GMC Sierra 1500 History

New Models

Used Models

Note: GMC pickup trucks are basically twins of Chevrolet trucks, save for slight differences in grill and taillight design. Therefore, all the following comments apply to GMC trucks as well, unless otherwise indicated.

1962-1966

Although Chevrolet had produced a pickup truck since 1918, the use of the C/K nomenclature as the truck's name didn't begin until 1962. Pickups were still offered in Fleetside (smooth-side) or Stepside (separate pontoon-style rear fenders with running boards or "steps") body styles. Corresponding GMC trucks were called either Wideside or Fenderside. Front-end design was revised from the previous 1960 and 1961 trucks, which had odd oval-shaped pods in the front of the hood containing the turn signals. The '62s had a lower, flatter hood that had the high-mounted turn signals more tastefully integrated. Large single headlights replaced the former dual units, and the grill contained nine horizontal slots. Several models were offered in both two- and four-wheel drive. The two-wheel-drive versions had the "C" prefix and came in the half-ton C10 and C15 (long bed), the three-quarter-ton C20 and the one-ton C30. Four-wheel-drive models had a "K" prefix and were called K10, K15 and K20. There was no four-wheel-drive version of the one-ton pickup and hence no K30. GMC models were called 1000/K1000, 1500/K1500 and 2500, with the K signifying four-wheel drive. Trim levels consisted simply of base and Custom. The Custom added an aluminum bodyside molding and cloth (versus vinyl) seating. Engine choices included the standard 236-cubic-inch inline six (with 135 horsepower), a 261-cubic-inch six-shooter with 150 horsepower and a 283-cubic-inch V8 with 160 horses.

In 1963, a coil-spring front suspension replaced the former torsion bar setup and an egg-crate-style grill debuted. Two new engines appeared: a new base engine (a 230-cubic-inch inline six with 140 horsepower) and an optional 292-cubic-inch inline six with 165 ponies.

A new windshield and A-pillar design freshened the truck's looks for 1964, as did a new grill with a finer crosshatch texture. Inside the cab was a new dashboard with a revised instrument cluster.

Although the pickup's looks didn't change in 1965, a few new options appeared. Air conditioning and a 327 V8 (with 220 horsepower) could now be ordered, making the pickups more powerful and more comfortable.

A bigger (250 c.i.) inline six with 155 horsepower became the new base engine for 1966.

1967-1972

A much more modern truck graced showrooms for 1967 as a complete restyle took place. A clean, broad-shouldered look was the main theme, and both Fleetside and Stepside body styles were again offered. A new Custom Sport model debuted, featuring bucket seats with a center console. Long-bed models no longer had a separate name; they were simply called long beds.

1968 brought side marker lights, a 307 V8 (which replaced the 283), a bit more chrome trim and a 50th anniversary edition that featured gold and white two-tone paint.

A new grill with a wider horizontal centerpiece and a foot-operated parking brake (which replaced the former hand brake) updated the pickup line for 1969. A trio of new V8s became available this year; a pair of 350s with either 300 or 350 horsepower and a 396 with 310 ponies but more torque than the smaller V8s. GMC introduced a Super Custom model with slightly upgraded interior and exterior trim.

Changes for 1970 included a few new options such as a tilt steering wheel and a stereo with eight-track player. And, for the first time, the shiftless masses could operate the four-wheel-drive models thanks to the newly available three-speed automatic transmission.

A new egg-crate grill graced the front of the 1971 pickups. New trim level names debuted, including the base Custom, the mid-level Custom Deluxe (formerly the Custom) and the Cheyenne (formerly the Custom Sport Truck).

Interior refinements, such as molded door panels and an optional Highlander seat trim, took place for 1972.

