- Powerful, efficient base V-6
- Refined ride and handling
- Comfortable steering
- Tough, rugged styling
- Usable infotainment packages
- Longer models hard to maneuver
- Styling too staid for some
- No rear climate-control ducts
The 2015 Chevrolet Silverado continues with a serious face, impressive powertrain options, a comfortable and refined interior, and the right mix of technology.
The 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 represents the second model year of Chevy's latest truck design. The truck was completely redone for 2014, with a design that closely mimics that of the brand's heavy-duty models. The latest Silverado has an upright, chiseled look inside and out; a strong yet fuel-efficient engine lineup; quieter, more refined cabins; and a long list of safety and infotainment technology. 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.
While the newest Chevy half-ton trucks are now closer in appearance to their three-quarter- and one-ton counterparts, some may have a hard time discerning them from the last generation of GM's pickups. The overall look is similar, with the almost set-in-stone pickup proportions present, but the details have all been improved and tweaked. On close inspection you'll notice cleaner styling, fewer items hanging down and visible from front and rear, and additional trim-specific accents. The interior keeps its logical layout, with most controls located either to the left of the steering wheel or in the large center stack. Materials have been given an upgrade, with most touchpoints now made of soft rubber. All knobs and controls are large, for easy use at a glance and to allow for operation with a gloved hand. Silverados get a true top-of-the-line model to rival GMC's Denali for the first time; called High Country, the package includes durable leather, unique wood trim, and the largest touchscreen display, an eight-inch unit.
This generation of trucks also brought with it a new family of engines. All feature aluminum blocks and heads and are now equipped with direct injection, cylinder deactivation, and continuously variable valve timing. The base engine is once again a 4.3-liter V-6, but it has been reengineered and now carries the EcoTec3 brand. The V-6 generates 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft, a sufficient amount of torque to be paired with the heavier crew-cab models; we think it has enough power for all but the most serious towers and haulers. A step up, the 5.3-liter V-8 remains the mainstream pick, now rated at 355 hp and 383 lb-ft, while the top 6.2-liter V-8 is provides the most power, torque, and capability. It makes 420 hp and 450 lb-ft of torque, and can tow up to 12,000 pounds. A six-speed automatic transmission is fitted to the V-6 and 5.3-liter V-8. New for 2015, 6.2-liter models receive a new eight-speed automatic in place of the prior six-speed, which should improve towing and hauling ease, as well as overall performance and acceleration. The latest changes produce fuel-economy improvements: The V-6 nets up to 18 mpg city, 24 highway by the EPA, but V-8 models range up to 16/23.
The outgoing generation of GM’s trucks boasted well-tuned ride and responsive handling, and the new versions take that promise further with several enhancements while also improving cabin noise levels and refinement. Front springs are stiffer in the new models, while in back GM uses two-stage leaf springs but adds new spring damping, as well as twin-tube valving to front and rear shocks. All Silverado 1500 models get electric power steering that loads up confidently, and four-wheel disc brakes are standard across the model line, with a Duralife rotor design offering a longer service life.
Three different cargo-bed lengths are offered: 5’8”, 6’6”, and 8’. Unlike with previous generations, Crew Cab models are available with the 6’6” cargo box. GM has put a lot of effort into the pickup box design, adding a CornerStep bumper plus hand-grip pockets, both of which make climbing up to access cargo easier. A couple of particularly trick features are that the tailgate is now rotary damped to prevent it slamming down with a thud, and there are LED lamps tucked under the bed rails to improve visibility, especially when a truck cap or tonneau is installed.
Vinyl, cloth, and leather seats are all on offer, but in each case they've been upgraded, with higher-class cabin trims used throughout. Road noise has been reduced greatly, thanks to more sound-isolating materials in the floor and near the firewall. Crew Cab models’ rear doors are larger, for easier entry and exit, and the B-pillar has been moved forward, which helps get feet in more easily. Meanwhile, the rear doors on extended-cab versions now hinge from the front—they're called Double Cab in this generation—offering entry and exit ease that’s close to that offered in former Crew Cab models. The front seatbacks are thinner, which increases rear leg room by about two inches and also eases entry and exit. For a more luxurious take--roughly equivalent to GMC's Denali line--there's the High Country package. Bringing quality leather upholstery and wood trim, along with other upgrades, the High Country package gives the Silverado the premium feel its highest-end trucks have missed in previous generations.
Safety-wise, the Silverado provides improved occupant protection, as the cab structure was all-new last year, with about two-thirds of it built from high-strength steel. The federal government says crew cabs earn its highest five-star rating overall, and the IIHS has given the Silverado a top 'good' rating in the moderate overlap front test. Standard equipment includes StabiliTrak with Trailer Sway Control, plus Hill Start Assist, as well as head-curtain side airbags with rollover protection. An available Lane Departure Warning system keeps the driver alert of lane drifts via a chime or optional Safety Alert Seat—a vibrating chair much like what’s offered now on the several Cadillac models. Bigger spotter mirrors help with visibility in blind spots, while other safety features on offer include a camera-based Forward Collision Alert system. front and rear park assist, and a rear tailgate camera.
Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system is available on the Silverado, offering connectivity for up to ten devices, natural-language voice recognition, and an eight-inch touch screen. The system allows for programming of up to 60 favorites for contacts, destinations, radio stations, or other media. All models now include multiple USB ports plus both 12-volt and 110-volt power outlets, and most models include a 4.2-inch color Driver Information Center. And this year, an Enhanced My Link version adds text-message alerts, Siri Eyes Free, and an available OnStar 4G LTE hotspot (with an embedded/subscription data service).