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What's the Best Chevrolet Silverado You Can Get for $30,000?

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author photo by Chris O'Neill September 2018

The Chevrolet Silverado is one of the best-selling vehicles on the market -- behind only the Ford F-150. With so many Silverados sold every year, the market is flooded with options, leaving buyers with many different variations to choose from. Below, we'll outline what configuration of Silverado the average buyer should look for with a budget of $30,000.

Year

While a brand-new 2018 Silverado has an MSRP of just under $30,000, it would be difficult to get out the door for under $30,000, as additional fees and options would raise this figure pretty quickly. Still, if a two-wheel-drive, single-cab work truck is all you're after, then a new Silverado might not be a bad option, given that it comes with a full factory warranty and zero miles on the odometer.

Still, given the dearth of features offered by a simple work truck, we think buyers will find better value in a gently-used Silverado from the 2014 to 2018 model years. The 2014-2018 Silverado was offered with a range of engines varying in horsepower output from 285 up to 420. Technically the third-generation model, it offers blocky styling and an overall conservative, muscular design that should age well in the future. 2016 and newer models received a mid-cycle refresh that introduced Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, among other improvements that are worth prioritizing in your search.

There are currently over 3,700 2016-and-newer Chevrolet Silverados on Autotrader for around $30,000.

Engine

The third-generation Silverado was offered with three different engines over its five years on sale. The entry-level engine was a 4.3-liter V6 making 285 horsepower. Next were two V8 options: a 5.3-liter unit making 355 hp, and a range-topping 6.2-liter putting out 420 hp. Given the desirability of the V8 but the rarity of the 6.2-liter engine, the powertrain to look for is probably the 5.3-liter V8. When properly equipped, a Silverado with the 5.3-liter V8 can tow up to 11,100 pounds and has a max payload capacity of 2,250 pounds.

Right now there are almost 2,600 V8-equipped 2016-2018 Silverados for sale on Autotrader for around $30,000.

Configuration & Trim Level

Given the varying needs of truck buyers, it's impossible to say that one configuration is the overall best solution. Still, we can't help but recommend a four-wheel-drive crew cab model with either the short or standard length bed. With this configuration, the Silverado is able to carry five passengers comfortably while still offering ample towing and payload capacity, not to mention the added capability of four-wheel traction.

Looking at trim levels, we recommend opting for an LT or LTZ model. The LT trim level includes body-colored door handles, a chrome grille and other trim pieces that improve appearance. LTZ models turn things up further with heated seats, LED lighting and the trailering package. Z71 variants of either trim add an off-road suspension, underbody protection, hill-descent control and an automatically locking rear differential.

On Autotrader, there are currently over 700 2016-2018 Silverado LT and LTZ models in crew cab, 4WD configuration and with a V8 engine, with fewer than 60,000 miles on the odometer.

Conclusions

With so many variations of the Chevrolet Silverado on the market, it's impossible to recommend one configuration as the overall solution. That said, we think we've outlined what buyers should look for in a used Silverado for $30,000.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
What's the Best Chevrolet Silverado You Can Get for $30,000? - Autotrader