2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Review
Pros & Cons
- Quick acceleration and strong towing and hauling ability, thanks to available V8 engines
- front seats are comfortable for long drives
- cabin is pleasingly quiet at highway speeds.
- Ride quality isn't as smooth as in other trucks
- V8's superior eight-speed automatic is available only on upper trims.
Edmunds' Expert Review
A wide range of body styles, an impressive interior and a lineup of powerful and fuel-efficient engines make the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado a solid choice in the full-size pickup class.
While Chevrolet's new Bolt electric vehicle gets more attention from the press and the Camaro sports car is more eye-catching, it is Chevy's line of pickup trucks that keeps the lights on at the Detroit headquarters. Of these, the full-size 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is undoubtedly the most important. Chevy sells hundreds of thousands of them each year, and depending on how it's equipped, it can range from being a simple business workhorse to a luxury-based suburban assault vehicle ferrying the kids to school each morning.
Considering that Ford fully redesigned the F-150 last year, it's no surprise to see Chevy giving the Silverado its own list of upgrades for 2016. On the outside, there's a lightly refreshed exterior with a trim-specific grille, a revised hood and LED accent lighting. On LTZ and High Country models, the 5.3-liter V8 can now be ordered with an eight-speed automatic in lieu of the standard six-speed. Upgrades to the interior are mostly focused on the technology front. Optional on the Work Truck and included on the LS trim is a 7-inch touchscreen with smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. When a compatible phone is connected, the touchscreen imitates the phone's interface so users can easily access popular applications and controls without using their phone directly. The 8-inch screen on the upper trim levels also gets CarPlay functionality, while Android Auto comes later in the model year by way of a software update.
These additional features complement what was already a very capable and enjoyable light-duty full-size pickup. The seats and ride are comfortable, with road and wind noise kept to a minimum. All engines produce performance numbers that are competitive with the segment, although the upgraded V8 makes the Silverado one of the quickest in its class. And the Z71 package truly transforms the truck into a seriously capable off-roader.
As good as the Silverado is, though, it doesn't do much to take the pickup game to the next level. The 2016 Ford F-150's extensive use of high-strength aluminum makes it much lighter, and its turbocharged six-cylinder engines feel faster than the numbers suggest. The 2016 Ram 1500 continues to impress with its comfortable ride (thanks in part to its unique coil spring rear suspension) and a fuel-sipping diesel engine. Another option this year is the 2016 Nissan Titan XD, which straddles the line between light-duty and heavy-duty trucks because of its torquey diesel V8 engine.
Alternately, you can step up to the mechanically related 2016 GMC Sierra if you like the Silverado but want a slightly richer interior ambience. But in the big picture these are all really nice trucks. It's easy to recommend the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado considering its all-around proficiencies.
2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 models
The 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 full-size pickup is available in three cab styles: two-door regular cab, four-door extended ("Double") cab and crew cab. The regular cab seats three and can be had with either a 6-foot, 6-inch standard bed or an 8-foot long bed. The extended cab can seat up to six and comes only with the 6-foot-6 bed. The crew cab adds full-size rear doors and increased rear-seat legroom and is available with the 6-foot-6 bed or a 5-foot, 8-inch short bed. All cab/cargo bed configurations can be ordered with two- or four-wheel drive.
Regular cabs are limited to the Work Truck (WT), LS and LT trims. The extended cabs come in WT, LT, LS and LTZ trims, while the crew cab comes in all the aforementioned trim levels, plus the Silverado Custom (it's similar to the LS) and plush High Country. The off-road-oriented Z71 can be ordered in LT and LTZ models with four-wheel drive.
The WT comes with 17-inch steel wheels, xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, a bed light, tinted glass, air-conditioning, cruise control, power door locks, a tilt-only steering column, a driver information display, vinyl seating, rubber floor covering, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, a 4.2-inch color audio display, a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.
Standard equipment changes slightly depending on cab configuration. Extended cab models get a full-width folding rear bench, while crew cabs have a 60/40-split folding bench. Extended and crew cab models get power windows and a six-speaker audio system, while regular cabs get manually operated windows and a four-speaker system. Front tow hooks are standard with four-wheel-drive models.
