The hardcore 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 starts at $40,995

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Things are really good right now if you're into off-road oriented trucks. In addition to the Colorado ZR2, which we'll return to in a second, there's the new second-generation Ford F-150 Raptor with long-travel suspension and a snorty twin-turbo V6, and the more subtle Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro with its comfortable but capable Fox shocks. But neither make the headlines the ZR2 does, with its highly-advanced spool-valve shocks developed by Multimatic and normally found on race cars and a select few track-oriented specials, like the old Camaro Z/28. We've ridden in the ZR2 just enough to know it's a serious machine, so the question has been what the fancy shocks and other kit would add to the price of this midsize pickup.

The answer, as you saw in the headline, is $40,995. Not to mince words, but that undercuts the less aggressive Tacoma TRD Pro by $705 in base form. It also compares favorably to the much larger pickups that it likely won't compete with directly; the Raptor starts at $49,520, and the Ram 2500 Power Wagon starts at $53,015 (or $46,995 in Power Wagon Tradesman trim).

You might wonder what adding the Duramax diesel inline-four will do to the bottom line. The short answer is around $3,980 – the same as the basic step-up from the 3.6-liter V6 in the non-ZR2 Colorados to a Duramax. The longer answer involved a quick chat with a Chevrolet spokesperson, who told us that choosing the Duramax in the ZR2 may come bundled with some other features, so the real-world price for the diesel may be slightly higher. Whether the Duramax's ample torque and economy are worth the step-up in price will be up to the buyer.

Here's quick reminder of what the $40,995 base price will get you: There's those DSSV dampers giving a 2-inch lift as well as unique front control arms, front and rear locking differentials with a 3.42:1 rear ratio, rocker-protecting rock rails, cut-away front and rear bumpers for better approach and departure angles, 31-inch Goodyear Wrangler Duratec off-road tires on ZR2-exclusive 17-inch alloy wheels, aluminum skid protection under the truck, and a 3.5-inch wider track. Options include the diesel engine, the choice of crew- or extended cab bodies, a premium audio system, no-cost carpet delete, and the neat dealer-installed, bed-mounted spare tire carrier.

The ZR2 goes on sale in spring 2017.

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