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Auto review: Conquering the Mojave in the burly Chevy Silverado ZR2

Henry Payne, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

Climbing to reach Joshua’s high plains, I crawled through narrow rock canyons and scrambled up twisted canyons cut by rainy season floods. With lockers activated and one-pedal drive enabled (think one-pedal, Tesla regen driving), my mule crawled effortlessly over rock and mogul.

GRONCH! The front bash plate absorbed a quick descent. PFISHZZZ! A plant’s scraggly branches scraped along ZR2’s muscular shoulders. The sounds might make an owner cringe after laying out $70K for this chiseled truck — but the pickup is built for durability.

A robust top paint coat absorbed relentless branch “pinstriping” across all the trucks in our train. Bash plates are made of steel just like Silverado’s signature bed. And ZR2 innovates a three-piece bumper for cheaper repairs should any piece be damaged.

Washed and waxed after my adventure, ZR2 looked good as new.

Pickups are the new luxury. Basketballer Durant could comfortably lounge in the rear seats of my ZR2 condo. Out back, a six-way Multi-Flex tailgate rolls out steps for easy bed access (if you’re not spry enough to use the corner bumper steps).

Like a supercar, this supertruck must be taken off-road to be appreciated. So call up Dirt Days, or your Midwest pickup buddies. Then head to the Outback, put on U2’s “Joshua Tree” album, and turn up the V-8.

 

This is pickup (and Joshua Tree) country.

2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2

Vehicle type: Front-engine, four-wheel-drive, five-passenger pickup

Price: $69,295, including $1,695 destination charge ($72,560 as tested)

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