Chevrolet Eyes Ford Raptor with Chevy Silverado ZR2 Concept
The annual Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) show is always a great place to find tricked out new vehicles either from automakers or aftermarket tuners, but last year's show netted one of the most coveted off-road trucks to hit the road since the HUMMER H1, the 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. When Ford Motor Company introduced its off-road performance truck, there was literally nothing else like it on the road, but in true pickup truck fashion, General Motors is looking to create some competition for the Raptor. A year after the introduction of the Raptor, GM used this year's SEMA show to unveil its own off-road beast, the Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Concept. Similar to the rebirth of the ZR1 and Camaro nameplates, the ZR2 moniker was previously used on Chevrolet trucks such as the S-10 pickup and S-10 Blazer SUV.
Although it is likely that the Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Concept is just a showcase of performance capabilities, there are many aspects of the truck that could become available in the future through optional add-ons or design cues. Helping to give the Silverado ZR2 its imposing stance, the concept is wider and sits up higher thanks to a four-inch lift kit and 20-inch BBS wheels wrapped in 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler tires. To give its truck the best stance, the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Concept was designed to use the extended cab, short bed configuration.
Besides the off-road improvements, Chevrolet also made numerous visual changes to the ZR2 concept that includes the extensive use of carbon fiber on the hood, tailgate, rocker panels, front and rear fascias and the fender flares. Except for the fender flares, all of the other carbon fiber components have simply been clear-coated to show off the sporty carbon fiber look. To keep the engine compartment cool and give the truck a meaner look, the ZR2's hood features large heat-extracting vents near the cowl. A new front fascia also gives the Silverado a more aggressive styling which could easily make its way to future Silverado redesigns that could be just a couple years away. Out back, Chevrolet is spelled out in the tailgate as a throwback to classic pickups, while the integrated dual exhaust outlets give it a sporty, modern look.
Hinting at the possibility of future production of either the ZR2 or its components, Brent Dewar, vice president of Chevrolet, said, '"There's more to this concept than meets the eye. Some of the components are being explored for possible inclusion in upcoming models."
While the Raptor was tuned by Ford's in-house performance group, SVT, Chevrolet turned to off-road accessory company BDS Suspension for most of the suspension upgrades, but all of the drivetrain components found under the Silverado ZR2 are 100 percent GM. On the same day that Ford announced that its all-new 411-horsepower 6.2-liter V-8 will make the Raptor the most powerful half-ton truck on the market, Chevy unveiled the Silverado ZR2 Concept with the same 6.2-liter supercharged LSA V-8 as used in the Cadillac CTS-V. This engine will produce 550 horsepower through a six-speed automatic transmission and a four-wheel drive system used on the Cadillac Escalade. Helping this engine breathe, Chevy fitted the ZR2 Concept with a custom stainless dual exhaust system.
Inside, the Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Concept also receives upgrades worthy of a concept vehicle with suede leather seating, carbon fiber trim and attractive contrasting stitching and coloring.
Select photos via General Motors