BUYERS GUIDE - UTES & CAB CHASSIS MEDIUM
The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 was given the right hand drive treatment by GMSV. Like all US-market ‘1500’ series utes it had limited payload of around 700kg, but could tow up to 4500kg.
North American utes are the light commercial market’s towing kings. Unlike the medium crew-cab utes that dominate the Australian market, US-market 1500 crew-cab utes are designed primarily with towing, not cargo-bed payload, in mind.
So, if you’re in the market for a ute to accept a slide-on-camper the Silverado 1500 is not for you, but if you want to tow a large van or trailer, keep reading.
The new Model Year 2023 Silverado 1500 was announced in mid-2022, including the addition of a new flagship Silverado model.
Chevrolet’s new flagship Silverado 1500 is the ZR2 model. The LT Trail Boss model wa discontinued, but the popular LTZ Premium continues as part of the Chevrolet Silverado range.
The ZR2 model delivers high off-road capability from the factory, with the inclusion of front and rear E-Lockers and Multimatic DSSV dampers, 33-inch mud terrain tyres and a high-approach-angle steel front bumper.
The Silverado 1500 ZR2 is distinguished by a black chrome grille with a Chevrolet ‘bow-tie’ emblem; raised black hood insert with ZR2 badging; ZR2 wheel flares; 18-inch gloss black wheels and Jet Black/Graystone leather-appointed interior, with dark trim.
The DSSV dampers can help increase maximum front- and rear-suspension travel, by using three separate spool valves to control damping and three connected chambers for fluid flow.
Terrain Mode, one-pedal driving allows for precise control through the use of the accelerator pedal and braking to handle tough terrain. The Silverado ZR2 can be brought to a complete stop by simply lifting off the accelerator pedal.
An under-truck front image is displayed on the interior screen, showing rocks, debris and obstacles along the trail. It includes a water-repellent coating and a washer to help keep clean off-road.
The bumper is designed with removable end caps for easier replacement in the event of close encounters with rocks or other off-road objects and the dual exhaust has been placed before the rear bumper to eliminate potential damage.
The Silverado 1500 ZR2 and LTZ Premium continue to feature a 6.2-litre, petrol V8, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The MY 2023 LTZ Premium has enhancements, including a redesigned front, with daytime running lights; an electronic transmission shift controller on the centre console; a 13.4-inch diagonal colour touchscreen and a 12.3-inch configurable instrument cluster.
Other LTZ Premium highlights include 20-inch Sterling Silver Wheels with All-Terrain tyres, Jet Black leather-appointed interior, Adaptive Cruise Control and a Technology Pack featuring Rear Camera Mirror, Multi-Colour 15-inch diagonal Head-Up Display and Bed View Camera.
The MY 2023 Silverado 1500 LTZ Premium has a recommended retail price of $121,000 and the ZR2, $124,000. First arrivals began in Q2 of 2023.
The Silverado 1500 LTZ Premium is available with Chevrolet’s Advanced Trailering System that includes tow-haul mode; camera hitch view; hitch area lighting; electric park brake connection; integrated trailer brake controller; trailer swap control; trailer theft alert; hill start assist and auto downgrade braking.
Luxury car appointments include: leather trimmed upholstery; heated and powered front seats; heated steering wheel rim; Chevrolet Infotainment 3 plus; rear vision camera; dual-stage front seat airbags; side-impact and curtain airbags front and rear; ESC; trailer sway control; park assist front and rear; lane-change alert; side blind zone and rear cross-traffic alerts; forward collision alert; low speed automatic braking; pedestrian braking; front proximity indicator and adaptive cruise control.
The HSV Silverado is aimed at the successful RAM 1500 and has a broadly similar specification. The powertrain is headed by a 6.2-litre petrol V8 that, like the Hemi in the RAM 1500, has stop/start and, more importantly for highway trips, cylinder deactivation to improve economy.
This EcoTec3 donk puts out a claimed 313kW and 624Nm, so grunt isn’t an issue. Torque passes through a 10-speed automatic transmission to a two-speed transfer case, with low-range reduction of 2.72:1.
Suspension up front is independent wishbone type with coils over shocks and at the rear is leaf springs with bias-mounted shock absorbers. The LTZ Premium edition comes with Z71-spec’ Rancho twin-tube shocks front and rear.
The Chevy is a largish beast, at 5.9 metres overall, 2.1 metres wide and 1.9 metres tall. Wheelabse is 3.7 metres and unladen ground clearance is 235mm. The cargo box measures 1.8 metres in length, with 1.3 metres between the wheel arches, has 12 tie downs and the tailgate is power-operated.
An off-road orientated Chevrolet Silverado LT Trail Boss model joined the GMSV line-up in mid-2021. A factory-fitted suspension lift-kit, with Rancho monotube shock absorbers, increased ride height by approximately 25mm at the front and 30mm at the rear.
A mechanical rear locking differential, Hill Descent Control, a heavy-duty air filter and protective all-terrain skid plates complemented the off-road package.
The driver received a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel and driver and front passenger had 10-way power-adjustment and heated seats.
The Trail Boss was powered by a 6.2-litre EcoTec3 V8 petrol engine coupled to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Keyless Open and Start were standard and a column-mounted gearshift selector made space for a large centre console.
The LT Silverado had a towing capacity of 4.5-tonnes and safety features that included Front and Rear Park Assist, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability were also standard.
The recommended retail price for the LT Trail Boss at launch was $106,990.
We’ve asked repeatedly for road test Silverado 1500 models, but without success.