To answer the taunts brought forth by Ford F-150 Raptor, Chevrolet has been silent. However, now that the added threat of a RAM Rebel TRX looms even larger, the bowtie brand digs deep to muster a fitting response. Finally, it seems, we are seeing credible signals that a Silverado ZRX is on the horizon.
A high performance version of the full size pick-up is something that has been rumoured for some time, and Chevrolet has done a commendable job brushing these off so far. Insiders have told outlets in North America, including GM Authority, that the ZRX will slot above the Trail Boss and should make its debut alongside the Silverado’s annual update featuring new interiors, indicated by the recent trademark filings for the ‘ZRX’ term in both the US and Canada.
The most important takeaway from this is that the next ZRX could be repositioned to do direct battle with Ford’s very popular high performance F-150, offering similar levels of speed and all-terrain agility. However, it will still retain its niche as a more trail-oriented beast instead of following the Raptor down into the sand dunes.
In its revised form, it will feature heavy duty suspension, modified front and rear bumpers for improved approach and departure angles, trick DSSV dampers from Multimatic, properly sporty styling, and a naturally aspirated Small Block V8 under the bonnet.
Oddly, this 6.2-litre L87 EcoTec3 will likely happen to share the 10-speed transmission with its Ford-badged adversary on account of the shifter being a co-development project between the two American automakers. Power and torque figures are murky, of course, but expect it to easily rival Raptor’s the 336kW and 690Nm.
Using the higher displacement advantage, Chevrolet should have ample headroom if and when the F-150 decides to further the arms race, demanding more from its relatively small 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6. All GM would need to do is strap on a supercharger and the fight continues; and greatly so in the Silverado’s favour.
Crucially, the rumour mill suggests that the company will lean heavily on their relationship with Multimatic to develop the next ZRX’s dynamics, particularly while on the road. Given how much of a difference their dampers made to how the Colorado ZR2 behaves, there’s certainly plenty to look forward to if their involvement with the hot Silverado is even more pronounced.
Given the timeline of the first mid-cycle refresh of the T1-platformed Silverado is expected to run its course by the 2022 model year, a parallel debut of a fresh ZRX to battle the F-150 Raptor should mean Chevrolet might have a prototype ready to get the hype train rolling as early as next year. Fingers crossed.