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The Silverado is clearly a front-runner pickup, with user-friendly tech, amenities and engines with great prowess

Good stuff

Refined interior (finally), excellent off-road capability, tons of engines and trim levels

Bad stuff

Not the prettiest truck, best tech costs a lot of money, no EV variant (yet)

Overview

What is it?

The Chevrolet Silverado simply screams Americana; it’s a Bruce Springsteen song in truck form. It’s also Chevy’s best-selling product by a country mile and is one of the finest full-size pickups on sale today, ugly schnoz and all.

Chevy sells beefier Silverado Heavy Duty models that compete with Ford’s Super Duty pickups and Ram’s HD line, but those are significantly different animals designed for serious truck buyers with serious truck needs. Here, we’ll focus on the Silverado 1500 – or half-ton, if you’re into trucky talk – which makes up the majority of sales.

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Does it come in lots of configurations?

Yep, and that’s what truck buyers want. You can get the Silverado as a two-door Regular Cab, a Double Cab with a slightly larger rear seat and back doors, or a Crew Cab, which has the most space for passengers (it’s huge inside).

Where things get tricky is when you start to pair bed lengths with body styles. There’s an eight-foot bed; a six-foot, six-inch bed; and a five-foot, eight-inch bed. But not all of them can be fitted across the board. The eight-foot bed is exclusive to the Regular Cab, and the five-foot, eight-inch bed is reserved for the Double and Crew Cabs. Unless you’re hauling massive objects on the regular, definitely stick with one of the shorter truck bed options – they’re still plenty capacious, and goodness gracious, so much easier to park.

Are there just as many engine options?

More, actually. Chevy will sell you a Silverado with one of four engines: a 2.7-liter turbo inline-four, a 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-six, a 5.3-liter V8, or a 6.2-liter V8. The 2.7 is matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission while all the others get Chevy’s slick 10-speed autobox.

Just like its beds, the Silverado’s engines can’t be selected on a whim. If you're going for a Regular Cab, you're locked into either the 2.7-liter I4 or 5.3-liter V8. The Double Cab adds the 3.0-liter diesel I6 to the lineup, while the 6.2-liter V8 is only offered with the Crew Cab. 

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At least every engine can be paired with either two- or four-wheel drive. Though that also depends on trim level, and that list differs for each cab style. Sheesh. The power of choice, eh?

Is there an electric one like the Ford F-150 Lightning?

There will be soon. Chevy says the Silverado EV will be on sale by the end of 2023, and should have a fully electric driving range of up to 450 miles. Impressive.

In the meantime, however, Chevy doesn’t offer any kind of electrified Silverado. No hybrid tech here.

How’s it handle macho truck stuff?

The Silverado can tow anywhere between 8,800 and 13,300 pounds, and it all comes down to which body style, bed length, and drivetrain you choose. It's not necessarily the obvious choice, either. The weakest Silverado is the Crew Cab with the short bed, 6.2-liter V8, and four-wheel drive. The strongest version, meanwhile, is the DoubleCab with the 3.0-liter diesel I6, short bed, and two-wheel drive.

A quick word about towing: just because a truck can haul 13,300 pounds, that doesn't always mean it should. If you honestly need to pull trailers of that size on the regular, your needs might be better suited by one of Chevy's heavy-duty Silverados. On the other end, if you're only going to be towing 4,000 or 5,000 pounds, do you really need a Silverado at all? Chevy's smaller pickup, the Colorado, is far easier to live with everyday.

Will it off-road?

It definitely will. And once again, there are trim levels that come with varying levels of off-road capability. There's the Trail Boss that has a lifted suspension, or the ZR2, which is much more hardcore in its go-anywhere ability, with sophisticated Multimatic shocks and beefy all-terrain tires.

But if you really want to hit the outdoors hard, go for the ZR2 Bison. This gets you all of the standard ZR2 off-road kit, plus the 6.2-liter V8 engine, unique wheels, heavy-duty bumpers, skid plates, and rocker protectors, all made specifically for the Silverado by American off-road upfitter AEV. It also looks cool as hell.

How much does all this trucky goodness cost?

You can't get into a Silverado for less than $42,745, including a lofty $1,895 destination fee. On the high end, you're looking at $82,080 for a Silverado ZR2 Bison, with a myriad trim levels offered in between.

The sweet spot of the lineup is somewhere in the middle, unless you simply must have the biggest, baddest, most extreme version of the Silverado possible. Something like the trusty Silverado LT, sporty-ish Silverado RST, or somewhat luxurious Silverado LTZ should tick the right boxes. Unfortunately, Chevy’s totally awesome Super Cruise driver-assistance tech – which will legitimately let you drive hands-free on hundreds of thousands of miles of pre-mapped highways – is reserved for the Silverado High Country, which will set you back at least $70,000.

Hang on, isn’t there also a GMC?

Look at you, smart-o. Chevy’s corporate twin, GMC, sells pretty much the exact same pickup as the Sierra 1500. The only real differences are styling, and the Sierra offers a mega-fancy Denali variant that’s chromed out to the max. We think the Sierra looks a whole lot better, but overall, you’re splitting hairs.

What's the verdict?

Chevy has made continuous improvements to the Silverado over the years, and because of that, it's finally on its A game

Chevy has made continuous improvements to the Silverado’s powertrains, cabin quality, and roster of tech over the years, and because of that, this truck is finally on its A game. A choice of four-, six-, and eight-cylinder engines gives the Silverado great prowess for on-road and off-road activities alike, and it’s a truck that’s really quite nice to drive – by full-size pickup standards, anyway.

User-friendly multimedia tech, lots of plush amenities, and one of the best hands-free driver-assistance systems on sale today round out the Silverado’s list of attributes. And while this truck isn’t perfect – it’s not particularly pretty and there are some weird option packaging decisions – it’s clearly a front-runner among pickups.

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