After all these years, and in a super-heated truck market, the Silverado still hauls the goods.
– Detroit, Michigan
Vehicle segments simply don’t get much bigger than pickup trucks in the U.S. Last year alone about 15 percent of the more than 17 million vehicles sold here were trucks, and around 2.2 million were fullsize haulers like the 2017 Chevy Silverado. Even in the face of the world’s best-selling thing for seeming centuries – the Ford F-150 – the half-million-plus Silverados that Chevy will sell in 2017 make it a massively important vehicle.
Like all trucks, the Silverado comes in a staggering array of trims, capabilities, and prices. Even when just looking at the half-ton 1500 model, we’re talking about a price spread from about $28,000 up to around seventy large. So, with a base price of around $47k, and a sticker of $63k, the Silverado 1500 4x4 LTZ trim is actually pretty representative of how these vehicles are purchased.
A truck that looks the part. Chevy designers know what customers like: big bold styling that is resoundingly masculine, and doesn’t stray too far from the blocky shapes we’re used to seeing on the Silverado. The looks can change a lot from one specific model to the next, of course, but as a whole the line is much more conservative of design than Ford and Ram competitors. The flat face and horizontally oriented grille, along with those square wheel arches, harken back to truck forms we’ve seen for decades. Oh, and I actually think the chrome, 20-inch wheels work here.
The real V8. The standard 5.3-liter V8 is a decent enough truck engine, but I’ve got to admit that I love this 6.2-liter hoss. Its 420 horsepower and 460 pound feet of torque not only get the job done – this max-towing-pack truck can pull 11,700 pounds – but when I switch over to two-wheel-drive mode, I can shake the ass a little. Oh, and this V8 sounds real V8-y, too, which you’ll dig.
When did loading up get so EZ? This shorty truck bed – roughly 60 inches long and 51 inches wide at the wheel housings – is really easy to access. Not only does the Silverado have handy steps built into the rear bumper, but the “EZ Lift and Lower” tailgate is a one-pull-open affair. There’s nice, bright LED light over the bed, too, in case you’re loading up after the sun goes down.
Infotainment for anyone. Truck buyers stick to what they know, and even though they appreciate convenience technology, they’re seemingly more conservative than other car shoppers. Chevy’s MyLink would seem to fit well here; the menu system is easy to navigate, and even if the graphics aren’t going to win any awards, they’re very legible. What’s more, redundant physical controls for high-use items will be a godsend to many Silverado lifers, especially if they’re wearing gloves while working.
Neither champagne, nor beer. Chevy offers a full-boat-luxury High Country trim, and basic work trucks. This LTZ model splits the difference, but I’m not sure it does it perfectly. The leather seats are, well, technically leather, but the color isn’t very nice, nor is the waxy feel. Other interior trim follows suit, with a kind of faux rich look all throughout the cabin. That’s all fine, until you catch a look at the $62,535 as-tested price.
The competition doesn’t sleep. Ford makes an incredible variety of F-150 half-ton models, with turbocharged engines, lightweighting by way of aluminum bodywork, and ultra-competitive pricing trim for trim and dealer vs. dealer. Ram trucks still remain perhaps the most macho to look at and pleasant to drive every day. What’s more, midsize offerings like Chevy’s own Colorado, and the forever-young Toyota Tacoma, now offer more capability than most people really need, in a more reasonable form factor and for less money. (I’ll just whisper “Honda Ridgeline” here, and duck for cover, too.) You pays your money and you takes your choice, but the Silverado is far from the only game in town.
Photos: Steven Ewing / Motor1.com