The 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 doesn’t have the most innovative cabin on the market, but it’s a practical, hardworking truck with a “live in it” sensibility that will appeal to many drivers. The 1500 sells on average for $21,463 to $41,758 and returns 15 mpg city and 20 highway. Its major competitor is, of course, the venerable Ford F-150, and the Dodge Ram isn’t a truck to be ignored. Both were recently re-designed and look great, but looks aren’t everything in a truck. The Silverado still has the chops to go head to head with anything on the working road.
There are several engine choices for the 1500, starting at the base 4.3-liter V6 with 195 hp and 260 lb. ft. of torque. You can also opt for a 4.8-liter V8 with 302 hp and 305 lb. ft. of torque. There are two 5.3-liter V8 options (one aluminum block, one iron) that produce 315 hp. The aluminum block has 338 lb. ft. of torque, the iron 335. The biggest, baddest engine in the line is a 6.2-liter V8 pumping out 403 hp with 417 lb. ft. of torque. Available transmissions are a four or six-speed automatic, with the six winning raves from reviewers for its ability to find exactly where it needs to be at any time. Handling is excellent, thanks to a solid, rigid body with no annoying noises to indicate strain. Add crisp steering through a smooth ride and a strong braking experience with no sense of slack, and the Silverado performs beautifully on all counts.
Hauling capacity, naturally, varies by configuration. If you’re in a regular cab Silverado, 2WD, long box, you’ll be able to haul 1,779 lbs. A crew cab 4WD goes up to 1,928. As for towing, same deal. There are multiple towing packages, but at the top limit, you can drag around as much as 10,700 lbs. An integrated trailer brake controller is available on all regular cabs except the 4.3-liter V6. (This was formerly an option on extended and crew cab, heavy duty models only.)
When you start playing with body type, you can go with three cab sizes: regular, extended, and four-door. Available bed lengths are standard (78.7 inches), long (97.6 inches) and short (69.3 inches). All beds are 61.9 inches wide and shrink down to 50.6 at the wheel wells. The overall exterior appearance on the 1500 is broad-shouldered and powerful. It looks like a truck that can get the job done because it can. (One big disappointment? No factory bed liner.)
Inside, you can go with a base Work Truck look that opts for durable, easy-clean materials or the Luxury Truck with features like leather seating and a Bose stereo. Both can be blinged out with all manner of options to create greater comfort in what is a generous and spacious cabin reminiscent of the Tahoe SUV. Playing around with packages and options, some of the things on the table include an AM/FM/CD/MP3 capable stereo with an auxiliary jack and a rear DVD system on the four-door.
All variations of the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 that have been tested by the federal government have received four out of five stars across the board on front and rollover crash tests, and five on side impact. Standard safety features include four-wheel anti-lock brakes, StabiliTrak, and a full compliment of airbags include side-curtain units. There is an optional backup camera.
Although perhaps not as refreshed as the F-150 and Ram, no one could ever say the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 can’t hold its own and more on the job. It’s a big, muscular truck with plenty of options for engine and physical configuration. An excellent buy delivering excellent performance.