The 2018 calendar year marks the 100th Anniversary of Chevrolet truck production, and ‘yes’ there is a commemorative edition. The Silverado is in a holding pattern as the refreshed 2019 version has been announced and will be on sale this fall.
Chevrolet and Ford are locked in a perennial sales battle – driven harder by shrinking car sales. According to industry reports, trucks (pickups, SUVs, crossovers combined) are outselling passenger cars by more than a 2-to-1 ratio as of the end of May – a level not seen since 1958. So, every uptick in market share and unit sold is crucial.
I tested a 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab 4×4 with the distinctive Black package. A few changes for this year include a backup tailgate camera and a tire-pressure monitor with an audible alert when air pressure reaches the recommended level otherwise equipment carries over virtually unchanged from 2017.
Of the traditional, volume–selling Big 3 trucks (F-150, Ram, Silverado) I rank the styling of the 2018 Silverado second. I like the smoother styling elements of the big Ram better, and the F-150 is aging – yet selling very well.
The “Black Package” Silverado 1500 4×4 has black exterior, black mesh grille with chrome bars featuring a black Bowtie emblem, black bumpers, black high-gloss 22-inch wheels on all-terrain tires and black side door assist steps. The overall outline is a wide, tall-sided, upright styled truck. It came with a 5.8-foot steel bed, which I feel is significant to enable it to perform the duties a truck is designed to handle. The crew cab body style is set up well to transport five passengers and cargo, the step up height was easier due to the Black Package assist steps.
Under the ping-pong, table-sized hood resides the tried & true 5.3-liter Ecotec V8 with 383 lb. ft. of torque backed by a 6-speed automatic. This combination is good for a 2,120 lb. payload and 11,700 lb. trailering capacity on my 4×4 model. While the Silverado’s towing numbers are good – the fuel economy numbers did not impress me.
Inside, the Silverado offers plenty of space for a crew of five. It features a 40/20/40 front bench and a folding 60/40 rear bench. The front bench seat was ok but opt for hot/cool leather buckets if you can. The rear seat was a little too firm and upright for my liking.
Additional standard goodies included Bluetooth, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, steering-wheel audio controls, alloy wheels, power seats/seats/locks, an EZ Lift and Lower tailgate, SiriusXM, 7-in color touchscreen for the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and cloth upholstery. I liked the gauges, dash layout featuring easy-to-use buttons and switches that will be easy to use with work gloves.
During on-road testing, I noticed an improvement of Silverado’s ride and handling versus the last model I tested several years back. The 2018 Silverado feels more composed as the rear didn’t hop around as much as previous models and there was less cabin “shimmy” over potholes and rough pavement as well – versus the previous generation.
Electric power steering delivers better road feel and more maneuverable in tight parking lots, and it was easier to maneuver on the boat ramp. Towing is easier with standard StabiliTrak-stability control with TrailerSway control and Hill Start Assist. Thankfully, the brakes are less spongy feeling than in the past. I also thought the interior was quieter than before.
The revised 2019 Silverado is coming and will do battle with the all-new Ram 1500 that has encountered production problems, and don’t forget the perennial sales champ F-150. Silverado will inch closer, but the Big 3 rankings should stay the same – just more units sold as car sales will likely continue their reduction next year.
This auto review was researched and written by SteinPro Content Services and provided to the Sun-Times for publication