Pickup trucks have a loyal following among their owners. If your father drove a Chevy, you probably do too. And that means that some owners are biased when they are shopping. But for others buying a truck for the first time, there are a lot of things to consider. You really have to think about how you will be using it.
Luckily, the latest crop of trucks are as good at work truck duty as they are at being a commuter car. Pickups are more comfortable and more capable than ever. The Silverado is a shining example of this, featuring one of the most refined interiors in the segment, but also best-in-class towing. That combination makes it one of the pillars of the truck market.
But is it right for you? Read on to find out if Chevy’s truck is the ultimate pickup for your needs.
2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Fast Facts
Seating: 3-passenger (Single Cab), 5-passenger (Double Cab, Crew Cab) 6-passenger (Double Cab)
• Quiet/upscale interior
• Easy-to-use tech features
• Strong V8 engine option
• Great towing capacity (even increased for 2017)
• Teen Driver System Standard Equipment
• Refined ride and handling
• Iconic styling
• Super-helpful bed corner steps
• Great safety tech
• Massive size impacts front overhang visibility
• Longer bed/cab configured models are difficult to maneuver
• No rear climate control vents
• Sub-par predicted reliability
• Marginal small frontal overlap crash results
Dealmakers: Chevrolet Silvderado’s Top Lifestyle Features
The Silverado has some of the most recognizable styling in the truck segment, but it’s more than just an iconic face. The Silverado 1500 has some seriously helpful and well-thought-out features. From infotainment and safety tech to real-world utility features out back in the truck bed, it’s a truck designed with everyday usability in mind.
Dealmaker: Iconic styling
Does seeing the big split grille with the large chrome bar conjure up old Chevy Trucks “Like A Rock” ads? Chevy, like Ram, likes to go back to the well routinely for its styling. As long as a pickup has the big, squared off styling and large chrome grille, it’s instantly recognizable as a Chevy, and owners wear it like a badge of honor. Truck buyers are loyal, and if you grew up riding with your dad in an old Chevy pickup, the styling of the Silverado is like a warm blanket of nostalgia.
Dealmaker: Quiet/Upscale Interior
The cabin of the Silverado feels more like a living room than a car interior. There is plenty of head and leg room for both front and rear seat passengers. The large center console makes for a great center armrest to lean on, and it opens up to a ton of storage space. Well-equipped models have the feel of a den or man-cave, with leather, chrome, and woodgrain accents. The quality of materials and fit and finish, combined with the reduction of NVH (noise-vibration-harshness), results in an experience closer to a luxury SUV than a work truck.
Dealmaker: Easy-to-use Infotainment
The technological centerpiece of that interior is called Chevrolet MyLink. The base stereo is operated via a 4.2-inch touch screen, but you can move right up to the 7-inch MyLink touch screen which is optional on the base WT (AND TRIMS), and the 8-inch MyLink which is standard on (TRIMS). The MyLink screen features an easy to use layout, with large, easy-to-read icons that are custoizable–you simply drag the icon you want to the desired location. It also has gestures like swipe and pinch-to-zoom like on a tablet.
The MyLink screen allows you to operate the radio, Bluetooth hands-free calling, Pandora streaming radio, voice-activated phone and radio functions, navigation system and more. What’s more, many of these functions are operable via redundant tactile controls. So, if you don’t feel like futzing with the touch screen, you can fall back on the old-school buttons and knobs. MyLink also has a powerful voice-activation system that can comprehend complex commands.
MyLink also comes with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, ensuring your seamless integration of your smartphone.
Dealmaker: Incredibly Helpful Tech Features
The Silverado is also available with 4G LTE hotspot capability and wireless charging for properly equipped phones. The charging pad is located right in the middle of the center console, and couldn’t be easier to use. If your smartphone doesn’t have wireless charging, there are power ports spread throughout the cabin, including a pair of USB ports and a 110-volt wall-style power outlet located right in the front of the center console. Whether you’re charging laptops, powering up power tools, or bringing light to the campsite, the number of conveniently placed power sources makes the Silverado the ultimate platform for work or play.
