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Chevrolet rolls out off-road Colorado ZR2 concept in LA

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News
The ZR2 builds on the midsize Colorado Z71 production truck and Chevy’s history with the ZR2 trim package last offered on the S-10 pickup in 2003 and Blazer SUV in ’05.

Chevrolet showed an aggressive-looking, off-road capable Colorado ZR2 concept Wednesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show — a model the brand hinted it could offer for sale in the future.

The ZR2 builds on the midsize Colorado Z71 production truck. It also builds on Chevy's history with the ZR2, a trim package it first offered on the S-10 pickup in 1994 and last offered on the S-10 in 2003 and Blazer SUV in 2005.

"From the bold stance to the trail-ready special equipment, the Colorado ZR2 is all about the fun of driving where the pavement ends — and doing it in characteristic Chevy style," Tony Johnson, Colorado marketing manager, said in a statement. "Chevrolet has a heritage of the ZR2 representing the ultimate in production-based off-road capability, and we'll gauge the public's interest in this concept as we continue to explore the possibilities for the all-new Colorado."

General Motors Co. and Chevy revealed the Colorado a year ago at the LA Auto Show, in the heart of the midsize truck market and in the backyard of Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc.'s headquarters. The Toyota Tacoma is the sales leader in the midsize truck segment.

A year ago, Mark Reuss, who then was North America president and now oversees global product development for the automaker, told reporters at the LA Auto Show that an off-road model was a possibility for the Colorado.

The sporty 2015 Colorado went on sale in the fall and has been marketed to outdoor enthusiasts. GM also offers a more premium GMC Canyon midsize pickup. The automaker returned to the midsize truck segment after a two-year absence and wants to give its customers choices with different-size trucks. Company executives have said they see tremendous growth possibilities even as segment sales contracted to about 227,000 sales last year.

Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Concept

The ZR2 concept is four inches wider than the Colorado Z71 and has new front face and rear fascia to "increase approach and departure angles when driving off-road." The concept also has higher ground clearance and its wider stance helps with stability. The Colorado ZR2 has flip-out hooks, a built-in winch, new grille, headlamp housings and a power dome-style hood.

Chevy said it has boosted traction with electronic-locking front and rear differentials. The concept rides on off-road tires and has a spray-in bed liner, GearOn accessories, a Hi Lift jack and matching quick-release spare wheel/tire assembly mounted in the truck bed.

The concept has Cyprus green exterior with henna orange accents. ZR2 indentifiers are dressed on the back fenders, tailgate and grille. Inside, the interior is trimmed in black leather and ZR2 logos are embroidered on front headrests and in floor liners. The logo is featured on the instrument cluster and an inclinometer that shows the degree of incline. Electronic accessories have been added to the center stack including winch controls and electronic front- and rear-locking differentials.

The ZR2 concept features GM's new Duramax 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel, which will be available on production Colorados later in 2015.

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