The Chevy Silverado is one of America’s best selling trucks, second only to the Ford F-150 and sells more than half a million units annually. It comes in a full-size and heavy-duty format, manufactured by General Motors. General Motors also manufactures a nearly identical truck under the GMC brand called the Sierra. The Silverado is the successor to the Chevrolet C/K, also known as the C-Series or K-Series pickup, which was manufactured from 1959 to 2002. Silverado was actually a trim level offered on the C/K pickups, which naturally let to the new name.
The Chevy Silverado has received many accolades, the first dating back to its initial release year in 1999. The third generation has been the most awarded to date and the Silverado stands impressively in the truck lineup as a proven workhorse. Awards include but are not limited to:
Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year
Car and Driver’s Best Pickup Truck
North American Truck of the Year
SEMA Truck of the Year Finalist
Most Dependable Large Light Duty Pickup by J.D. Power
First Generation Chevy Silverado
The first generation of the Chevrolet Silverado debuted in 1999 as a light-duty pickup. Meanwhile, the heavy-duty K-Series pickups actually continued production through 2002 and didn’t make the switch to the Silverado name until after that point. The light-duty trucks were also known as 1500s. Heavy-duty trucks were referred to as 2500s and 3500s, although there was also a 1500 Heavy Duty (HD). Typically, the higher the number, the higher the payload and tow ratings.
The 1500 had plenty of engine options from a 4.3L V6 Vortec (named because of patented cylinder head technology), all the way up through an 8.1L V8 Vortec motor in the heavy-duty version. There were other editions of the Silverado such as the Silverado SS, which is a sporty, high-performance pickup with a 6.0L powerplant. The Silverado SS also came as the Intimidator SS, which featured appearance package upgrades for an even sportier look.
There was even a hybrid model in 2004. Although not a true hybrid as we think of today, an electric motor provided power for starting, battery charging and running accessories. Additional miles per gallon (MPG) benefits came most to those who typically kept their trucks idling on job sites in order to power accessories.
Second Generation Chevy Silverado
The first generation of the Silverado had a long run and the second generation wasn’t released until eight years later in 2007. However, when it was released, it came with a complete redesign to the interior, exterior, frame, suspension, and motors. Bodylines became more aerodynamic in an effort to improve fuel economy. Engines became more powerful while at the same time adding an Active Fuel Management feature to help improve gas mileage. 2008 marked the discontinuation of manual transmissions in favor of automatic ones. There was also a slight facelift that occurred in 2009 which included a new bumper and shortened front fascia. Another update occurred the very next year in 2010 during which the Silverado received new door panels inside and additional factory options became available.
In 2012 the Silverado got a new grille and front fascia. Touch-screen navigation and cooled seats became optional, while trailer sway control and hill start assist became standard.
For the heavy-duty models of the second generation, an Allison 1000 transmission paired with a 6.0” Duramax diesel becomes optional. In 2011 the heavy-duty frames became fully boxed. The suspension was upgraded including rear springs, upper and lower control arms, and torsion bars, as well as engine and transmission mounts. These upgrades made for a stiffer truck, better ride, and higher payload ratings.
Third Generation Chevy Silverado
The third generation of Silverado came out in 2014, which released many optional modern-day creature comforts. A touch-screen multimedia interface, Bluetooth connectivity, USB ports, and Bose surround sound became available for those who wanted the latest technology. OnStar also became a standard feature.
A high-strength, boxed steel frame serves as the platform, while aluminum is the metal of choice for the hood, engine block and control arms, which helps save weight and increase gas mileage. EcoTec engines were also marketed beginning in 2014.
Several special editions were offered in 2015 including the Texas Edition, Black Out Edition, and two Rally Editions. In 2016, the Silverado received an update which included a new grille, headlights, and front fascia. Upper trim levels received LED taillights as well. The 2017 lineup included a number of special editions too, including the All Star Edition, High Desert Edition, Rally 2 Edition, and Redline Edition. The 2018 lineup boasted a Centennial Edition, marking the 100th anniversary of Chevy trucks since it first released the Chevy One-Ton pickup in 1918.
Fourth Generation Chevy Silverado
The latest generation of the Chevrolet Silverado became available in 2019 and includes the WT, Custom, Custom Trail Boss, LT, RST, LT Trail Boss, LTZ and High Country trim levels. The Silverado is now equipped standard with an infotainment system which includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, as well as a rearview backup camera.
Engine options are just as plentiful as trim options. They range from the tried and true 4.3l V6 up to a powerful 6.6L V8 in the heavy-duty models. An economical 2.7L turbocharged motor is also available for the first time. Chevy has also introduced unique tailgate options for the Silverado that allow for more versatility when it comes to loading and hauling.