1973-1980

General Motors completely revamped its fullsize pickups for 1973. Simple, bold lines accented with distinctive bodyside molding marked the exterior of the new trucks. All models had longer wheelbases, which now measured 117.5 inches for short-bed trucks (up from 115 inches) and 131.5 inches for long-bed models (up from 127 inches). A four-door (Crew Cab) model was now available, built on a long 164.5-inch wheelbase. The redesigned interior featured a dash angled slightly toward the driver. A full-time four-wheel-drive system was available and ideal for those who lived in areas of the country prone to slippery driving conditions. Trim levels remained the same as before, and engine choices ranged from a 100-horsepower 250-cubic-inch inline six to a 240-horse 454 V8. Keep in mind that after 1971, horsepower figures were given as net (engine with accessories) versus gross (just the bare engine) figures.

1974 saw no changes.

1975 models were distinguished by a grill with larger internal rectangles along with a restyled tailgate. Trim levels were changed and now consisted of base Custom Deluxe (why a base version was called Deluxe is a mystery), Scottsdale (with cloth seats and chrome exterior trim), Cheyenne (with added insulation and exterior brightwork) and Silverado (with woodgrain interior accents, carpeting and additional exterior accents including wheel-lip moldings). Corresponding GMC trim levels were, in ascending order, Sierra, Sierra Grande, High Sierra and Sierra Classic. Catalytic converters debuted on non-heavy-duty trucks to meet more stringent emissions standards, as did a high-energy ignition system.

No significant changes occurred until 1977 when the one-ton truck became available in a four-wheel-drive version (K30). A few cosmetic changes and upgrades took place; the grill insert was changed from 32 small rectangles to 15 larger ones, and a Sport package became available and featured a black grill, multi-tone striping, color-keyed bumpers, rally wheels and white-lettered tires.

1978 marked the introduction of the 350-cubic-inch V8 diesel that was optional on the C10 two-wheel-drive pickup. Playing catch-up to the Sport package offered on the Chevy pickups the year before, GMC brought out a very similar package, called the Street Coupe. GMC also introduced a rather garish Desert Fox package (for four-wheel-drive trucks) that featured a front brush guard, a bed-mounted rollbar with lights, sporty wheels and a heavy-handed tape-striping job over most of the body.

Not much happened in 1979 save for a slightly revised grill that looked identical to the year before except that the parking lights were now incorporated into the front grill/headlight facade.

A more noticeable grill restyle took place for 1980 and featured square openings (instead of the previous rectangular slots) and, on Silverado models, square headlamps. A thermostatic cooling fan increased efficiency by running only when needed.

1981-1987

A nose job and a weight-loss program improved Chevy's 1981 pickups. New, more aerodynamic sheetmetal from the windshield forward was grafted onto the truck. The new fenders flanked a restyled grill with square headlamps (on all models). Lighter materials helped reduce weight from 100 to 300 pounds, depending on the model. A revised interior featured a new instrument panel, seats and door trim. A new 305-cubic-inch V8 with Electronic Spark Control debuted. The spark control allowed higher compression and power output (160 horsepower) that was equal to or better than the available 350 V8s, with the advantage of better fuel economy. Still offered were the inline sixes (250 and 292 c.i.), a couple of 350-cubic-inch V8s and the stout 454-cubic-inch V8.

A new 6.2-liter (Chevrolet started using metric engine sizes at this point) diesel engine debuted in 1982. A much stronger and more reliable engine than the old 5.7-liter (350 c.i.) version, the 6.2 was offered on the four-wheel-drive (K) pickups, as opposed to the 5.7, which was available only on two-wheel-drive (C) pickups. A four-speed automatic gearbox was a new option that promoted less engine wear and better highway fuel economy than the earlier three-speeds. The Cheyenne trim level was dropped, leaving the Custom Deluxe, Scottsdale and Silverado. Likewise, GMC dropped the High Sierra.

Only sharp-eyed enthusiasts would be able to tell what changed for 1983: parking lights were relocated from the bumper to the bottom edge of the grill, which was now blacked out. Additional rust protection was provided by the use of anti-corrosion steel under the hood and at the front of the pickup box.

