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Diesel-powered Chevy Colorado ZR2 debuts at LA Auto Show

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(Read caption) The Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 off-road concept truck is revealed during the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Los Angeles. The annual event is open to the public beginning today.

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Chevy is really selling its 2015 Colorado mid-size pickup truck as a lifestyle vehicle. After unveiling customized Colorados at the Texas State Fair and SEMA, it brought yet another Colorado-based concept to the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Named after a model that used to be part of the old S-10 and Blazer range, the ZR2 is based on the Colorado Z71, and features the new 2.8-liter Duramax turbodiesel four-cylinder engine that's been confirmed for the 2016 Colorado. The diesel produces the stock 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. It's mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, which will be the only option on production models.

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ZR2-specific changes include more aggressive front and rear fascias and off-road tires on bead-lock-style rims—including a spare mounted in the bed, just like in a Baja race truck. Chevy says the new bodywork increases approach and departure angles, while a set of remote-reservoir, mono-tube shocks and locking front and rear differentials help the truck deal with rough terrain. If the terrain gets a little too rough, there's also a winch, as well as a 48-inch Hi-Jack lift in the bed.

This may be a performance-focused truck, but that doesn't mean Chevy skipped the creature comforts. The interior features Jet Black leather with orange contrast stitching to match the orange exterior highlights. The instrument cluster features an inclinometer, and there are switches to control the winch and locking diffs.

Overall, anyone who can remember the old S-10 ZR2 should find this concept truck to be a worthy successor, but will they ever be able to buy it?

Chevy says it's gauging public interest on a possible production version, and there's been talk of a Colorado-based Ford Raptor fighter as well, so perhaps we'll see some kind of mid-size performance truck in showrooms in the near future.

For more 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show coverage, check out our dedicated hub.