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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.
Used Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Models
The previous-generation Silverado 1500 was produced for the 2007-'13 model years. It was available in three cab styles (regular, extended and crew) and trim levels ranging from no-frills "Work Truck" to plush LTZ. The most popular trims were the midlevel LS and LT, which provided many popular features as standard, including air-conditioning, full power accessories and a CD player. Significant options included a variety of towing packages, the Z71 Off-Road package and a navigation system.
Powertrain choices encompassed everything from a workaday 4.3-liter 195-hp V6 to a muscular 6.2-liter V8 with 403 hp, but most Chevy Silverados of this vintage were fitted with either a 295-hp 4.8-liter V8 or a 315-hp 5.3-liter V8. A four-speed automatic transmission with a tow and haul mode was standard on Silverado pickups with the base V6 and 4.8-liter V8. The 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V8 received a six-speed automatic toward the end of this production run.
Calling cards of this Silverado included no-nonsense performance, a reasonably refined and quiet ride (even with the heavy-duty towing package) and a comfortable cabin that admittedly looks a little old compared to some contemporaries. We mentioned a few other downsides in reviews, including minor interior ergonomic issues, underwhelming performance from the base V6 and the hesitant responses of the four-speed automatic transmission while downshifting. The excellent six-speed automatic, however, is hard to fault with its smooth, on-point performance.
During its lifespan, the 2007-'13 Silverado remained largely the same, but keep in mind that the initial top-of-the-line engine was a 6.0-liter V8 rated at 367 hp; the 6.2-liter V8 didn't replace it until the 2009 model year. That same year, the six-speed automatic transmission was introduced as an option for the 5.3- and 6.2-liter V8s, and it became standard with those engines for 2010.
The previous Silverado 1500 was produced from 1999-'06. Although Chevrolet has produced a pickup truck since 1918, this generation marked the debut of "Silverado" as the big truck's formal name instead of a trim-level designation (which it had served as since the 1970s). Underneath the handsome new styling, a fresh family of V8s debuted, ranging in size from 4.8 to 6.0 liters. They offered output running from 255 hp with the smallest 4.8-liter to 345 hp from the high-output 6.0-liter V8 in the Silverado SS. A base V6 was also available, but as expected, most of these Chevy Silverados came fitted with one of the V8s. (Buyers looking at the heavy-duty series Silverado 2500HD and 3500 of this generation could also get a 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 or an 8.1-liter gasoline V8.) A unique four-wheel-steering option (called QuadraSteer) came online about midway through this generation and cut the truck's turning circle down to 37.4 feet -- around 10 feet less than a typical full-size pickup. Unfortunately, QuadraSteer was discontinued for '06, as buyers were put off by the high cost of this option.
Consumers more interested in function than flash should be happy with a used half-ton Silverado from this era. The truck offered plenty of performance and work capacity, though it was hampered by a dated cabin design fraught with cheap materials and below-average fit and finish.
The previous generation of full-size Chevrolet pickups -- the last of the so-called "C/K" line -- ran from 1988-'98 and comprised three distinct versions: 1500 (half-ton), 2500 (3/4-ton) and 3500 (1-ton). Standard cab and extended cab body styles were offered, as was a crew cab, though the latter was actually from the previous 1981-'87 generation. Although six-cylinder and diesel V8s were offered, chances are strong that most Chevy trucks from these years will have either a 5.0- or 5.7-liter V8 mated to a four-speed automatic. In keeping with tradition, one could choose either rear-wheel drive (indicated by a "C", e.g. "C1500") or four-wheel drive (indicated by a "K"). Trim levels for these C/K trucks include the base Cheyenne, midlevel Scottsdale and top-line Silverado. Strengths include strong, durable powertrains, while weaknesses center on sketchy build quality and materials within the cabin.
If you are looking for newer years, visit our new Chevrolet Silverado 1500 page.