New & Used Chevrolet Silverado 1500: In Depth
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The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is one of the best-selling full-size trucks on the market.
The Silverado is available in a number of styles and trims that range from work trucks to the more luxurious options. As of its redesign for the 2014 model year, it's stronger, more efficient, and more luxurious than ever.
It competes with trucks like its near-twin, the GMC Sierra, as well as the Ram 1500 and the Ford F-150--not to mention the Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan.
MORE: Read our 2015 Chevrolet Silverado review for photos, specs, and detailsThe Silverado has been on sale since 1999, when GM gave the name to its C/K pickup trucks developed under the code name GMT800. In that first generation, the Silverado carried on with the rugged look and capability that GM's trucks used to battle the Ford F-150, their sales arch rival. From the 1999 to the 2006 model year, the Silverado was sold in hundreds of configurations--nearly all of them powered by a V-8 engine, teamed to a four-speed automatic transmission. A five-speed automatic came late in life, as did GM's first hybrid--which in this case, was a very "mild" hybrid which simply stored some recouped energy to charge electrical systems, including a power point in its pickup bed.
In 2007, GM introduced the first of the "GMT900" trucks were put into production--accelerated as GM hoped strong sales would lift it back into profitability. While that didn't quite pan out, the GMT900s were an instant success, and were well-reviewed for their more upscale styling, rich interiors and improved drivetrains. It remained one of the best full-size trucks for its seemingly endless variety of configurations: three body styles that offered seating up to six, in front of a bed that came in short or long variants.
This Silverado shared its running gear with many vehicles across the GM brands. The Silverado, Avalanche, Suburban, and Tahoe all were related, as were the heavy-duty versions of the Silverado and Suburban. GMC's Sierra, Suburban, and Yukon were almost identical, spun from the same architecture as was the Cadillac Escalade. Even the HUMMER H2 was a distant cousin of these trucks and sport-utility vehicles.
This Silverado also offered a plainer and a quite nice interior design; a choice of four gas engines, or a Hybrid model; and rear- or four-wheel drive. The most powerful 403-hp V-8 Silverado drank fuel at the rate of 12/19 mpg, but the Hybrid edition earned EPA ratings of 20/23 mpg. Towing topped out at more than 10,700 pounds, and while the Silverado's rear seats were a little too vertical, the interior was as comfortable as the competitors, save for Chrysler's Ram 1500. Features ranged from a trailer-sway mode in the stability control system, to dealer-installed wireless internet access.
Changes were minimal going through 2013. Powertrain Grade Braking--to improve stability on hills, when towing--was included for 2013 in all models with the six-speed automatic.
The new Chevrolet Silverado 1500
For 2014, the Chevy Silverado was extensively refreshed, with an upright, chiseled look inside and out; strong yet more fuel-efficient lineup of engines; quieter, more refined cabins; and noteworthy set of safety and infotainment technology—and it all simultaneously nods to the looks of buff Chevy HD trucks while adding a luxury-car feature set to the top of the lineup.
Under the hood, the Silverado has been fitted with a new generation of GM V-6 and V-8 engines, all with a common architecture, direct injection, cylinder deactivation, and continuously variable valve timing. Gas mileage, power, and torque are all improved.
Chevy has added several active-safety features as options on the latest Silverado, including lane-departure warning and collision warning. The infotainment system uses Chevy's latest MyLink software, which can stream audio from Pandora, connect to Bluetooth phones, and accept voice commands or inputs through its eight-inch touch screen. The extended-cab trucks have switched to front-hinged short doors, with longer doors available and tied to more rear-seat room on crew-cab models. The tailgate is damped for a soft landing when opened, there are lights in the cargo bed, and the rear bumper has little steps integrated into the corners for easier access to cargo.
Updates are few for 2015 but include availability of LTE connectivity for OnStar and use as a WiFi hotspot. Starting in the 2015 model year, trucks equipped with the 6.2-liter V-8 will switch to a new eight-speed automatic developed in-house by General Motors. Fuel-economy ratings are pretty similar to those of the six-speed, but real-world numbers may see more of an improvement. GM is expected to roll out the eight-speed autos to more engine configurations, including the smaller V-8 and the V-6, in the next couple of years.