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Auto-Showdown: 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 vs. 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 12/3/2016 Motor Trend Staff
2017-Chevrolet-Colorado-ZR2-front-end-1.jpg Auto-Showdown: 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 vs. 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

The 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro was in a class by itself when it came to off-roading midsize trucks. That's about to change thanks to the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, which made its official debut at the 2016 Los Angeles auto show with its two engine choices and a fancy suspension setup that we can't wait to test on the dirt. 

2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 vs 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro© Motor Trend Staff 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 vs 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

Until then, here's a preview of what should be an epic battle between the Tacoma TRD Pro and Colorado ZR2.

Suspension Tech from the Camaro Z-28

2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 front hop© Motor Trend Staff 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 front hop

The biggest news with the 2017 Colorado ZR2 is its suspension system. Chevy turned to Multimatic and equipped the truck with Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) dampers, which were essentially born on the race track. In fact, the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 was the first mass-produced road car to offer DSSV dampers and now the Colorado ZR2 gets them, albeit tuned for off-road duty (check out our First Ride for details and initial impressions on the fancy shocks).

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro front three quarters© Motor Trend Staff 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro front three quarters

Meanwhile, the Tacoma TRD Pro combines coil springs from the TRD parts catalog and Fox shocks up front and leaf springs, and Fox shocks for the rear. This combination did fairly well during our muddy off-road excursion in Hawaii.

Six-Cylinder Power

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro engine 02© Motor Trend Staff 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro engine 02

The Colorado ZR2 is powered by the same 308-hp 3.6-liter V-6 found in other Colorado models. Toyota's 3.5-liter six-cylinder makes less power at 278 hp, though our recent tests of comparable Tacoma and Colorado trucks had the Toyota pulling slightly ahead of the Chevy with a 0-60 mph-time of 7.1 seconds versus 7.4 seconds. An eight-speed automatic is the sole transmission choice for the Colorado, but the Toyota can be had with either a six-speed auto or manual gearbox.

2017-Chevrolet-Colorado-ZR2-hood-1.jpg© Motor Trend Staff 2017-Chevrolet-Colorado-ZR2-hood-1.jpg

But Wait, There's More (Torque)

2017-Chevrolet-Colorado-ZR2-front-three-quarter-04.jpg© Motor Trend Staff 2017-Chevrolet-Colorado-ZR2-front-three-quarter-04.jpg

If you're seeking more pulling power, the Colorado ZR2 is available with Chevy's 2.8-liter, turbocharged I-4 diesel, making 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The Tacoma's 278-hp V-6 is good for 265 lb-ft.

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro rear three quarter© Motor Trend Staff 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro rear three quarter

Locked and Protected
2017-Chevrolet-Colorado-ZR2-rear-three-quarter-1.jpg© Motor Trend Staff 2017-Chevrolet-Colorado-ZR2-rear-three-quarter-1.jpg

Both trucks come with an electronically controlled locking rear differential, but the Chevy one-ups the Toyota with a locking diff up front as well. Skid plates protect the important stuff underneath the Tacoma TRD Pro and Chevy, though the Colorado ZR2 comes standard with steel tube rocker panel protectors.

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro rear three quarter 02© Motor Trend Staff 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro rear three quarter 02

All Clear

2017-Chevrolet-Colorado-ZR2-rear-three-quarters.jpg© Motor Trend Staff 2017-Chevrolet-Colorado-ZR2-rear-three-quarters.jpg

Both the Tacoma TRD Pro and Colorado ZR2 ride on lifted suspensions, but Chevy took further steps to help clear the rocks thanks to revised front and rear bumpers and an optional in-bed rack to store the spare tire away from harm in its normal spot under the truck.

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro rear bed© Motor Trend Staff 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro rear bed

Keep it Clean

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro interior© Motor Trend Staff 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro interior

For the first time ever, the 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro can be optioned with easy-to-clean leather seats, which was just one of the requests from owners of the previous model. The Chevy is also available with leather.

2017-Chevrolet-Colorado-ZR2-interior-1.jpg© Motor Trend Staff 2017-Chevrolet-Colorado-ZR2-interior-1.jpg

Bring the Family

2017-Chevrolet-Colorado-ZR2-front-three-quarter-03.jpg© Motor Trend Staff 2017-Chevrolet-Colorado-ZR2-front-three-quarter-03.jpg

Both trucks are available in crew cab configuration, allowing plenty of room for friends and family. The Colorado offers more versatility thanks to the available extended cab model, along with the option of a short or long bed (Tacoma TRD Pro is only offered with a short bed).

2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro rear side© Motor Trend Staff 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro rear side

On paper, this appears to be a close matchup. A romp on the trails will decide which truck is the better off-roader, but until then, which one would you rather take out on a dirt road?

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