2017 Chevrolet Silverado
The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is smooth and comfortable, with crisp looks and squared off shoulders. Like its competitors, Silverado is available in a choice of body styles, powertrains and models.
For 2017, Silverado has no significant changes. The current models was launched for 2014. 2015 and 2016 models featured minor changes. Styling was freshened for 2016, most noticeably using updated single headlights in place of the stacked headlights on 2014-2015 models. Distinctive grille designs for each trim level were updated for 2016, along with a more sculpted hood, LED parking lights.
New features available on 2016 Silverado 1500 models include a remote locking tailgate, power-articulating assist steps, Android Auto capability, wireless phone charging, high-beam assist, and Lane Keep Assist.
Silverado 1500 competes with Ram 1500, Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan, and GMC Sierra 1500. Silverado and Sierra differ mainly in appearance and trim. Silverado looks sportier and more adventurous, Sierra looks classier and more conservative.
With their large engines and steel bodies and structure, the GM pickups are more traditional than the Ford F-150, built with extensive use of aluminum and small, turbo engines.
The Silverado boasts a refined, comfortable interior, boatloads of technology, and the aforementioned smooth ride. Its boxy styling complements that of the 2500 HD versions.
Three engines, called EcoTec3, are available: The 4.3-liter V6 is rated at 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque and comes with a 6-speed automatic. The 5.3-liter V8 is rated 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque, with a 6-speed automatic standard and an 8-speed automatic on upper models. The 6.2-liter V8 is rated 420 hp, 460 lb-ft of torque, and comes with the 8-speed. Though traditional in size, these engines are all-aluminum, with the latest in direct injection and variable valve timing.
An 8-speed automatic transmission is available for more models than previously, including the 2016 Silverado High Country and LTZ with the 5.3-liter engine. The 8-speed features a wider ratio spread than that of the 6-speed: The 8-speed has a numerically higher first gear to help when starting off with a trailer or a heavy load, and it has a numerically lower rear axle ratios, which reduce engine rpm at highway speeds. EPA-estimated fuel economy doesn’t improve, but being able to go lower and higher, with more choices in between, is theoretically better in the real world.
Best fuel economy is the 4.3-liter V6 with an EPA-rated 18/24 mpg City/Highway. The 5.3-liter V8 is rated 16/23 mpg with the 6-speed automatic, 16/22 with the 8 speed. The 6.2-liter rates 15/21 mpg.
A Silverado 1500 with the 6.2-liter offers up to 12,000 pounds of towing capacity, though we’d recommend a Silverado 2500 for trailers anywhere close to that weight.
Trailer sway control, an integrated trailer brake controller, hill start assist, and, of course, rearview cameras make towing trailers easier. Stabilitrak electronic stability control and an automatic locking rear differential improve handling stability when driving an empty truck in the rain.
Silverado floors seem lower than those of most of the other trucks, so getting in and out of a Silverado often seems easier and lifting heavy sacks of feed into the bed is easier.
2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 models come in Regular Cab, Double Cab, and Crew Cab versions, with a choice of bed lengths. Powertrains: 4.3-liter V6 with 6-speed automatic, 5.3-liter V8 with 6- or 8-speed automatic, 6.2-liter V8 with 8-speed automatic. Four-wheel drive (4WD) and rear-wheel drive (2WD) are available.
Silverado 1500 has squared-off lines and imposing shoulders and rides as high as a Silverado 2500.
High-intensity headlights with LED signature come standard on WT, LS, LT trim levels; LEDs with LED signature are used on LTZ and High Country.
Crew Cabs have large rear doors that make getting in and out easier, with enough space to comfortably swing feet through. Double Cab extended-cab models use doors that hinge in front, and they offer usable space for rear passengers.
Beds come in 8-foot, 5-foot, 8-inch, and 6-foot, 6-inch lengths. Slots cut into the corners of the rear bumper make stepping up to grab something out of the bed easier.
The Chevrolet Silverado interiors seem nicer and more comfortable than those found in the Toyota Tundra. Soft-touch surfaces are used near controls. Large knobs make it easy to control basic functions. Chevrolet MyLink offers Apple CarPlay capability, with 7-inch touchscreens standard, 8-inch on upper models.
Noise levels are comparable to those in SUVs.
Silverado High Country is the top model, with upgraded leather and wood trim and other features.
The Chevy Silverado feels like the smoothest and most carlike of the full-size pickups. Responsive handling makes it enjoyable to drive. All models come with four-wheel antilock discs and electric steering.
The 4.3-liter V6 runs smoothly, with no trouble merging or tackling steep grades. It’s rated 285 hp and 305 foot-pounds of torque. It works fine for light duty at sea level.
The 5.3-liter V8 accelerates quickly, with 355 hp and 383 foot-pounds of torque, and eight-speed automatic. Maximum towing capacity with the 5.3-liter V8 is 11,500 pounds. (Above 9,000, however, we’d be more comfortable in a Silverado 2500.)
The 6.2-liter V8 boasts 420 hp with and 460 foot-pounds of torque. A Silverado High Country with the 6.2-liter is rated to tow up to 12,000 pounds.
Cylinder deactivation is used by all three engines: Only four cylinders are fired when gliding along for better fuel efficiency. All three engines are lightweight all-aluminum, with continuously variable valve timing and direct fuel injection.
The transmissions, 6-speed and 8-speed, operate smoothly. Fuel efficiency is not improved with the 8-speed, but in theory it is more flexible in different driving situations.
Chevrolet Silverado offers a smooth ride, solid engines, and excellent capability. We recommend the 5.3-liter V8 for its all-around capability. The V6 delivers fuel efficiency, while the 6.2-liter V8 delivers stronger power.
Mitch McCullough, editor-in-chief, New Car Test Drive, contributed to this report, with staff reports by The Car Connection.