2007 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Review
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
General Motors' redesigned pickup truck promises to remain the corporation's top-selling vehicle with such things as smoother styling, stiffer construction and more power.
The high, wide and handsome pickup is sold as the very profitable Chevrolet Silverado, which we're concentrating on here, and similar GMC Sierra. It's GM's most important vehicle because it is the top-selling vehicle in America when Silverado and Sierra pickup sales are combined.
Last year was a bummer for pickup trucks, but combined sales of the Silverado and Sierra totaled 846,805 units. Taken individually, the Silverado finished No. 2 last year behind Ford's F-Series full-size pickup, with sales of 636,069 units. The Sierra found 210,736 buyers. (Unlike GM, Ford has no full-size pickup other than the F-Series.)
Considering those high numbers and profits, it's no wonder that Toyota has introduced its new Tundra full-size pickup, which is competitive with the GM and Ford offerings. Toyota has even built a Tundra plant in Texas, which is the heart of the big domestic pickup truck market.
Used as Cars
The more rigidly built new Silverado 1500 is offered with V8s with seamless cylinder deactivation that lets you run with four cylinders under lighter loads and are E85 capable, using a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
Estimated fuel economy depends on such things as engine size and body style. It ranges from 15-17 mpg in the city to 19-21 on highways. Those figures aren't bad, considering these are big heavy trucks that call for extra effort to enter or leave. (At least rear doors on 4-dooor versions open widely.)
The result is that the Silverado can be maneuvered nearly like a large car, although one must keep its longer body in mind.
In between regular and crew cab versions are extended-cab trim levels, which require that rear doors be closed before front ones can be shut. In addition, the back-seat area in my extended cab test Silverado was cramped, and the seat was too upright for much comfort. Opt for the crew cab version for a more comfortable back seat.
Two 4-wheel-drive systems with low-range gearing for off-road use are offered. One system shouldn't be engaged on dry roads, but the other can be.
There also are several bed lengths. Regulars have 6.5- to 8.1-foot bed lengths. Crews have a 5.8-foot bed length and Extendeds are offered in all three bed lengths. A worthwhile option is a $95 EZ Lift tailgate package, which contains a light, locking tailgate that easily opens and closes.
You can get a $685-$795 power sunroof. A key option is a $715 Safety Package. It contains power adjustable pedals for shorter drivers, side-curtain airbags and rear-obstacle detection system, but isn't offered for regular cab versions.
Veteran full-size pickup truck owners are probably easily keeping up with all this information—and know things can get far more complicated when such items as option packages containing numerous features are considered.
No Manual Transmission
The large pickup market is the last lucrative domestic vehicle stronghold, and the revamped Silverado should more than hold its own in it.