Dealmaker: Teen Driver System
Handing the keys of your brand new car is quite the dilemma. You’d like them to be driving the safest car in the household, and yet there are so many opportunities for things to go wrong. Chevy tries to instill a little peace of mind with the Teen Driver system (shown above on the Chevy Malibu). Teen Driver lets the parent set limits on things like vehicle speed, radio volume, an lets the parent see how much distance the teen driver has driven.
Chevy claims this is all to “coach” teen drivers, even providing “report cards” to the parents to see if they were driving dangerously or not. Let’s face it– Teen Driver is Big Brother at its best/worst. But if your teen really wants to take out a $50,000, brand new pickup truck, it’s the price they will have to pay.
Dealmaker: Super-helpful Bed Corner Steps
Trucks have grown larger than ever, which means climbing up into the bed it not as easy as it once was. For most, climbing into the bed is as simple as throwing one foot on top of the rear wheel and swinging your other leg over the bedwall. But that method is not always an option– like if there is too much mud, snow, or ice to get a good footing. In that case, Chevrolet provides the CornerStep as standard equipment.
A step is cut into each corner, providing an indentation large enough to get the toe of a work boot in there. The genius of this feature is its simplicity. Rivals have offered a complicated step that telescope out from the tailgate once its opened, or, more commonly have power-extending steps that deploy from the sides. These are certainly helpful, but moving parts means those parts possibly breaking over time. Any time an automaker offers a simple, elegant solution where others have offered only complexity, it should be applauded.
Dealmaker: Safety Alert Seat
Automakers are ramping up in-car safety technology at a break-neck pace. Sometimes that can be overwhelming for a driver, as warnings come at you from multiple places. From steering wheels that vibrate to dashboards that light up like a Christmas Tree, it can be a little much. Chevy has come up with an incredibly intuitive method of warning you about hazards on the road…through your derriere(SP).
Chevrolet’s available Safety Alert Seat does exactly what the name says- alert you through the seat. There are buzzers on all sides of the seat, and the seat vibrates on the side of the seat that the hazard is on. Be that a blind-spot warning on the right, a lane departure on the left, a forward collision warning up front, or tripping the backup sensor to the rear. It’s a bit of a strange sensation at first, but once you get used to it, the Safety Alert Seat is astoundingly intuitive.
Dealmaker: Head-Up Display
The Silverado is available with a head-up display, which provides crucial information like vehicle speed, turn-by-turn directions, and will even display the local posted speed limit. Combined with the Safety Alert Seat, these systems remove distractions, and bring you the most important information in the most efficient possible way.
Dealmaker: EZ Lift & Lower Tailgate
If you ever see an old truck without a tailgate driving down the highway, it likely got that way from slamming the tailgate repeatedly for years, until it breaks. Chevrolet may have come up with the solution, in the form of the EZ tailgate. A rotary damper is used in the tailgate which slows the dropping motion for a nice soft landing when opening the tailgate. This should preserve the tailgate for much longer than ever before.
Dealbreakers: Chevrolet Silverado’s Worst Lifestyle Features
But it’s not all rosy for the Silverado, as its iconic styling has some downsides in the form of visibility and maneuverability. It also lacks some items that we’d expect to be basic equipment. But is that enough to sour you on the Silverado? Read on to find out.
Dealbreaker: Massive size impacts front overhang visibility
People love the styling of the Silverado, but if there’s one critique of its exterior design is an almost gratuitously squared-off shape. With the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 softening edges, the Silverado remains defiantly cubed. And the downside of this standout styling is these angles kill visibility. You can’t see much over the top of the front of the Silverado. If you’re trying to park the Silverado in the city, or anywhere that there’s a tight fit, it is made into a nail-biting experience because of the limits on the visibility.
The Silverado offers parking sensors and a backup camera, but only on the LT and up trims (optional on the LS, not available on WT). But without these features in a base model truck, you’re on your own.