1984 saw more steps taken (such as galvanized inner door panels) to fend off rust. A revised grill design with a thicker horizontal divider marked the 1985 trucks. Of more significance was the newly standard (on C/K 10 models), 4.3-liter "Vortec" V6 engine. Touted by Chevrolet as the most powerful standard engine ever offered in the company's base pickup, it boasted a healthy 155-horsepower rating.

No changes for 1986 occurred aside from redesigned engine seals on all "V" type engines except the 7.4-liter (454 c.i. in old-fashioned terms) V8.

1987 saw the debut of throttle-body fuel injection (TBI) for all V6 and V8 engines. As a result, the 5.0-liter (305 c.i.) and 5.7-liter (350 c.i.) V8s were more powerful, kicking out 170 and 210 horsepower, respectively. After decades of using the C and K nomenclature, Chevy revised its trucks' designations, changing the two-wheel-drive truck's "C" to an "R" and the four-wheel-drive truck's "K" to a "V."

1988-1998

A long-awaited redesign of GM's fullsize pickups took place for 1988. The short-lived "R" and "V" prefixes (except on the Crew Cab, which used these letters until 1992) were replaced by the more traditional C and K naming system, though now these were placed in front of 1500 (half-ton models) 2500 (three-quarter-ton models) and 3500 (one-ton models) numbers instead of the former 10, 20 and 30 designations. Standard cab pickups could be had with either the Fleetside (smooth side) or Sportside (narrow bed with bulging wheel fenders) bed style. And over a decade after arch-rival Ford introduced its SuperCab extended cab pickup, Chevrolet brought to market its own stretched two-door pickup that could seat up to six. A Crew Cab (four-door) was available, but only in the previous-generation body style, as was a small number of standard cab "dually" (dual rear wheel) pickups. Engine choices were the same as before and the 4.3-liter V6 now made 160 horsepower.

Sporting sleek, clean lines, the new rigs had 33 percent more glass area (which improved all-around visibility) and larger doors (which improved ingress and egress). Trim levels included the resurrected (and now base model) Cheyenne, mid-level Scottsdale (which added cloth seating, carpeting and additional insulation) and top-line Silverado (which had quad headlights, chrome wheelwell trim, more luxurious upholstery and full instrumentation). Wheelbases remained the same as before, although overall length increased by a couple of inches. Corrosion protection was increased via a seamless bed design and the use of galvanized steel for all major exterior body panels. Mechanical changes included a five-speed manual transmission (which replaced the formerly used four-speed unit) and two improvements for four-wheel-drive models: a new independent front suspension and a shift-on-the-fly "Insta-Trac" transfer-case control. Evidently, the buying public liked the new trucks, as they were the best-selling vehicles in the General Motors stable.

1989 brought the Sport 4x4 models that featured blacked-out wheelwell flares, bumpers and mirrors. Brakes were improved via semi-metallic linings and a shield to protect the parking brake during offroad excursions.

A host of improvements and changes took place for 1990. The 7.4-liter V8 was fitted with electronic spark control and both 5.0- and 5.7-liter V8s received upgraded piston rings and intake valves. In an effort to simplify ordering and production processes, many formerly individual options were now either added as standard equipment or grouped together in packages. Cheyenne models had tinted glass, halogen headlights, a larger (34-gallon) gas tank, an AM radio, intermittent wipers and instrument panel gauges added to its standard equipment list. Scottsdales got rally wheels, a custom steering wheel and bright grill trim. Silverados had their standards raised with the inclusion of floormats, a sport steering wheel, swing-out quarter windows (on extended cabs) and an AM/FM stereo radio. Corresponding GMC models received the same upgrades.

