Here’s Why You Can’t Make Your Own 2023 Chevy Colorado ZR2 at Home
It’s all about the Multimatic DSSV shocks.
When off-roaders talk about the Chevy Colorado, one feature comes to mind: Those Multimatic DSSV shocks. They made their way to the truck world from the Camaro Z/28 in 2017 and were immediately heralded for their consistent damping and resistance to fade, even in desert conditions. They're only available from the factory on the ZR2 trim, and while you might think they can just be swapped onto a lower model, that's not the case.
The 2023 Chevy Colorado comes in four other trims: WT, LT, Z71, and Trail Boss. As we've seen in the full-size segment, choice is king for pickup customers as some want all the luxuries while others could live without them. It's also in the spirit of truck modifiers to borrow the best parts from the top-shelf models and install them on their cheaper, lower-trimmed rigs.
Colorado Lead Development Engineer Nick Katcherian explained to me why that can't work with the Multimatic DSSV dampers. Plainly put, it's a fitment problem as the ZR2 is built to run these dampers specifically while other trims use more traditional setups that are less complex to keep costs down. On a performance model, people expect to pay more so long as it contributes to a better final product, which the Multimatics certainly do.
"We specifically tuned the Multimatic DSSV dampers to the ZR2 trim and specs due to the performance intentions of the truck and it’s part of what makes ZR2 unique and special for our customers that desire dynamic off-road capability," Katcherian said.
If this were a possibility, the Colorado's new Trail Boss trim would be the perfect candidate. It sports a two-inch suspension lift over a normal 4x4 model and its front track is three inches wider, bridging the gap to the ZR2 that used to be a lot bigger. Essentially, it places more emphasis on off-road performance than any trim below it without all the interior extras. Pricing for the 2023 truck hasn't been announced yet, but the Trail Boss is likely to be a good deal less expensive than the ZR2. Theoretically, this would mean that owners could save money by going that route and modifying it to achieve the same levels of performance.
As Katcherian explained to me, there's no limiting software that would prevent a Trail Boss (or any other 2023 Colorado) from running the Multimatics. They're passive, unlike some other high-end suspension solutions, so it's strictly the fitment that prevents it from working. Maybe some ace fabricator out there could make it happen, but at that point, it might not really be worth it.
There is good news on the engine front, at least. While the Colorado ZR2 is the only trim that has the 2.7-liter high-output lump with 310 horsepower and 430 pound-feet of torque, it has all the same hardware as the 2.7-liter Plus engine that makes 390 lb-ft. That means a simple ECU flash could unlock that extra torque if you end up buying a Trail Boss or even a Z71.
But let's face it: Most new truck buyers want the leather seats, the gadgets, and that ZR2 badge.
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