Spy Shots

The Camaro Z/28's trick shocks will make the Coloardo ZR2 a mini-Raptor

Spool valve shock absorbers will help the beefy ZR2 manhandle rough terrain.

Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Spool Valve Damper Spy Shots
Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Spool Valve Damper Spy Shots / Image Credit: Brian Williams/SpiedBilde
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Our spy photographer just crawled underneath one of Chevrolet's forthcoming Colorado ZR2 prototypes, and we have good news for suspension geeks. Not only does the ZR2 have a wider stance than its siblings, it's also going to be the second GM vehicle, after the legendary last-generation Z/28, to feature the technology generally referred to as spool valve damping. These advanced shocks, which until costs were brought down recently were solely the domain of pure race cars, should help make the ZR2 an off-road monster. Think of it like a three-quarter-scale Ford Raptor with a bowtie badge on the grille.

The shocks come from a company called Multimatic, and the full trade name is Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve. The short version is that these shocks should allow for very precise damper tuning, allowing for a fantastic combination of ride quality and suppleness over rough terrain. It should be noted that these are not driver-adjustable nor continually adjustable, so it's not exactly comparable to a magnetorheological setup like the MagneRide dampers featured on some GM products. On the other hand, they have a broad range of tuning and extreme precision. That incredible range means admirable firmness without undesirable harshness. It also explains part of why we're not worried that the thicker coil springs in these shots will make things overly stiff on the street.

One of the great advantages of the spool valve damper is predictability. Because of the design of the orifice, the shocks aren't very susceptible to things like heat buildup in heavy use. That means for each compression the shock will behave in almost exactly the same way. On the track, that means the handling on the last lap will be much like it was on the first lap. The same goes for a long stint through rough terrain.

If these shocks include two spool valves per damper, which is likely the case (and was on the Z/28), they can also separate compression and rebound tuning at high and low speeds so they can be tuned independently.

All this is well and good, but what does it mean for the ZR2 when it's unleashed on a rough patch to go wild? For one, the shocks should be able to absorb harder hits without being overly stiff the rest of the time. It'll also mean more precise wheel control over rough terrain. That should mean faster speeds and safer handling, all things you hope for when you're blasting across the desert.

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