2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz
May 29, 2018

The suave 2018 Chevrolet Silverado does nearly all things well, even if it’s not a huge standout in one way or another.

The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup is one side of the perennial dust-up for truck supremacy. Locked in a Hatfield-MyCoy feud with crosstown rival Ford, the bowtie brand has a truck that quiet and refined, and available in endless configurations.

We rate the Silverado at 6.7 out of 10 overall, a number that takes into account its strong V-8s, its wide range of options, and its decent safety set. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Silverado is available in Work Truck, LS, Custom, LT, LTZ, and High Country trim levels, with numerous individual and packaged optional equipment available to ensure that yours doesn’t look like anyone else’s.

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Silverados come standard with a 4.3-liter V-6 that’s more than adequate, but a 5.3-liter V-8 is the top-seller and it’s easy to see why. If lugging lots of humans, gear, and trailers is your thing, the optional 6.2-liter V-8 is a sweet, Cadillac-worthy engine. There’s even a mild hybrid system called eAssist that nets marginally improved fuel economy; this year it’s available on a wider range of Silverados. You’ll have to do the math to see how long it’ll take to pay off the extra cost associated with going kind of green.

Regardless of engine, all Silverados have a tough, solid feel that’s paired with a comfortable ride and handling that may surprise. Corner carvers, these trucks are not, but they are certainly not the buckboards of yore.

Both rear- and four-wheel drive are available as are three cab configurations—regular, extended, and crew. You’ll want to measure your parking spot carefully before selecting between one of the five bed/cab combinations available.

No Silverado 1500 is basic this year thanks to the addition of a rearview camera that’s paired to a 7.0-inch touchscreen audio system. HID headlights, Bluetooth, and power locks are also standard at even the lowest point of the Silverado hierarchy. Work your way up to the LS and LT and you’ll find all the expected creature comforts. At the top of the heap sits the Silverado High Country that may be a little too fancy for its Chevy badge. Or maybe not.

On the safety front, the Silverado 1500 is a rarity among pickups by offering low-speed automatic emergency braking and active lane control. Its crash-test scores are decent, albeit with a little room for improvement.

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2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Styling

Though not subtle, the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has a timeless look that should wear well.

A bold, brash style sets the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 apart from rivals outside and stands in contrast to the soothing, well-organized interior. We rate the look a 7 out of 10, narrowly giving the Silverado an extra point for its exterior and easily giving it one for its interior. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Like other trucks, the Silverado’s various trim levels mean its look can be tailored to your personal style. High-volume LS, LT, and LTZs are festooned with chrome everywhere, especially in their tall, highly vertical front fascias. But the High Country and Custom trims tone things down a bit with more body-colored trim, which we think really works.

The Silverado is pretty plain from the sides and the rear since there’s only so much you can do with the basic pickup shape. One nice feature found on all is the integrated steps chopped into the rear bumper corners—thoughtful, useful, and downright brilliant. You’ll wonder why it took truckmakers this long to come up with something like this.

Inside, the Silverado has a softly squared-off dashboard that puts its 7.0- and 8.0-inch touchscreens up high where they’re easily visible. Controls are exactly where we’d put them and we like both the proliferation of USB outlets on most trims and the nifty toggle-style switches for certain controls.

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2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Performance

The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500’s engine room isn’t flashy, but it certainly gets the job done well.

The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 eschews zippy turbocharged engines in favor of a trio of naturally aspirated 6- and 8-cylinder motors, plus the option of a hybrid that’s now available nationwide.

We’ve awarded the lineup two points—one for the V-8s and one for the available 8-speed automatic transmission. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Base Silverado 1500s include a 4.3-liter V-6 rated at 285-horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. For most of us, it’s more than adequate and it provides strong acceleration even with a modest load aboard. The V-6 is rated to tow an impressive 7,600 pounds and it can send power either rearward or to all four wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Better still is the 5.3-liter V-8 rated at 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. It doesn’t deliver a mountain of off-the-line power like Ford’s twin-turbo V-6, but this V-8 is smooth and predictable—not to mention efficient in real-world driving since it can shut down half of its cylinders for light-load situations. The V-8 comes standard with a 6-speed automatic, but higher-spec 2018 Silverados are equipped instead with an 8-speed. On paper, the 8-speed is a little thirstier, but in reality the numbers should be about the same and it’s notable for its buttery smooth shifts.

