2015 Silverado seeks gold in full-size pickup truck competition
By J. E. KUYPER and M. J. FRUMKIN
The overhauled 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 was chosen truck of the year by a group of 49 automotive media members. The same truck has returned as a 2015 model.
Big news for the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
pickup lineup is the addition of the eight-speed automatic transmission to its powertrain roster. Other new standard and available items include available up-level trailering mirrors with back-up lighting, spray-on bedliner offered on all models, OnStar with 4G LTE and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot with 3GB/three-month data trial.
Fresh new additions to the exterior color palette include Rain Forrest, Deep Ocean Blue, Sunrise (limited availability) and Pewter (limited availability), all metallic paints.
The interior, exterior and powerplant overhaul included increased cabin spaciousness, economy of engines and a wide range of choices available in a full-sized pickup truck. Choices included engines (gas and diesel in various sizes), transmissions, front- or four-wheel-drive, types of cab (regular, extended, crew) and length of box. With mixes and matches, there could be 60 variants of the same truck.
Competitors include Ford F-150, Ram 1500, Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra.
Silverado prices in 2015 range from $26,105 for a 4.3-liter V6 regular cab, rear-wheel-drive model with a standard six-foot-five-inch-long box to $50,850 for a 5.3-liter V8 High Country, crew cab, four-wheel-drive model with a five-foot, eight-inch box.
Powertrains available start with the 195 horsepower 4.3-liter V-6 mated to a four-speed automatic. Two Vortec small-block V-8 FlexFuel engines are linked to six-speed automatic transmissions. The 4.8-liter develops 302 horses, while the 5.3-liter offers up to 326 hp. When equipped with the 6.2-liter V-8, six-speed automatic and available enhanced trailering package, the Silverado can tow up to 12,000 pounds.
Basically, Silverado pickup trucks are the same. Standard engines are strong with towing capacity capped at 12,000 pounds, rear boxes are built for hauling real cargo and not just a fishing pole or two, and cabins are designed for a pleasurable ride. If driver and passengers cannot get comfortable in a Silverado, they should seek out Cinderella's fairy godmother for help. Leg room, for example, officially is 45.3 inches front, 40.9 inches rear. Only large luxury sedans meet or surpass those measurements.
Other shared common characteristics include transmissions with tow-haul modes, dampened release tailgates (light to the opening or closing hand), front and rear mud guards, deep center consoles, multiple storage bins, and a two-tiered glove box.
One of the multiple 2015 models on the market is a four-wheel-drive, crew cab Z71 with an LTZ package and it arrived for a week of fun, if not work. The four-door, five-passenger, full-sized pickup was priced at $45,810. Without the Z71 upgrade, the truck had a manufacturer's suggested price of $45,120.
The new design means toe or foot holds at the corners of the rear bumper for easier access to the bed. The pickup box features a two-tier loading design allowing customers to insert a platform to separate items during hauling or to conceal valuables, such as tools, below.
In the front below the bumper, rubberized guards warned drivers of high curbs. These guards extended five inches below the bumper.
Besides a sprayed-in bed liner, the Z71 added a unique double-decker chrome grille, 20- replacing 18-inch wheels, front and rear park assist, a Bose 'premium performance' sound system, cargo box upper tie-down package, black recovery hooks, a darker leather for interior trim, navigation system and an eight-inch diagonal color touchscreen.
Crew cab and Denali packages can seat 5/6 passengers, while the regular cab holds three adults. Silverado features two interiors to meet the diverse needs of customers. The WT, LS and LT trim levels feature the "pure pickup" interior and the LTZ trim level features the luxury-inspired interior similar to Chevrolet's full-size utilities.
On the inside, two dividers in the storage area of the center console created troughs 10 inches in length as a place to put cell phones or other electronic gear as well as small notebooks or pads of paper.
There were two glove boxes. The upper is basically a long and wide tray for such items as pencils, pens, hairpins, coins or, if so inclined, screw drivers, pliers and wrenches. The lower box is larger. An owner's manual and vehicle identification papers fit in here.
The Silverado's split rear seat (60-40) folds back and flat against the backrest. When both sections of the split rear seat are flipped back and locked in place, storage of even small utility purchases becomes possible. The rear storage measures two feet, front to back, and almost six feet door to door.
Behind the seats is a power open and close rear window.
Chevrolet offers free scheduled oil and filter changes along with four-wheel tire rotation for two years or 24,000 miles. The basic warranty is three years or 36,000 miles and five years or 100,000 miles on the powertrain, which in the tested Z71 Silverado 1500 LTZ was a 5.3-liter 355-horsepower V8 engine mated to a shiftable six-speed automatic transmission. With the proper tow package, this vehicle can pull a 10,900-pound trailer. The 26-gallon fuel tank can be filled with regular gasoline. During the test week, the truck averaged 17.8 miles per gallon of fuel with one person aboard. There was minimal traveling on interstates. The Environmental Protection Agency rates this Silverado 1500 at 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.
A suspension system matches coils and shock springs in front with leaf springs in the rear. P265 tires were mounted on the machined aluminum wheels. A full-size spare is stored underneath. A shield protects the electronic transfer case.
Another attractive feature of the Silverado is the layout. The Z71 tested model had four outlets arranged in a row above the center console. Two were 12 volt outlets, a third was a 110-watt outlet and the fourth was an iPod connector. In another row there were six buttons indicating various driving situations. One was for hill descent and another for lane departure. The tow-haul mode was on the shift stalk attached to the right of the steering wheel column.
An off-roader, the Z71 has a dial to the left of the steering wheel which can be turned to two-wheel-drive, four-wheel-drive high or four-wheel-drive low.
The heated seats had controls for driver and passenger at each side of the center stack. Memory for two covered position of the power driver's seat, power and heated exterior mirrors and the gas and brake pedals.
With the composite material sprayed into the rear bed, the 52 inches between wheel wells was reduced to 51 inches. The test truck was a short box with dividers, post holes and tiedowns. The tiedowns are at the four corners and in upper and lower locations. The tailgate is lockable.
Besides AM-FM and satellite radio, the tested Z71's MyLink audio system included compact disc and MP3 players, Bluetooth connectivity, eight-inch color screen and navigation system. Standard are power windows as well as door locks, power front passenger seat, fog lamps in front, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, tinted glass, bed rail protection, chrome bumpers, rear view camera, cruise control, intermittent wipers and rear window defroster.
Six-inch chrome running boards are a $700 option. Along with four grab handles, they help hoist a body into the cabin.
Safety features include traction and stability controls, trailer sway control and hill start assist, airbags in front and on the sides, overhead bags front and rear rows for head protection, a four-wheel antilock braking system, daytime running lamps and a tire pressure monitoring system.
For information, visit www.chevrolet.com
What is written about a Silverado can be copied almost verbatim for its General Motors corporate stablemate, the 2015 GMC Sierra.
The group of 49 domestic automotive media members (officially called North American truck and car of the year jury) carries weight as far as marketing is concerned. The jury will announce 2015 winners at the North American International auto show in Detroit in January.FAST FACTS
Z71crew cab model of 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with LTZ packageType:
four-door, five-passenger, four-wheel-drive, full-size pickup truckPrice:
5.3-liter, 355-horsepower V8
45.3 inches front, 40.9 inches rear
five-feet, eight-inches long
16 miles per gallon city, 22 mpg highway per Environmental Protection AgencyAssembly:
three years or 36,000 miles, five years or 100,000 miles powertrain, two years or 24,000 miles free scheduled oil and filter change, four-wheel tire rotation