GM debuts off-road Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 as flagship truck ahead of EV pickup

GM debuts off-road Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 as flagship truck ahead of EV pickup

September 9, 2021
  • General Motors will add a new off-road version of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 to its highly profitable truck lineup next year.
  • The new vehicle is part of an updated lineup for the Silverado that's expected to go on sale next spring.
  • The changes to the pickup come ahead of GM offering at least three electric pickups, including a Silverado, in the coming years.

DETROIT – General Motors will add a new off-road version of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 to its highly profitable truck lineup next year, ahead of the brand's push into electric pickups.

The automaker unveiled the 2022 Silverado ZR2 online Thursday as a new vehicle as part of an updated lineup for the Silverado that's expected to go on sale next spring.

The changes to the pickup come ahead of GM offering at least three electric pickups, including a Silverado, in the coming years. Officials with Chevrolet declined to discuss the electric version of the pickup, which the brand has confirmed but released few details about.

"We are getting ready and coming very soon, we will be releasing more information. It's a tremendous product and we can't wait to share it with you soon," Kelly MacDonald, director of Chevrolet truck marketing, said during a media briefing.

Industry analysts expect the Silverado EV as well as a sibling electric pickup from GMC by 2023, following the arrival of the GMC Hummer EV pickup that's scheduled to be released later this year.

Chevrolet executives told reporters that they do not expect an ongoing semiconductor chip shortage to impact the launch of the 2022 Silverado. The parts shortage has caused sporadic plant shutdowns for automakers across the globe throughout this year.

2022 updates

Updates to the 2022 Silverado trucks, including the ZR2, range from redesigned features to new safety and convenience technologies, including the addition of GM's Super Cruise hands-free highway driving system.

Super Cruise will be offered on the top-end High Country model of the 2022 Silverado, officials said. The system uses a host of sensors, radar and cameras to steer, accelerate and brake automatically within the vehicle's lane. GM is in the process of expanding the system to 22 vehicles by 2023. 

The exterior design of the 2022 pickups evolves the look of the current Silverado models. They feature slimmer headlights and large refreshed grilles that more prominently feature the brand's bowtie logo. The designs are similar to GM's full-size Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban SUVs, which share the same platform as the Silverado.

Inside, GM redesigned consumer-focused Silverados to include more technologies such as larger screens and an optional e-shifter instead of a traditional column shifter. The updates address some of the criticisms by industry insiders when the trucks were last fully redesigned in 2018.

GM has also added standard safety features to the 2022 Silverado such as forward collision alert, lane keep assist with lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking.

ZR2

The Silverado ZR2 will be the second ZR2 model for Chevrolet. The trim was first introduced on the Colorado midsize pickup in 2017.

About 60% of Silverado's current sales are off-road focused pickups, according to MacDonald. She said that includes an even split between its "Trail Boss" models and a less-capable Z71 trim package

The looks and features of off-road vehicles have become more popular with mainstream consumers in recent years. Such models also typically boost profits.

The ZR2 adds to the Silverado's eight other models that range from three work-focused pickups to the top-end High Country that can surpass $70,000.

GM said pricing for the 2022 models will be announced closer to when the vehicles arrive in dealer showrooms. Current starting pricing for the Silverado ranges from about $31,000 to $62,000.

GM unveiled the 2022 Silverado ZR2 online Thursday ahead of the pickup making its nationwide television debut in an ad during the NFL's first game of the season between the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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