Shopping for a new Chevrolet Silverado 1500?
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QUALITY | 7 out of 10
“rigid as a supreme-court decision, so squeaks and groans are rare.”
Car and Driver
“an admirable job of refining”
“Despite ample use of hard plastics with the luxury trim, the ambiance is still upscale.”
“quality materials and tight assembly tolerances”
Some reviewers mentioned that the new-generation Silverado is tremendously improved in refinement and/or assembly quality versus the previous one. “Nearly every exterior component shows remarkable attention to detail,” said Autoblog, “and the result is a truck that’s assembled like a fine piece of furniture.”
Others talked positively but weren’t as bowled over when they took a closer look. For instance, Edmunds wouldn’t call the materials in the Silverado the best, yet said, “they’re as good, or better, than any other full-size truck,” and Autobytel.com noted the hard plastics on top of the dash but said that “most of the hard plastics feel solid and durable.” ConsumerGuide was also impressed with the Pure Pickup interior and the materials used in it, which “don’t look bargain basement.” Jalopnik summed it up well by saying, “There’s still plenty of cheap n’ flimsy to go around, but new fabrics and plastics and a deft designer’s touch make the cab feel less institutional and more familial.”
Testers reported varied levels of build quality. “Call it a 20-footer,” said Autobytel.com, saying that closer than that, the “build quality issues become apparent.” They pointed to a misaligned hood, tailgate, and panels, along with various assembly issues, and “plastic bits behind the rear seat that were holding on for dear life.”
Reviewers were also at odds over how refined the new Silverado feels from within the cabin. Autobytel.com noted “strong doses of wind, tire, and engine noise,” and said that despite all of the luxurious appointments in their test LTZ, it “does not provide a cabin suitable for a serene cool-down after a difficult work day.” They also pointed out that the V-8’s rumble is an ever-present sound, which may tire some drivers. Edmunds, however, said that noise at highway speeds was “minimal” and the interior sound level measured at 70 mph was lower than an Audi A6 sedan, while Motor Trend, mentioning the attention to tighter seals, smaller door gaps, and increased sound deadening, said that “wind noise is almost eliminated.”
Ride quality tends to be a sore point with pickups, but the Silverado passed this test with flying colors according to most reviewers. The Silverado also comes with several suspension calibrations; ConsumerGuide tested the passenger-oriented Z85 suspension and found it “compliant and fairly comfortable, with less reverberation over bumps than in most pickups,” while the Z60 and off-road-oriented Z71 calibrations were stiffer and harder-riding.
“There is a quiet, understated confidence to the Silverado's dynamic behavior that should be very pleasing to those who find themselves intimidated by older pickup trucks,” said Autoblog, in describing the Silverado’s very refined driving manners. “We hope that GM finds a way to blend this voodoo into every product it builds.”
Seating comfort was a subject of controversy, leading us to believe that the Silverado’s seats cater well to some body types and not to others. ConsumerGuide, concerning the Crew Cab body style, said, “With front bucket seats, the center console restricts toe space for the center rear-seat passenger.” Headroom and legroom were generous, they commented. Autobytel.com said that there was plentiful head, leg, and shoulder room. They found the LTZ’s front seats large and well padded, aided by padded doorsills and armrests, and said that they remained supportive after several hours of driving. Autobytel.com also found entry and exit a little hard in their Crew Cab test truck due to the lack of running board but applauded the wide-opening doors. But Autoblog was clearly not a fan of the seats in their LTZ, saying that larger drivers might find the interior tight due to the center console design and low dash; the seats themselves, they said, “...felt more like an overstuffed arm chair than a proper automotive seating surface.” They weren’t the only one to complain; Car and Driver made mention that headroom was tight for a 6’6” driver.
This reviewer is a pickup driver only when he has something big and/or messy to haul. But in a firsthand driving experience with a Silverado, TheCarConnection.com should say that pickups are built to haul heavy loads and their suspensions do so somewhat to the detriment of ride quality. That applies to the Silverado, but we found the level of seating comfort and the apparent quality of the materials inside to be pretty impressive, and its interior would be one of our top choices for long-haul duty.
The 2008 Chevrolet Silverado’s materials and build quality are good, but they don’t quite do justice to the excellent new interior designs.