Modding The Chevy Colorado Z71 Into A Capable Off-Road Truck

Photography: Brandon Cody

  • The 2020 Chevrolet Colorado Z71 comes equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 and a max towing capacity of 7,700 pounds.
  • Eibach, SPC, Method Race Wheels, BFGoodrich, and McGard empower this truck to handle more terrain.
  • The Z71 Package offers a more performance-oriented suspension, hill descent control, an underbody transfer case shield, recovery hooks, a locking rear differential, along with all-terrain wheels and tires.

It’s generally hard to improve new vehicles. We’re currently at the pinnacle of vehicle technology, research, development, and usability in our time. The new vehicles contain the best that each company has to offer for their various price points. However, the automotive aftermarket always has a trick or two up its sleeve to improve the improved. It makes fast cars faster, sporty cars sportier, luxury cars more luxurious, and trucks, uhm, truck-ier(?).

Further specializing each so while they might become marginally worse at mundane activities, they’ll perform considerably better overall. In the case of this installation article’s 2020 Chevy Colorado Z71, it was pegged as an adventure-minded road-going mid-size truck right out of the gate. We visited a coworker’s garage to explore and install the Eibach PRO-TRUCK Coilover 2.0 system, SPC Performance adjustable arms, Method 313 Race Wheels, BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires, and McGard lug nuts, which establish a solid base of modifications enabling the Colorado to get into more fun scenarios than its factory form can handle.


It’s a new vehicle, after all. So, why tinker with it? Well, because why not? Chevy makes these pickups good at a number of things at the Z71 level, but its trimmings need to be updated to exceed expectations. From the factory, the Colorado Z71 is a capable mid-size. However, we felt it was necessary to upgrade the wheels, tires, and suspension to better handle off-road environments.


First, enter Eibach and its PRO-TRUCK Coilover 2.0 suspension kit. The German suspension gurus have been at the forefront of spring and suspension technology for the better part of 60 years. Over that time, the experience it has gained culminates in the new Colorado’s PRO-TRUCK system. Matching a beefy height-adjustable, Nitrogen-charged Eibach PRO-TRUCK Coilover 2.0 in the front with new Eibach Sport shocks and rear lift blocks in the back, this system provides compliance for maximum traction on the trails. The new pre-assembled coilover’s monotube design and variable force valving pair well with Eibach’s precision-wound ERO race springs and can be used in conjunction with stock arms for a hassle-free plug-and-play install. Little details like the anodized aluminum tophat and billet aluminum bottom end display Eibach’s continued engineering capabilities. Similarly, the rear lift blocks constructed from billet aluminum are the sleek and strong solution for providing an additional inch of rear ground clearance on this truck.


To better manage droop travel, drivability, tire wear, and the wheel’s positioning in the wheel well, we enlisted the new adjustable front upper control arms from SPC Performance. With upgraded adjustable greaseable ball joints, and rubber isolated xAxis™ bushings, these arms will correct alignment angles within + or -2.0º of camber or +4.0º of caster while maintaining factory ride quality.


Method Race Wheels were our choice for a durable, high-quality off-road-ready wheel. The company’s 313 design utilizes cutting-edge Flow Formed technology for lightweight yet robust construction. Machined pockets in each spoke window save additional weight, while a knurled bead seat keeps tires seated under extreme force. In their matte black finish, they look pretty great, too.


We needed substantial rubber to back up the sturdy wheel and suspension selection. For that, we turned to BFGoodrich’s toughest all-terrain tire, the T/A KO2. Using the company’s CoreGard Technology, its sidewalls are split and bruise resistant, thicker, and designed to deflect protruding objects from snagging. Its serrated shoulder design will offer much better traction in varying terrains like mud or rocks, and 3-D sipes make for biting edges fit to handle the snow and wintry conditions we see in the Philadelphia area.


The painlessness of the install is a testament to the quality of manufacturing on the pieces themselves but starting with a new truck ain’t so bad, either. There was an accessible look at the task at hand with the truck positioned in the air. Removing the factory wheel and tire combination displayed the suspension setup.

In the case of the coilover, Eibach engineered it as an application-specific bolt-in product. The front suspension assembly unbolts from its factory position, and the Eibach variant was fastened into place. Of course, minor adjustments were made to the out-of-the-box coilover height, but nothing else required any special attention. The adjustable front upper control arms directly replaced their factory counterparts. The same goes for the rear Eibach Sport shocks. The rear lift blocks might not have displaced a factory unit, but they, too, were a bolt-in affair thanks to an included set of U-bolts.


With the suspension pieces bolted and dialed in, the new 17-inch Method 313 Race Wheels wrapped in beefy 265/70-17 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires made their way onto the hubs. They fastened and torqued the McGard Cone Seat SplineDrive lug nuts into place, and the installation was complete.

With everything originally on the docket for this install now done, the Colorado’s look and feel are now substantially more aggressive. Its off-road capability is more potent, and it is no longer the docile mid-size truck it once was. In the end, we upgraded a few different items in the truck’s footwork, making its ride and height more suitable for off-road scenarios. In the process, we improved its presence, too. It was the perfect combination of mods to turn a stock vehicle into a comprehensive entry-level truck fit for the trails.