Acceleration of the Vortec 5.3-liter is quite good, but still not as quick as that of the stronger Hemi-powered Dodge Ram. The V-8 engines (4.8L, 5.3L, 6.0L) are common throughout GM offerings, and derivations have powered past Chevrolet Corvettes.
The torquey Silverado V-6 helps the truck achieve a tow rating higher than that of all competitors' six-cylinder models. However, the V-6 isn't powerful enough to be offered with the heavier crew cab.
The most sporting player in the Silverado lineup is the pricey, all-wheel-drive Super Sport (SS), whose high-output 6.0-liter delivers 345 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque. A rear-wheel-drive version will soon join the lineup.
Most Silverado buyers make do with the four-speed automatic transmission (a five-speed isn't available in the 1500), while a gas-saving five-speed manual comes standard in a few models (mostly six-cylinders) and isn't offered in the light-duty crew cabs.
Behind the wheel
The Silverado provides its driver with a commanding seating position. On the road, this truck is unintimidating and easy to drive, with a number of carlike characteristics. Four-wheel-drive, Z71-optioned trucks are also extremely capable off-road when put to the test.
Ride quality is predictably trucklike and rough at times, and overall refinement lags behind that of the Nissan Titan and Ford F-150. The Silverado still does a very good job of achieving its intended hard-working mission, but is showing its age when compared with newer competitors.
The half-ton Silverado 1500 is a good fit for nearly all private use, with three cab configurations, several powerplants, numerous equipment grades, and proven ownership value. Due to their variety, it's more important with trucks than cars to find the right combination for your needs, as overdoing it will cost upfront, at the pump, and possibly in the resale.
Properly equipped, the Silverado scores middle-of-the-road for the key truck factors, such as payload and towing capacity. (If these numbers don't matter to you, then consider a smaller truck, or even an SUV.) Beware that options can quickly drive the price of a Silverado to over $35,000. Deals abound, however, as sales managers we've spoken to say that thousands off the sticker price is not uncommon on well-equipped examples. Beyond purchase price, a key factor in full-size truck ownership today is the impact of elevated fuel prices, especially with real-world mileage falling in the teens for a V-8-powered pickup. The Silverado's fuel economy is on par with its competitors'. While being mindful of not choosing a bigger engine than necessary, note that the 4.8L V-8 matches the V-6 in the EPA mileage ratings.
Chevrolet covers the Silverado with a three-year/36,000-mile, bumper-to-bumper warranty that includes roadside-assistance services. Rust-through corrosion is also warranted for six years or 100,000 miles. While there are elements to criticize, the Silverado has been an absolute winner in the annual IntelliChoice Best Overall Values of the Year awards, claiming titles in multiple categories for consecutive years.
The Ford F-150 is the best-selling truck in this segment, and it betters the Silverado in areas such as interior execution and towing. The Nissan Titan offers fewer variations, but its pricing and packaging are attractive.
A solid value and proven workhorse, the Silverado sells hundreds of thousands each year for a good reason, though smart shoppers will want to consider the key competitors before making a final decision.