The Bison marks the first collaboration between Chevy and off-road aftermarket firm AEV.

Chevy gave its Colorado pickup some serious off-road chops with last year’s introduction of the ZR2, and now it’s pushing even further with the addition of the ZR2 Bison edition.

The latest variant of the midsize truck comes out of Chevrolet’s first collaboration with premium off-road aftermarket company American Expedition Vehicles, and it turns up the heat in a niche long dominated by Toyota’s Tacoma pickup.

“More and more enthusiasts are discovering that Colorado is ideal for off-roading, especially overland travel,” said Sandor Piszar, the director of marketing for Chevrolet’s truck operations. “Bison offers customers an even more extreme turnkey off-road truck ready to tackle your next adventure.”

(First drive: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe. Click Here for the review.)

With the launch of the ZR2 for the 2019 model-year, the bowtie brand added beefed up the Colorado by raising its ride height and adding such essentials as redesigned bumpers. It also introduced new Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve, or DSSV damper, technology to deliver a smooth, controlled ride both on-road and off.

The 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison goes even further. It gets five skid plates to cover the engine oil pan, fuel tank, transfer case and both front and rear locking differentials. The skid plates, designed by AEV, use hot-stamped Boron steel.

The Bison builds on some of the off-road updates added to the 2018 Colorado ZR2.

AEV also developed one-off bumpers for the Bison, the front bumper including standard fog lights and “provisions” for a winch.

To further boost off-road capabilities, the Bison adds 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires riding on 17×8-inch aluminum wheels developed specifically for the new truck variant and mounted under larger fender flares.

There are some distinctive visual updates, as well, including a unique, flow-through lettered, “CHEVROLET” grille replacing the familiar bowtie, “AEV Bison” decals and embroidered logos on the floor and headrests.

“We’ve been following Colorado since its introduction, and the ZR2 really captured our attention,” said AEV President Dave Harriton. “As this is the first Chevrolet vehicle we’ve given the AEV treatment to, we wanted to do something special with the industry’s first use of hot-stamped Boron steel. We also expect that Colorado drivers will love the added ruggedness of our front and rear bumpers on ZR2 Bison.”

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As with the ZR2 model, the Colorado Bison offers a choice of two powertrains:

  • A 3.6-liter V-6 gas engine paired with an eight-speed automatic. It makes 308 horsepower and 285 pound-feet of torque; or
  • A 2.8-liter Duramax diesel turning out 186 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. It also is paired with that eight-speed gearbox.

Chevy will release pricing for the 2019 Colorado ZR2 Bison closer to its on-sale date next January.

(Chevy marks centennial with two special-edition trucks. Click Here to check them out.)

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