The Glorious History of the Compact Chevrolet ZR2 Truck


Those who witnessed the rapid growth of off-road vehicles throughout the 2010s and beyond are likely to associate the ZR2 badge with the Chevy Colorado. This badge was originally used for the S-10 ZR2 in the 1990s.

Chevy introduced the ZR2 package with either a Vortec inline-four or a V6 in its second-generation S-10 model in 1994, providing a three-inch lift, four-inch increased track width, fender flares, Bilstein suspension, an Eaton rear locker, and 31-inch all-terrain tires.

1994 Chevy S Series ZR2 Truck commercial

The more recent ZR2 model used spool valve dampers from Formula 1 for its suspension, setting it apart from other midsize trucks like the Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma, and Ford Ranger. While the ZR2 was not a direct competitor to the Ford F-150 Raptor, it was designed to be a highly capable off-road vehicle with a unique suspension system.

Unlike the fully-sized four-door F-150 Raptor, the Colorado ZR2 was a midsize truck with spool valve shocks, making it lighter and offering an advantage off-road. The newer Colorado ZR2 model is even larger and more capable, continuing the progression from the original S-10 ZR2 after transitioning to the midsize Colorado.

The S-10 ZR2 was available in both single cab and extended cab configurations, with the single cab providing a cooler appearance. While the midsize Colorado ZR2 is larger and more capable, the S-10 ZR2 remains as a true compact off-road truck from a U.S. automaker from 1994 through 2003.

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