Auto Review: Chevy Silverado: Rugged refinement

By Bill Heald - ReminderNews
Featured - posted Mon., May. 20, 2013
- Contributed Photo

It’s a rare moment when one of the most popular vehicles on the road undergoes an extensive renovation, and in this case it’s Chevrolet’s Silverado 1500 full-size pickup. The new 2014 truck will be available for testing in a few months, which means the 2013 model will be the end of the current iteration’s production run, and therefore is a very desirable vehicle. Why? There’s a couple of reasons; the most important being this platform has been undergoing tweaks for years and the current version is at the pinnacle of development. The other is the 2013 models may be discounted a bit as we approach the release of the new Silverado, and while this is not set in stone, it often happens. And as advanced as the new truck will no doubt be, it’s still closely based on the current truck because the engineers don’t need to fix what clearly isn’t broken. With this in mind, this week we examine a very well-equipped ’13 version and get a picture of why this comfortable workhorse is so popular.

We tested one of the most versatile versions of the Silverado 1500: a Crew Cab with a 5’8” cargo box and Four-Wheel Drive (topped of with the very luxurious LTZ trim level). The truck was equipped with the venerable 5.3 Vortec V8 (Chevy’s most popular engine in the 1500 application). This engine is a refined, powerful and economical powerplant that generates 315 horsepower and 335 lb.-ft. of torque. This in turn is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with both towing and manual gear selection modes for the ultimate in towing/hauling adaptability. It also features Powertrain Grade Braking that uses the transmission to help slow the vehicle on downgrades to help lower brake disc temperatures. The electronic AutoTrac Four-Wheel Drive transfer case is also highly versatile, with 2WD and 4WD high and low modes, and an additional automatic setting (not available on a lot of the competition) that transfers power to the front wheels only when necessary. All these features combine to make a solid, satisfying drivetrain that allows our LTZ tester to have a payload rating of 1890 lbs. and a towing capacity (with the 3:08 axle ratio) of 7,000 lbs. Ride quality is a tad stiff, but perfectly acceptable for a truck with an off-road suspension package.

The Crew Cab version of a full-size pickup is becoming very popular, as it lets the vehicle double as a family car and can also house a lot of tools in a secure, lockable environment when you fold up the rear seat cushions. This LTZ trim includes stout leather front seating with a generous number of adjustments, but a steering wheel that tilts but doesn’t telescope. The rear seat is comfortable as well, and the truck is commendably quiet at making this an ideal vehicle to haul a family and trailer on a long trip.

The 2013 Chevy Silverado 1500 Crew Cab LTZ  is EPA rated 15 MPG city/21 highway and has a base price of $42,440. With options, our sticker came to $48,514.

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