Like its rivals, today's Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is available with a wide variety of body styles, powertrains and trim levels. Thanks to this flexibility, the half-ton Silverado pickup is just as adept at serving as the weekday family car as it is at transporting home-improvement supplies or towing a boat on the weekends. And if you want something fancy, there are always loaded-up versions that come complete with a rumbling V8, flashy wheels, bucket seats and high-tech infotainment options.
Older versions of the Silverado 1500 pickup have been praised for their strong work ethic but criticized for having bland cabins of questionable quality. The current version, however, exhibits greatly improved fit and finish. Where there was once an abundance of hard panels and uneven gaps, the Silverado now features richer materials and precise fitments while maintaining its hard-working nature. Of course, there are other compelling choices in the full-size pickup truck market, but the half-ton Chevrolet Silverado is a solid pick no matter what it's used for.
Current Chevrolet Silverado 1500
The current Chevrolet Silverado 1500 debuted for the 2014 model year. It offers a number of improvements relative to its predecessor, such as upgraded interior trim, new technology features and engines that are both stronger and more fuel-efficient.
Under the hood, the base V6 engine has gone from zero to hero. Although it shares its 4.3-liter displacement with the previous-generation V6, that's all they have in common, as the current V6 makes 285 horsepower -- a 90-hp gain. Also, the new V6 is available across the lineup, whereas the old one was limited to basic work-truck models. The other engines have hit the gym as well: the 5.3-liter V8 now makes 355 hp, while the 6.2-liter V8 trots out 420 horses. All three engines use a six-speed automatic transmission that yields more frugal fuel economy, particularly from the overhauled V6.
As usual, the Silverado is available in a variety of body styles. There are three cab configurations (regular, extended, crew) and three bed lengths (5.75 feet, 6.5 feet, 8 feet). Available trim levels, depending on which combination you choose, include Work Truck, LT, LTZ, High Country and Z71. The Work Truck is better equipped than it used to be, providing full power accessories, USB connectivity and optional Bluetooth along with the expected vinyl upholstery. The LT steps up to a chrome grille, an "E-Z" lift/lower tailgate, alloy wheels and cloth upholstery. The premium LTZ throws in more chrome, a power sliding rear window, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a rearview camera, heated power seats, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control and an 8-inch touchscreen with MyLink smartphone integration.
The luxurious High Country trim gets niceties like Bose audio and fancier power seats, while the Z71 boasts an off-road-ready suspension and other heavy-duty components, plus some mean-looking styling tweaks. Silverado options include a rear-seat Blu-Ray entertainment system, a navigation system and multiple towing packages.
In reviews of the current Chevrolet Silverado 1500, we've remarked that its subtle styling changes conceal serious progress under the skin. Tops on that list is the capable new V6, which finally makes Chevy a viable six-cylinder player in this segment. But we've also noticed significant refinements in the Silverado's ride and handling, thanks in part to a more robust structure that's less prone to surface-induced shuddering. Not that this truck has gone soft; on the contrary, its towing capacity exceeds 11,000 pounds with the 5.3-liter V8 and hits a mind-boggling 12,000 pounds with the brawny 6.2.
Inside, the current Silverado is a whole new ballgame. Ingress and egress have been streamlined in the redesigned extended cab (double cab), which comes with crew-cab-style conventional doors in place of the old reverse-opening rear doors. Materials quality is appreciably higher across the board, so buyers of lower-trim models are no longer stuck with substandard plastics and the like, while nicer models have it better than ever. The attractive, easy-to-use 8-inch touchscreen with mobile-app functionality makes Chevy's workhorse as high-tech as some luxury sedans. Bottom line: This Silverado is the complete package.
Read the most recent 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Chevrolet Silverado 1500 page.