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ZR2 vs. Rubicon

  • 2019 Chevrolet ZR2 Bison Extended Cab V-6 8-Speed Auto

    Votes: 5 41.7%
  • 2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited 2.0 4-cylinder with Etorque and 8-Speed Auto

    Votes: 7 58.3%

  • Total voters
    12
  • Poll closed .

SalmonSlicer

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My criteria - 1) Ability to tow a 3500# fifth wheel camper (Actually, a hybrid bumper pull but a bed mounted hitch none the less). 2) Handle moderate off road trails and USFS/BLM backroads. 3)Comfortable for long distance drives (500+ miles per day). Previous vehicles meeting these condition - 05 & 12 Tacoma DC 4WD. auto w/TRD Off Road pkg (175K on each).

Current vehicle -- 2019 Colorado ZR2, CC, V6 w/Bison pkg. So far (35K), as good or better than the Tacoma's in every way EXCEPT interior storage and bed amenities (rail tie downs & inverter). Much better power and MPG; Love the front locker; Rear locker and low range engage much smoother than those on the Tacos; OEM skids, bumpers and winch (replaced the stock sliders w/ White Knuckle); Disc brakes on all four wheels; DSSV shocks and suspension are simply awesome on washboard.

We heavily considered the Gladiator. Really like it's looks and I'm sure it's more capable off-road plus there is certainly more aftermarket support available but, for my needs, the Chevy was the best choice. Besides, I still have a heavily mod'ed TJ if I want to play in the rocks or ride on the beach with the top down.
Good feedback, thanks. I was leaning towards a Ranger, but now I'm thinking ZR2.
 

MazeVX

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Thanks, good point. The more I read about the current Ranger, the more I like it. Seems more reliable than I had thought. Well tested powertrain.
The ranger is nowhere better than every other midsize, we have it here for years and over here, there are 2 good midsize pickups Mitsubishi and Isuzu.
 

Pathfinder I

My criteria - 1) Ability to tow a 3500# fifth wheel camper (Actually, a hybrid bumper pull but a bed mounted hitch none the less). 2) Handle moderate off road trails and USFS/BLM backroads. 3)Comfortable for long distance drives (500+ miles per day). Previous vehicles meeting these condition - 05 & 12 Tacoma DC 4WD. auto w/TRD Off Road pkg (175K on each).

Current vehicle -- 2019 Colorado ZR2, CC, V6 w/Bison pkg. So far (35K), as good or better than the Tacoma's in every way EXCEPT interior storage and bed amenities (rail tie downs & inverter). Much better power and MPG; Love the front locker; Rear locker and low range engage much smoother than those on the Tacos; OEM skids, bumpers and winch (replaced the stock sliders w/ White Knuckle); Disc brakes on all four wheels; DSSV shocks and suspension are simply awesome on washboard.

We heavily considered the Gladiator. Really like it's looks and I'm sure it's more capable off-road plus there is certainly more aftermarket support available but, for my needs, the Chevy was the best choice. Besides, I still have a heavily mod'ed TJ if I want to play in the rocks or ride on the beach with the top down.
The interior storage is a very common complaint on the Colorado. I've added a inverter in the rear seat area, 12V/USB panel in the bed plus bed hooks. The Toyo bed rails are a nice option, wish Chevy did something similar.
 

LostWoods

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None of the above?
Big fat agree on this one. I know a lot of people don't like them but for $5k in suspension and tires, you won't find a more capable pickup unless you're the go-fast type. If you like the Jeep but really want to have a truck like I do, it's a near perfect vehicle that could only be improved with an extended cab.

The ranger is nowhere better than every other midsize, we have it here for years and over here, there are 2 good midsize pickups Mitsubishi and Isuzu.
Neither of which are available in the US and the US market Ranger doesn't have a diesel like EU market trucks. Here the Ranger is #1 in payload and hp but it has a few glaring design issues that hold it back. Both the engine and transmission are very proven at this point and should be extremely reliable barring any manufacturing issues.
 
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SalmonSlicer

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Big fat agree on this one. I know a lot of people don't like them but for $5k in suspension and tires, you won't find a more capable pickup unless you're the go-fast type. If you like the Jeep but really want to have a truck like I do, it's a near perfect vehicle that could only be improved with an extended cab.



