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2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500: New Car Review

If you’re looking for information on a newer Chevrolet Silverado 1500, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Review

The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is a half-ton pickup big on style, power and value. Outside, the Silverado 1500 is a rugged work truck, with a steel bed, ample towing and hauling abilities and series of proven V6 and V8 engines that deliver excellent power with respectable fuel economy. Inside, the Silverado offers a rather civilized space, and even the most basic model offers up a comfortable, nicely equipped cabin.

While some may find the Silverado’s styling less radical than that of competitors such as the Nissan Titan or RAM 1500, others are just fine with it. The subtle styling keeps the Silverado current while also keeping it recognizable to the Chevy faithful. But it’s what’s under the skin that counts, and that’s where the Silverado shines. The 2018 Silverado is wider, tougher and higher-tech than past Silverado trucks — and while it may look mostly the same, the latest Silverado is also more capable, boasting a greater payload and towing capacity than ever before.

What’s New for 2018?

The 2018 Chevy Silverado 1500 Work Truck gets the MyLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen, 6-speaker audio, Bluetooth and a rear backup camera. The tire pressure monitoring (TPM) system now alerts you when the proper tire pressure is reached. The 110-volt outlet is now a standalone option. See the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 models for sale near you

What We Like

Great interior; steering and handling almost feels like a car; impressive array of technology

What We Don’t

Massive size can be a handful to park; no diesel engine option; fully loaded models can be quite pricey

How Much?

$28,880-$65,000

Fuel Economy

The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado is offered with three engines: a 4.3-liter V6 that makes 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque, a 5.3-liter V8 that makes 355 hp and 383 lb-ft, and a 6.2-liter V8 that makes 420 hp and 460 lb-ft. All use a 6-speed automatic as the only available transmission.

For shoppers interested in gas mileage, the 4.3-liter engine is the one to have. It returns 18 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway with 2-wheel drive, or 17 mpg city/22 mpg hwy with 4-wheel drive.

Drivers who step up to the 5.3-liter V8 will find fuel economy ratings of 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy with 2-wheel drive, 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy with 4-wheel drive and the 6-speed automatic and 15 mpg city/21 mpg hwy with 4-wheel drive and the 8-speed automatic. The mighty 6.2-liter, meanwhile, returns 15 mpg city/21 mpg hwy with either 2- or 4-wheel drive.

Chevrolet also offers a type of mild hybrid with its eAssist 5.3-liter V8. This setup uses a small electric motor to assist the gasoline engine, resulting in an additional 13 hp and 44 lb-ft of torque. The Silverado’s 6-speed transmission is replaced by an 8-speed unit, but the eAssist engine is offered only on the LT and LTZ Crew Cab models and in limited supply.

Standard Features & Options

Like all full-size trucks, the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is offered with a wide array of body-style configurations, engine choices, drivetrain options and bed sizes. We’ve simplified it here for shoppers interested in buying a Silverado, but choosing the truck that’s right for you will involve more than just picking a trim level.

Base-level Silverado models use the WT designation, for Work Truck. Starting at $28,880, the WT includes only the basics, like power locks, cruise control, air conditioning, vinyl upholstery, MyLink infotainment with 7-in touchscreen audio, six speakers, Bluetooth, a rear backup camera and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Also standard are HID headlights, a locking rear tailgate and 17-in painted steel wheels.

Drivers who upgrade to the LS ($31,405) get power mirrors, power windows, keyless entry, GM’s OnStar system with 4G LTE Wi-Fi and chrome front and rear bumpers.

Shoppers who step up to the LT ($35,105) get features like steering-wheel audio controls, alloy wheels, an EZ Lift and Lower tailgate, SiriusXM, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and cloth upholstery. The LT also offers more options than the WT and LS, including features like an alarm, a lane-departure warning system, low-speed autonomous emergency braking and a forward-collision alert system.

The luxury-oriented LTZ ($45,060) is the next trim in the Silverado’s lineup. Only offered in Double Cab or Crew Cab body styles, the LTZ includes 18-in alloy wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a remote starter, a power-sliding rear window, a memory system for the mirrors and seats, a rearview camera and an 8-in color touchscreen for the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system.

Topping the Silverado lineup is the upscale High Country ($52,595), which is only offered in Crew Cab guise. It features stitched leather seats, chrome trim on many exterior surfaces, a Bose audio system and cooled front seats. It also uses the truck’s 6.2-liter V8, which is exclusive to the High Country model.

If you’re interested in options, the Silverado has quite a few. Additional extras include a power sunroof, a navigation system, cooled seating, wireless device charging, power-adjustable pedals, a heated steering wheel and safety features like forward-collision alert, low-speed emergency braking, automatic high beams and a lane-departure warning system.

Safety

All Silverado pickups include daytime running lights, dual front airbags, front-side airbags, side-curtain airbags and a tire pressure monitor. Safety options include forward-collision alert, low-speed autonomous emergency braking, automatic high beams, lane-departure warning and GM’s OnStar system, which can provide crash notification and stolen-vehicle tracking assistance.

The Silverado is the first pickup to receive a 5-star overall crash-test rating from the federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Crew Cab variants received the top rating, earning 5-star scores in front-impact tests and the side-impact assessment, along with four stars for the rollover rating. The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2018 Silverado Crew Cab Good marks in all but its small-overlap front crash test, on which the Chevy earned a Marginal score.

Behind the Wheel

The Silverado’s ride and handling have been dramatically improved compared to previous generations. On the road, the truck now feels more like a crossover SUV than a beefy truck. The interior remains family-sedan quiet, even on the highway. Electric power steering delivers just the right amount of road feel, but it also makes the Silverado easy to maneuver in a parking lot or on a boat ramp.

We spent most of our time in a 2-wheel-drive Silverado Crew Cab with the 5.3-liter V8. This is the setup Chevy says most buyers will order. With 355 hp, this middle engine makes more than enough power but feels as smooth as a family sedan.

To capitalize on the more refined feel, Chevy did some serious work on the truck’s interior. The gauges, dash, seats and even the carpet all give the truck a more upscale feel, and we like the Silverado’s large, easy-to-use buttons and switches. Just below the radio and climate controls are several large switches that control features such as parking sensors and hill descent control. All these switches are large enough that real truck folks won’t have to take off their gloves to use them.

Other Cars to Consider

2018 Ford F-150 — The Ford F-150 is strong competitor, offering V6, turbocharged V6 and V8 power, excellent capabilities, great gas mileage and a long list of trim levels ranging from basic to high luxury.

2018 RAM 1500 — The RAM 1500 boasts muscular styling, HEMI V8 power and an available air suspension. We also like its optional diesel engine, which is now offered on light-duty models.

2018 Toyota Tundra — The Tundra doesn’t have the same wide-ranging lineup as the Silverado — but it’s getting close. Shoppers who pick the Tundra will find a refined, muscular pickup with many great standard features and options, but a much lower tow rating.

Used GMC Sierra Denali — If you want more features and bolder styling than you can get with the Silverado, you may want to consider its upscale 2012-2015 GMC Sierra Denali twin. Prices are higher, though, so you might have to check out a used model.

Autotrader’s Advice

It’s hard to go wrong with any 2018 Silverado provided you buy the truck that’s right for you. In other words: Don’t get a bare-bones WT model if you’ll spend most of your time hauling your family around town. Likewise, don’t get a High Country if you’ll be driving to job sites. For us, the right truck is somewhere in the middle: an LT, or possibly an LTZ, with Chevy’s high-tech MyLink system. And we’d go with the Crew Cab model to maximize practicality.

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