2023 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison & GMC Canyon AT4X
The General’s Most Capable Pickup Truck Yet
In the ever-popular game up pickup truck one-upsmanship, Chevrolet has unleashed a fantastic beast that takes the Silverado to “new levels of off-road confidence.” We already can see this ZR2 Bison is one cool looking truck, but let’s fine out what else it has to offer.
If you’re going to buy a pickup truck, you might as well get one that looks as tough as possible; and if it’s a little more capable too, well that’s even better. That partially explains why you see so many jacked up pickup trucks going down the road, and off-road packages being applied to commuter cars masquerading as SUVs at an alarming rate. But what we’ve got here is a real deal pickup, the full-size 2023 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison.
The ’23 model year sees very little in the way of updates across the Silverado lineup but does bring the launch of this new upgraded ZR2, the Bison.
We’re all aware of the off-road goodness that ZR2 trim brings to Silverado; standard 4-wheel-drive, 2-inches of lift, Multimatic DSSV dampers, locking differentials, and unique programming for drive modes.
Well, the Bison adds extra beef to that with the help of American Expedition Vehicles; steel bumpers with integrated recovery points, 18-inch wheels shod with 33-inch Good Year Wrangler Territory Mud Terrains, multiple skid plates, and rocker guards.
No additional ground clearance over the ZR2, but the bumpers enable much improved approach and departure angles, and the 5 steel skid plates provide protection for the differentials, fuel tank, transfer case, and spare tire.
All ZR2s come with GM’s 6.2-liter V8 rated at 420-horsepower and a diesel-like 460 lb-ft. of torque, mated to a 10-speed automatic.
At our Mason Dixon test track, that translated to 0-60 runs of just 6.4-seconds. That V8 has more than enough torque to spin the grippy Wranglers up and get this big rig moving in a hurry.
Power delivery stays strong throughout, but shifts in the 10-speed are a bit lazy, keeping our Bison more plodding than charging to the end of the ¼ mile. Our best run coming in at 14.8-seconds and 96 miles-per-hour.
When pushed through our handling course, the Bison did some pushing of its own, understeering early and often, with plenty of sidewall flex thrown in for good measure. But, we could keep a surprisingly good pace through here, considering how far off of the pavement you’re sitting.
Brakes were great for a few runs, stopping us from 60 in just 120-feet, but then they began to fade a lot, and we even got warnings to take it easy on the brakes.
In addition to a commanding view of the track ahead, ZR2 Bisons get unique floor liners to protect the interior during all of your epic adventures, as well as a Multi-Flex tailgate to make accessing all of your adventure gear as easy as possible.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 14-City, 17-Highway, and 15-Combined. Our average 14.8 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
The ZR2 Bison package adds $7,895 onto the ZR2’s already lofty price of $73,345, bringing the total to $81,240.
That seems like a lot of money, even for a full-size pickup. But, unfortunately not out of line these days. If that’s just too steep for you, over at GMC, they’re selling an also new, slightly smaller alternative; with many of the same upgrades, the 2023 Canyon AT4X, their most off-road capable truck yet.
The AT4X is a macho notch above the Canyon AT4 which we tested earlier. But, as a refresher, the AT4 features standard 4-wheel-drive, off-road tuned suspension, 2-speed transfer case, and all-terrain tires on 18-inch wheels.
Boosting it by the power of X means smaller 17-inch wheels with more aggressive mud-terrain tires, additional skid plates and rocker protection, similar Multimatic DSSV dampers as the Silverado ZR2 adding an inch of lift, and locking front and rear differentials.
It makes for one tough looking truck, and with tidier dimensions than the Silverado, more adapt at navigating tighter trails.
No additional power, but the AT4 already boasted the high-output version of GM’s 2.7-liter turbo-4 with 310-horsepower and 430 lb-ft. of torque.
Working with an 8-speed automatic transmission, it was a little sluggish off the line, hitting 60 miles-per-hour at our test track in 8.0-seconds flat.
Lots of noise going down the track, both from the engine and the tires; but it sounds more robust than annoying. Like the Silverado, automatic gear changes are slow and power robbing, making the ¼ mile trip feel longer than the 16.1-seconds at 89 miles-per-hour that we recorded.
Pricing for the AT4X comes in at $56,995, that’s $11,600 more than the already capable AT4.
We love the rough and rugged look just as much as the next guy or gal, but we much prefer it when there’s a significant amount of capability to back it up, and this pair of potent pickups from the General will indeed get the job done. And while they’re still not quite to Ford Raptor or Ram TRX level, it is the closest that GM has gotten yet, making the 2023 Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison and 2023 GMC Canyon AT4X very worthy contenders.