Two new models debuted this year, the pumped-up 454 SS and the stripped-down 1500 W/T. The 454 SS was an Onyx Black Chevy C1500 short bed pickup packing the 7.4-liter (454 c.i.) V8 hooked up to a four-speed automatic (unfortunately, no manual gearbox was offered). The big-block V8 put out 230 horsepower and 385 lb-ft of torque. A "performance handling" package with Bilstein shocks gave the big bruiser the ability to handle twisty sections of pavement as easily as straightaways. Finishing off the menacing look were chrome wheels shod with 275/60R15 tires. Inside the SS was a luxurious interior with bucket seats, console and just about every comfort and convenience feature one could want. There was no GMC equivalent to the 454 SS. On the other side of Chevy's truck spectrum was the W/T which stood for Work Truck. The W/T was meant for those who wanted a workhorse with no frills, and as such it was available only with the V6 engine and limited options. GMC's version of the W/T was dubbed Special.

The 7.4-liter V8 was refined for 1991 with tighter combustion chamber tolerances and improved oil pan gasket material. A new automatic transmission was introduced for heavy-duty trucks. This four-speed automatic gearbox, dubbed 4L80-E, featured electronic control and the ability to handle 440 pound-feet of torque. The 454 SS got even stronger this year, with horsepower going up to 255 ponies and torque swelling to 405 lb-ft. W/T models got a new steering wheel and revised sideview mirrors. New options for this year included a bedliner, high-back bucket seats and a tachometer.

Finally, for 1992, four years after the other pickups were revamped, the Crew Cabs got their "new" style and associated improvements. The Crew Cab's wheelbase grew by 4 inches (which translated into a lot more legroom for those riding in the back), and a 5.7-liter V8 hooked up to a five-speed manual gearbox was the Crew's base powerteam. Optional on heavy-duty trucks (except Crew Cabs) was a new heavy-duty 6.5-liter turbodiesel V8 engine. The new motor boasted stats of 190 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque, and an optimized combustion chamber design promised smokeless performance. Gone was the four-speed manual gearbox, replaced by a five-cog unit. Extended cab models could now have the Sportside box.

1993 saw more engine improvements, as the 4.3-liter V6 and all gas V8s (5.0 liter, 5.7 liter and 7.4 liter) were refined for smoother performance via changes to their induction systems. The V6 was tweaked for 5 more horsepower for a total of 165 horses. Later in the year, a natural gas version of the 5.7-liter V8 became available. Following the lead set by the heavy-duty 4L80-E automatic transmission, a 4L60-E four-speed automatic gearbox debuted for non-heavy-duty trucks, and it was also electronically controlled for smoother gear changes. Interior refinements included new stereo controls, dual cupholders and Scotchgard fabric protection. Added this year was the redundantly named Sportside Sport, which consisted of a Silverado Sportside, equipped with alloy wheels, various color-keyed components (grill, mirrors, bumpers) and obligatory "Sport" decals. The Scottsdale trim level was dropped.

Safety and environmental strides were made for 1994 with the debut of side door guard beams, a center high-mounted third brake light and CFC-free A/C refrigerant. Engine news was big this year. The 4.3-liter V6 was improved with a new water pump seal and increased intake airflow, while the 5.0-, 5.7- and 7.4-liter V8s were quieted down via intake tweaks. A couple new diesel engines debuted: a 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V8 that had more horsepower (155) and torque (275 lb-ft) than the 6.2-liter engine it replaced and a light-duty version of the 6.5-liter turbodiesel that put out 180 horsepower and 360 lb-ft of torque. The latter was the first turbodiesel available for a light-duty truck. The heavy-duty version of the 6.5 turbodiesel was still available, as well. The mighty 454 SS was dropped from the lineup and Silverado models had new flush headlights that replaced the former quad units. Other changes included a larger center grill bar, an "easy entry" front seatback (on extended cab models) that aided ingress and egress for rear-seat passengers and a memory feature for the seatback recliners.

Safety features once again increased in 1995 with the addition of a driver-side front airbag (for light-duty under-8,600-pound-GVW trucks), four-wheel antilock brakes and a brake/trans-mission interlock (which required the brake pedal to be depressed before the automatic gearbox could be shifted out of Park). A new instrument panel and door trim graced the interior and the seats were redesigned for more support. New sound systems made the more comfortable cabin even more welcoming.

