2020 AEV Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison First Drive

2020 AEV Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison First Drive

Before, you had to build your own land rig. As capable as SUVs like the Toyota Land Cruiser, Land Rover Defender and Jeep Wrangler were from the factory, serious overlanders knew that improvements were needed to make sure they weren’t stuck away from the civilization. Companies like American Expedition Vehicles – better known as AEV – and ARB have spent decades equipping land vehicles with stronger wheels, grip tires, bumpers, and rock rails traded for armor additional and modified suspensions to withstand the abuse of off-road weeks. But this dynamic has changed since then. Vehicles like the new Land Rover Defender, Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro and Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 AEV Bison deliver unmatched ground capacity directly from the showroom floor. So what room does this leave for companies like AEV to compete, especially since its name and parts reside on one of these factory vehicles? Well, as the 2020 Bison Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 AEV proves, there is always more we can do. Whether it is absolutely necessary or not is another question.

The stock Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 AEV Bison is already an extremely capable land platform (defeating both the Gladiator Rubicon and the Tacoma TRD Pro in our Mojave Road land comparison test). Based on the Colorado ZR2 – which, compared to the standard Colorado, obtains DSSV multimatic shock absorbers, 31-inch all-terrain tires and lockable front and rear differentials – the Colorado ZR2 Bison adds boron steel bumpers and skid plates developed and designed by AEV, as well as wheels and wideners. improved wings. Power is supplied by a 3.6-liter V6 developing 308 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque, or an optional 2.8-liter I-4 turbodiesel with 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The gasoline V6 gets an eight-speed automatic transmission while the diesel just a six-speed automatic. It goes without saying, but all-wheel drive is standard on the ZR2 range. If that’s not enough, AEV also offers (somewhat confused) its own version of the Colorado ZR2 AEV Bison.


the AEV Colorado Bison adds a fair amount of kit designed to make the ZR2 Bison even more capable off the beaten track. For an additional $ 12,999 above the Crew Cab, Colorado ZR2 AEV Bison short bed, starting price of $ 49,945 (for the standard gasoline V6; $ 53,445 for diesel), AEV matches his view on bison with a suspension upgrade kit and tie rod sleeve kits provided by GM Performance, its own Wheels capable of locking the heel fitted with 35-inch KO2 all-terrain BFGoodrich, a rear axle ratio of 4.10 and a handful of other goodies. The manufacturer also offers you many options to help you get your AEV Bison off the beaten track. Among the functional equipment with which our tester was equipped, there was a snorkel, additional lower armor, additional lighting (the original Colorado headlights are notoriously terrible) and a Warn winch. Our diesel powered truck also received a bunch of less functional upgrades, including leather trim and factory grade paint ($ 12,335), bringing the truck’s tested price to $ 92,031.

You wouldn’t believe it from the looks, but the AEV Colorado Bison is incredibly livable on the street. Most of the aftermarket modified trucks I have driven, especially the ones that have been lifted, have been miserable on the road, with low shock absorption, a vague steering feel like a yacht, unbearable cabin noise and outmoded engines. AEV Bison was a pleasant surprise. Thanks to a combination of these magical DSSV shock absorbers and tie rod upgrades, the driving and road handling characteristics of the Bison are roughly the same as those of the original Chevy Colorado Bison, to say the best performing comfort and performance on the road in the segment. . The power of the 2.8-liter I-4 turbodiesel from our tester is however significantly affected. This Colorado ZR2 powertrain has never been particularly fast, and despite the fact that the AEV has a shorter final drive ratio – which should translate into faster acceleration – it feels overwhelmed by the extra weight of 35-inch Bison tires, new wheels, and additional hardware.

Here’s the part where I usually wrote something like, “But none of this matters once you’re off the road.” But unfortunately, I cannot. In the western reaches of the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree, the AEV modifications made me miss the Jane Bison Plain that you can get from your local Chevy dealer.

My biggest problem with the AEV Bison is the quality of handling on the sand bumps on which the ZR2 excel. In other words, the quality of driving with the tires at street pressure is excruciating. Thanks to a combination of increased ride height and additional mass for larger wheels and tires, Bison’s DSSV shock absorbers no longer have the ability to float above and over obstacles; at any speed north of 15 mph, the AEV Bison swayed desperately back and forth on its axles. Particularly telling was the fact that I couldn’t keep track of MT Jeep Wrangler Rubicon’s stock over the long term.

Yes, yes, I know – “Air your tires!” Well, I did notice it and noticed an improvement, but it’s worth pointing out that under similar conditions, you don’t need to see Chevy on the Bison.

Aside from a faster desert run, the AEV bison has proven to be just as capable as a standard Colorado bison. Although the tires tend to rub the front wheel arch linings at extreme compression, the BFGoodrichs that AEV chose for its Bison are a more grippy and stronger tire than what Chevy puts on bison at the dealership. Duramax diesel also rose to the task, with the shorter final drive ratio helping the engine stay within its power range, up to steep obstacles.

While I was finally able to go where I needed to go in the AEV Colorado ZR2 Bison – which is actually the point of any land vehicle – I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. When the Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison defeated the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon and the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro in our Mojave Road comparison, I wrote: “This Colorado is ridiculously versatile, mixing the best attributes of the Jeep: steel armor, blocking front and rear differentials, and true rock exploration capability – with Toyota’s natural gift for high-speed desert travel. The ZR2’s shock absorbers are truly the key to its versatility, giving it exceptional ride quality and body control, allowing you to focus on the field in front of you and cool off when you get to your destination. The AEV Bison may include welcome changes – tire change, tuba, extra armor and spare tire mount on the bed – but much else unfortunately does detract from what makes the Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison so good in the first place.

The first Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison First 2020 AEV drive after its first appearance on MotorTrend

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