2022 Chevy Silverado ZR2 First Drive: It’s All About the Shock Absorbers

Chevrolet Silverado the pickup gets a facelift for 2022, but what excites me the most is this new off-road-specific ZR2 model. What sets this truck apart from other off-road pickups is its Multimatic DSSV damper package – suspension components that borrow technology from Formula 1 to create an uncompromising ride both on and off pavement.

Multimatic shocks ditch their internal shims for tiny variable-rate spring-loaded valving, allowing Chevy to fine-tune their action. Also, by changing the shape of the oil opening, the shock rides firm on pavement but instantly mellows when you hit dirt. It’s like having electronically adjustable shocks, but you never have to put the truck into a different drive mode. If you want to learn about this technology, editor Antuan Goodwin has a great explainer, but I’m here to ride the ZR2 and find out for myself if this expensive hardware is worth it. I grabbed the key and headed out into the desert terrain surrounding Palm Springs, California.

When these shocks are paired with the Silverado’s 6.2-liter V8 engine and 10-speed automatic transmission, the result is a truck that can move quickly when the road is smooth, but then crash to the dirt without breaking a sweat. . Pushing out 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, the V8 delivers its power smoothly, with a glorious note coming from the optional Borla cat-back exhaust.

The Silverado offers 9 inches of suspension travel up front and 10 inches of travel in the rear.

Chevy

However, it is not full Ford F-150 Raptor competitor. The Silverado ZR2 has just over 9 inches of suspension travel up front and just over 10 inches in the rear. Meanwhile, a Raptor is 14 inches in the front and 15 inches in the rear, so it will go all over the Chevy when traversing desert whoops. Still, the Silverado’s ride quality is much more compliant and comfortable than the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro or the Nissan Titan Pro-4X.

The ZR2 has a few ride modes, but they don’t affect the damper setting. Instead, these settings change traction control, throttle mapping, transmission tuning, and more. Off-road mode will loosen up the traction settings and leave the tail dragging a bit, and it’s best for dirty high-speed fun times. Terrain mode is best for low-speed crawling, and when the truck is also in low-range four-wheel-drive mode, one-pedal driving is enabled. This allows the driver to simply worry about moderating the throttle during precise low-speed driving. The brakes are applied when your foot is lifted off the accelerator, so no left foot braking is required. It’s a good trick.

The ZR2 has decent off-road suspension geometry, especially for a full-size pickup. The approach angle is 31.8 degrees thanks to the ZR2’s cut-out front bumper, while the rollover and departure angles are both just over 23 degrees. The truck has 11.2 inches of ground clearance, enough that I had to use the A-pillar handle to get in, and rolls on 33-inch all-terrain tires. Front and rear electronic differential locks complete the off-road benefits. All in all, not bad specs for a full-size truck.

The interior of the 2022 Silverado is much, much nicer than before.

Chevy

If towing is a big part of your weekend fun, the ZR2 does a good job, but it’s certainly not the top-rated Silverado. When properly configured, a Silverado can tow over 13,000 pounds, but the ZR2 can only trail 8,900 pounds. People with large campers might struggle here.

The Silverado ZR2’s payload capacity is 1,400 pounds and there are plenty of tie-down points as well as a 110-volt outlet in the bed. General Motors’ cool six-position Multi-Flex Tailgate is also available for less than $500, and I think it’s a great addition to any truck. The extra functionality it provides is well worth the money.

One of the biggest updates for the 2022 model year that improves the entire Silverado lineup is a significantly improved interior. A 13.4-inch touchscreen runs a new version of Chevy’s infotainment technology, now with the power of Google. Apple Car Play, Android-Auto and Alexa are also all built in, and the addition of Google Maps is pretty awesome. A reconfigurable 12.3-inch gauge cluster gives me all the information I could need and it’s easy to scroll and find what I want. The available head-up display is large and reconfigurable, and I can easily see it through my polarized sunglasses.

Cabin materials are much nicer, and while there are still bits of cheap plastic, the overall feel is more upscale. It’s clear that Chevy took customer complaints to heart when updating the interior. It’s super nice inside.

It’s Chevy’s best off-road Silverado.

Chevy

As for driver assistance technology, the Chevrolet Safety Assist suite is standard, with forward collision warning, lane keeping assist with lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, automatic tracking and high beams. Blind-spot monitoring is standard on the ZR2, but you’ll have to shell out extra cash if you want adaptive cruise control. Chevy Hands Free Super Cruise the driver assistance system is not available on the ZR2.

The full-size Silverado ZR2 starts at $69,295 including $1,695 for destination. It’s a bit more than a 2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, but it makes sense considering the upgraded suspension. However, you can get a 2022 Ford F-150 Raptor with its larger suspension travel for around $1,000 more.

The best thing about the ZR2 is that it’s an all-terrain truck that offers absolutely no compromise in on-road refinement. Add to that Chevy’s excellent technology and nicer interior, and the 2022 Silverado is more compelling than ever.

Editor’s note: Travel costs related to this story were covered by the manufacturer, which is common in the automotive industry. The judgments and opinions of Roadshow staff are our own and we do not accept paid editorial content.

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