The 2022 Silverado has received a discreet exterior design update and a much more significant one inside – especially on the higher trim levels where the 13.4-inch wide touchscreen comes as standard – as well as a bump in power output for the 2.7-liter turbo and an increase in towing power (to 13,000 lbs) for the 3.0-liter Duramax turbodiesel.
However, the big talking point of this release has to be the first-ever ZR2 version of the Silverado. Already available on the smaller Colorado model, the ZR2 version will be the most off-road ready factory-grade iteration of the half-ton truck from GM. It’s a definitely significant step up from the Trail Boss, which was previously the best you could expect from the Silverado.
We’ll start with the engine just to make it obvious to everyone that this is by no means a Ford F-150 Raptor or a RAM 1500 TRX rival. The Silverado ZR2 gets a single engine option at this point, and that is a 6.2-liter V8 rated at 420 hp and 460 lb-ft (623 Nm) of torque, all moving through a ten-speed automatic transmission.
Admittedly, the specs are somewhat similar to those of a Raptor (450 hp and 510 lb-ft / 690 Nm of torque), but the Ford model uses a V6. Besides, Chevrolet hasn’t resorted to any type of forced induction, suggesting it wasn’t going for high power outputs but rather supreme reliability, which is what you want from an off-roading machine.
Before we get too carried away with all this talk of blazing through rough terrain, let’s not forget this is still a full-size truck, so don’t expect Jeep Wrangler Rubicon levels of performance. The ZR2, however, does get very good approach and departure angles – 31.8- and 23.3-degrees, respectively – and that’s without the help of 35″ tires.
The new, more adventurous Silverado model uses 33″ Goodyear Wrangler Territory MTs wrapped around a set of special 18″ wheels. That may seem a little underwhelming, but the ZR2 makes up for it with other cool features such as the steel front bumper that basically acts as an extension for the skid plates. It’s also modular, so owners don’t have to replace all of it in case it gets damaged.
We can’t talk about off-roading without mentioning the vehicle’s suspension system, and there’s plenty to get into here. The new truck has an independent coil-over-shock setup at the front with Multimatic DSSV dampers, while the rear gets the classic solid axle on leaf springs, but also with the Multimatic DSSV dampers. According to Chevrolet, all components have been tested in the “grueling” Best in the Desert off-road racing series.
One key feature the ZR2 has that’s kind of unique in the segment is the presence of two lockable differentials, front and rear. This, coupled with the Terrain Mode feature and the MT tires should make navigating even the most difficult surfaces a lot easier and safer. The ZR2 is presenting itself as a clear step up from the Trail Boss both in terms of capability (increased ground clearance, better articulation, front locking diff, more aggressive tires) and luxury (the ZR2 gets the best interior available for a Silverado).
If you’re thinking “all this must come at a cost”, you’d probably be right. However, Chevrolet has kept its lips tight about the new model’s price as well as exactly when the first deliveries will commence. The regular 2022 Chevrolet Silverado versions are scheduled for debut next spring, with the ZR2 expected to follow immediately after. So, if what you’ve read so far tickles your fancy, you could be making plans for a new purchase for around April or May next year. However, considering how the world has been for the past 18 months, it may be better not to make any plans at all.