Pump it up! Among the many improvements for 1996 was more power for all the gasoline engines. Now called "Vortec," the much stronger gas engine family sported the following impressive power figures: Vortec 4300 V6 — 200 horsepower, up 35 horses; Vortec 5000 V8 — 220 horsepower, up 45; Vortec 5700 V8 — 250 horsepower, up 50; Vortec 7400 — 290 horsepower, up 60. The numbers after the word Vortec indicated the engine size in cubic centimeters, which is easy to convert to liters; for example, the Vortec 5700 V8 displaces 5,700 cubic centimeters or 5.7 liters. Other enhancements of the mechanical variety included a new, simpler clutch design for manual transmissions that made for less pedal effort and travel, a beefed-up automatic gearbox to handle the more potent powerplants, and a new, electronically shifted transfer case that eliminated the floor-mounted mechanism. An optional "Easy Access" system (only for Silverado extended cab trucks with either the Vortec 5000 or 5700 V8 coupled to an automatic transmission) featured a third door on the passenger side to allow easier passenger or cargo loading into the rear compartment. Other cab upgrades included the option of leather seating, an optional automatically dimming (electrochromic) rearview mirror with built-in compass and a standard center armrest/storage compartment (on Silverado models with a front bench seat). Daytime Running Lamps (DRLs) also debuted this year and supposedly reduced the chance of an accident by making the new trucks more noticeable.

1997 brought a passenger-side front airbag (on trucks with GVWR under 8,600 pounds) that could be shut off to allow a rear-facing child seat to be installed. For those who liked the convenience of the third-door option but didn't need the spiffed-up Silverado, this option became more widely available. To make parking easier, engineers added electronic variable-assist power steering that provided more assist at lower speeds and less assist at higher speeds for better road feel. Other steering enhancements included a smaller turning radius for K1500 models, making these four-wheel-drive trucks easier to park and better able to handle tight spots when off road. The 4L60-E and 4L80-E four-speed automatic gearboxes were tweaked for even smoother operation and better efficiency via improved fluid flow and greater lubrication. The heavy-duty five-speed manual transmission also saw upgrades, in this case designed to lower noise and improve shift feel. Helping out the environment ever so slightly was the availability of a natural gas version of the Vortec 5700 V8, though it could be had only on a C2500 standard cab long-bed truck.

To the chagrin of would-be thieves, a "Passlock" theft-deterrent system debuted in 1998, and disabled the truck if an attempt to hot-wire it was made. Once again, the automatic transmissions were modified for smoother and quieter performance. Trim levels offered remained W/T (Work Truck), Cheyenne and Silverado.

Current Generation

The year 1999 was a strange one, as Chevrolet introduced its completely redesigned full-size pickup (and dubbed it Silverado) and yet still offered the "old" style C/K trucks through 2000. Due to their strong popularity and sales figures, Chevy kept the C/Ks around for those truck customers who preferred them to the new Silverado. There were now two trim levels, consisting of the no-frills base truck and luxurious LS, the latter being loaded up like the previous year's Silverado trim level. There was only one C/K 1500 model available, an LS extended cab, which came with the third door as standard. C/K 2500 and C/K 3500 versions could be had in either trim level and in standard, extended or Crew Cab body styles. A few under-the-skin changes, such as cooling system upgrades and the installment of the 7.4-liter V8's starter motor on the smaller V8 engines, improved the durability of these trucks whose basic design dated back to 1988.

As for the new Silverado, there was a lot to talk about. The truck's design was cleaner yet still rugged, and a family of new V8 engines debuted, as well. Ranging in size from 4.8 liters to 6.0, these modern motors are powerhouses with horsepower and torque ratings that run from 255 horses and 285 pound-feet in the 4.8 up to 300 ponies and 355 lb-ft in the 6.0. The base V6 as well as the 6.5-liter turbodiesel remained on the engine roster. Other hardware changes and upgrades included standard four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, a "tow/haul" mode for the automatic transmission (that improves performance and prevents gear-hunting when the truck is put to work) and adjustable ride control.

