2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ: Trailering and safety upgrades added to a refined, yet tough truck

By Mike Blake - Carlisle Events
Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Perennially, the No.2-selling vehicle line in the United States is the Chevrolet Silverado family of trucks. General Motors introduced its first pickup truck in 1930, adding to Chevrolet’s truck line, which began as a line of work vehicles. Since then, GM and Chevrolet have met demand for luxury upgrades and environmentally conscious offerings without sacrificing its tough-task roots.

In that vein, Silverado began as a trim level for Chevrolet C/K pick-ups and Suburbans from 1975 through 1999, and its sister platform, the GMC Sierra also began as a trim level. Today, the differentiation between the two is largely grillework, interior trim, and more luxury options and configurations offered with the Silverado. Silverado and Sierra became their own lines beginning with the 1999 model year.

Still in its third generation that began with the redesigned 2014 Silverado, featuring new front-end designs, a bolder, more sculpted appearance, and tech and cosmetic enhancements, Silverado adds or improves a number of safety, trailering and cosmetic items for 2017.

New for 2017 are a segment-best 12,500-lb. max trailering rating for crew cabs and a standard Teen Driver feature that encourages safe driving habits with teenagers, enabling parents to view the vehicle’s maximum speed, distance driven and the number of times active safety features were engaged during a drive. Also new this year are a Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking system added to the available Enhanced Driver Alert Package, capless fuel fill and new exterior colors: Graphite Metallic and Pepperdust Metallic.

Assembled in Ft, Wayne, IN (Regular Cab and Crew Cab) and Flint, MI and Silao, Mexico (Crew Cab), Silverado personifies ruggedness, blending toughness and brawn with refinement and aerodynamics, reducing wind noise in the cabin and enhancing efficiency on the highway.

The Silverado 1500 with a Crew Cab fits full-size specs. With a short 5-foot-8-inch box, Silverado measures 230 inches long (the long box adds 19.6 inches), 80 inches wide and 74 inches high (for the 4x4) on a 143.5-inch wheelbase. Ground clearance is 8.9 inches and step-in height measures 22.2 inches, while the Silverado LTZ’s base curb weight comes in at 5299 lbs. with the 5.3-liter engine and 4x4 configuration.

The Silverado’s interior is roomy, quiet and functional, with a strong cab structure. Its crew cab is spacious, providing 42.8 inches of front headroom, with 40.5 in the rear. Legroom is vast at 45.3 inches up front and 40.9 in the cab, while shoulder room measures 64.8 and 65.7 inches.

Silverado’s muscle comes in the form of three engine choices: a 4.3-liter V-6 rated at 285 hp and 305 lbs-ft of torque (297/330 on E85 fuel) and 18mpg/city and 24mpg/highway; a 5.3-liter V-8 that I tested delivers 355 hp and 383 lbs-ft of torque (380/416 on E85 fuel) and 16/24mpg; and the brawny 6.2-liter V-8 thunders out 420 hp and 460 lbs-ft of torque and is EPA rated at 15mpg/city and 21mpg/highway.

Last year, I tested a Silverado LTZ with the 6.2-liter engine and this year, I tested one equipped with the 5.3 liter. The 65 horses and 77 lbs-ft. I lost cost me a full second in the sprint and 7-tenths in the quarter, but we managed 7.3 seconds in the zero-to-60mph dash and 15.5 for the quarter-mile. On the highway, there was ample power to pass and overtake uphill grades and around town, other than an engagement jerk or two, the experience was confident. I averaged 19.1mpg in mixed-use driving -- largely long runs on the interstates.

My test truck smoothed out potholes, softroad surfaces and uneven macadam with its independent coil-over-shock front suspension with monotube shocks coupled with a solid axle rear with semi-elliptic, variable-rate, two-stage multileaf springs and monotube shocks. The electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering was carlike at times, and though high-speed S-turns produced top-wobble and sway, Silverado was confident and secure during road and highway tests.

The Silverado 1500 Regular Cab with 2WD and standard box starts at $29,080. With a Crew Cab with a short box, pricing starts at $37,350 and the standard box is $38,925. 4WD would add $3940. My test 1500 came with a Crew Cab and Short Box, and moved up to the LTZ trim at $48,820 (including $1295 for destination freight charges). Mine had the 5.3-liter engine and I would have preferred the 6.2, but we still had more than enough power to accomplish everything I needed it to.

Premium Deep Ocean Blue Metallic paint added $395. The Enhanced Driver Alert package (with Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision Alert, Safety Alert Seat, Front and Rear Park Assist and Intellibeam headlamps) added $945; and the LTZ Plus Package added $770 for power adjustable pedals, Bose® premium audio system, remote start and heated steering;

A Borla Bright Chrome exhaust tip was $149; 6-inch rectangular black tubular assist steps added $700; a power sunroof added $995; a full bedliner added $395; Chevrolet MyLink® Audio System with 8-inch Diagonal Color Touch with Navigation added $495; heated and vented seating added $650; front leather-appointed bucket seats were $510; and all-weather floor mats were $160. The sticker-as-tested was $57,490, but local incentives dropped it to $55,590, so check your local dealer for the best programs.

> Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.

Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.

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