ZR2 vs Gladiator Sport S

RBSJ

New member
New guy here. Enjoying this thread. Also live in Colorado above 8,000ft on a rutted out, 12 mile mt dirt road. ‘20 ZR2 Bison Diesel. 2 inch front end leveling kit w 32” tires. Perfect mountain mid size truck!
Camper topper is AT Overland. Aluminum weighs 350 lbs.
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spectre6000

Observer
@RBSJ Did you put the diesel sticker thing on the back, or did the 2019s come that way (assuming 2019 because it's a pre-'21 Bison, and my '20 didn't have anything like that)?
 

Thegiantpeaches

New member
A lot of people on the Colorado forums don't care about the exhaust brake unless they're towing. It doesn't really do anything all that noticeable unloaded on a flat grade. When you're coasting down the max legal grade though, it is the difference between riding your brakes all the way down and just casually coasting down while you enjoy the view. I live about 3/4 of the way up a canyon, and the top 1/4 is the steepest (6%+). I use the exhaust brake every time I come home, and it's very nice to have. The cruise and tow modes are pretty clever when it comes to steep grades.

If you get a diesel ZR2, it comes in the package. The diesel checkbox gets you the more reliable 6-speed transmission, heavier duty front suspension, exhaust brake, trailer brake, electric heating element, a better battery... That's all that's coming to me off the top of my head. You get a lot more than a differently shaped lump of metal up front. Having regularly visited the most popular Colorado forum online, there are a lot of little doodads that come up as being in the diesel trucks that the gassers wish they had, and try to buy and install on their trucks. There's a lot baked into that checkbox, and not all of it is obvious.

Heads up, it's come to light recently that the 2021 trucks are being decontented to some degree over the 2020s. The hard detail so far is the front brakes are dropping from 4 piston calipers to sliding 2 piston calipers. More will likely come to light as time passes. My theory is that GM is hurting from all the covid-related supply chain issues and shutdowns, and is trying to recoup losses by cutting costs; this is based on nothing more than speculation. It's hardly the end of the world, especially here since they don't salt the roads, but braking performance is one of the things I've seen praised about the the Colorados. No telling what, if anything else will come to light as being cut. I don't know that it changes your calculus at all, or that it's not the same story with the MOPAR crew, but it's a datapoint to consider.
You get the same suspension on the diesel vs gas zr2. main difference is the spring rate between the two, diesel gets heavier spring rate to compensate for the added weight of diesel motor
 

Thegiantpeaches

New member
@RBSJ Did you put the diesel sticker thing on the back, or did the 2019s come that way (assuming 2019 because it's a pre-'21 Bison, and my '20 didn't have anything like that)?
gonna guess he put those on, as far as I know at local dealers, duramax emblem isn't on the tailgate, just the hood. V6 emblem is on tailgate for upto model year 2020 and 2021 they removed it
 

spectre6000

Observer
Gotcha. The missing engine upgrade sticker thing always stood out to me as an unusual break to the longstanding American tradition of advertising one's engine upgrade. I thought maybe it wasn't always that way.

You get the same suspension on the diesel vs gas zr2. main difference is the spring rate between the two, diesel gets heavier spring rate to compensate for the added weight of diesel motor
Right. Just the springs. Should have been more specific. The gasser guys want them as an easy front suspension lift.
 

CoreyHendo

New member
The aftermarket support for the gladiator and zr2 is big plus. I feel like the ranger is getting more attention now though for sure. AEV flares give the zr2 the ability to run bigger tires which is important to me. I do plan to go test drive every option though. If I could get a crazy good deal on a ranger, a lift kit wouldn’t be out of the question to fit bigger tires.
The FX4 Rangers have 31” from the factory. I have the Eibach pro truck coilovers setup on mine and 33” Nitto ridge grapplers on aftermarket wheels with a +10mm offset. My setup is essentially leveled (1/2” lower in the front technically)

...But if midsize is a must, I’d say Ranger. Turbo definitely helps. It’ll be cheaper than the Gladiator. And has good payload.
The turbo engine is great at elevation.