Dealbreaker: Longer bed/cab configured models are difficult to maneuver
These same parking sensors and cameras are a must if you opt for one of the larger bed/cab configurations–like the crew cab standard bed or even the crew cab short bed. These configurations have massive wheelbases (143.5 in). With such a long wheelbase, even the best steering setups have their limits. If you need to make a three-point turn in a tight spot, it could easily turn into a 7-or-9-point turn. If you live in congested area or even plan on commuting to a dense area, something as simple as parking can easily become a chore after a few days.
Dealbreaker: No rear climate control vents
Doesn’t matter if you get the regular cab, double cab, or crew cab, there are no vents to bring warm or cold air to the rear seats. Those seats offer a lot of capacity and cargo (as displayed by the video above), but those vents are an commission. That means that when you jump into the back seat in the middle of winter, it will take you longer to warm up. There are no optional climate systems offered that include rear vents, so if you plan on using the Silverado as a family vehicle, just know those rear seat passengers might often be less comfortable than front seat passengers.
Dealmaker/breaker: From Basic to Bountiful with Content
The base model work truck is a no-nonsense machine for those who need just the basics and nothing more out of their truck. It’s fine not to have certain creature comforts, but at some point, it would be good to start seeing things like a backup camera on the Silverado. Right now, only the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tundra have a backup camera. But once you move up from the work truck, you have access to plenty more than just a backup camera. In fact, you have access to high end leather materials, navigation, infotainment, adjustable pedals, and a whole lot more.
Cab/Bed Configurations Offered
Among the Silverado lineup there are five cab/bed configurations, including Regular Cab/Standard Box, Regular Cab/Long Box, Double Cab/Standard Box, Crew Cab/Short Box, and Crew Cab/Standard Box. These combinations offer buyers a range of options, from the minimally sized cabin and ultimate bed size, to the passenger-focused crew cab with a smaller, but still sizable bed.
Regular Cab, Standard Box: (MSRP: $28,780)
This is your standard “single cab/short box” truck- though it’s not technically the shortest box. In the past, these have been turned into “sport trucks,” and are sometimes known as the “foreman trucks.” While they don’t have the same space as any of the other trucks on this list, inside or out, they are great if you have a small farm and only need to make short runs to the home improvement store.
Regular Cab, Long Box: (MSRP: $29,170)
If you don’t need much cabin space, but need the most available bed space, this configuration is the ultimate bed-heavy tool in the lineup. It keeps the same modest single cab, but stretches the bed out to 8 feet. This provides 76.3 cubic feet up to the bedwall. This is the classic “farm” truck configuration and will be a stout platform for any worksite.
Double Cab, Standard Box: (MSRP: $32,805)
Above the single cabin, there are the double cab and crew cab options. In the past, the size in between the single and crew cabs was the extended cab, which didn’t have doors at first (like climbing into the back of a coupe), or clamshell doors, that require the front door to be open in order to open the rear ones. The double cab design allows the rear seat passenger to enter and exit freely. This size is not as large as the full crew cab, and offers less legroom, but it offers the option of two rows that the single cab does not. If you have young children or do not have back seat passengers that much, the double cab is a great option.
Crew Cab, Short Box: (MSRP: $37,230)
The Crew Cab is the full four-door model. It has two rows with a full size rear bench, offering the most in front and rear legroom. The seats fold, providing plenty of cargo room if you need to keep items or gear out of the elements and can’t put it in the bed. This combination is with the short box, thus putting the emphasis on passengers in the cabin rather than the bed itself. It allows you to have seating for up to five and a bed, but at a bit shorter than the largest configuration, for slightly better maneuverability.
Crew Cab, Standard Box: (MSRP: $38,625)
This combines the interior space of the crew cab with a bed larger than the short box. If you need space both inside the cabin in the bed of the Silverado, this is a great option, but it will be the hardest to maneuver. There will be many folks who need the versatility and space of this configuration, but it should be noted that driving this in cities or even suburbs will be a chore. This is definitely a great option for the open spaces of the countryside.
