Despite pressure from the government to adhere to strict CAFE standards, carmakers are focused on their pickup truck lines more than anything. Today’s pickups are luxurious, full of technology and ready for heavy-duty work.
Enter my tester for the week, the 2015 Chevy Silverado 1500. This full-size truck fits the mold perfectly of today’s modern pickup truck. This year’s version has even more technology and even more towing capability. My tester was the 1500 LTZ Crew Cab with four-wheel drive.
In my opinion, there is never a reason to buy a regular cab truck (unless it’s solely a work truck), just as there’s no reason to have a two-wheel drive pickup truck. But, Chevy offers a wide variety of trims and options including a regular cab with two-wheel drive. Likewise, Chevy offers three different engine options too.
A 4.3-liter V-6 engine is standard for most Silverados. However, for those who need or want more power, there are also two different V-8 options. A 5.3-liter V-8 engine is standard on the LTZ trim (like my tester) and for the top-of-the-line trims there’s a 6.2-liter V-8 engine. For sake of this review, let’s look at the 5.3-liter V-8 engine.
This engine makes 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque. This truck with this engine can tow up to 11,500 pounds, which is almost 4,000 pounds more than the smaller 4.3-liter engine. So clearly, for those with recreational vehicles, this Chevy Silverado is the better option.
The disappointing factor for the 5.3-liter engine is that it only comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Chevy introduced a modern and smooth 8-speed transmission, but that is currently only available on the largest engine. Hopefully for the next model year, they’ll pass down this transmission to the other trims and smaller engines.
Overall, however, ride quality of the Silverado is great. It’s well powered and a smooth quiet ride. The Silverado 1500 still drives like a truck; don’t get me wrong, with its high vantage point from the driver’s seat. Updates to this model year include the addition of more aluminum alloy materials, which make the Silverado feel more nimble and agile, without having a light, wimpy feel to it.
Inside, the Silverado is as nice of a truck as you’ll find on the road. Luxurious interiors have become a focal point of most full-size trucks. Both the F-150 and Ram have high-end interiors that make for long drives to the lake a lot more enjoyable.
The Silverado has comfortable seats that are less firm than in years past. Leather-appointed seats are offered for both the front and rear seats on the LTZ as well as dual climate control. Soft touch points are appreciated and help keep the engine noise to a minimum. The bench seat in the back is comfortable for three passengers, even three adults. For longer road trips the kids will appreciate the vast legroom and headroom.
And if all that wasn’t enough, this year’s Silverado offers more technology than ever before. A 4G LTE built-in WIFI hotspot is part of this model year. I tried out the WiFi and actually uploaded a photo to my Twitter account (@driversside) with ease.
An eight-inch color touchscreen controls Chevy’s updated MyLink system, which has Siri Eyes Free text reading. So the Silverado is wrought full of modern technology.
But do truck owners really want or need that? Some will say no. But as someone who loves technology and comfort, the Silverado resonated with me.
The Silverado has an EPA estimated fuel rating of 16 mpg/city and 22 mpg/hwy for the four-wheel drive version. There’s practically no difference in the two-wheel drive offering as the highway rating improves to 23 mpg/hwy for the 5.3-liter engine. This goes to show that getting 4WD is the only way to go!
There are many varying options, trims and bed and cab sizes for the Silverado, so it’s easy to make the Silverado what you want. My tester was the Silverado 1500 4WD LTZ Crew. Standard price for this trim is $45,120. Standard features for the LTZ trim include chrome accents, 18-inch alloy wheels and remote start. My tester had additional options like a max trailering package, driver alert package, and advanced entertainment package. All of these add ons took the final MSRP up to $54,345. The max trailering option takes towing capacity up to 12,000 pounds.
My how pickup trucks have evolved. From sparse, rugged workhorses to luxurious weekend warriors, the pickup truck now comes with expectations of refinement, technology and power. And there’s no truck today that’s as thoroughly modern as the Chevy Silverado.
Photo Credit: Chevrolet