The 5.3-liter V-8 can lug up to 11,000 pounds with the right options selected.

Spec up a Silverado all the way and you’ll find the 6.2-liter V-8 that’s optional on LTZ and High Country trims. With 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, it is noticeably more powerful than the base 5.3-liter and it works well with the 8-speed automatic. Maximum towing capacity here is 12,500 pounds, which is more than enough for nearly every truck buyer.

Now available across the country after being relegated to only a handful of west coast markets last year, the Silverado eAssist mild-hybrid pairs the 5.3-liter V-8 to a 0.45-kwh lithium-ion battery and a small electric motor that adds 13 hp and 44 lb-ft of torque. There’s not a big real-world difference in acceleration, but the eAssist earns better fuel economy and shuts off the gas engine during coasting and while at a stop. The eAssist powertrain is available with both rear- and four-wheel drive and can be specified on LT and LTZ trim levels only.

LT and higher trims with four-wheel drive feature a transfer case with a handy automatic mode suitable for use on any kind of road surface. Lower trims use a simpler part-time setup that’s not as flexible and must be switched back into two-wheel drive on dry roads. Unlike rivals, the Silverado isn’t available in a hardcore off-road version, but the Z71 package should suffice for light dirt road and field use with its limited-slip rear differential, skid plates, and available all-terrain tires.

We’ve found the Silverado 1500 to handle well, with steering that’s nicely weighted. Underneath, the separate ladder frame and leaf-sprung rear suspension aren’t exactly high tech, but they work very well to give these big trucks an SUV-like ride. Models with 17- and 18-inch wheels ride softer due to their larger sidewalls, but even the 20s optional on higher trims aren’t punishing.

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2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Comfort & Quality

The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 comes in several configurations and has a classy appearance and feel inside and out.

With its comfortable front seats and nicely laid-out interior, plus its myriad body and bed configurations, the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 scores high here. However, we’ve docked a point for its upright second row backrests. That brings the 2018 Silverado 1500 to a 7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Silverados come in three cab configurations: regular, extended with two small, front-hinged rear doors, and SUV-like crew cab. Regular cabs are generally the least expensive, and they’re available with 6-foot-6 and 8-foot beds, but they offer precious little room inside for cargo ore more than three humans. Extended cabs are a compromise. They’re roomier inside than you might expect, but row two is best for kids. They come only with a 6-foot-6 bed. Crew cabs, meanwhile, are popular with consumers and can be paired with either 5-foot-8 or 6-foot-6 beds. Though there’s plenty of room in the second row of a crew cab, the backrest is too upright.

A bench seat is standard on the Silverado. It’s comfortable for two and works for three in a pinch. Optional captain’s chairs can be covered in cloth or leather and feature a handy center console with lots of storage.

Higher-spec Silverados have nicer interiors with more soft-touch materials and improved fabrics, but even the most basic ones we’ve sampled have had a sturdy, well-built feel.

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2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Safety

The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has one of the highest levels of standard and optional safety equipment found on a full-size pickup.

The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 boasts a higher level of standard safety equipment for 2018, but its crash-test scores leave a little room for improvement. Accordingly, we’ve rated the 2018 Silverado 7 out of 10 points. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

This year, all Silverados add a rearview camera to a roster of safety equipment that includes the expected barrage of airbags, stability control, and anti-lock brakes. That’s the entire story for the lineup until we reach the Silverado LT, LTZ, and High Country. The Enhanced Driver Alert Package that’s optional on LT and LTZ and standard on High Country adds low-speed automatic emergency braking, active lane control, automatic high-beam headlights, and front and rear park assist. Warnings are both audible and delivered via a special driver’s seat that buzzes its base—it sounds silly, but it works well.

Federal testers score the Silverado 1500 at five stars overall, albeit with the asterisk of four stars for rollover crash protection.