WT: (MSRP: $28,780)
• Rear bumper CornerSteps
• Cab mounted pickup bed lamp
• Locking tailgate
• 4-speaker audio system w/ 4.2-inch color screen
• USB and auxiliary audio ports
• Single-zone manual climate control
LS: (MSRP $30,805, includes everything from WT, plus)
• Chrome front and rear bumpers
• Power adjustable heated mirror
• 7-inch MyLink touch screen
• 6-speaker audio system
• Power windows
• Remote keyless entry
• EZ Lift & Lower Tailgate
LT: (MSRP $35,055, includes everything from LS, plus)
• 17-inch bright-machined aluminum wheels
• Body color door handles
• 8-inch MyLink touch screen
• SiriusXM satellite radio
• Under-seat storage
• Leather-wrapped steering wheel
• Steering-wheel mounted audio controls
• 4.2-inch color instrument
• Panel screen
• Backup camera
LTZ: (MSRP $42,785, includes everything from LT, plus)
• Automatically locking rear differential
• External transmission oil cooler
• LED fog lamps, chrome mirror caps
• Dual-zone automatic climate control
• Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
• Leather-trimmed front seats
• Heated front seats
• Remote engine starter
High Country: (MSRP $52,545, includes everything from LTZ, plus)
• Integrated trailer brake controller
• Spray-on bedliner
• Navigation system
• Bose premium audio system
• Full leather seating
• Heated steering wheel
• Forward collision alert
• Power adjustable pedals
• Front and rear park assist
• Lane keeping assist
• Safety alert seat
In addition to these trims there’s also the popular Z71 sub-trim, available on the LT and TLZ. The LT Z71 starts at $40,475, and the LTZ Z71 starts at $47,375. This off-road package includes Z71 off-road suspension with Rancho monotube shocks, underside transfer case skid plate, hill descent control, heavy-duty automatic locking rear differential, and other visual tweaks.
Dealmaker: Power and Grace, On and Off the Road
The base engine lacks the grunt of the rest of the engine lineup, but that’s something you can expect from any truck’s base V6. Move up to either of the V8 engines and you’ve got plenty of power. And as well as they can pull, the Silverado is a smooth operator on the road. It as a surprisingly refined ride for a truck, but is more than capable on the trail as well.
Handling: A Smooth Operator
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48gIxNia2KQ (FIND NEW VIDEO)
When the Silverado was last redesigned, GM took great pains to improve the ride and handling– and it paid off. Electric power steering and four-wheel disc brakes are standard across the lineup, front springs are now stiffer, and the redesign also added twin-tube valving for the shocks. Match that with two-stage leaf-springs, and you have a package that can handle bumps and dips in the road without being two soft. “In fact,” As The Car Connection points out, “With its well-tuned ride and responsive handling, it’s perhaps the most pleasant of all the full-size trucks from the driver’s seat.” That’s a ringing endorsement.
COPY ADD MAGNETIC RIDE CONTROL (OPTIONAL ON HIGH COUNTRY)
Drivetrain: Power As An Option
Three engines are available on the Silverado 1500; a 4.3-liter V6, 5.3-liter V8, and 6.2-liter V8. As you might expect, the V6 is a little underwhelming, and might only be a viable option in the single cab/short bed, where you’re pulling the least amount of sheet metal. The 5.3 offers a good blend of performance and efficiency, and the range-topping 6.2 is a sturdy stump-puller of and engine that offers 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.
• Engine #1: 4.3L V6
• Output: 285 horsepower / 305 lb-ft of torque
• Transmission: 6-speed automatic
• Drivetrain: RWD/4WD
• Towing: TBD lbs.
• Fuel economy (RWD): 18/24/20 (city/highway/combined)
• Fuel economy (4WD): 17/22/19
• Engine #2: 5.3L V8
• Output: 355 horsepower / 383 lb-ft of torque
• Transmission: 6-speed automatic (8-speed available)
• Drivetrain: RWD/4WD
• Towing: TBD lbs.
• Fuel economy (RWD, 6AT): 16/23/19 (city/highway/combined)
• Fuel economy (4WD 6AT): 16/22/18
• Fuel economy (RWD, 8AT): 16/22/18
• Fuel economy (4WD, 8AT): 15/20/17
• Engine #3: 6.2L V8
• Output: 420 horsepower / 460 lb-ft of torque
• Transmission: 8-speed automatic
• Drivetrain: RWD/4WD
• Towing: ####-12,500 lbs.
