Test: Chevrolet Silverado 1500

By: Cameron Officer, Photography by: Simeon Patience


Chevrolet 0366 Handy integrated steps in the rear bumper help make retrieving items from the load bed easier Chevrolet 0366
Chevrolet 0370 The Silverado wears its Chevy-derived Z71 badge with pride Chevrolet 0370
Chevrolet 0385 Clever secret seat squab stowage for whatever you need to stash away Chevrolet 0385
Chevrolet 0386 The rear bench also flips up, adding extra space for larger items inside the cab Chevrolet 0386
Chevrolet 0390 This standard port in the rear bumper is for a trailer-mounted accessory camera, which can effectively render larger items being towed, like horse floats and caravans, ‘see-through’ Chevrolet 0390
Chevrolet 0404 All Silverados come with running boards Chevrolet 0404

The mighty Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Premium is built to impress. Farm Trader spends a week behind the wheel.

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The Kiwi Silverado line-up consists of three options, with our test LTZ Premium sitting in the mid-range price-wise

Spending a week with the latest iteration of Chevrolet Silverado 1500 revealed a full-sized truck that also sports a full-sized load of techno trickery designed to make it easy to live with and endlessly practical. Yes, even in the paddock.

There are three states of dress for the New Zealand market Silverado 1500.

The Silverado LT Trail Boss gets things rolling with – arguably – the most ‘Kiwi-appropriate’ hardware, namely all-terrain tyres and no-nonsense bodywork. This one, clearly, presents the most appropriate application for Farm Trader readers. I’m hoping we will be able to revisit it in a future issue when the local importer, General Motors Special Vehicles, manages to secure more stock out of the US. As you can imagine, the melding of an all-terrain themed American pick-up has already proven popular here, hence limited supply at the time of writing.

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The truck on these pages – the LTZ Premium – sits next in the line-up, while the ruggedised HD LTZ Premium (which swaps out the chrome for black-out accenting but retains the full leather trim) sits at the top of the tree.

Power on

The Trail Boss and LTZ Premium rely on the 313kW/624Nm power and torque spread from a 6.2-litre V8 petrol EcoTech3 engine under their broad bonnets, while the HD LTZ Premium swaps to manufacturer General Motors’ 6.6-litre Duramax turbodiesel V8. There’s plenty of power on tap here, but then you probably guessed that already.

A useful illustration of the way GM steps up through the Silverado range is to, literally, look at each iteration’s ride height. The LTZ Premium is the lowest-slung at 1933mm tall, while the Trail Boss with those chunky Mud-Terrain Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tyres sits at 1963mm. The HD LTZ Premium wears 20-inch Goodyear all-terrains and rides highest at 2039mm.

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An XL-sized truck needs an XL-sized cabin. As you’d expect, there’s plenty of room in here

So yes, these are all big vehicles across the board. There’s no getting away from that. But that’s all the better for what many buyers will use them for – towing stuff.

Haulin’? Ask…

A huge amount of attention has been given to ensuring the Silverado 1500s are absolutely fit-for-purpose with something hanging off the towball. This is reflected in the amount of safety and convenience spec given over to the art of haulin’.

The Silverado 1500 range arrives with two maximum braked tow ratings, depending upon what sized towball is fitted (a tow bar is standard, the towball is an optional extra). With a 50mm ball fitted, max capacity tops out at 3.5-tonne, although with the larger 70mm ball in-situ, braked towing capacity rises to 4.5-tonne for the LTZ Premium spec trucks, or a shade over 4.2-tonne for the Trail Boss. The LTZ Premium offers the biggest maximum payload by a slim margin at 760kg, with its load bed accessed by a sturdy electronically opening and closing tailgate.

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The Silverado LTZ Premium has plenty of power in reserve thanks to its 6.2L EcoTech3 V8 up front

With the potential for plenty of weight out beyond the rear axle, GM gives the Silverado LTZ Premium driver a suite of safety aids to help get the boat, car trailer, mini digger, or whatever else from A to B in a reassuringly controlled fashion.

These include a Trailer Brake Controller system to prevent sway, and a Hitch Guidance System as part of the Silverado’s 360-degree Camera View package (which offers up to 15 different views around the vehicle), making lining up on the towball a doddle. Then before you head off, the LTZ Premium spec trucks also feature an in-cab trailering app, which helps with everything from pre-departure checklists to diagnostics for tyre pressure and lighting.

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LED headlights, fog lights and daytime running lights are standard

Invisible touch

The Silverado LTZ Premium also has a port for a trailer-mounted accessory camera in its rear bumper, which can effectively render big boxy tow-along like horse floats ‘see-through’. This transparent camera view works by lining up the image from the camera attached to the back of the trailer and the camera at the back of the truck. It then detects the edges of whatever is being towed and outlines it but also shows the view behind the trailer, giving the Silverado driver a handy view of what’s following, beyond what the large wing mirrors show.

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The truck’s camera tech provides for up to 15 views around the vehicle. Also, that tailgate is electronically powered up and down

It’s all rather clever stuff, although, the Silverado LTZ Premium’s tech spread doesn’t end with towing assist features. Yes, the truck might represent a broad slab of beef, but inside the cabin, driver and passengers alike can access plenty of premium petit fours.

Sound and around

Highlights include a seven-speaker Bose Premium sound system through which Apple CarPlay or Android Auto help access music, podcasts, and contact info from the driver’s smartphone. That smartphone can be charged wirelessly, while fully powered heated and ventilated seats, a powered sunroof, and dual-zone auto A/C are also part of the picture. 

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The standard Bose stereo system incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

The Silverado LTZ Premium’s safety spec is similarly comprehensive, with Adaptive Cruise Control, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Warning all present as part of a wider suite of driver aids.

Verdict

The Chevy Silverado 1500 range is a bundle of fun and full of practical technology and convenience features. It’s so big, it’s actually useful (in a way that many ‘standard’ sized double cab utes reveal themselves
not to be in some situations), with all the solidity and comfort its oversized footprint implies.

If you have the luxury of space and an implement or toy shed big enough to house
it (alongside all the things you need it to tow), then you’ll never outgrow a Silverado. It’ll be a sturdy, clever companion for work and play – a solid, surprisingly clever alternative to the usual fodder from the Blue Oval sales leader and the big-selling Japanese brands.

Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Premium specifications

Price $134,990
Engine

6.2-litre EcoTech3 V8

Power 313kw
Torque 624Nm
Transmission 10-speed automatic
Kerb Weight 2540kg
Gross vehicle mass 3300kg

Maximum payload

760kg
Maximum braked towing capacity 3500kg (50mm ball)/4500kg (70mm ball)
Maximum unbraked towing capacity 750kg
Overall height 1933mm
Overall length 5931mm
Overall width 2063mm
Wheelbase 3750mm
Turning circle kerb-to-kerb 14.3m
Approach and departure angles 21°/21°
Ground clearance unladen 260mm

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