2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Review: Halo Truck Lite
The Chevrolet Silverado needed an update – desperately – to keep up with fresher options from Ford, Ram, Toyota, and the like. Thankfully, the Silverado’s 2022 makeover addressed its biggest issues, affording the truck necessary boosts in the styling, safety, and technology departments, while also adding an option that enthusiasts have been clamoring for: a ZR2.
The Silverado ZR2 isn’t as tough as a Ford F-150 Raptor or Ram TRX – a more extreme ZR2 Bison will arrive soon – but this off-road–capable pickup still packs enough hardware to take on America’s trickiest trails. Multimatic shocks, skid plates, and chunky tires come standard, and with GM’s ubiquitous 6.2-liter V8 engine underhood, the Silverado ZR2 is a recipe for rugged success.
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Gallery: 2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Review
- Exterior Color: Glacier Blue
- Interior Color: Black
- Wheel Size: 18 Inches
The Silverado still has a lot of face, even post-2022 styling update. The gaping black maw takes up most of the real estate on the front end, with slim headlights on the upper corners of the bumper and prong-shaped running lights below that. But the makeover does alleviate some previous styling gripes, like the unusual “blade” elements beneath the light fixtures.
The ZR2 toughens up Silverado’s look with exclusive black mesh in the grille and a signature “Flowtie” emblem dead center. Red tow hooks at the base of the bumper – while not exclusive to ZR2 – look neat, and the silver skid plate helps protect the underbody in style. Useful for an off-roader, the front bumper corners can be removed and replaced easily in case of trail damage. This truck also wears a bright Glacier Blue paint, a $395 extra that’s well worth the cost.
Upgrades to the interior are more obvious, with standard leather buckets on the ZR2 – wearing an exclusive Graystone color – and leather also atop the steering wheel, center console, and door panels. In general, the abundance of leather marks a huge upgrade over the previous model. And sitting front and center are two huge screens stretching across the dash. Both the 12.3-inch digital cluster and the 13.4-inch touchscreen are new, and they’re beautiful.
- Seating Capacity: 5
- Seating Configuration: 2 / 3
- Bed Length: 5.8 Feet
For an off-road truck with huge knobby tires – 33-inch Goodyear Wranglers – the ride is uniquely comfy. Shoutout to the standard Multimatic Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) shock absorbers, which keep the ZR2 composed on the trail and also help maintain on-road comfort. The ZR2 hardly shrugs at potholes and cruises over speed bumps thanks to those ultra-absorbent shocks.
The unique leather buckets on the ZR2 cradle your butt and back in luxurious comfort, even though they are a bit thin, with heating and ventilation functions available for both the driver and the passenger. And there is a heated steering option, but this truck does without it. The thick off-road tires aren’t exactly the quietest, but the solid sound deadening makes for a nice experience inside.
But since this Silverado is an off-road truck, only the 5.8-foot short bed is available on the ZR2 (because angles). However, that’s also the case with the Ford F-150 Tremor, the Ram Rebel, and the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro – and the Silverado’s bed is still bigger than all three. And the optional MultiFlex tailgate ($445) makes accessing the bed that much simpler.
- Center Display: 13.4-inch Touchscreen
- Instrument Cluster Display: 12.3 Inches
- Wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto: Yes
The 2022 Silverado’s infotainment system is brand new from the wires up – and hugely improved. LT models and above now feature a 13.4-inch touchscreen loaded with features and a highly configurable 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster alongside it.
The center touchscreen is great to use, offering up a cleaner layout, crisper graphics, and quicker response times than the old Silverado. Significant upgrades like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto join the mix, as does a baked-in Google suite with voice assistant functionality and Google Maps.
Adding the $1,970 Technology package (as equipped here) tacks on a rear camera mirror that projects a crystal clear image of your rear surroundings and a 15.0-inch head-up display that displays multiple options at a glimpse. The Technology package also adds a few additional safety features, but more on that later.
- Engine: 6.2-Liter V8
- Output: 420 Horsepower / 450 Pound-Feet
- Transmission: 10-Speed Automatic
The Silverado ZR2 has a buttery smooth 6.2-liter V8 that pushes out 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque – more power than any of its direct competitors. That grunt travels to all four wheels all the time, with a two-speed transfer case for extra off-road fun, and a slick 10-speed automatic transmission manages it all.
The ZR2 is surprisingly compliant on the road; the ride is refined and the V8 delivers gobs of torque. No, this engine won’t hit you over the head as the Raptor or TRX might, but the ZR2’s V8 makes it punchy enough in a straight line. And with the optional Borla cat-back exhaust, it sounds nice and throaty, too.
The steering has a small dead-on-center feeling, meaning you can wiggle the wheel a few ticks in either direction before the tires respond, and the ride is wafty. While the advanced suspension soaks up rocks and bumps with ease, it makes the Silverado feel floaty in a tight turn. The Rebel, Tundra, and F-150 all feel more eager on turn-in comparatively.
Off the road, though, is where this truck excels. The ZR2 finds a nice niche between moderate off-roaders like the F-150 Tremor and Ram Rebel and hardcore performance pickups like the Raptor and TRX. Admittedly, my time “off-roading” in the ZR2 was limited to a few dirt roads (if you want an in-depth off-road review, check out our first drive), but the hardware speaks for itself.
Multimatic’s DSSV shock absorbers come standard, as do 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler mud tires wrapped around 18-inch wheels. That – and the specific front-end styling – results in 11.2 inches of ground clearance and an approach angle of 31.8 inches, both better than any of the alternatives.
- Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 2
- NHTSA Rating: Not Rated
- IIHS Top Safety Pick: No
Super Cruise is new in the Silverado for 2022, which gives Chevy an extra point. But at the moment, it’s only available on the High Country model and you won’t find it on the ZR2. That said, the ZR2 and the rest of the Silverado range now feature Chevy Safety Assist as standard.
The updated suite includes features like adaptive cruise control – part of that aforementioned Technology package – lane-keep assist with lane-centering tech and automatic emergency braking. On the highway, activating the adaptive cruise control features keeps the truck centered in the lane while the distance assist provides throttle and braking inputs depending on the flow of traffic.
- City: 14 MPG
- Highway: 17 MPG
- Combined: 15 MPG
No surprise, the Silverado ZR2 with its 6.2-liter V8 engine is thirsty. It drinks premium fuel and is dead last compared to all the other trucks you might cross-shop it against. The 3.0-liter turbodiesel six-cylinder would be a boon to fuel economy, but it’s not available with the ZR2 trim.
- Base Price: $39,500 + $1,695 Destination
- Trim Base Price: $70,195
- As-Tested Price: $76,170
The Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 competes with the F-150 Tremor and Ram 1500 Rebel, but it’s priced nearer to the Raptor and TRX. With options like the $1,970 Technology package, the $995 sunroof, the $445 MultiFlex tailgate, the $395 Glacier Blue paint, and a handful of dealer-installed accessories, this loaded tester surpasses the base Raptor with a $76,170 final price. At this point, the ZR2 is only a few thousand dollars away from TRX territory; Ram’s super-truck starts at $80,585.
Silverado ZR2 Competitor Reviews:
- Ford F-150 Tremor: Not Rated
- Ram 1500 Rebel: Not Rated
- Toyota Tundra TRD Pro: Not Rated
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