Changes are coming to the Chevrolet Silverado for 2012. The automaker recently announced its large pickups will be freshened for the new model year, gaining updated styling, new features and an exclusive new special-edition option package aimed at courting buyers interested in a luxury-trimmed pickup.

On the outside, changes are limited to the Silverado's front end. LS and LT models gain a chromed mesh front grille along with a silver-painted lower fascia that GM says is more aerodynamic than the one in outgoing models. The upscale LTZ model also adds a body-colored grille surround, intended to give the Silverado's top trim level a more luxurious exterior appearance. Chevrolet also says 2012 will bring the Silverado a newly-available 20-inch chrome wheel design.

Inside, the trucks feature two new interior combinations - Dark Titanium with Light Titanium and Dark Cashmere with Light Cashmere - along with several new features. They include available heated and cooled front seats - offered in the Silverado LTZ for the first time - and cruise control, which is now standard on base-level Silverados for 2012. Also newly standard on all Silverados except the fuel-saving hybrid model are the automaker's Trailer Sway Control and Hill Start Assist functions, which are designed to enhance driving performance when towing.

Chevrolet will also offer a new, special-edition option package that adds upscale touches to Silverado LT and LTZ models. Dubbed the White Diamond Edition, the package features a White Diamond Tricoat exterior color, chrome exterior mirrors and door handles and chrome-accented body side moldings. Silverado LTZ models equipped with the package also include the truck's Z60 high-performance suspension, 20-inch chrome wheels, and a chrome tow hook and exhaust tip package.

While the Silverado's changes for 2012 aren't major, they will help carry the pickup until its next full redesign, expected for model year 2014. Sales of the Silverado have been strong despite the pickup's aging design, with Chevrolet reporting nearly 216,000 units sold through the end of July - an increase of more than 7 percent versus the same period in 2010.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on

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