A trimmer, sleeker Silverado rolled onto the stage last night in Detroit's Eastern Market just prior to the opening of the North American International Auto Show.
Boasting a flowing design similar to the top-selling mid-size Colorado, the new Silverado sheds 450 pounds thanks to new aluminum hood, tailgate and door panels. Other than retaining the "sandwich grille,” the new look is a big departure from the familiar boxy, squared off design that's always been Chevrolet truck's signature.
But as GM's president of Global Development Mark Reuss is quick to point out, while taking a shot at rival Ford, the bed is roll-formed, rather than stamped, and made of high-strength steel. “The working end of every pickup is the bed, it's like the head of a hammer – it's the end that does all the work. I don't think we'd get much work done with an aluminum hammer.” Ford's aluminum-boxed F-150 outsells the Chevy by several hundred thousand units per year.
According to Chevy, Silverado now claims the deepest, widest box in the business, with 63 cu. ft. of cargo space – which Chevy claims is 20 percent better than its rivals. The 6.75" wider box features two-piece wheel wells which protrude less into the bed and come with lockable cargo boxes on some trim levels. There are a total of 21 tie-downs (an important feature for owners who actually use their trucks for work), 12 of which are fixed and nine of them movable. The new Silverado also boasts the industry's first power tailgate which can be operated with the key fob, or from within the cab, or using a button on the tailgate. The familiar corner step, a handy feature making it easier to gain access to the bed, returns but has been enlarged to better accommodate work boots.
The new truck rides on a four-inch longer wheelbase but is only 1.5" longer overall thanks to reduced overhangs. The revised suspension includes new forged upper control arms, leaf springs and lightweight carbon composite rear springs on some models which GM CEO Alan Batey says are virtually the same components as on the Corvette.
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Aside from increased bed space, the longer wheelbase allows more room to be allotted to the cabin, which now has three inches more passenger room in crew cab models. There are all sorts of clever storage units, some of which are hidden within the seat backs, and under the rear passenger row.
The other big news is that the new Silverado will debut with a 3.0 litre diesel engine and 10-speed automatic transmission that Reuss claims will outperform the soon-to-arrive Ford F-150 diesel's 250 hp/440 lb. feet of torque. Fuel economy appears to be a focal point for this diesel especially but also the five other engine choices, including re-engineered 5.3-litre and 6.2-litre V8s that now boast a trick cylinder deactivation management system that can shut down from one to seven cylinders depending on the work load.
The new Silverado will be available in eight trim levels, to appeal to a variety of buyers, some of which are embellished with chrome, and some, such as the street-performance look RST, have no chrome at all. The LT Trailboss builds on the Z71 off-road package and adds a two-inch lift, skid plates, 33-inch tires and blacked out grille.
The new Silverado is expected to arrive sometime this fall, with pricing to be available closer to due date.