but on a year by year basis, we’re evaluating that.”

To that end, Chevy seems more keen on keeping existing customers happy with the bandwidth of various off-road Silverado packages.

“We’re trying to cast a net to say ‘we want to work in the off-road space, we know there are people that are gonna go to Raptor that might evaluate more options and get the interior at the price point that we’re hitting. There’s definitely a conquest aspect to it, but at the same time we’re always saying ‘hey, there are people that are in an LT Trail Boss or a Custom Trail Boss, and they want a step up internally, so we want to provide that, too.”

2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ZR2 Joshua Tree National Park First Drive
Image copyright Manoli Katakis, Muscle Cars & Trucks

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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