In essence, trucks are simple … or at least they used to be.
In the last several years, trucks have made an interesting turn away from Spartan work machines toward luxury family haulers. Once four car-like doors became essentially standard a few years ago, pickups have made a rapid ascension from purely utilitarian into the downright posh.
Not only have they gotten fancier inside and out, they’ve also gotten more complicated. In order to improve the fuel economy of its 1500, for example, Ram added air suspension and active grille shutters, along with a bunch of other tricks.
Ford took another approach to the efficiency conundrum and began constructing its F-150 from aluminum. It even added a turbocharged V6 to the line. While neat, these newfangled features – from both brands – seem dubious at best.
Then there’s Chevy who, instead of reinventing the wheel, simply made its motors more modern – with time-tested technologies – and fuel-efficient without sacrificing the aforementioned essence of the truck.
But does GM’s reluctance to play the complication game leave it in a proverbial lurch behind the soft ride of the Ram and the charging power of the Ford EcoBoost? I was keen to find out.
Before we get to my feelings on the thing, we ought to talk specs of the efficient engine. My press demonstrator was powered by an EcoTec3 5.3-liter aluminum V8 that produces 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, which is routed to the rear wheels by way of a 6-speed automatic. Intriguingly, if you fill the tank with E85 instead of regular gasoline, it’ll pump out 380 ponies and 416 pound-feet.
On regular gas, the EPA has bestowed upon the 5.3-liter a fuel economy rating of 16 mpg city and 23 highway. And if you’re not counting at home, these figures are not only better than the Ford’s EcoBoost V6 but also better than Ford’s 5.0 V8, too.
The Silverado is able to sip fuel so efficiently thanks to variable valve timing, direct fuel injection and cylinder deactivation – all of which are systems that have been proved to stand the test of time and the life of the pickup … unlike the competitors’ fuel-saving systems. Air suspensions and turbos have a long lineage of catastrophic failure, you know.
More than simply efficient, unlike other engines in the class, the 5.3-liter doesn’t suffer from acceleration lulls through the rev range. Power pours from the motor in a very immediate, linear, and predictable fashion, meaning the grunt is there when you need it. Plus, it sounds really beefy, too. The sound is subtle enough not to make anyone think you’re compensating for something but audible enough to pepper the driving experience with V8 splendor.
The power is well matched by the smooth-shifting 6-speed, which reacts quickly to highway passing, grabbing lower gears almost as fast as you can summon the power with the tip of your toes.
I also found the brakes to be excellent. Honestly, braking systems on full-size GM trucks – until this current generation of vehicles – were pretty abysmal and often downright scary. They not only lacked braking force, but they were also easily overwhelmed. The new brakes don’t suffer any of these issues. During a panic stop on the freeway, the Silverado came to a swift stop without my having to stand on the pedal.
The Silverado also drove much smaller than its stance might suggest. I’ve been annoyed in recent years with the unwieldy dimensions of full-size American trucks. The Chevy, though, felt smaller from behind the wheel, which made driving even in urban environs exceptionally easy. I even found the truck intuitive to parallel park without proximity sensors or a reverse cam.
Especially given the truck’s basic build, I expected to find many flaws with the driving experience. To my delight, I found none. The expertness of the driving mechanicals, however, was just the beginning of the Silverado’s outstanding performance.
As I stated before, the 5.3-liter is delightfully audible at full throttle. This isn’t to say the truck suffers from an engine- and white-noise filled interior, quite the contrary. The Silverado has one of the more serene and quiet cabins in the industry.
This can be mainly attributed to the truck’s new shape, which is not only beautifully boxy but also slippery in the wind … as slippery as a box can be. The biggest improvement for interior sound pollution comes from the way the doors are cut. Instead of extending slightly into the roof, the new doors end below the roofline. This keeps wind from whipping over the top and creating white noise.
More than quiet, the cabin was also extremely comfortable. The LS cloth seating repelled dirt as well as it did dog fur, and both the front and rear bench seating proved pleasant even on long drives.
As for infotainment, it seems some automakers deliberately punish buyers who don’t opt for the full-size screens and all the technical bells and whistles. I worried the Silverado’s basic MyLink system would be the same. Thankfully, it was a breeze to use and not terrible to look at. Bluetooth phone pairing, music streaming and phone call controls were simple and straightforward.
Shape of Simplicity
As I hinted at above, the Silverado has a boxy shape, which draws inspiration from previous Chevy trucks. I especially think it resembles the full-sizers from the early 1990s. More than good looking, I think the shape represents Chevy’s dedication to its simple lineage, which it seems the other truck-makers have jettisoned for intricacy and unadvisable modernity.
The 2015 Silverado is an astonishingly good truck, which is admirable. More than that, it’s a really good truck that is still at its core a truck. It’s not flashy. It just gets the job done. It doesn’t need frills to achieve its goals, either. In fact, it’d be worse for wear with them, I wager.
What I am poetically dancing around is this: The Silverado is simple and old school.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised that if we look around the roads in 10 years to see which 2015 full-size trucks have lasted, we’d see the Silverado is the one left standing, as the Ford and Rams have long made their way to the crusher to become Chinese washing machines.
The Silverado proves that buyers don’t need to heap on thousands in additional extras to have a comfortable, rugged and long-lasting truck. And even if it weren’t so dang good, that alone would be reason to choose it over the other trucks in the market.
source: Auto World NewsTags: auto car