• Fuel economy (RWD): 15/21/17 (city/highway/combined)
• Fuel economy (4WD): 15/20/17
For the 2017 model year, the largest change centers on towing, which was increased to 12,500 pounds (when properly equipped). Those are best-in-class numbers for the 1500-level class of trucks. The payload for a properly equipped Silverado 1500 is 2,250 pounds in the bed. U.S. News & World Report says of the towing capabilities: “Even pulling a heavy load, the Silverado never feels strained, particularly when equipped with one of the available V8 engines.” But they also pointed out, “The available eight-speed transmission is the better option for towing, as the standard six-speed transmission’s gear ratios aren’t ideally spaced for accelerating when pulling a trailer.”
While the Silverado 1500 has available four-wheel drive, strong engines, and the available Z71 off-road package, the sheer size of the Silverado will impact its off-road abilities. Driving off the road into a muddy field, or dirt lot will be fine, and you can bet it will power its way up rocky mountain roads, but some trails will be too narrow for the beamy 1500. Additionally, the low front bumper that helps aerodynamics will get in the way of approach angles, which is what you need to take on the truly rough stuff.
Dealmaker: Bringing the Tech
There are two major safety organizations that test road cars and publish scores. They are the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). NHTSA scores vehicles out of five stars, while the IIHS scores on a scale of Poor, Marginal, Acceptable, and Good. Additionally, the IIHS offers “Top Safety Pick” recommendations, as well as “Top Safety Pick +” for vehicles with advanced crash avoidance and mitigation features.
NHTSA Crash Test Data
|Truck||NHTSA Overall Crash Results|
|Chevrolet Silverado 1500||5/5|
|GMC Sierra 1500||5/5|
Both General Motors products and the Ford F-150 earn five stars in NHTSA crash testing. Both the Ram 1500 and Toyota Tundra earn four of five stars, while the Titan has no available score. Nissan’s full-size pickup was just redesigned and is so new that it has not yet been fully tested by NHTSA. When it is finished testing and there are results to report, we’ll add them to our safety charts.
IIHS Testing Results
The Silverado comes standard with dual-stage front and side impact airbags, head curtain and seat mounted side impact airbags, daytime runnings lights, StabiliTrak stability control, the Teen Driver system, and tire pressure monitoring system. For the backup camera, you’ll have to move up from the LT trim.The Silverado earns a Marginal score for IIHS front overlap crash testing and a Poor for headlight testing but earns the best score of Good for moderate overlap front, side, roof-strength, and head restraints testing. The marginal and poor scores prevent it from earning an IIHS Top Safety Pick.
Safety Tech: A High Tech Pickup
The Silverado gets many of the latest high-tech safety features typically found on passenger cars. This includes forward collision alert, low-speed automatic forward breaking, blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, front and rear park assist and backup camera.
Reliability: Mid-Pack Performance
The Silverado earns five starts for overall quality from J.D. Power. It also earns four stars for overall performance and design, and a middle-of-the road three-out-of-five stars for predicted reliability. Chevrolet instills some peace of mind with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Tiebreakers: Comparing the Silverado 1500 to the Competition
The truck market is one of the most hotly contested markets in the automotive work. The one-upsmanship that goes on is seldom found anywhere else in the industry, with automakers routinely updating pickups for marginal power and towing gains so they can claim “Best-in-class,” even for a year. No matter which truck you select, it will be large, spacious, and supremely capable. What sets them apart are the styling, packaging and features unique to each entry in the market.
GMC Sierra (MSRP $27,815-$54,640)
The Sierra is the GMC equivalent of the Silverado. They are built on the same platform, offer much of the same mechanicals, and even have similar styling. You’d think it would be simply a matter of choice, but despite the Sierra being positioned as the luxury truck option, pricing is relatively the same.
Silverado vs Sierra:
• Same engines, options and tech features
• Bolder styling, but still a matter of opinion
• Quieter, more comfortable, better option as a daily driver
Learn more about the Sierra here.
