DETROIT -- General Motors has partnered with off-road aftermarket manufacturer American Expedition Vehicles to create a new variant of the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.
The beefed-up midsize pickup, which Chevy is calling the Colorado ZR2 Bison, increases the level of off-road equipment found on ZR2 models and adds unique aesthetic features such as a new flow-through "CHEVROLET" lettered grille (similar to the 2019 Silverado).
The pickup features five skid plates covering the engine oil pan, fuel tank, transfer case and front and rear locking differentials. Designed by suburban Detroit-based AEV, the skid plates are constructed of hard, durable hot-stamped Boron steel.
"More and more enthusiasts are discovering that Colorado is ideal for off-roading, especially overland travel," said Sandor Piszar, director of Chevy truck marketing, in a release.
AEV also designed stamped steel front and rear bumpers for the pickup, which features "AEV" Bison badging on the interior and exterior of the pickup.
"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," said Dave Harriton, founder and president of AEV, in a statement. "We also expect that Colorado drivers will love the added ruggedness of our front and rear bumpers on ZR2 Bison."
Canadian sales of the Colorado are up 26.7 per cent to 5,283 units through the first eight months of 2018.
“Half of Canada’s Colorado buyers are choosing Z71 or ZR2 models,” Doug Kenzie, national marketing manager for Chevrolet trucks in Canada said in a statement.
The 2019 Colorado ZR2 Bison goes on sale in Canada in January 2019. Pricing has not be released in either Canada or the United States.
The 2019 Colorado ZR2 starts at $46,385 in Canada, including destination and excluding any incentives.
Like the ZR2, the Bison also features a modified rear axle with a 3.42 ratio, front and rear tracks widened by 3.5 inches and a factory suspension lifted 2 inches over a Colorado Z71.
Powering the Colorado ZR2 Bison -- available in crew- or extended-cab configurations (including short and long beds, respectively) -- will be a standard 3.6-litre V-6 gasoline engine, rated at 308 hp and 275 pound-feet of torque, and eight-speed automatic transmission.
GM did not specify the performance metrics of the engine, and a GM spokesman did not immediately respond for comment.
A 2.8-litre Duramax turbodiesel engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, capable of 186 hp and 369 pound-feet of torque, will be optional.
Also available will be a third-party accessory snorkel for ZR2 Bison from AEV.
Unlike some automaker-aftermarket partnerships, the Colorado ZR2 Bison will be assembled at GM’s plant in Wentzville, Mo., and not an upfitting location. The vehicle will be backed by a full factory limited warranty.
With help of the Colorado ZR2, U.S. sales of the pickup are up an estimated 32 per cent through August compared with 2017, according to the Automotive News Data Center.