The Silverado 2500 HD ZR2: When Heavy-Duty Takes to the Trail

September 8th, 2023 by

A grey 2024 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD ZR2 is shown from the front at an angle.

For years now, Chevy has been developing a lineup of trucks that function as a solution to every problem, offering the perfect pickup for just about every driver out there. If you want something on the smaller side that can go anywhere you want, you have the Chevy Colorado ZR2; on the other hand, if you’re looking for a full-size truck with more than 30,000 lbs of fifth wheel towing potential, then the Silverado 3500 HD is ready to meet your needs. This lineup has led to an ever-shrinking number of situations that Chevy can’t meet, and with the 2024 Silverado HD series, this number has become even smaller.

As your Chevy Silverado 2500 dealer, we feel it is our responsibility to ensure every driver knows their options to ensure they get whatever they’re looking for. If you’ve been interested in a heavy-duty Silverado that was born to go off-road, then your options were less than ideal—until now. For the 2024 model year, Chevy has released a first-ever Silverado 2500 HD ZR2, with incredible power and capability designed to tackle any trail. With this, the Silverado 2500 HD has become an amazing off-road truck; let’s take a look at exactly why that is and the details of this impressive new pickup…

Heavy-Duty Power and Performance

With the 2024 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD ZR2, we have an automotive “peanut butter meets chocolate” situation; in this case, the peanut butter is incredible power and performance. This is because, at its heart, this model is still a Silverado 2500 HD, and it has the kinds of amazing features and options you’d expect.

Available only in a Crew Cab configuration, the Silverado 2500 HD ZR2 comes with a 6.6L gas-powered V8 that delivers 401 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque. If you’re looking for something with a bit more muscle, then you can upgrade to an available 6.6L Duramax Turbo-Diesel V8 that puts out 470 hp and a massive 975 lb-ft of torque. No matter which engine you choose, it comes paired with an Allison ten-speed automatic transmission for a smooth and incredibly responsive driving experience.

As a Silverado 2500 HD, we expect the ZR2 to be able to get some serious work done, and we’re not disappointed by what it can do. With the standard gas engine, the ZR2 can handle up to 3,397 lbs of maximum payload and up to 16,000 lbs of conventional towing—or up to 18,070 lbs of gooseneck towing. Going with the available diesel engine cuts the maximum payload to 3,193 lbs but boosts conventional towing up to 18,500 lbs; the diesel engine also allows for up to 18,100 lbs of maximum gooseneck towing. You won’t find the kinds of numbers here that a dual-rear-wheel version of the Silverado 3500 HD can handle, but this is still impressive power.

A grey 2024 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD ZR2 is shown from the side while off-road after leaving a Chevy Silverado 2500 dealer.

Legendary ZR2 Off-Road Capability

If performance and towing are the peanut butter in this scenario, then off-road capability is the chocolate, and they both come together beautifully in the Silverado 2500 HD ZR2 to create a truck that we can’t wait to get our hands on. For starters, you have a front grille that immediately indicates this truck is part of Chevy’s ZR2 family designed to hit the trail. You’ll also find unique wheel moldings with integrated mudguards, plus ZR2 badging along multiple points on the exterior of this truck and a higher stance. Of course, all of this comes secondary to the ZR2 Suspension Package, which is an iconic aspect of the modern Chevy lineup.

This starts with a suspension that’s raised approximately 1.5 inches in both the front and rear compared to other Silverado HDs with four-wheel drive. You get Multimatic DSSV dampers, which have just about become synonymous with Chevy’s ZR2 trucks, with specific front upper and lower control arms and specific steering knuckles that set this model apart from its ilk. The Silverado 2500 HD ZR2 also comes with a larger steel transfer case skid plate and front aluminum skid plate, plus 35-inch Goodyear Wrangler Territory MT tires mounted on 18-inch wheels for remarkable traction and off-road performance.

Learning from what they’ve done on the Colorado ZR2 and Silverado 1500 ZR2, the Silverado 2500 HD ZR2 features a new Off-Road mode that’s perfect for hitting the trail. When you activate this mode, the ZR2 adjusts a number of vehicle calibrations—like its anti-lock brakes and traction control—to optimize performance when going off-road compared to city driving. It also alters the truck’s throttle progression and transmission shifts to give you a better driving experience and overall feel when you’re out on the trail.

Impressive Interior Features

For the 2024 model year, the Silverado HD series is receiving an interior redesign and update on many different models, which you’ll find with the 2500 ZR2. At the top of the list of improvements with this redesign is a new 13.4-inch infotainment display and a 12.3-inch driver information center, both of which you’ll find in the Silverado 2500 HD ZR2. The central infotainment screen and controls are also canted slightly toward you as the driver, giving you a command-center feel that makes driving the 2500 ZR2 incredibly rewarding.

This redesigned interior also features an updated wireless phone charger that’s positioned for easy use without getting in the way. Overall, the interior has been improved in countless ways, and luxury details like leather-appointed surfaces and dark trim accents create a clean and inviting feel that you’ll want to drive. You can even take things further with additional options like a 15-inch Head-Up Display (HUD) with an off-road inclinometer to help you keep track of how you’re doing without taking your eyes off the trail ahead of you. The available Surround Vision system gives you a virtual look around your Silverado 2500 HD ZR2, which is perfect for navigating tight spots while you’re driving off-road.

A red 2024 Chevy Silverado 2500 ZR2 Bison is shown from the side at an angle.

The Exclusive 2500 ZR2 Bison Edition

Not to be outdone by other models (like the Colorado and Silverado 1500), the 2024 Silverado HD ZR2 is also getting a special Bison Edition this year. Like other Bison Editions, this one has been developed in partnership with American Expedition Vehicles (AEV), one of the leaders in off-road products and adventurous designs.

The 2500 ZR2 Bison Edition includes exclusive gloss black 18-inch AEV wheels, along with a distinctive cut high-approach stamped-steel front bumper with integrated recovery points and winch provisions, making it perfect for handling anything you encounter on the trail. You also get a unique stamped-steel cut rear bumper with recovery points, as well as tough, stamped steel underbody skid plates to protect the underside of the Silverado 2500 HD ZR2 Bison Edition. All this comes together to create something unique and impressive with exterior and interior Bison badging and AEV logos.

The Future of the Silverado 2500 HD ZR2

With the 2024 Silverado 2500 HD ZR2, there’s no denying that we have a powerful off-road truck ready to deliver something that’s been previously missing from the Chevy lineup.

The only thing we can complain about is that the ZR2 trim is limited to the Silverado 2500 HD and is not offered for the 3500 HD—yet. We’d love to see a dual rear-wheel Silverado 3500 HD ZR2 that’s ready to go anywhere we can imagine while handling massive amounts of fifth wheel towing.

Whether that will happen at some point down the road remains to be seen, but for now, we’re incredibly excited about this bold combination of heavy-duty power and unbeatable off-road capability. If you think the Silverado 2500 HD ZR2 might be the solution to your truck problems, then we’re here to help you get exactly what you’ve been looking for.