The IIHS found mixed results that vary by bodystyle. Extended cab models rate the best in the IIHS’ testing, "Good” for all but the small overlap front test, where the truck earns “Acceptable.” The crew cab earned a less impressive “Moderate” in the small overlap test. Although the Silverado comes standard with HID headlights and offers LEDs as an option, only models with automatic high-beams score “Acceptable”; the other setups range from “Poor” to “Moderate.”

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2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Features

You’ll want to take your time sorting through the myriad options and trim levels available on the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500.

The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is ready for work—but the right options dresses up this truck for a night out on the town. We’ve rated the lineup at 7 out of 10, giving it points for the wide range of trim levels and another for a terrific infotainment system. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Silverado lineup starts with the appropriately named Work Truck trim level, which is pretty basic. Think roll-up windows, vinyl flooring, and vinyl seats, plus some surprise features such as HID headlights, cruise control, and air conditioning. This year, there’s the added bonus of a new rearview camera with a 7.0-inch touchscreen audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus Bluetooth—an extra upside to Chevy getting ahead on a federal mandate for rearview cameras.

Next up is the Silverado LS, which piles on cloth upholstery, power windows, keyless entry, and a few more goodies. The Silverado Custom builds on the LS with mostly appearance-related items like 20-inch alloy wheels and body color-matched bumpers and grille.

The Silverado LT doesn’t add a ton over the LS other than alloy wheels, a tailgate with an integrated spring that makes it easier to lift, and an 8.0-inch infotainment system that can be upgraded with built-in navigation. The LT can also be upgraded with luxo-level features like Bose-branded audio, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats and captain’s chairs up front with a full center console.

If that’s not decadent enough for you, the Silverado LTZ adds leather upholstery, LED headlights, remote start, and a trailer towing package. Topping the lineup is the decadent Silverado High Country with its upgraded leather, cooled front seats, wireless charger, and additional safety tech like automatic emergency braking and active lane control. A well-optioned Silverado High Country tops $60,000, so shop carefully.

Optional on LS, LT, and LTZ trim levels is the popular Z71 package. Several Z71 permutations are available, but they all add items like skid plates and a limited-slip rear differential, plus special badging and, in some cases, all-terrain tires. 

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2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Fuel Economy

Pick the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 eAssist with rear-wheel drive if efficiency is your goal.

The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 doesn’t rely on fancy turbocharged gas or diesel engines to earn its fuel economy. Instead, its tried-and-true engines earn respectable enough numbers on their own, albeit with a long tale to tell.

We’ve rated the lineup at 5 out of 10 based on the popular 5.3-liter V-8 engine. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Let’s start at the low end of things with the 4.3-liter V-6 at 18 mpg city, 24 highway, 20 combined with rear-wheel drive, figures that slide to 17/22/19 mpg with four-wheel drive. The V-6 is able to run on E85 fuel, which may be a boon to drivers in corn country.

The more popular 5.3-liter is fitted as standard with a 6-speed automatic. Oddly, it’s actually more efficient in the EPA test than the optional 8-speed automatic thanks to varying final drive ratios.

A rear-drive Silverado 1500 with the 6-speed comes in at 16/23/19 mpg; four-wheel drive runs a bit lower at 16/22/18 mpg. The 8-speed automatic is rated at 16/22/18 mpg with rear-drive and 15/20/17 mpg for four-wheel drive.

Not surprisingly, the Silverado 1500 with the optional 6.2-liter V-8 is the guzzler of the group at 15/21/17 mpg with rear-wheel drive or 15/20/17 mpg with four-wheel drive.

There’s also a Silverado 1500 eAssist hybrid, which is newly available nationwide. With rear-wheel drive, it’s rated at a decent 18/24/20 mpg and four-wheel drive is rated at a not-so-great 16/21/18 mpg.

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$28,300
MSRP based on 2WD Reg Cab 119.0" Work Truck
 
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6.7
Overall
Expert Rating
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Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 7
Features 7
Fuel Economy 5
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2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Pricing Insights

  • 2019 Silverado arriving; 2018s still in stock
  • $2,000 rebate on all 2018 configurations
  • Lease a 2018 Double Cab from $259 for 36 months
  • $1,500 finance bonus on 2018s
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