Ford F-150 (MSRP $26,540-$63,025)
Aluminum. This is what separates the F-150 from the rest. It’s extensive use of military grade aluminum keeps weight down, which allows it to use turbocharged V6s to much of the work previously demanded of a V8. Other automakers have criticized this choice, claiming it will dent more easily and repairs will be expensive. There have been mixed reviews of the Sync 3 infotainment system.
Silverado vs F-150:
• Aluminum keeps weight down, but body repair bills could run up
• More pedestrian cabin than Silverado
• Sync 3 improvement over previous Ford infotainment, but not as good as Chevy MyLink
Learn more about the Ford F-150 here.
Nissan Titan (MSRP $36,290-$61,960)
Up until last year, the Nissan Titan had become long in the tooth, and mostly and afterthought in the truck market, but Nissan reinvented its full-size pickup, positioning it as something between a 1500 level and 2500/3500-level vehicle. It’s starting out in upper level trims, and upper level engines, thus keeping the price high until lower-level trims are offered.
Silverado vs Titan:
• Only truck to offer a diesel V8
• More expensive than other trucks
• Tons of cool, useful features for truck bed
Learn more about the Titan here.
Ram 1500 (MSRP $26,395-$53,375)
The Ram 1500 is one of the first trucks a few years ago that sort of gave up on trying to win the work truck battle, and instead made its 1500-level truck a supremely capable vehicle for families and commuters. Its multi-link rear suspension makes it one of the smoothes trucks to drive, and its cabin is upscale and loaded with clever features.
Silverado vs Ram:
• Best infotainment in the class
• Smoothest ride in the class
• Only truck to offer a diesel V6
Learn more about the Ram 1500 here.
Toyota Tundra (MSRP $29,140-$49,580)
The Tundra features big, bold styling and really spacious seats on the Double Cab and CrewMaX models, and it even has a solid infotainment system. But the Tundra is held back by poor fuel economy, a rough ride, and styling that not everyone has fallen in love with.
Silverado vs Tundra:
• Good infotainment system, but lacks Apple CarPlay support
• Extremely roomy CrewMax model
• Poor fuel economy
Learn more about the Tundra here.
Should I Buy a Chevrolet Silverado 1500?
Every truck offers power and capability, but the Silverado goes a step forward, with a welcoming, upscale cabin that uses great materials. Of all the trucks we’ve tested, the Silverado (And GMC Sierra) cabin actually feels familiar when we get back in it. Buttons and controls are everywhere we expect them to be, and the cubbies and cup holders are incredibly spacious.
So Which to Buy?
• If you love comfortable interiors: Silverado/Sierra, Titan, Ram
• If you require a truck with good fuel economy: Ford F-150, Ram (EcoDiesel)
• If you want the latest safety and infotainment tech: Silverado/Sierra
• If you must have the most towing capacity: Silverado/Sierra
• If you’re on a tight budget: F-150
Dealmakers vs. Dealbreakers Final Tally
Dealmaker: Great infotainment
Dealmaker: Strong V8 engine options
Dealmaker: Best-in-class towing
Dealmaker: Familiar styling
Dealmaker: Refined ride and handling
Dealmaker: Helpful rear CornerStep
Dealmaker: Latest safety tech
Dealmaker: Helpful EZ-lift tailgate
Dealmaker: Head-up display and SafetyAlert seat reduce distractions
Dealbreaker: Longer bed/cab configurations hard to maneuver
Dealbreaker: Big front end results in tough overhang visibility
Dealbreaker: No rear climate control vents
Dealbreaker: “Meh” predicted reliability
Dealbreaker: Marginal front overlap crash results
Final Tally: +5
Market Average: +4.6
For many, their choice in truck is hereditary– if pop drove a Chevy, you’ll drive one too. But many shoppers are coming into trucks for the first time, and aren’t as familiar with trucks. What they Silverado offers to those newcomers is a refinement and ride quality that will rival their family sedan. And while its large size might be a lot to handle, the Silverado offers a lot of safety features like parking sensors and lane departure warning to manage that size. For pickup truck veterans, the Silverado offers styling that is fully fresh but linked to the past, and best-in-class towing that cannot be surpassed (for now).