An upgraded infotainment system is available with a 7-inch touchscreen, Chevrolet's MyLink interface, OnStar (with 4G LTE and WiFi), smartphone compatibility via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity, voice controls and the six-speaker sound system (for regular cab models).
The LS adds stainless steel finish wheels, chrome bumpers and grille, power and heated mirrors, deep-tinted glass, power windows, keyless entry and the upgraded infotainment system. The Silverado Custom is similar to the LS but receives special exterior trim and 20-inch alloy wheels.
From the LS, stepping up to the LT adds an "E-Z" lift/lower tailgate, alloy wheels, body-colored door handles and mirrors, cloth upholstery (with adjustable lumbar support for the driver), carpeting, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, an upgraded driver information display and an 8-inch touchscreen with HD radio, satellite radio, a CD player and Apple CarPlay (Android Auto comes later in the model year).
The LTZ adds the 5.3-liter V8 engine, chrome trim, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, LED foglights and taillights, a heavy-duty locking rear differential, front tow hooks, a trailer hitch, remote starting, a security system, power folding mirrors, an auto-dimming driver mirror, a power sliding rear window with defogger, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, a 110-volt power outlet, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated eight-way power driver and passenger front seats with two-way adjustable lumbar and driver seat memory settings.
The luxe High Country includes a unique grille, 20-inch chrome wheels, front and rear parking sensors, cargo box tie-downs, a spray-on bedliner, a seven-speaker Bose audio system, a navigation system, ventilated front bucket seats with four-way power lumbar, second-row floor mats, wireless phone charging and a navigation system.
The Z71 package, which is available for the LT or LTZ with 4WD, features off-road-oriented hardware such as special shock absorbers, a heavy-duty air cleaner, hill descent control, underbody shields, recovery hooks and a few unique exterior and interior styling tweaks.
Many of the features on the upper trim levels are offered on the lower ones as packages or stand-alone options, while other available features (depending on the trim level and configuration) include various axle ratios, off-road-oriented tires, larger wheels, a power sunroof, side step rails, LED cargo box lights, parking sensors, power-adjustable pedals, a navigation system, a rear under-seat storage bin and a rear seat entertainment system with a DVD/Blu-ray player. Notably, the Max Trailering package features an integrated trailer-brake controller, heavier-duty suspension calibration and a higher-capacity radiator.
Another key option group is the Enhanced Driver Alert package that features a lane-departure warning and prevention system, automatic high beam control, forward collision alert, a safety alert seat and front and rear parking sensors.
There are also the All Star Edition and Texas Edition option packages, whose highlights (depending on the package) include 20-inch wheels, one of the available towing groups, remote starting, a power driver seat, a rearview camera and, of course, unique badging. Available on all but the High Country, the Cargo Convenience package includes a spray-on bedliner, movable upper cargo tie-downs and a cargo management system.
Performance & mpg
Standard on all but the LTZ and High Country trims is a 4.3-liter V6 with 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. It comes matched to a six-speed automatic transmission and either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. The EPA's fuel economy estimates stand at 20 mpg combined (18 city/24 highway) for two-wheel drive. With 4WD, EPA estimates drop slightly to 19 mpg combined (17/22). In Edmunds testing, a Silverado 1500 2WD Regular Cab in Work Truck trim took 7.7 seconds to sprint from zero to 60 mph.
The 5.3-liter V8, which is standard on the LTZ and High Country and optional on other Silverados, makes 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. On WT, LS and LT trims, it is matched to a six-speed automatic, but can be paired to an eight-speed auto in LTZ and High Country models depending on the configuration. With rear-wheel drive, the EPA says Silverados with the 5.3-liter V8 and six-speed will achieve 19 mpg combined (16 city/23 highway). With 4WD they rate 18 mpg combined (16/22). Oddly, figures for the eight-speed fall slightly, with 2WD Silverados earning 18 mpg combined (16/22), and 4WD models rated at 17 mpg combined (15/21). In Edmunds testing, a 2WD Silverado 1500 LT Z71 Crew Cab with the 5.3-liter V8 and six-speed went from zero to 60 in 6.8 seconds.
