What's New for 2006
For 2006, there's a new "VortecMAX" performance group that includes a 345-hp, 6.0-liter V8, a heavy-duty tow package and a stronger rear axle; thusly equipped, the half-ton Silverado is on more equal footing with the Titan and the Hemi-equipped Ram. The Quadrasteer four-wheel steering option has been dropped, and the optional camper-style mirrors have been replaced by a folding and extending design with a built-in convex spotter glass. Other changes include slightly updated front-end styling and minor adjustments to trim levels and body configurations.
Chevrolet's modern full-size pickup has been around in one form or another since the early '60s. Currently in its sixth generation, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, as it's now called, boasts classic styling and a wide variety of body styles and drivetrains. A perennial competitor to the full-size offerings from Ford and Dodge, Chevrolet generally finishes a close second to Ford in sales, mostly due to the fact that it shares customers with the almost identically equipped GMC Sierra.
Typically, combined sales of the two trucks outdo the F-Series. Often first to market with unique innovations, Chevy trucks also offer the OnStar communications system that provides the convenience of 24-hour on-call assistance for everything from tow truck calls to dinner reservations. The Vortec V8 engines are known for their generous power and relatively good mileage when driven with a soft foot.
Combine this with a wide variety of cabin amenities, and the 2006 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 presents a compelling package, especially for those who do a lot of towing and hauling. The Silverado is really starting to show its age, however, compared to the newer full-size offerings from competitors, which have the Chevy trucks beaten when it comes to interior design and materials, and overall refinement. We strongly encourage you to try out the competition before you settle on a Silverado 1500.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
Regular, extended- and crew-cab body styles are available on the Chevy Silverado 1500, and there are six basic trim levels: Work Truck, LS, LS2, LT1, LT2 and LT3. Designed to be affordable on-the-job companions, Work Trucks offer few amenities, but you do get dual-zone manual air conditioning and an AM/FM radio. LS1 models offer a few more features like cruise control, a CD player and deluxe cloth upholstery. The LS2 adds power windows, locks and keyless entry. The LT1 adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The LT2 includes a power driver seat and Bose audio. The LT3 includes steering wheel audio controls and alloy wheels. An off-road package provides a heavier-duty suspension and skid plates, while a Limited Edition package offers a performance suspension, 20-inch wheels, a locking differential and towing preparation.
Powertrains and Performance
Five engine choices are available for the half-ton Chevrolet Silverado -- a 195-horsepower, 4.3-liter V6; a 285-hp, 4.8-liter V8; a 295-hp, 5.3-liter V8; a 310-hp, 5.3-liter V8; and a 345-hp 6.0-liter V8 as part of the VortecMAX Package. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on regular cabs with the V6 engine. Optional on that model and standard on all other Silverados is a four-speed automatic. The maximum towing capacity with the 5.3-liter V8 is 9,100 pounds, while the 6.0-liter V8 can pull up to 10,000 pounds. All models come in two- or four-wheel drive. A hybrid powertrain option is available on extended cabs with the 5.3-liter, but the system does not provide any power boost. Its main function is to conserve fuel via automatic engine shutdown and startup at stops, as well as provide on-the-job power through four 120-volt AC outlets.
All Chevy Silverado trucks include four-wheel antilock brakes as standard equipment. The Silverado received a rating of "Marginal" (third lowest out of four possible rankings) in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's offset crash test. In government crash tests, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 received four stars (out of five) for driver protection in frontal impacts and three stars for the front passenger.
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside, Silverado buyers will find a logically laid-out interior, with clear, uncluttered gauges. Materials quality is unimpressive, and build quality, though improved over the last few years, is still below that of the competition. The cabin is roomy, particularly on crew cab models.
The 2006 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is comfortable enough to be a daily driver, yet it's still powerful enough to use as a dedicated work truck. Acceleration ranges from adequate to vigorous, depending on which V8 you select, and the automatic transmission shifts with authority. The steering feels vague on center, but it's light and precise enough for easy maneuvering. The automatic engine shutdown and startup feature work seamlessly in the hybrid truck. Additionally, the hybrid's electric power steering feels at least as good as the traditional setup.