While Chevrolet’s new Bolt electric vehicle gets more attention from the press and the Camaro sports car is more eye-catching, it is Chevy’s line of pickup trucks that keeps the lights on at the Detroit headquarters. Of these, the full-size 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is undoubtedly the most important. Chevy sells hundreds of thousands of them each year, and depending on how it’s equipped, it can range from being a simple business workhorse to a luxury-based suburban assault vehicle ferrying the kids to school each morning.
Considering that Ford fully redesigned the F-150 last year, it’s no surprise to see Chevy giving the Silverado its own list of upgrades for 2016. On the outside, there’s a lightly refreshed exterior with a trim-specific grille, a revised hood and LED accent lighting. On LTZ and High Country models, the 5.3-liter V8 can now be ordered with an eight-speed automatic in lieu of the standard six-speed. Upgrades to the interior are mostly focused on the technology front. Optional on the Work Truck and included on the LS trim is a 7-inch touchscreen with smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. When a compatible phone is connected, the touchscreen imitates the phone’s interface so users can easily access popular applications and controls without using their phone directly. The 8-inch screen on the upper trim levels also gets CarPlay functionality, while Android Auto comes later in the model year by way of a software update.
These additional features complement what was already a very capable and enjoyable light-duty full-size pickup. The seats and ride are comfortable, with road and wind noise kept to a minimum. All engines produce performance numbers that are competitive with the segment, although the upgraded V8 makes the Silverado one of the quickest in its class. And the Z71 package truly transforms the truck into a seriously capable off-roader.
As good as the Silverado is, though, it doesn’t do much to take the pickup game to the next level. The 2016 Ford F-150‘s extensive use of high-strength aluminum makes it much lighter, and its turbocharged six-cylinder engines feel faster than the numbers suggest. The 2016 Ram 1500 continues to impress with its comfortable ride (thanks in part to its unique coil spring rear suspension) and a fuel-sipping diesel engine. Another option this year is the 2016 Nissan Titan XD, which straddles the line between light-duty and heavy-duty trucks because of its torquey diesel V8 engine.
Alternately, you can step up to the mechanically related 2016 GMC Sierra if you like the Silverado but want a slightly richer interior ambience. But in the big picture these are all really nice trucks. It’s easy to recommend the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado considering its all-around proficiencies.