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This Chevrolet could be Holden’s secret Ford Ranger Raptor fighter

By Cameron Kirby, 13 Nov 2019 News

New Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

US invaders touch down in Australia, and could be sold here as a rival to the Ford Ranger Raptor

Three secret Chevrolet Colorado prototypes have been flown into Australia from North America under the cover of darkness.

They would have gone undetected as well, if it wasn’t for a keen Wheels reader, who snapped a couple of pictures.

Disguised to varying degrees, the first of the three models is a Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, wearing light camouflage.

This is likely the facelifted ZR2, which was revealed in America recently. However, the two other utes have piqued our interest, with GM going to great lengths in an attempt to disguise their shape.

Read next: Australia's best value dual-cab ute 2019 winner 

New Chevrolet ute disguised

It is possible that these are prototypes for the next generation Chevrolet Colorado, which previews a new platform, and potentially new engines.

Sightings of Chevrolet Colorados and GMC Canyons are not uncommon in Victoria, as there is an extensive testing program conducted within Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground – much like what happens with Cadillac products. However, these are often wearing minimal to no camouflage.

The fact that these three dual-cabs are being disguised by GM indicates that they hold secrets intended to be kept from the public eye.

Read next: WhichCar should I buy? Mitsubishi Triton v Ford Ranger v Holden Colorado

“Those Chevrolet Colorados are here for engine and transmission calibration work at Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground as part of our ongoing program of work on products in the GM global product portfolio,” a Holden spokesperson told Wheels in a statement.

Chevrolet has been working on the next generation of the Colorado for a little while now, with news emerging earlier this year that development of an all-new platform, dubbed GMT-32xx, has been put on ice.

Instead, it is reported that the current GMT-31xx architecture is being updated, with the chassis to be called GMT-31xx2.

Testing a new Chevrolet ute spy shots

Wheels understands that regardless of whether the platform is all-new, or an evolution of the existing chassis, the next-gen Colorado will become a global product, meaning the Thai-built Colorados that are currently sold in Australia will become the same as the US Chevrolet models.

As a result, the Holden Colorado will grow in size to match what is offered in North America.

A Holden Colorado LTZ dual-cab measures in at 5361mm long, 1872mm wide, and 1800mm high, with a 3096mm wheelbase. The US-spec Colorado ZR2 is 5395mm long, 1886mm wide, and 1834mm high, with a 3264mm wheelbase.

Read next: Colorado 4x4 gets seven years of free scheduled servicing

If the next-gen Colorado ZR2 is available in right-hand drive, it would be a logical choice for Holden to put into showrooms as a Ford Ranger Raptor rival.

Currently the ZR2 and Ford Ranger Raptor are relegated to battling each other on spec pages alone, as the Chevrolet is exclusively sold in North American, while the Ranger Raptor isn’t sold Stateside.

It is understood the next-gen Toyota Tacoma, which is similarly sized to the US Colorado, could also be developed for right-hand drive and be brought down under in the near future.

New Chevrolet details spied

The ZR2’s selling point is its suspension, with an independent coil-over-shock set-up in the front, and a solid axle with semi-elliptic, two-stage multi-leaf springs in the rear. That may seem straight-forward enough, but each corner is fitted with Multimatic Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) dampers.

What the hell are DSSV dampers? Well, it’s the same technology used in Formula 1 cars, along with high-end supercars and hypercars like the Aston Martin One-77, Ford GT, and Mercedes-AMG GT.

Inside each damper’s aluminium body are three spool valves. Two of the valves provide compression and rebound damping optimised for everyday use, while the third is specifically designed for extreme off-road use.

Read next: Holden Colorado Rox concept unveiled 

Oh, and there are locking differentials on each axle.

Powering the Colorado ZR2 is a choice of two drivetrains, the first being the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic gearbox fitted to Holden’s Colorado, while a 3.6-litre naturally aspirated V6 mated to an eight-speed auto is also available.

The LGZ V6 is an evolution of the Alloytec that debuted in the 2004 Holden VZ Commodore. In the Colorado ZR2 it is tuned to produce 230kW @ 6800rpm and 373Nm @ 4000rpm.

What do you think, should Holden sell the Colorado ZR2 in Australia?