Chevrolet's workhorse full-size pickups celebrate a century
of progress in 2018.
Back one hundred years in 1918; Woodrow
Wilson occupied the White House while William Thompson served as Chicago's Mayor.
Chevrolet backed its own upstart candidate that year, the forerunner of today's
Chevrolet's open-air 'One Ton'
debuted in 1918 boasting 36 horsepower and a $1,460 price tag with the ability
to haul not just people, but a larger assortment of 'things.' Another notable
1918 fun fact; Chevrolet merged with General Motors, becoming a division within
a growing automotive powerhouse. Chevrolet itself debuted in 1911.
Motor's Bow-Tie division paid tribute to its centennial truck heritage through
informative time-line displays at major 2018 auto shows (including our
home-town favorite in Chicago).
Chevrolet promoted the
Silverado name to represent the full-size pickup line in 1999, but has been
around since the mid 1970's as a trim offering for the preceding C/K
namesake. Silverado serves as the next logical step up from the Colorado line
of mid-size pickups. The current 2018 Silverado includes third-generation
underpinnings, but an all-new Gen Four effort lurks close by.
Big Silverado continues as a big deal for parent Chevrolet and overlord General
Motors as it's the best-selling vehicle at GM and the second-best-selling
vehicles in the U.S. In the 2017 calendar year, Silverado sales hit 585,864 units,
up a nice 1.9 percent from the previous year. By comparison, Chevrolet's
second-best selling vehicle in 2017, the compact Equinox crossover, reached a
mere, but still respectable 290,458.
For 2018, Silverado
includes enough mix-and-match combinations to tickle any truck-buyer's fancy.
Six trims include the base 'work truck' followed up the trim level ladder with
LS, Custom, LT, LTZ and top-trim High Country. In addition, a vast
array of 'special edition' models and appearance packages abound in bulk,
including a new-for-2018 'Silverado Centennial Edition" with blue
exterior, heritage bow-tie emblems and Centennial door badges.
drive comes standard and four-wheel drive is available along with three cab
configurations (regular, double cab and full-size crew cab) along with three
bed lengths. Regular two-door cabs come with the choice of a six-foot six-inch
bed or an eight-foot bed. Four-door double cabs offer the six-foot
six-inch bed exclusively while four-door Crew Cabs include a five-foot
eight-inch bed or six-foot six-inch bed.
selections include one V-6 and two potent V-8s. The 4.3-liter V-6 churns out
285 horses. The two V-8s include a 5.3-liter with 355 horses and the
top-performing 6.2-liter V-8 cranking out 420. The V-6 and 5.3-liter
V-8 come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission. An
eight-speed version comes standard in the 6.2-liter V-8 while optional in the
5.3-liter. No turbocharged or diesel variants grace the 2018 lineup, but in the
upcoming 2019 model year, Silverado plans to introduce a turbo option.
wheel wells add a distinctive look compared to circular versions utilized by
many rivals. The prominent front grille includes Chevrolet's
unmistakable logo midpoint within a vertical bar separating two spheres. Built
into the rear bumper of all trims; user-friendly 'corner steps,' allowing
footwear a foot hold for an easier self boost into the cargo bed. Overall,
Silverado stands apart as the conservatively-styled option when stacked against
Ford's F150, Ram 1500 and Nissan Titan.
Our 4 x 4 'summit
white' Custom with five-foot, eight-inch bed started at $39,900. The 5.3-liter
V-8 added $1,950 while a spray-on bed liner was a $495 extra; the only other
stand-alone option, a $275 trailer brake controller. Two option
packages included a $1,700 value package (including OnStar and in-vehicle
Wi-Fi) and $3,825 for exterior package with convenient and highly recommended
side step rail and larger 22-inch wheel/tires. The bottom line finished at
$47,435 after $1,295 destination charge and assorted discounts.
those trekking off the beaten path Silverado offers a Z71 off-road package in 4
x 4 LT and LTZ trims.
In the 2019 model year, Silverado
undergoes a much hyped fourth-generation redesign ready in the fourth quarter
of this calendar year. Expect a four-inch longer wheelbase (distance between
front and rear axle) a stouter hood, slimming headlight housing and upgraded
engine selections. A new trim level choice includes the Trailboss.
Chevrolet's not letting go of its Gen Three so fast. To ensure a
smooth transition and keep goodly supplies flowing into dealer lots, GM will
continue assembling the 2018 platform well into the 2019 calendar year, marking
the older-school effort as the "Silverado Legacy." Savvy
shoppers can shop between two Silverado platforms, for optimal benefits and
Silverado circa 2018's dashboard earns noteworthy
kudos for simplicity and ease of use. The two-for-one glove box includes a
traditional pull-down bin along with a second companion box with a flip-up door
opening to a shallower storage area. The ventilation system includes two large,
easy grab dials flanking a quad of sizeable push plates. The
left-side dial controls ventilation speed while the right handles temperature.
easily digested instrument panel features two prominent circular analog gauges
(left-side tachometer, right-side speedometer) at each end with four smaller
circles framing the top in between. A square digital information window in
between includes a digital speedometer readout and odometer info among other
A manual, mechanical floor-bound vertical transfer
case commands shifting from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive and if
necessary in mounds of rain-soaked mud, four-low. The mechanical transmission
shifter resides on the steering column's right side.
front cloth bench of our Custom trim includes a 40/20/40 backrest split,
allowing a center fold-down divider (sans a middle-position rider) doubling as
a storage bin, tri-cupholder region and home to plug-in auxiliary and iPad
ports for portable electronics. The first row is also available with two
'Captain's' chairs in upper trims.
General Motors offers
OnStar in-car telematics, connecting occupants with a 24-hour manned phone
center accessible with the touch of a rear-view mirror blue button or the
seven-inch in-dash multi-function screen. Another high-tech goodie
certainly to keep kids of all ages content: available built-in Wi-Fi
connectivity, allowing Silverado to act as its own hot spot, allowing up to
seven iPads and other portable devices to sync up with the internet.
The Wi-Fi is accessible up to 50 feet around and accessible when Silverado is
running or in accessory mode.
While front shot-gun
passengers get treated to an 'A-Pillar' grab handle, drivers need to maneuver
up without one. Would hope the redesigned 2019 adds this assist.
rear suspension, generally contributes to an up-and-down bouncy experience, but
Silverado's highway manors were smoother than expected.
26 gallon fuel tank includes a convenient cap-less fuel lead negating the need
for a pesky twist cap. The gas-tank nozzle breaks through a thin barrier, and
self-seals upon removal.
Silverado boasts a notable
assembly footprint here in the upper Midwest as Fort Wayne, Indiana serves as a
home base. The huge facility opened in 1986 and solely assembles
light-duty, 1500 pickups. Another hot spot for GM pickup production
is Flint Michigan. Historically hi product demand also necessitates a third
North American production facility in Silao, Mexico.
Price as tested: $47,435
Length: 230 inches
Engine: 5.3 -liter V-8
Curb weight: 5,300 pounds
economy: 16 mpg city/ 22 mpg highway
warranty: Five year/60,000-miles