What's New for 2001
An available PRO TEC composite truck box and optional traction control are the biggest changes for the Silverado this year. New colors have been added and the OnStar vehicle assistance system debuts as a midyear option.
Now into its third year of the current design, Chevrolet has worked out the Silverado's kinks, earning it a reputation as a fast and comfortable truck. With class-leading engine power and clean looks, Chevrolet's bestseller promises to further improve its image with innovative features that make it a unique truck in the otherwise bland world of half-ton pickups.
For the first time ever, Chevrolet is offering the PRO TEC truck box on its extended cab 4X4s with the Z71 option. A factory alternative to an aftermarket bedliner, this all-composite box is 50 pounds lighter than its steel counterpart. It offers protection from dents and scratches along with superior resistance to corrosion. The tailgate is also lighter for easier opening and closing while its load-carrying capacity increases to 1,000 lbs. compared to 600 lbs. for the steel version.
Several engine choices are available for Silverado, ranging from a 4.3-liter V6 to a 5.3-liter V8. Most buyers select 4800 and 5300 Vortec V8 engines, generating 270 and 285 horsepower respectively. Automatics come equipped with a tow-haul mode that improves performance under heavy loads.
Holding all this together is a three-section frame that is stiff, light and easy to assemble, giving the big truck a smooth ride and a quiet interior. State-of-the-art steering, suspension and braking systems help make driving the Silverado a joy. Four-wheel disc antilock brakes are standard, and steering feel is tight for a large truck, thanks in part to the power rack-and-pinion gear on models under 6,400 GVWR. Electronic traction assist is now available for 2WD models for those who don't want the added expense and complexity of four-wheel drive.
Inside, Silverado buyers will find logically laid-out switchgear, though the plastics feel like they're sourced from the same supplier contracted by Fisher Price. The cabin is roomy, particularly on extended cab models. Standard rear doors on the latter make entry and exit to the rear bench seat easy, and if front passengers are willing to sacrifice a bit of legroom, the back of the extended cab is quite comfortable. Front seatbelts are mounted to the seats themselves so rear passengers don't need to chop through a web of fabric to get in and out.
With its powerful range of V8 engines, terrific four-wheel disc brakes, and legitimate rear seat passenger room, the Silverado should have no problem continuing its success in the highly competitive full-size truck market.