Neither of which are available in the US and the US market Ranger doesn't have a diesel like EU market trucks. Here the Ranger is #1 in payload and hp but it has a few glaring design issues that hold it back. Both the engine and transmission are very proven at this point and should be extremely reliable barring any manufacturing issues.
That's been my understanding as well. Ranger powertrain is actually very good. It's a proven platform.
 

tjZ06

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37's on a Rubi you better have a wallet that can buy lots of parts, that is if you wheel it. That's why there is such a robust after market for Jeep parts. Same for the ZR2, stock diffs and axles can't handle the added stress. The ZR's V6 with a tune is around 340HP, that breaks parts. The ZR has soft two stage rear springs that can cause wheel hop, get the thing jumping and use to much throttle you'll hear a very loud POP! I read the Jeep forums too.

I think the Jeep really shines on very tight trails. The ZR2 really shines running desert trails at 80 mph.
You said you read the Jeep forums, but do you wheel with Jeeps an actually know Jeep owners? 37"s on JL/T Rubis are very reliable if you're not trying to break them. I've watched guys have all 4 tires smoking on rocks and even get to bouncing and not break stock D44s. I'm not saying I'd do that, or I'd expect to be able to do that long/often. But they are actually pretty robust. If you drive like you are depending on your vehicle to live out of AND get you home (aka "Overlanding") not rock-bouncing a JL/T on 37"s will be extremely reliable and far, far more capable than a ZR2 (other than high-high-speed desert running, which I argue isn't a part of Overlanding because too much can go wrong too quickly... doing 60+ in the desert it's too easy to come across a wash-out, or step-up without enough time to slow down, just look at all the bent frames in 1st Gen Raptors because people thought they had bought a real Trophy Truck).

And I'm not against the ZR2, I actually really like them. I'm just saying that a) stock for stock a Rubi is a little more capable b) a Rubi on 37"s will be far more capable c) a Rubi on 37"s driven semi-responsibly will be reliable.

-TJ
 

LostWoods

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You said you read the Jeep forums, but do you wheel with Jeeps an actually know Jeep owners? 37"s on JL/T Rubis are very reliable if you're not trying to break them. I've watched guys have all 4 tires smoking on rocks and even get to bouncing and not break stock D44s. I'm not saying I'd do that, or I'd expect to be able to do that long/often. But they are actually pretty robust. If you drive like you are depending on your vehicle to live out of AND get you home (aka "Overlanding") not rock-bouncing a JL/T on 37"s will be extremely reliable and far, far more capable than a ZR2 (other than high-high-speed desert running, which I argue isn't a part of Overlanding because too much can go wrong too quickly... doing 60+ in the desert it's too easy to come across a wash-out, or step-up without enough time to slow down, just look at all the bent frames in 1st Gen Raptors because people thought they had bought a real Trophy Truck).

And I'm not against the ZR2, I actually really like them. I'm just saying that a) stock for stock a Rubi is a little more capable b) a Rubi on 37"s will be far more capable c) a Rubi on 37"s driven semi-responsibly will be reliable.

-TJ
The AdvanTek axle in the JL/JT is super beefy with like a 10mm wall and 32 spline axles. They're nearly the same as the aftermarket D44s that people used to upgrade to in the TJ and JK so they could bash on 37s safely. The only glaring weak point in them is the FAD casting but you can always truss or sleeve the axle if you really want to beat on it. I think every story I've heard about these axle breaking has included a manufacturing defect or someone turning the send knob to 11 where they had no business doing so. For an overlander type build they're more than sufficient.
 
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SalmonSlicer

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I was going to ask how the reliability is of both the Rubicon and ZR2. Both seem reliable. Despite the poor reliability scores from CR etc., the drivetrains of both seem solid. Jeeps are used in a way too that would cause more things to break, which could also be a reason why reliability is often talked about being an issue.
 

bgenlvtex

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The AdvanTek axle in the JL/JT is super beefy with like a 10mm wall and 32 spline axles. They're nearly the same as the aftermarket D44s that people used to upgrade to in the TJ and JK so they could bash on 37s safely. The only glaring weak point in them is the FAD casting but you can always truss or sleeve the axle if you really want to beat on it. I think every story I've heard about these axle breaking has included a manufacturing defect or someone turning the send knob to 11 where they had no business doing so. For an overlander type build they're more than sufficient.
And for the purposes of the original question posed by this thread, you'll have a trash barrel full of CV jointed axles before you break the D44.

