New for 2024, the Chevrolet Silverado HD ZR2 offers the off-road capacity that the nameplate is known for in a bigger and more powerful package. It was designed to tow and haul, and the range includes a Bison model that’s capable of going even further off the beaten path.
Chevrolet positions the Silverado HD ZR2 above the Colorado ZR2 and the Silverado 1500 ZR2, and the firm told Autoblog that applying the all-terrain treatment to a bigger truck makes perfect sense. It pointed out that 96% of existing Silverado HD customers tow, 68% go camping, 66% hunt and fish, and nearly half go off-roading, according to its research. The new addition to the lineup was designed for these buyers.
Exclusively offered as a 2500 HD with a crew cab, the ZR2 gains a redesigned suspension system that includes racing-derived Multimatic DSSV spool-valve dampers and a 1.5-inch lift kit. These changes helped unlock a 32.5-degree approach angle, a 25.7-degree departure angle, and a 21.2-degree breakover angle, while ground clearance checks in at 11.6 inches. Chevrolet also added model-specific front upper and lower control arms and steering knuckles, an electronic locking differential to the rear axle, and an Off-Road driving mode that adjusts features like the anti-lock brakes and the stability control system while enabling the rear axle to lock regardless of the truck’s speed.
The standard engine is a gasoline-burning, 6.6-liter V8 rated at 401 horsepower and 464 pound-feet of torque. Chevrolet told Autoblog that it expects over 70% of buyers will upgrade to the 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 tuned to develop 470 horsepower and 975 pound-feet of torque. Both engines spin the rear or the four wheels via a 10-speed automatic transmission and a two-speed transfer case. If you have heavy stuff to haul, you’ll likely want to get the gas engine, which gives the truck a 3,397-pound payload (versus 3,193 pounds for the diesel). If you have heavy stuff to tow, the diesel is the way to go: It gives the HD an 18,500-pound towing capacity, up from 16,000 for the gasoline-burning V8.
Car spotters shouldn’t have a difficult time telling the ZR2 apart from the standard Silverado 2500 HD. Up front, the truck borrows styling cues such as a black grille with a Flow-Tie emblem and red tow hooks from the ZR2 variants of the Colorado and Silverado 1500. It rides on black 18-inch wheels wrapped by 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires, and designers added a sprinkling of “ZR2” emblems.
Inside, the ZR2 features Jet Black and Graystone leather upholstery, dark trim, and materials that Chevrolet describes as being “simple to wipe clean after a day in the dirt.” There’s also a great deal of technology: the driver faces a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, and the list of options includes a 15-inch head-up display with an inclinometer. The infotainment system is displayed on a 13.4-inch touchscreen.
Michigan-based American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) helped Chevrolet design the Bison model (shown above). In addition to specific exterior emblems, 18-inch wheels, and AEV logos on the front seats, the Bison benefits from a high-approach, winch-ready steel front bumper, a stamped-steel rear bumper, and steel underbody skid plates that protect the steering rack, the exhaust system, and the transfer case, among other parts that you want to keep away from boulders. While these changes might sound small, they make a big difference on the trail: the Bison has a 29.8-degree approach angle and a 22.6-degree departure angle. Its breakover angle is the same as the ZR2’s.
Production of the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado HD ZR2 will begin in Flint, Michigan, this summer. Pricing information will be released closer to the truck’s on-sale date. When it lands, it will compete head-to-head against the Ford F-Series Super Duty Tremor and the Ram 2500 Power Wagon.