As far as the ranger vs diesel options go, I’ll have to drive them all to decide. I do like the diesels for the long distance towing. I can’t help but think how hot an eco boost would get if we tow a camper back home to Washington during summer. I’m sure it would be fine though.
I just can’t get behind modern diesels anymore. They perform great...and then they break and you spend huge money. If you’re a person who will delete/tune it to fox all the issues related to the emission equipment, they’re great. My wife and I own a diesel Touareg and have owned other diesel VWs in the past as well. I’m at the point where her Touareg is out of warranty and I am considering options of trading it for a new Bronco or going the delete/tune route.


Personally just sitting in them I really liked the Ranger over the Colorado.
I was buying a ZR2 and then sat in a Ranger. Seats are WAY better. Tech is better. Layout is equally outdated, though.
 
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Thegiantpeaches

New member
I was buying a ZR2 and then sat in a Ranger. Seats are WAY better. Tech is better. Layout is equally outdated, though.
funny, before I bought my zr2 bison, I tested it and seats felt okay. First two weeks of ownership, I found seats to be super uncomfortable and ass cheeks were getting numb, cushions were too bulgy/convex and hard but now I've had it for 3 months, they've settled and feels good
 

CoreyHendo

New member
funny, before I bought my zr2 bison, I tested it and seats felt okay. First two weeks of ownership, I found seats to be super uncomfortable and ass cheeks were getting numb, cushions were too bulgy/convex and hard but now I've had it for 3 months, they've settled and feels good
My issue was the plastic trim and how it comes up the cushion.
 

nickw

Adventurer
Plan to stay under 4,000 lbs loaded. Currently looking at a trailer that is 2,500 dry, 3,500 loaded weight 16ft long. Don’t want to go over 17ft. We want a full time bed with table, and a bunk, so that’s about as small as I can find. But we are coming from a basic camper van, so if we need to go small on the trailer I am sure I could convince the wife. I want to stay midsize for my commute. I do like the power wagon but gas full-size isn’t desirable to me at this point, at least in thought. I won’t go drive it just in case! I think I am safe sticking with a midsize.

As far as the ranger vs diesel options go, I’ll have to drive them all to decide. I do like the diesels for the long distance towing. I can’t help but think how hot an eco boost would get if we tow a camper back home to Washington during summer. I’m sure it would be fine though.

I’m hoping by the time I am shopping I can find some decent deals. I also plan to put some dealers against each other with offers. We will see how that works out!
Not to derail thread but the Ranger is really a great towing rig, I was impressed with mine. This past summer I drug our 20' Airstream from Oregon to Idaho, California, Montana, up & down mountain passes, gravel roads, etc and it never missed a beat, 3000 miles+...temp gauge never budged. Trailer is 3500 empty, probably 4300(ish) how we had it not including my 240 lb moto, (2) mtb's and truck full mtb/moto gear. My rig payload is 1450, we were below that but not far off. I'd have no worries towing up to 5k with weight distribution hitch without moto in back. Average MPG 13-14....
 

Redheddedwonder

Active member
Not to derail thread but the Ranger is really a great towing rig, I was impressed with mine. This past summer I drug our 20' Airstream from Oregon to Idaho, California, Montana, up & down mountain passes, gravel roads, etc and it never missed a beat, 3000 miles+...temp gauge never budged. Trailer is 3500 empty, probably 4300(ish) how we had it not including my 240 lb moto, (2) mtb's and truck full mtb/moto gear. My rig payload is 1450, we were below that but not far off. I'd have no worries towing up to 5k with weight distribution hitch without moto in back. Average MPG 13-14....
Great input! That’s good to know. The biggest downfall of the ZR2 is the towing. But the soft suspension that causes that is also why it is so good off-road. I’m gong to have to start tear driving some trucks to decide!
 

spectre6000

Observer
Bummer. By the time I found some bandwidth to even look at the website, they're all sold out! I dug through the installation manual, and I'm eager to see some install and installed photos. Cutting the fender flares doesn't give me warm fuzzies. Plastic isn't known to finish well.
 
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