1999 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Review

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High Gear Media Staff High Gear Media Staff  
May 10, 1999
1999 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

1999 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

For 1999, Chevrolet adds a new Corvette hardtop model to its coupe and convertible, and introduces a new pickup truck, the Silverado, which is the first redesign of its pickup truck in 10 years.

Coming early in 1999 is the new 2000 Impala four-door sedan. Chevrolet says it has the interior room of a larger car but the exterior size, handling and responsiveness of a midsize car. The base engine will be the 3.4-liter V-6 rated at 180 horsepower (hp). The optional engine will be the 3.8-liter V-6 producing 200 hp. Also coming this year is the 2000 Monte Carlo in LS ("sophisticated, yet sporty") and SS ("ultimate, performance-oriented) models. It promises newly designed seats, a NASCAR-inspired gauge cluster and RoomFirst design that optimizes interior space for maximum comfort. Monte Carlo gets a 3.4-liter V-6 and a 3.8-liter Series II V-6 (standard on SS models).

The hardtop Corvette carries the lowest base price of the three models ($38,777) and features the Z51 suspension with stiff springs and large stabilizer bars. It comes with a six-speed manual transmission. The optional Active Handling (stability-control) System is available on all models.

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Changes to the rest of the car line are minor. The Prizm, Malibu and 1999 Monte Carlo get new exterior colors. The Metro coupe and sedan feature a larger four-cylinder engine. Cavalier changes include head restraints for Rally Sport Coupe models and engine refinements. The Lumina LTZ gets some previously optional equipment as standard; the 200-hp 3800 Series II V-6 is the standard engine for 1999. Camaro gets a larger gas tank, and traction control is now available on all models. Other changes include electronic throttle control as standard on V-6 coupe and convertible models; a Torsen differential is standard on Z28 models and included with the Y87 Performance Package on the coupe and convertible.

1999 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

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The all-new Silverado has a new three-section frame that is stiffer and lighter than its predecessor's. Its independent front suspension presents several upgrades, including improved on-center feel, enhanced stability, smoother ride and greater durability. Silverado has a wider rear track for better stability. It is available with a choice of optional suspension packages.

A family of three new Vortec V-8 engines is offered, and the current V-6 and V-8 engines get some minor refinements. Improved versions of the five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions will be available. Also new are Tow/Haul mode, which allows the driver to change shift patterns while towing or hauling, and the Autotrac four-wheel-drive system. The interior is roomier and more refined, and the extended cab gets more legroom in the rear and a more comfortable seat-back angle. Chevrolet will introduce 1500 (1/2-ton) and 2500 (3/4-ton) Series Silverado trucks, in both regular and extended cab, as 1999 models. Until the Silverado is in full production, buyers of heavier-duty trucks and Crew Cabs can still purchase select full-size C/K pickup models for 1999.

The Tracker is all-new. The convertible features a new two-piece top that fits tightly to reduce vibration and wind noise and is easier to use. The rear suspension features a new five-link system design for a smoother ride. Rack-and-pinion steering gives the Tracker a more precise feel. Four-wheel-drive models feature an improved "shift on the fly" system. Tracker features a new, more powerful 2.0-liter 16-valve four-cylinder engine, standard on four-door models and optional on two-door convertibles.

S-10 pickup buyers get a new "Xtreme" model with full 360-degree ground effects, which include the front and rear fascia, wheel-opening flares and rocker panels. It will be available in two-wheel drive, either with base or uplevel trim, with a four- or six-cylinder engine, manual or automatic transmission, in regular or extended cab, Fleetside or Sportside.

The Blazer gets a new four-wheel-drive system. When the Auto 4WD setting is selected on the new Autotrac transfer case (optional on 4x4 models only), the system automatically switches the vehicle from rear-wheel drive to 4WD as conditions warrant. The new TrailBlazer model is an upscale four-door version.

There are minor changes to the rest of the truck lineup. Tahoe features minor engine and transmission changes and the new Z71 model designed specifically for off-road use as a four-door, four-wheel-drive model with large all-terrain tires. All Venture models are equipped with a 3400 V-6 engine with Sequential Fuel Injection. With 185 hp, this provides five more hp than last year. Astros feature a number of refinements, such as a new all-wheel-drive active transfer case and an enhanced standard four-speed automatic overdrive transmission. The Chevy Express and newly renamed Chevy Express Cargo Van are largely unchanged.

OnStar is available as a dealer-installed option on the Blazer, C/K pickups, Lumina, Monte Carlo, Suburban, Tahoe and Venture. It will be available also on the new Impala. OnStar is General Motors' 24-hour mobile communications system that links a driver with an OnStar Center for emergency help and travel services

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