Selling pickup trucks is a heady business. Year after year, the vehicles remain the top selling four wheeled machines in the world. Whether you’re looking at automotive industry bellwethers like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds, the kings on the showroom floors annually are pickup trucks.
The undisputed champion right now is the Ford F-150 – the top selling consumer ride in the world. Whether for individual consumers, fleet services or construction crews, Ford sells an F-150 so often two or three sold while you were reading these last two paragraphs.
However, ranking just behind the F-150, the Chevrolet Silverado knocks on the door — #2 in this sort of America’s Top 40 of moving metal.
Chevrolet seems to have one distinct advantage when it comes to its eternal war with Ford. The words Chevy and pickup seem to go together most easily via pop culture and advertising. The Silverado is the top of Chevrolet’s truck models, offering four complete trim packages elevating in features and price: The 1500, 2500 HD, 3500 HD and 3500 HD Chassis Cab.
To keep its spot high atop the sales rankings, the Silverado has to be powerful, capable, reliable, technologically up to date and comfortable. There can be no compromise, and a failure in any of those categories could mean doom and a capitulation to the F-150.
After a week long test drive, it’s clear that Chevy in on their game and accomplishing that challenging, all-encompassing mission.
The top three trims are more for traditional consumer use, with the Chassis Cab directed at contractors, construction works and other utility uses. All trims employ some version of the Chevrolet EcoTec3 engines.
Whether V6 or V8, the EcoTec’s fit into the modern era of performance engines. With the exception of the electric play time nonsense and the gas/electric hybrids aiding a combustion engine with part time battery power, the majority of mass produced engines are going to smaller blocks, lighter materials, high compression and turbocharger assist.
Chevy’s versions use Active Fuel Management, Direct Fuel Injection and continuously Variable Valve Timing to maintain the necessary horsepower and torque while keeping mpg in check.
- The 4.3 liter V6 offers 305 lb-ft. of torque and 18 city/24 highway mpg.
- The 5.3 liter V8 posts 355 horsepower, 383 lb-ft. of torque and 16 city/23 highway mpg.
- The 6.2 liter V8 packs 420 horsepower, 12,000 lb. trailering capacity and 460 lb-ft. of torque.
With all that power and bulk beneath the driver, a buyer might expect the Silverado to seem lumbering, clumsy or harsh. While the Chevy pickups of old might’ve fell victim to understeer and sensations of either floating over the road or bouncing along inside the pavement, the modern suspension of the Silverado allows the pickup to feel like a much smaller vehicle while in motion. Its entirely manageable whether the driver is a veteran of larger vehicles or not.
Inside the cockpit, buyers find all of the creature comforts, infotainment necessities and safety features available in any Chevrolet vehicle. While those bangs and whistles increase or decrease with trim, there’s never a sense that the driver is stuck in something more primitive than a Chevy car.
The Silverado will go on chasing the F-150 through the automotive seasons, but the minds behind it put together an impressive pile of truck in their own right.