The Chevy Silverado 1500 nameplate has been around for only a decade and a half, but the pickup truck that bears its name has been providing tried and true performance since the late 1910s. A mainstay of the Chevrolet brand, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 light-duty pickup is a powerful, versatile vehicle that feels just right for commute to the Tee Ball game, for transporting farmer’s produce, or for hauling a trailer for the weekend getaway. Though criticized for having a bland interior compared to other pickups in the market, the Silverado 1500 is famed for its strong work ethic and utility, making it a prime choice for those who prefer function over looks.
1998: From 1500 to the Silverado
The earliest variant of the Chevrolet Silverado was manufactured in 1988 under the number nomenclature 1500 (indicating that the pickup truck is under the half-ton classification), which in turn had its roots from the 1918 Chevrolet 490 light delivery truck. It was not until 1998 that Chevy half-ton trucks adopted the name Silverado, which was originally used to designate trims for the 1975-1999 Chevrolet C/K pickup trucks and Suburbans. Several versions of the Silverado were released, including the standard, extended, and crew cab, the high-performance variant Silverado SS, and the hybrid version. The SS had a different drivetrain and appearance and a powerful Vortec V8 engine, while the hybrid version had an electric motor inside the transmission flywheel used for engine cranking, battery charging, and powering the Silverado’s various electronic accessories. The four-wheel
Quadrasteer that reduced the space the truck needed to turn down to 37 feet – 10 feet less than other full-size pickups during that time – and improved lane changing while towing was also introduced in 2001 Silverado models.
2006: Rise of the GMT900
The current version of the Silverado was introduced in the last quarter of 2006 and was based on the Chevrolet GMT900 platform. The GMT900 provided the 2nd-generation Silverado with better aerodynamics such as steep raked windshields and tighter panel gaps, leading to improved fuel economy. The powertrain varied from the 4.3-liter 195hp V6 to a beefy 6.2-liter 403hp engine, although most Silverados were outfitted with a 295hp or a 315hp V8. The V8 engines used in the current Silverado models also benefited from Generation IV upgrades such as more efficient power output and the Active Fuel Management system.
The second-generation Silverado is currently available in three body styles – regular, extended and crew cab – and trim levels ranging from the basic
Work Truck trim to the lush LXT variant. There are also a variety of towing packages, the Silverado Z71 Off-Road Package with 46mm shocks, off-road jounce bumpers, a special skid plate package, and a navigation system.