It’s rare that the Silverado, Chevy’s best-selling vehicle, enters a new model year without some type of improvement. This year, other than a freshened grille and new front and rear bumpers, the Silverado is carried over largely unchanged. Like most modern pickups, the Silverado is infinitely customizable. There are three cab styles — the largest being the four-door crew cab that can seat up to six — and three bed sizes measuring up to eight feet long. The Silverado has five engines to choose from — more than any of its competitors — ranging from a 195-hp V-6 to a 403-hp, 6.2-liter V-8. All but the base V-6 are mated to a six-speed automatic. The midlevel 5.3-liter V-8 (offered with either an iron or aluminum block) also gets Active Fuel Management, which improves fuel economy by shutting down four of eight cylinders when the engine is under light loads. For those who want to save even more at the pump and don’t need to tow more than 5900 pounds, the Silverado Hybrid has V-8 power and the fuel economy of a V-6. Its 6.0-liter V-8 produces 332 hp and 367 lb-ft of torque and achieves 20 mpg in the city and 23 on the highway. Inside accommodations are decent but fairly basic and can be upgraded slightly by choosing the top LTZ model. It includes a unique instrument panel and door panels, heated ten-way power front leather seats, and Bose speakers. Still, if you put an emphasis on interior style or refinement, you may want to look at the Ram or even the Ford F-150. On the other hand, if capability takes precedent, the Silverado will not disappoint.
Drive: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim Levels: WT, LS, LT, LTZ, XFE, Hybrid
Body style: Pickup, 2- to 6-passenger
Engines: 4.3L V-6, 195 hp, 260 lb-ft (E85 capable)
4.8L V-8, 302 hp, 305 lb-ft (E85 capable)
5.3L V-8, 315 hp, 335 lb-ft (iron or aluminum block; E85 capable)
6.0L V-8/electric hybrid, 332 hp, 367 lb-ft
6.2L V-8, 403 hp, 417 lb-ft (E85 capable)
Transmissions: 4- or 6-speed automatic, continuously variable
Capacities: Towing 5900-10,700 lb; payload 1519-1980 lb
For 2012, the Silverado receives a slight makeover with a new grille and front and rear bumpers. LS, LT, and LTZ models get new standard wheels. Electronic trailer-sway control and hill-start assist are now included with the standard stability and traction control systems. The navigation system has an updated radio with a built-in 80-gig hard drive, the ability to pause and rewind live broadcasts, and the option to upgrade to SiriusXM weather service.
ABS and front, side, and side curtain air bags are standard for the driver and front passenger. Stability and traction control are standard and include an electronic trailer-sway control system and hill-start assist. Tire-pressure monitoring is also standard. A rear backup camera and an integrated trailer-brake controller are optional.
All: 13-20 mpg city/18-23 mpg highway
- Configurations for every application
- Standard trailer-sway control
- Six-speed optional on V-6
- Interior is a step below the competition’s
Configurations and capability to suit any need, but lacks interior refinement.
- Ford F-150
- GMC Sierra
- Nissan Titan
- Ram 1500