2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 4WD Crew Cab Review

By Randy Stern on August 11, 2015

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 4WD Crew Cab Review

by Randy Stern

For this review, I will not start off with the typical line about pickups trucks. Those have been used – and overused – by this site and other automotive and truck publications. Why bore you with images of construction sites, farms, ranches and boat launches? Heck, why even excite you with what’s new and exciting in the pickup world. And, let us not repeat the mantra of how the bean counters at the manufacturers love the bottom line of pickup trucks!

2015-Chevrolet-Silverado-1500-LT-Z71-front-corner-closeupSo far on Why This Ride, I reviewed some very competitive pickup trucks for this site. The Ram 1500 may have undergone some setbacks due to recalls and UConnect system hacks, but it is still a well-engineered pickup with a strong work ethic. The Toyota Tundra may have pulled a space shuttle, but it features one of the baddest V8s in the game. Then, there’s the aluminum bodied Ford F-150. Despite questions on its crash testing, it is one of the most improved pickups in the market.

2015-Chevrolet-Silverado-1500-LT-Z71- sideNow, this leaves us with two more full-sized pickups to review. Since one of them is not ready for its shakedown, the other one is. This one has been one I have been waiting for.

The Chevrolet Silverado debuted in 2013 as a 2014 model. While some criticized it for not going too far in terms of design, the rest of us got it. The Silverado was designed to be a no-nonsense pickup, designed like a Chevy, built like a Chevy and hauls like a Chevy.

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What does that exactly mean? Chevrolet pickups have a reputation for being durable – surveys show that more Chevy trucks are on the road and last longer than their competition. Though Ford sells more F-Series on a monthly and annual basis, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is equipped with proven engines, drivelines, one of the best made frames in the business and a no-nonsense approach to truck design and engineering. No fancy suspension technology or construction methodologies here!

2015-Chevrolet-Silverado-1500-LT-Z71- grilleWith that said, the Silverado greets you with a blunt front end – upright with the big bowtie and split headlamps. In this LT Crew Cab pickup with the Z71 off-road package, the gold bowtie is painted black. That is a factory option. The rest of the truck is upright, but don’t be fooled by the actual shape. General Motors made sure to offer some design shaping within the cab and box to make it distinctive and to manage airflow throughout the truck.

For this white LT Z71 pickup, twenty-inch wheels give the Silverado a distinctive stance. They frame the crew cab/short box set-up nicely. It looks like a sport truck. For some of us car enthusiasts, that is actually a good thing.

2015-Chevrolet-Silverado-1500-LT-Z71-interior-instrument-clusterThe Silverado exhibited a lot of improvements inside. The quality inside is the best in GM truck history. Better plastics and touch points make the Silverado’s cabin more livable. A full compliment of gauges appears in front of the driver, along with a comprehensive Driver Information screen. Every switch is good to the touch on both sides of the binnacle. They are easy to use and understand, especially coming from multiple GM vehicles. Chevrolet’s MyLink drives the touch screen to the right – a very good infotainment system that has quick Bluetooth pairing and a multitude of infotainment options available to everyone on board. Bose provides easy listening around the cabin with… well-positioned speakers.

2015-Chevrolet-Silverado-1500-LT-Z71-screen-closeupOn the LT, cloth upholstery is a welcomed sight on hot summer days and cold winter nights. They are comfortable – and supportive. It is easy to find a good driving position in the Silverado. Passengers have plenty of room up front and in the back inside of the Crew Cab – room for five on this model, thanks to a big center console with a lot of storage available.

2015-Chevrolet-Silverado-1500-LT-Z71-front-seatsIf one had to find an advantage to owning a Chevrolet above the rest of the full-sized pickup truck contingent, it would be OnStar. It goes beyond just the OnStar button and the services it offers – from live accident reporting, theft recovery and navigation assist features. It is also the 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity. You probably heard that GM is offering this capability to connect up to seven devices in and around the vehicle and provide great uplink using a mobile carrier. This is not only great for contractors needing to connect with headquarters by sending jobsite reports, but for those of us trying to stay occupied on long journeys…meaning, those of us who are passengers.

2015-Chevrolet-Silverado-1500-LT-Z71-engineDrivers have other things to keep them occupied. This includes the power of the EcoTec3 5.3 liter V8 engine underneath the hood of this LT Z71 tester. With 355 horsepower on tap, this V8 responds extremely well to the throttle. The most important number to note is the torque: 383 pound-feet. That is a sign of pure V8 performance, especially when it comes to hauling. A six-speed automatic transmission feeds power via a two-speed transfer case to a solid four-wheel drive system. This configuration is good for a payload rating of 1,820 pounds with a maximum trailering capacity of 9,200 pounds. This is based on a 3.42 ratio rear axle.

Some trucks want you to think that they can ride like cars…rather crossovers/SUVs. In truth, the Silverado 1500 rides smooth and absorb bumps extremely well. Cornering is controlled, unless you push it to the limit. Expect the cab and box to stay tight together on one of the sturdiest frames in the business. The frame is designed to reduce frame flex when driving on uneven surfaces.

2015-Chevrolet-Silverado-1500-LT-Z71-interior-driver-sideCompared to other pickup trucks, the steering wheel is smaller in diameter. That means better control of a very good and precise steering system. On-center feel is good with great reaction and response from the wheel down to the road. Brakes are good, also with solid stopping power overall. Normal and panic stops result in quick brake response without going into the anti-lock system.

If there is one thing I am always concerned about is fuel economy on full-sized trucks. For this V8-powered Silverado 1500 4WD Crew Cab pickup, I achieved an average of 15.7 MPG. That is about average for full-sized pickups for me, I’m afraid.

A basic Chevrolet Silverado 1500 starts with a base price of $26,100. This well-optioned LT Crew Cab with the Z71 package and black bowtie came with a sticker price of $51,805. This, of course, is equipped with a laundry list of packages and options to make this mid-level trim, four-wheel drive, off-road capable pickup livable anywhere.

2015-Chevrolet-Silverado-1500-LT-Z71- rearWhy This Ride?

– Durability, strength and a no-nonsense design approach to the pickup truck are the reasons why the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 worth looking at. It also helps to pick the right driveline combination. In this case, pure V8 power wins the race every time.

– The thing about the Silverado that is compelling is how much GM has put a lot into improving their full-sized pickups from previous iterations. Their arrival two years ago signified a leap in quality and execution for the Chevrolet pickup. Yet, it remained true to the core of truck consumers without enticing them with new-to-the-segment engineering that would put off traditional pickup buyers.

– The biggest problem among full-sized pickups is choosing which one. Having driven four out of six entrants in the half-ton class, deciding which one to buy is very difficult. It comes down to purpose and customer want. The Chevrolet stands alone for one reason: It is purpose-built to do the job without complaint. This is how you decide on which truck you should buy.

Randy is a versatile freelancer with a resume of experiences related to blogging and automotive writing. His first published piece of automotive writing dates back to 2001 when commenting on subcultural stereotypes of auto ownership. Since then, his work has appeared on CarSoup.com’s Buyers Guide, Lavender Magazine in Minneapolis – St. Paul and on his own site – Victory & Reseda. You can find Randy trolling car meets in Minnesota and Wisconsin from Spring to Fall or covering auto shows and other related events professionally. He is a proud member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association.

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