With the Ford F-150 Raptor and the recently launched Ram 1500 TRX preparing to battle to the death in the nation’s off-road trails, the natural question to ask is where’s GM? The company has talked about upping the game for many of its models, but it has remained conspicuously absent and sometimes late to the party when it comes to embracing recent trends. But a new report suggests that the company is no longer content with sitting around, and will be making a new ZR2 version of the Silverado.
This is according to a report released by Muscle Cars & Trucks, which had an exclusive inside scoop on the truck’s development. That claim is not without merit either, with GM themselves posting a render image of a Silverado “tactical combat” concept via the official Instagram account for General Motors Design. While some of the wilder features on the rendering have no chance of making it onto a production version, a similar tactic by FCA gave the world a veiled sneak peek at the recently launched TRX via an equally bonkers rendering used to promote a young designer contest.
Oh, and remember the ZRX nameplate? According to the report, it’s as big of a red herring as the one in the popular novel The Da Vinci Code with the ZR2 nameplate perhaps having more value in brand recognition and equity than the “ZRX” name. As a bonus, this report also syncs up with separate rumors suggesting that the rough and ready Silverado will get a beefed up off-road suspension.
Regardless of what the model will ultimately be called, the need for GM to field a contender is painfully obvious, with the Raptor enjoying a period of unsurpassed and unquestioned sales dominance in the off-road pickup segment before the TRX emerged as a viable threat to the throne. It would also reignite GM’s creative spark, and perhaps bring back memories of the time GM shook up the pickup world in the 1990s with the wild Syclone performance truck.
As for the image, we suspect that some viable clues can be ascertained from the layers of design fluff and sharp angles. For starters, we could see select elements of the front grille being retained for production, while the contrasting silver bumper piece and the larger air intakes could also get the green light albeit in a form that can comply with safety regulations.
As for potential upgrades, look for the ZR2 (if it keeps that name) to follow the same basic script as the Raptor and the TRX with engineers giving the truck a whole host of trail ready upgrades. These include beefier skid plates, Multimatic DSSV dampers at all four corners, aggressive off-road tires, as well as altered front and rear fascias for improved amounts of clearance.
With all these potential goodies, the report appears to dampen our enthusiasm slightly by revealing that the truck will not be shooting for high horsepower. Like a calculating card player, GM is possibly choosing to let the TRX and the Raptor slug it out in the power wars, and will instead adopt a more calculating approach to that problem. That could mean the truck being powered by a supercharged version of the familiar 6.2-liter V-8, but that boosted monster could be delayed, forcing GM to launch it without the blower.
That translates to an engine that will most likely continue to produce 420 horsepower. That’s still a healthy figure, but with the TRX offering 702 horsepower, and the next-generation Raptor offering much more if it does embrace the GT500’s supercharged V-8, the Silverado would feel like an aging MiG-29 flying into a battlefield full of F-22 stealth fighters.
Finally, why is this a 2023 model and not a 2022? Rumors suggest COVID-19 played a role in pushing back development. This same thing happened with the Chevy Traverse which won’t be refreshed until 2023 instead of 2022. Nothing too nefarious here except for virus wrecking havoc with the automotive industry some more.