GM’s mid-sizer showed up as a contestant in the Ace of Base series a couple of years ago, back when the four-banger could be paired with a manual transmission. Chevy has since quietly removed that option from its order sheet, leaving cheapskates frugal shoppers with a fistful of automatic transmission.
An advantage of these Right Spec posts? The ability to venture beyond the bargain basement. Despite its second-rung status in the Chevy Truck pecking order in terms of size, there’s no shortage of trim configurations for this bowtie pickup. Throw in a trio of body styles plus a few engine choices, and the decision tree grows quite a number of branches.
You’ll notice we’ve selected the Extended Cab arrangement instead of the more popular Crew Cab model. The reason for this is two-fold. First, we assume very few of our readers have friends. More critically, however, your author can say with some certainty that the Colorado cabin is small enough that his 6’6” frame forces the driver’s seat totally rearward even in Crew Cab form, rendering the back seat behind him useless to anyone blessed with the gift of legs below the knee. If the rear seating area isn’t going to be utilized often, we might as well trade some of that vehicle length for usable box space while retaining the Extended Cab’s shorter overall dimensions. All hands will probably agree on that point.
Where we are likely to differ in our assessment – and hope for a bit of comment section debate – is in the choice of Z71 or ZR2. It’s a $5,000 walk to the latter, checking in at $43,795 before the inevitable destination and other sundry fees. This is not an insignificant sum. For the cash, one will find themselves in command of a rig with GM’s dandy Multimatic DSSV damping system, a set of suspenders that have proven themselves off-road time and again at your author’s hand (and right foot). They’re so good, in fact, that Chevy is installing them on a new Silverado trim for 2022.
The ZR2 also packs an increased ground clearance and track width compared to other trim levels, along with the unique appearance package that can’t be mistaken for anything other than a ZR2. It’s worth mentioning that the Z71 does have unique suspension tuning (but not the DSSVs) along with a locking rear diff and an underbody skid plate to go with its A/T tires. As for engine choice in the ZR2, choosing the gasser is a no-brainer, since the Duramax power delivery style doesn’t suit the truck’s off-road personality – to say nothing of its $3,720 premium.
As for other considerations, all the really good colors like Bright Blue Metallic and Cherry Red Tintcoat are extra-cost items. Sand Dune Metallic, a $0 paint shown here, gives the thing a pre-runner vibe so we’ll go with that. Additional appearance packages and the like are a waste of money, and the Bison package seems pricey at $5,750. Be sure to spec the no-charge rubberized floor covering and for the love of god spend $75 on wireless device charging.
Total bill? $44,065. There will surely be plenty of you in the comments who’ll bleat that a clapped out 2005 Ranger is a better value or they have experienced 934,933 trouble-free miles from their Nissan Hardbody with only occasional maintenance and an upturned bucket for a driver’s seat (I haven’t toiled at TTAC for a decade without learning something about you yahoos). The rest of us will enjoy our air-conditioned ZR2 cabin. In extended cab form, of course.
Please note the prices listed here are in United States dollars and are currently accurate for base prices exclusive of any fees, taxes, or rebates. Your dealer may (and should) sell for less (obscene market conditions notwithstanding). Keep your foot down, bone up on available rebates, and bargain hard.
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