As always, the GMC Sierra followed suit, with the old-style trucks called the Sierra "Classic" and the new versions continuing with the Sierra moniker.

The Silverado saw some significant upgrades for 2000, even though it was completely redesigned just one year before. A fourth "access" door was made optional for extended-cab models, the 4800 and 5300 Vortec V8s got even more powerful and a Sportside cargo box was now available on the 1500 LT.

Making a pickup truck more viable for use as a family vehicle was the new-for-2001 1500HD Crew Cab. This rig boasted four full-size doors and the big Vortec 6000 V8 under the hood. Other changes this year included the options of traction control and the OnStar system.

Not much happened in 2002 with the exception of an automatic transmission becoming standard on all extended-cab trucks and option packages being streamlined to make spec'ing out a new Silverado easier.

A new four-wheel steering option, called "Quadrasteer," debuted on the 1500HD for 2003. The serious duty trucks, the 2500HD and the 3500, got new facelifts that tied them more closely to their light-duty siblings and also sported updated taillights and body moldings. The side mirrors were updated with built-in turn signals, puddle lamps and could even have the option of power extension. Making the cabin more accommodating were the addition of dual-zone climate control, a new center console and redesigned seats. Helping to pass the time on long trips was a pair of new options — XM Satellite Radio and a DVD entertainment system. The sacred "SS" moniker returned to Chevy's pickup line later in the year. Packing the most potent version of the 6.0-liter Vortec 6000 in the stable, the SS came only in an extended-cab body style and sent its 345 horsepower and 380 pound-feet through a full-time AWD system designed more for on-road than off-road performance. Unique features such as air intakes in the front fascia, 20-inch alloy wheels and a monochromatic paint scheme set the SS apart from the other Chevy and GMC pickups.

The 1500HD was dropped in 2004, and a standard 1500 Crew Cab filled its spot in the lineup. A strippo Work Truck debuted, offering less frills and a lower price tag than the former base pickup. Moving the other way, the standard trucks received more luxury by way of standard cruise control, an upgraded sound system and more chrome trim. News on the biggies was limited to some new colors and a single-rear-wheel version of the 3500 4WD becoming available in all body styles.

1999-2006

The year 1999 was a strange one, as Chevrolet introduced its completely redesigned full-size pickup (and dubbed it Silverado) and yet still offered the "old" style C/K trucks through 2000. Due to their strong popularity and sales figures, Chevy kept the C/Ks around for those truck customers who preferred them to the new Silverado. There were now two trim levels, consisting of the no-frills base truck and luxurious LS, the latter being loaded up like the previous year's Silverado trim level. There was only one C/K 1500 model available, an LS extended cab, which came with the third door as standard. C/K 2500 and C/K 3500 versions could be had in either trim level and in standard, extended or Crew Cab body styles. A few under-the-skin changes, such as cooling system upgrades and the installment of the 7.4-liter V8's starter motor on the smaller V8 engines, improved the durability of these trucks whose basic design dated back to 1988.

As for the new Silverado, there was a lot to talk about. The truck's design was cleaner yet still rugged, and a family of new V8 engines debuted as well. Ranging in size from 4.8 liters to 6.0, these modern motors were powerhouses with horsepower and torque ratings that ran from 255 horses and 285 pound-feet in the 4.8 up to 300 ponies and 355 lb-ft in the 6.0. The base V6 as well as the 6.5-liter turbodiesel remained on the engine roster. Other hardware changes and upgrades included standard four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, a "tow-haul" mode for the automatic transmission (that improves performance and prevents gear-hunting when the truck is put to work) and adjustable ride control.

As always, the GMC Sierra followed suit, with the old-style trucks called the Sierra "Classic" and the new versions continuing with the Sierra moniker.

The Silverado saw some significant upgrades for 2000, despite the previous year's redesign. A fourth "access" door was made optional for extended-cab models, the 4800 and 5300 Vortec V8s got even more powerful and a Sportside cargo box became available on the 1500 LT.

