The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is the smallest yet most popular of the Silverados in Chevy’s lineup, including the larger Silverado 2500 and Silverado 3500 trucks. With the fourth generation on the streets since the 2019 model year, let’s look at this popular light-duty truck, including its history and generations.
Introduced at the dawn of the 21st century, the Silverado replaced Chevy’s smaller C/K series of trucks. Interestingly, the Silverado name was taken from one of the trims from the C/K line. At the same time, General Motors used its newly developed GMT 800 platform as the underpinnings for the Silverado and the Suburban SUV.
The first-generation Silverado came in “Classic” body style with three types of cabs: A standard two-door, an extended four-door, and one with four front-hinged doors and a crew cab. The Silverado was well received for its variety of configurations.
Customers could now choose between different cargo beds, towing capacities and had the option for other engines. The Silverado 1500 came standard with a 195 HP, 4.3-L V-6 that can be upgraded to a 4.8-L V-8 or a 5.3-L V-8 producing 255 HP and 275 HP, respectively.
Later on, in 2003, Chevy introduced a high-performance SS model of the Silverado 1500. Powered by a 345 HP, 6.0-L Vortec 6000 V8 engine, it was one of the many variants introduced in the Silverado lineup including 1500 HD.
Significantly, the Chevy Silverado 1500 was the first pickup to have an automatic transmission with a tow mode. The first-gen Silverado carried on through 2006.
The second-generation Silverado was a complete redesign. It had a new engine, a new frame with a new suspension, a completely different exterior, and an all-new interior.
The second-gen Silverado features better fuel economy, modern technology, and more customizable options. Two trim options were offered: the base WT and upscale LS. In addition, the crew cab version could also be ordered in a plain-jane economy form. There was something for everyone. Of course, there was a choice of rear-wheel drive or an optional four-wheel-drive system.
A 367 HP V-8 and a 403 HP V-8 were also introduced with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The Silverado also benefited from modern safety features like anti-lock brakes, adjustable pedals, and side airbags. While standard gear today, the LS trim included power windows and mirrors, cruise control, and keyless entry.
The third-generation Chevrolet Silverado was introduced in 2014. Maintaining the base design, the new Silverado 1500 boasted some major upgrades. It now had better power output at 285 HP, which could be upgraded to 355 HP and 420 HP engine.
These power plants were more fuel-efficient thanks to direct injection and cylinder deactivation technology. All 1500 models now came with a six-speed automatic as standard, with a four-wheel drivetrain available on all variants.
Chevrolet also made some heavy structural changes in the third-gen Silverado. It now had a high-strength steel bed and a steel frame made with hydro-foaming technology. Aluminum was also used on parts of the hood, engine, and control arms to save weight.
Chevrolet added full-width bumpers with a boxy body design and boldly sculpted hood and fenders. The interiors also got a modern touch with a better infotainment system, more comfortable seating, and a unique octagonal center stack design.
The third-gen models also received some new infotainment features, including Bluetooth connectivity, MyLink infotainment system, touchscreen functionality, navigation, and OnStar telematics.
For the 2016 model year, Chevy introduced a refreshed Silverado 1500 that dropped the stacked headlight design in favor of a streamlined front fascia and a new grille. This held things over until the fourth-gen Chevy Silverado 1500 was unveiled.
Chevrolet made a grand reveal of the fourth-gen Silverado in 2017 with a helicopter airlifting the new Silverado 1500 onto a stage in front of the media and Chevrolet enthusiasts. The new Silverado revealed a more bold design with narrow headlights and inward arched daytime running lights. Despite its boxy style, the Silverado still had curvy edges, a nicely sculpted hood, and a strong body line.
The 2019 Silverado didn’t just look better, it was 450 pounds lighter thanks to an aluminum and steel body. It had a refreshed interior complete with modern features. The Silverado 1500 was now offered eight different trims: WT, Custom, Custom Trail Boss, LT, LT Trail Boss, LTZ, and High Country. The Crew Cab models now had an extra three inches of space in the rear with generous amounts of under-seat storage in the second row.
The 2019 Silverado also had six different powertrain options. Apart from the three V-6 and two V-8s, 1500 has an option for a 3.0 L, 6-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine producing 277 HP. All engine variants came paired with either 6-speed, 8-speed, or 10-speed automatic transmission. The choice of rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive is another option.
However, a 4X4 configuration is standard on both LT and Custom Trail Boss trims. Chevy also introduced a 310 HP, 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine for the Silverado 1500.
On the inside, 1500 has a new infotainment system with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 7- or 8-inch infotainment screen, 4G LTE hotspot support, GPS Navigation, Sirius XM radio, and a Bose premium audio system.
Advanced safety features like lane keep assist, parking assist, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking are all standard safety features in the fourth-gen Silverado 1500.
The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado is the current model year of the fourth-gen Silverado. For 2021, Chevy has improved the tow ratings for both six-cylinder diesel and four-cylinder turbocharged engines. The Multi-Flex tailgate offers six different ways to access the cargo bed. The latest Silverado also has new trailer assistance technology for easy operating and driving.
A multitude of powertrain options continues—these range from the four-cylinder turbo, a V-6, two V-8s, and the 3.0-liter Diesel. The largest V-8 produces 420 HP and offers a 0-60 run of 5.4 seconds. Even the slowest of the bunch, the Diesel, travels the same distance in just 7.0 seconds. Regardless of choice, all Silverado engines offer smooth performance, good torque, and exceptional towing capacity, up to 13,300 pounds.
Moving to the cabin, 1500 offers many ways to customize the interior. The base WT variant only features limited comfort with manually adjusted seats, windows, locks, and basic infotainment features. In contrast, the high-end High Country model provides ventilated seats, power windows, keyless entry, a head-up display, automatic parking, a hands-free tailgate, remote engine start, and massaging seats.
Beyond the WT model, the infotainment system includes an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen as standard, along with Android Auto and Apple Carplay. Features like navigation, HD radio, wireless charging, a mobile hotspot, and a Bose premium speaker system are all available as standard or as options, depending on the trim.
Today’s Silverado 1500 is home to state-of-the-art safety technology. These advances, like automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and front pedestrian braking, are standard on all trims.
Depending on the trim, adaptive high beams, trailer assist technology, lane keeps assisting, lane departure assists, cross-traffic alert, parking assist, night vision, and adaptive cruise control are standard on the higher trims or optional.
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