0611_gmcsie_245Though the Silverados This is our country. This is our truck. advertising campaign has generated its fair share of controversy, the new Silverado takes few risks in the styling department. The Silverados design has a broad, chiseled face, which accentuates a broad-shouldered stance and gives the Silverado a powerful and muscular presence. As with the previous generation, most of what comes inside the Silverado is offered on its near-twin, the GMC Sierra (right), but the entire front-end, wide hood, bumpers, front and rear fenders, lamps, cargo box, and tailgate are unique to the Silverado. Common to both trucks are other interesting features such as power rear windows on the extended cab models that drop down into the rear doors, both of which now are double-jointed so as to open to an angle of 170 degrees.
In the beginning, the Silverado will be offered with three cabs, three bed lengths, two drivetrain choices and five engines. Bargain-hunters might go for a 4.3-liter V-6 rated at 195 hp and 260 lb-ft, but a vast majority will be powered by one of three small-block V-8s, starting with an iron-block 4.8-liter V-8 with 295 hp and 305 lb-ft. Next up is a 5.3-liter with a choice of iron or aluminum blocks in both gasoline or flex-fuel flavors. GM claims that eventually, all 5.3s will be made with aluminum blocks, but for now, its a matter of production capacity. All four variants put out 315 hp and 338 lb-ft. At the top of the Silverado range is a 6.0-liter V-8 with 367 hp, 375 lb-ft, which, like the 5.3-liter, features Active Fuel Management to shut down four cylinders and save gas when youre not standing on it. At first, only the Sierra will be offered in decked-out Denali trim, with the 6.2-liter, 400-hp V-8 from the Escalade, but rest assured that Chevy wont take long to launch an SS model quite with the same innards.
0611_chesil_hd_245For now, at least, all Silverados come only with a four-speed automatic, which is one of the few things on the new truck that isnt class-competitive. So how do these translate into capability? Payload capacities range from 1,564 to 2,160 pounds, with trailering capability from 4,300 to a whopping 10,500 pounds. By spring of 2007, the HD (left) versions of the Silverado will be on the market with even more impressive numbers, but for now, we cant imagine anyone needing more than that out of their light-duty pickups. Equally impressive are the fuel economy numbers, which top 20 mpg on the highway for all but the 6.0-liter.