While the car sales for General Motors are in decline, the trucks can’t be driven off the assembly line quick enough. The special editions and upgraded models are the heavy hitters in sales across GM products. Looking at Chevrolet, they are pumping out over a dozen trims and special edition full-size trucks. In 2019, Chevy is planning some growth in the small truck category with a sporty RST variant, a Z71 Trail Runner that adds the tires and protection from the ZR2, plus the new Colorado ZR2 Bison.
The Bison is GM’s first collaboration with aftermarket tuner American Expedition Vehicles, or AEV. Over the last 20 years, AEV has been heavily immersed with Jeep builds, like the Brute. This was an AEV-designed and built Jeep Wrangler pickup, not to be confused with the recently announced Gladiator. The name “Bison” comes from both AEV’s logo and GM’s ownership of the name. The original GM Bison was a prototype gas-turbine semi-tractor trailer build for the 1964 World’s Fair. Forty years ago, Chevrolet used the “Bison” on a heavy-duty Class 8 truck. Now, it will be a special edition pickup.
There won’t be any additional off-road capability compared to the Colorado ZR2, but AEV has given it armor for peace of mind protection. Mechanically, it’s close to the ZR2. It is available in both cab configurations, as well as gas or diesel engines. This model is keeping the stock 2-inch lift and Multimatic Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve, or DSSV, staying with the stock-size 265/65R-17 Goodyear Wrangler Dura Trac tires. However, AEV does add heavy-duty protection. It will be loaded with a mean stamped steel bumpers with sliders and skid plates. It will cover the oil pan, fuel tank, transfer case and both differentials. The front bumpers are ready for an aftermarket electric winch and has detachable “wings” for additional tire clearance. The rear bumper adds better departure angle protection at the corners and built-in recovery attachment points, plus options to add more lighting. The newly added protectors are composed of boron steel to keep the weight down. Boron still is four times lighter than a comparable steel part.
The AEV package includes a new wheel design to go along with the full coverage wheel flares. The stock 31-inch tires size stays to avoid new emissions testing. A 33-inch tire should be supported with the new wheel flares. AEV has made a snorkel available for the Bison, with a pre filter system. Not everyone needs a snorkel, so dealerships will keep it as an aftermarket option.
The Bison looks like it belongs off-road. The new bumpers, flares and wheels definitely give it the tough-look, but more importantly the protection needed to keep your truck damage free when hitting the trails. That makes the $5,750 package at value. Nobody wants to damage their $50,000 truck while having fun. It comes equipped with lockers and a 4WD system. For rock crawling, there is a low range and locking capability in the rear locker. The Bison doesn’t give up the smooth road ride like most vehicles geared to go off-road. For the base pricing starting at $48,000, the Bison is better equipped than the competition.
Written by: Andee Oehm
Image Credit: GM