June 19, 2013
Written by Steven Macoy
Thursday, 07 March 2013 13:19
Sometimes, though not always, the weather and the test car go together like peanut butter and jelly. The second week of February was one of those times. With the Blizzard of 2013 rampaging through New England, we enjoyed the security of having a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado crew cab, with all-wheel drive, in the driveway.
The big Silverado did everything we asked of it in tough conditions. It plowed through deep snow, maintained its grip on slippery roads, and hauled a 26-inch snow blower around Bethel, Conn., as we helped family members dig out from under the historic blizzard.
It also gulped fuel at a rate of about 15 mpg. But a lesser vehicle would have gotten 0 mpg because we never would have gotten it out of the driveway. This is a point often lost on environmentalists who don’t understand why ordinary people want a truck like the Silverado. It’s all about potential, and the V-8 powered Silverado has plenty.
Chevrolet and its sister truck manufacturer, GMC, make a pickup truck for every taste and need. Chevrolet offers nine trim levels for the 1500 crew cab alone. Also available are regular and extended cab versions, as well as the stylish Avalanche and compact Colorado. Heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 trucks also come in all three Silverado body styles.
Our Silverado LTZ combined utility and luxury. It provided a quiet, comfortable ride on the highway, though it didn’t handle quite as crisply as Chrysler’s Ram trucks. The latter have four-wheel independent suspensions; Chevrolet retains the solid-live-axle format. Its length also made parking a challenge, even in modern supermarket lots designed to accommodate SUVs and other large vehicles.
The test truck featured a bedliner that allowed access to hooks via removable caps. We found these caps somewhat difficult to remove when we exposed the hooks to tie down the snow blower.
The standard 5.3-liter, 315-horsepower engine delivered ample power. Chevrolet offers three other engine choices in the Silverado line, including 302- and 403-horsepower V-8s and a 195-horsepower V-6. An upgrade to the 2500 level is required if one wants a diesel engine.
The price range for the Silverado 1500 series is $22,595 for the 1500 regular cab to $40,885 for the gasoline-electric hybrid model, which is rated at 20 mpg city, 23 highway. Options, including the Z71 appearance package and navigation system, brought the price of our test truck to $48,514.
The Silverado has not been updated since 2007. For 2014, the Silverado has undergone a redesign that’s most prominent under the skin. Thanks to a lighter yet stiffer frame, and improved engine technology, it should deliver better fuel economy.
Past Silverados have had below-average reliability, based on Consumer Reports magazine surveys. Crash-test results have been mixed. The Silverado has attained 4-and 5-star results in government testing and the top rating of “Good” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in most categories, but Acceptable (front) and Marginal (rear) for torso protection in IIHS testing.
Engine: 5.3-liter V-8, 315 horsepower, 335 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Weight: 5,052 lb.
Ground clearance: 9 in.
Suspension: short and long arm front, solid live axle rear
Wheels: 18x8-in. alloy
Tires: P265/65R18 all-season
Bed length: 5.8 ft.
Fuel capacity: 26 gal.
Fuel economy: 15 mpg city, 21 highway
Fuel type: Regular unleaded gasoline or E85
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