Making a pickup truck more viable for use as a family vehicle was the new-for-2001 1500HD Crew Cab. This rig boasted four full-size doors and the big Vortec 6000 V8 under the hood. Other changes included the options of traction control and the OnStar system.

Not much happened in 2002 with the exception of an automatic transmission becoming standard on all extended-cab trucks and option packages being streamlined to make spec'ing out a new Silverado easier.

A new four-wheel-steering option, called "Quadrasteer," debuted on the 1500HD for 2003. The serious duty trucks, the 2500HD and the 3500, got new face-lifts that tied them more closely to their light-duty siblings and also sported updated taillights and body moldings. The side mirrors were updated with built-in turn signals, puddle lamps and the option of power extension. Making the cabin more accommodating were the addition of dual-zone climate control, a new center console and redesigned seats. Helping to pass the time on long trips was a pair of new options — XM Satellite Radio and a DVD entertainment system. The sacred "SS" moniker returned to Chevy's pickup line later in the year. Packing the most potent version of the 6.0-liter Vortec 6000 in the stable, the SS came only in an extended-cab body style and sent its 345 hp and 380 lb-ft through a full-time AWD system designed more for on-road than off-road performance. Unique features such as air intakes in the front fascia, 20-inch alloy wheels and a monochromatic paint scheme set the SS apart from the other Chevy and GMC pickups.

The 1500HD was dropped in 2004, and a standard 1500 Crew Cab filled its spot in the lineup. A stripped Work Truck debuted, offering fewer frills and a lower price tag than the former base pickup. Moving the other way, the standard trucks received more luxury by way of standard cruise control, an upgraded sound system and more chrome trim. News on the biggies was limited to some new colors and a single-rear-wheel version of the 3500 4WD becoming available in all body styles.

For 2005 Quadrasteer was dropped for 2WD Silverados, the base wheel was upsized to 17 inches and a sunroof became optional for extended- and crew-cab models. Sadly, rear drum brakes returned, replacing the former discs. A limited-production mild hybrid model debuted. Although it couldn't run on electric power, the hybrid featured automatic engine shutdown/startup at stops as well as four 120-volt AC power outlets and rear disc brakes.

Sporting a 345-hp 6.0-liter V8, a heavy-duty tow package and a stouter rear axle, a "VortecMAX" performance group debuted for 2006. All that brawn made the half-ton Silverado more competitive with the Nissan Titan and Hemi-equipped Dodge Ram. The Quadrasteer four-wheel-steering option was cancelled, and new sideview mirrors that could fold and extend were offered. Minor changes to the front end and trim level equipment completed the changes.

Current Generation

Huge improvements in cabin materials and overall build quality were the big highlights for the 2007 redesign of the Silverado and Sierra. The top trim levels in particular, the LTZ (Silverado) and SLT (Sierra) were handsome and the abundance of convincing wood and metallic trim gave the impression of a Cadillac.

A stronger frame and a powerful engine lineup gave the new trucks the brawn to match their rugged good looks. Those engines included a 4.3-liter V6 (195 hp, 260 lb-ft of torque), a 4.8-liter V8 (295 hp, 305 lb-ft), a 5.3-liter V8 (315 hp, 338 lb-ft) and the "Vortex Max" 6.0-liter V8 (367 hp and 375 lb-ft). A redesigned suspension and rack-and-pinion steering lent a new refinement to the trucks' ride and handling characteristics. Additionally, safety features such as stability control and side curtain airbags became available.

In what has become a GM tradition, the previous-generation versions of the Silverado and Sierra were available for one final year; they were given the "Classic" moniker.

After the massive redesign of the prior year, the 2008 Chevy Silverado received minimal changes. Satellite radio became standard while an integrated trailer brake controller became optional. The 2008 GMC Sierra received a few additional upgrades for 2008, including the option of 22-inch wheels and a flashy off-road package dubbed the Sierra All Terrain.

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