I don't think extreme use cases are pertinent to the conversation with regards to the original question. I would not expect breakage in the ZR2 or JLR either one when usage falls within the conventional boundaries of what I would call "overlanding"
 

SalmonSlicer

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And for the purposes of the original question posed by this thread, you'll have a trash barrel full of CV jointed axles before you break the D44.

I don't think extreme use cases are pertinent to the conversation with regards to the original question. I would not expect breakage in the ZR2 or JLR either one when usage falls within the conventional boundaries of what I would call "overlanding"
Agree.

I wonder what Chevy is using to make the front differential durable to withstand the front locker on a IFS? I've watched quite a few videos and talked to some people that abuse the ZR2 and much to my surprise, they hold up very well. I have to be honest I didn't expect that to be the case being it is a Chevy.
 

MidOH

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It's only a matter of time. But if you only use the front selectable when your going perfectly straight, there's not much to worry about.
 
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Pretzel

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I'm going to toss my opinion for the OP's original question.
I'm in the Full-Size truck camp if we're talking extended travel and not just trails. @twiget is by his own description 6 inches and a hundred pounds bigger than me and I do not like riding in mid-size trucks. Pack it full of people dogs or gear and I'd be miserable after an hour. Maybe it's a moot point for others, or maybe you'd get used to it but coming from a full size as you are I don't think it can be ignored.

I will never argue a full size will compete with a jeep for rock crawling the named trails but if it's a vehicle you need for all aspects of life you must consider how much you'll enjoy it for the 99% of it's use vs the 1% of trail time.

I was SOLD on a Tacoma and convinced myself to sit on the decision for a few more months while I saved up some cash. In that time I realized I was making a decision against the ratio of use. I happened to come across a less than a year old Ram Rebel with 14,000 miles and picked it up for significantly under your budget and couldn't be happier with my purchase. EVERY SINGLE trip since my wife comments: "I'm so glad we didn't get the Tacoma".

My situation is of course unique to me, but your trip descriptions would have me considering staying in a full size.
 
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SalmonSlicer

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I'm going to toss my opinion for the OP's original question.
I'm in the Full-Size truck camp if we're talking extended travel and not just trails. @twiget is by his own description 6 inches and a hundred pounds bigger than me and I do not like riding in mid-size trucks. Pack it full of people dogs or gear and I'd be miserable after an hour. Maybe it's a moot point for others, or maybe you'd get used to it but coming from a full size as you are I don't think it can be ignored.

I will never argue a full size will compete with a jeep for rock crawling the named trails but if it's a vehicle you need for all aspects of life you must consider how much you'll enjoy it for the 99% of it's use vs the 1% of trail time.

I was SOLD on a Tacoma and convinced myself to sit on the decision for a few more months while I saved up some cash. In that time I realized I was making a decision against the ratio of use. I happened to come across a less than a year old Ram Rebel with 14,000 miles and picked it up for significantly under your budget and couldn't be happier with my purchase. EVERY SINGLE trip since my wife comments: "I'm so glad we didn't get the Tacoma".

My situation is of course unique to me, but your trip descriptions would have me considering staying in a full size.
I'm going to look at a Rebel today. Nice truck.
 

DaleRF

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I think the Rockies are the reason for the most serious mechanical issues. I did Engineer Pass and Imogine Trail. Both were awesome, but somewhere along the way, I bottomed out the truck. My Silverado is a Z71, so he's got skid plates from the factory to protect the important bits. Well, when I bottomed out, the rear lip of skid plate that covers the transfer case got bent. This caused the edge of the steel skid plate to rub against the rear aluminum transfer case housing. By the time I got home, the skid plate had worn through the housing, and it was leaking oil. I also blew out both rear shocks.

On my way up the Dalton Highway in Alaska, I plowed through a big mud puddle that was hiding a sizeable pothole. I hit it hard enough that I bent the front left wheel and threw a belt in the tire. It also knocked my front end alignment way out. For the rest of the trip, I couldn't do more than 65mph without the front end wobbling all over the place. I know that's not the trucks fault, it's just bad luck.

