The 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is offered in two off-road-oriented options, the Trail Boss package and the ZR2 trim level. There is a big difference in price between the two and the capabilities change and we think one is better than the other.
The Trail Boss package is available on both the near-base Custom trim level and the higher LT trim level. The ZR2 is its own trim level, but it’s also based on the LT trim itself. Regardless of which Trail Boss is chosen, however, the off-road content is the same. So each can be compared in that respect to the ZR2.
With a glance
- At every point of equipment, the Trail Boss is significantly cheaper.
- Both packages add Z71 off-road equipment to the truck as a starting point.
- The ZR2 is billed as significantly more capable off-road.
- Trail Boss models can be purchased with any of four engine options.
The most significant difference between the two off-road packages is the price. The 2022 Chevrolet Silverado Custom Trail Boss has a starting price of $49,500 and the LT Trail Boss has a starting price of $55,300, while the Silverado ZR2 starts at $68,400. That’s a big difference in price points, but some may find it justified given the mechanical differences between the packages.
The Silverado Custom Trail Boss has few amenities compared to the LT-based Trail Boss and ZR2. But it’s worth noting that the cheaper Custom Trail Boss model, despite having fewer gadgets and conveniences, has the same off-road equipment as the LT Trail Boss model and so is comparable in actual on- and off-road capabilities. It just lacks the more refined interior, higher-end electronics and creature comforts.
Mechanically, the Trail Boss and ZR2 start from roughly the same point, with the Z71 off-road suspension package. This adds Rancho shocks, 2 inches of ground clearance, 18-inch wheels, and an automatic locking rear differential. Along with hill descent control, a two-speed transfer case for four-wheel drive, and skid plates at the front and in the middle of the truck to protect the undercarriage. Importantly, however, the Custom Trail Boss and LT Trail Boss models also allow access to all engine options for the truck, including the turbocharged four-cylinder, 5.3-liter V8, and six-cylinder diesel. The LT Trail Boss can be had as an option, and the ZR2 comes standard with a 6.2-liter V8. The ZR2 has no other engine options.
The ZR2 package also adds larger 33-inch tires, off-road adaptive dampers, larger skid plates, a full-size spare (optional on the Trail Boss) and an electronic locking front differential. Both the LT Trail Boss and ZR2 also have a more aggressive transmission cooler that is not available on the Custom Trail Boss. The ZR2 package also adds more angular bumpers that improve approach and departure angles a bit.
Interestingly, the Custom Trail Boss can be purchased with either an extended or crew cab and a short or standard bed. The LT Trail Boss can also be purchased with both bed sizes. However, the ZR2 is a short-bed crew cab and has no other cab/bed configuration options.
When comparing off-road capabilities, we had both the ZR2 model and the LT Trail Boss model as test drives and took both to the same off-road area. For most off-road tasks, the two were equal, although the LT Trail Boss had a diesel engine and 10-speed transmission that proved much more fuel-efficient and smoother to drive than either. The ZR2 was able to do more hardcore off-roading than the LT Trail Boss thanks to its larger skid plates, and its added bumper clearances meant we could maneuver the ZR2 down a rocky hill that required good articulation and plenty of clearance. maneuvering.
We couldn’t take any trucks up this hill, though, as it requires a lot more ground clearance at the front of the body (specifically in the front approach and axle). This was not surprising as we were able to easily climb this hill with only a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and small wheelbase trucks like the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. The Ford Raptor in its current guise also managed to do so, although the bouncy turbo engine made it a little harder to handle.
And no, we’d never call the Silverado ZR2 comparable to the Raptor or Ram TRX. These trucks are in a completely different league of off-road capability. The Silverado ZR2 essentially has no competition, as there is no midsize off-road truck on the market. That being said, though, we also note that almost all of the off-road driving is basically just glorified dirt road, with the occasional mud puddle, steam pass, and soft dirt bouncing. For all that, the Trial Boss model covers more than the basics. People who tend to do more than that as a regular thing, like the rock climbing hill we mentioned, usually do it in custom modified gear and special equipment. Jeep Safari and Magruder Road vehicle kits are not often found off the shelf of any manufacturer.
After spending time in both, we recommend going with the Trail Boss model over the ZR2. The added cost isn’t justified in the real-world capability gains, and most of these added capabilities aren’t suitable for most off-road needs anyway. Plus, with the Trail Boss you can opt for a diesel engine and get a much more efficient, smooth-driving transmission at a bargain price. The diesel adds about $3000 to the price of the Trail Boss. For reference, the Trail Boss package alone costs about $4,000 added to the Custom or the price of the LT.
Product Page: 2022 Chevrolet Silverado