Optional on the LTZ and High Country trims is a 6.2-liter V8 paired to the eight-speed automatic. It develops 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. Trucks with the 6.2 V8 earn an EPA rating of 17 mpg combined (15 city/21 highway) with either 2WD or 4WD. A 4WD LTZ Z71 Crew Cab made the 0-60 run in just 5.9 seconds, a blistering time for a truck this large.
Depending on cab and bed configuration, maximum towing capacity with the V6 tops out at 7,600 pounds. A Silverado 1500 with the 5.3-liter V8 and Max Trailering package can tow up to 11,100 pounds, while the 6.2-liter V8 with the package can tow 12,000 pounds. Maximum payload for the V6 is rated at 1,960 pounds. Properly equipped, the 5.3 liter V8 carries up to 2,260 pounds, while the 6.2-liter falls to 2,140 pounds.
Standard safety features on the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. Also standard on all trim levels except the Work Truck is OnStar, which includes services such as automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and stolen vehicle assistance.
Options include a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors and the Enhanced Driver Alert package. This suite of driver aids adds a lane departure warning and intervention system, a forward collision warning system and the Safety Alert seat that buzzes the driver seat bottom as an additional form of warning.
In government crash tests, the Silverado earned a perfect overall five-star rating, with five stars awarded for both total frontal-impact and side-impact protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Silverado earned the top rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal offset crash test.
During Edmunds' braking test, a 2WD Silverado Regular Cab came to a stop from 60 mph in 122 feet, a very short stopping distance for a full-size pickup. A heavier and larger Silverado Crew Cab 2WD came to a stop from 60 mph in 128 feet, still a few feet shorter than average.
The 2016 Chevrolet Silverado's standard V6 engine provides more than enough power for most simple tasks. As you'd expect, the 5.3-liter V8 delivers even more thrust with good manners, though there's still a bit of vibration during hard acceleration. More seamless than ever, however, is the 5.3-liter engine's fuel-saving cylinder deactivation system, which swaps between V8 and V4 modes invisibly.
The six-speed automatic transmission provides smooth and timely gearchanges in normal driving. However, we've noticed that there's still too big a gap between the transmission's gear ratios when towing near the maximum. For those who need to tow and don't mind stepping up to the LTZ or High Country trims, the 5.3-liter V8 with the eight-speed is a happy compromise. If you don't need the kind of luxury accoutrements those trims afford but still want a worry-free towing experience, the Max Trailering package does just fine. In the past, we used a Silverado in this configuration to tow a trailer with an 8,600-pound load, and there was plenty of reserve grunt.
Overall ride and handling dynamics are some of the best available in any full-size truck. The 2016 Chevy Silverado 1500 feels robust structurally, yet most versions are compliant and comfortable over broken pavement. Take note, though, that the ride is noticeably stiffer on trucks with the Max Trailering package. The Silverado earns an Edmunds.com "B" rating, and one of the areas it scores highest in is quietness. Road and wind noise are minimal, even at highway speeds. In our long-term test of a Silverado 1500, we found this truck extremely livable for daily commuting and long road trips alike.
Given its size and focus on utility, the Chevy isn't exactly agile around turns, and there's plenty of body lean if you push it harder. But in normal driving it feels confident, and the steering is well-weighted. Off-road, the Silverado exhibits excellent composure when bouncing around on rocky trails.
Inside, all versions of the Chevy Silverado have high-quality materials, and we've been impressed by the build quality in all the trucks we've tested. There are numerous bins and cubbies, a deluge of cupholders and enough USB ports to keep all your devices charged and happy. Both touchscreen infotainment interfaces feature straightforward menus and effective voice commands. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are even easier to use because they effectively ape the respective smartphone interfaces that users are already familiar with.
With a choice of bench or buckets up front (depending on trim level), as well as available heating, ventilation and adjustable lumbar support, the Silverado's thickly padded seats promise plenty of long-trip comfort. If you go with the crew cab, you'll find a vast cabin with ample head-, leg- and shoulder room for all occupants. In addition, the current Silverado is better insulated from noise than ever before, and city potholes and grooved highway pavement seldom intrude on the cabin's calm. Finally, clambering into the cargo bed is made easier by clever steps and handholds built into each rear corner.