As soon as I got home I went to a local shop and put him up on a lift, for a full inspection. The final butcher's bill for my Alaska trip:
  • Replace rear transfer case housing
  • Front end alignment
  • New wheels. When I bought the truck, it had aftermarket wheels on it, which I never cared for. Bending one of them so bad it couldn't be repaired was a great excuse to get new wheels
  • Two new tires. The alignment was so bad it had destroyed the front tires, which were brand new before I left.
  • New shocks on the rear
The whole trip was about 10,000 miles and took five weeks. I Air BnB'd it occasionally, but for the most part, I used iOverlander to find free/cheap camping spots. Even with the money I had to spend on repairs, I don't regret the trip. It was amazing and I can't wait to do something like it again. If you're interested, I posted some pics from the trip: New Mexico to Prudhoe Bay Alaska
I know that must've been a great trip!
 

tjZ06

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The AdvanTek axle in the JL/JT is super beefy with like a 10mm wall and 32 spline axles. They're nearly the same as the aftermarket D44s that people used to upgrade to in the TJ and JK so they could bash on 37s safely. The only glaring weak point in them is the FAD casting but you can always truss or sleeve the axle if you really want to beat on it. I think every story I've heard about these axle breaking has included a manufacturing defect or someone turning the send knob to 11 where they had no business doing so. For an overlander type build they're more than sufficient.
Exactly. I have JK Rubi axles under my WJ... BUT they were from a Recon so the front axle actually has the thicker wall thickness like a JL/T and bigger Cs more similar to JL/T Cs. I'm only on 35"s, but that more because think it's all an "Overland" WJ needs, and even with my significant fender work 35"s fit much better on a WJ without extreme axle position changes (my wheelbase is stretched, but not a TON) and/or extremely high ride-height. I'd 100% trust my heavily gusseted axles (which also have RCVs front, and upgraded rear axle shafts) with 37"s for my intended use. If I had a JL/T Rubi I'd be 100% comfortable with 37"s on stock axles. For a bit more "hardcore" use I'd want RCVs in the front with FAD delete and a truss to strengthen that part of the housing, and I know people with that setup running 40"s with no issues. They don't bounce the things at wide-open-throttle, but they do wheel them pretty hard.

-TJ
 
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MidOH

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For overlanding, I'd have no problems with the Gladiator axles on 35-38's.

For wheeling, theyll snap like twigs if you aren't careful. I prefer Dana 60 / 10.5" on buggies and wheelers. And we break plenty of those
 

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You said you read the Jeep forums, but do you wheel with Jeeps an actually know Jeep owners? 37"s on JL/T Rubis are very reliable if you're not trying to break them. I've watched guys have all 4 tires smoking on rocks and even get to bouncing and not break stock D44s. I'm not saying I'd do that, or I'd expect to be able to do that long/often. But they are actually pretty robust. If you drive like you are depending on your vehicle to live out of AND get you home (aka "Overlanding") not rock-bouncing a JL/T on 37"s will be extremely reliable and far, far more capable than a ZR2 (other than high-high-speed desert running, which I argue isn't a part of Overlanding because too much can go wrong too quickly... doing 60+ in the desert it's too easy to come across a wash-out, or step-up without enough time to slow down, just look at all the bent frames in 1st Gen Raptors because people thought they had bought a real Trophy Truck).

And I'm not against the ZR2, I actually really like them. I'm just saying that a) stock for stock a Rubi is a little more capable b) a Rubi on 37"s will be far more capable c) a Rubi on 37"s driven semi-responsibly will be reliable.

-TJ
Your views are exactly the same as mine.
 

Billiebob

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Back to the Jeep vs Bison debate. Having driven both, both are incredibly capable. The Jeep with heavy solid axles rides rougher but is bullet proof and has massive afyer market support. The Bison with independent front suspension is built for a much smoother ride and way more enjoyable on washboard. On the Chev vs Jeep thing for reliability, warranty, service. They are pretty much equal. The debate about who has fewer problems is endless and without a clear winner.

Me I like the bulletproof Jeep frame and suspension. I'd never buy a truck for a better ride PLUS...... I love taking off the doors.

But either one is a good choice.