Ford Ranger Raptor vs. Chevy Colorado ZR2: Diesel-powered off-road comparison

How the rest of the world's Raptorlet compares to the ZR2 we get.

To say that off-road truck enthusiasts are excited by the announcement of the Ford Ranger Raptor is an understatement of Baja 1000 proportions. We're not just excited, we're ecstatic, eagerly anticipating what's likely to be the best off-roader of the midsize pickup class – for everyone else. It's not coming to the U.S. yet, but it's likely to at some point in the future, perhaps in the truck's next generation. But there's one vehicle that's already on the market worth mentioning alongside the Ranger Raptor: The Chevy Colorado ZR2.

What's more, the ZR2 is already available to any American within driving distance of a Chevrolet dealership (which is to say, every American, period). And, although there are several tantalizing specifications that make us think the Ranger Raptor would be the hypothetical class-leading off-roader in America, there's a whole heck of a lot about the Blue Oval that we don't know – including when we'll get one stateside. Until then, let's compare these two off-roaders like-to-like, to see how they stack up.

Powertrain and Performance

We know the global Ford Ranger Raptor will debut with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive is a given, and there will be a Terrain Management electronics package similar to the larger, fullsize F-150 Raptor. Ford says we can expect 210 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque from the diesel Ranger Raptor.

Chevrolet offers the Colorado ZR2 with two engines. Standard is a 3.6-liter V6 engine running on gasoline and producing 308 hp and 275 lb-ft, which is mated to an eight-speed automatic. More interesting, at least when comparing the ZR2 with the Ranger Raptor, is the optional 2.8-liter Duramax diesel. The oil-burning, turbocharged, four-cylinder from Chevy spins out 181 hp and 369 lb-ft. That's down quite a bit on ponies compared to the Ford, but it's a dead heat on torque. The Duramax comes with a six-speed automatic, which is down a whole four ratios from the Ranger Raptor, and that means the Ford will likely be quicker and more fuel efficient than the Chevy.

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Here's where things get really interesting. Chevy made big waves by fitting high-tech Multimatic-developed, specialized Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) shocks. These units promise a relatively comfortable ride both on-road and off, and our own testing finds that they work quite well. Ground clearance comes in at 8.9 inches, which is good for a truck, but not great for an off-road-specific version. Approach and departure angles are similarly decent, but not spectacular.

Ford went with Fox shocks for the Ranger Raptor, as it did on the bigger F-150 Raptor. We haven't yet driven the Ranger with Position Sensitive Damping shocks, but we know they work wonders on the bigger Raptor. Internal bypass tech ought to help the truck stay comfortable on the road, too. Are the Fox units better than the DSSV shocks on the ZR2? We can't wait to find out. One thing that's for sure already, though, is that the Ranger Raptor will have significantly superior ground clearance (11.1 inches) and marginally better approach and departure angles. The Ford also has a Watt's link, which should help keep the rear suspension feeling planted over high-speed terrain.


Hasn't yet been announced for the Ranger Raptor. Nor has U.S. availability, though we'd be surprised if the midsize off-roader didn't make it Stateside eventually. The Chevy Colorado ZR2, on the other hand, is available right now for a starting price of $44,895. We can't compare that cost directly with the Ranger, since we have no idea what the midsize Raptor will run, but we can tell you the F-150 Raptor comes with a price tag of around $50,000. The Ranger Raptor would have to come under that figure to make any sort of financial sense at all.

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Subjective, naturally. But if we're picking favorites, we really dig the muscular stance, matte grille, and LED lighting of the Ranger Raptor. And it looks great in Ford's now-traditional blue color. That's not to say the Colorado ZR2 looks puny in comparison, but it's certainly a bit more subdued. Ultimately, we care more about how the perform when the going gets tough.

For more comparisons, try our car comparison tool.

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