Chevrolet Silverado 1500 – Its no secret that I’m a big fan of PickUp trucks. The Silverado 1500 is right up there on my list.
GMSV has released details of the 2023 model at a launch in the hinterland behind the Gold Coast this week.
In the factory backed mid size segment we now have the RAM 1500 and the Chevrolet Silverado. Ford has announced that they are bringing the F-150 here next year and Toyota is evaluating the Tundra for local release.
Both the RAM and Chevrolet are remanufactured in Melbourne facilities by arms of the same parent company. That’s a good thing because its speaks volumes about quality control.
Buyers are increasingly looking at these PickUp trucks as a spacious alternative to the large 4WD wagons and rightly so.
So lets have a look at the 2023 Silverado 1500 Models.
2023 Silverado Model range
The new Silverado 1500 comes in two models, aimed at two different sub sections of the market.
It comes in the LTZ Premium and the more 4WD orientated ZR2 models.
Both have the same engine/transmission combination. Both have the same cavernous interior space and tub. The major differences are in the details, bling, and functionality, which we will get into a bit later as we go.
Chev Silverado comes out of the factory as a LHD and is remanufactured in a plant in Australia.
GMSV still have the HD 2500 models available as well.
So, what does the new Silverado 1500 look like?
Big, but not too big is the quick answer.
Flash is how you could describe it.
The LTZ Premium is designed for buyers that would possibly other wise opt for one of the full size 4WD wagons.
Its like a big SUV but with a rear tub instead of a boot area.
With a long wheelbase and large tub, its actually well proportioned. It also looks smaller than it is.
The LTZ Premium has the big chrome grill and lower front nudge sill, running boards and alloy wheels.
It runs on 20 inch sterling silver wheels and All-Season, Blackwall all terrain tyres with 275/60/R20 profiles. Road biased and quiet. There is a different size spare with the same rolling diameter.
LTZ Premium also sits lower to the ground with 228mm of ground clearance. Still impressive.
The ZR2 is aimed at the 4WD enthusiast or outback tourer. It sits much higher with 296mm ground clearance, cutaway front and rear edges and more impressive approach and departure angles.
There are no running boards, a two-tone bonnet and scoop, blacked out grill area and black wheel arch fender flares to give it a distinguishing look.
It sits on 18″ High Gloss Black Aluminium Wheels (ZR2) with specially developed LT275/70R18 Mud-Terrain Goodyear® Wrangler Territory® Blackwall Tyres. The ZR2 has a full-size spare tyre.
The thing is that these tyres don’t drive like muddies at all. They are as quiet as a good all terrain tyre, ride well and are responsive. There is none of that crimpling road noise that muddies give off.
Common to both
Both vehicles have a handy step either side at the rear to allows easier access to the tub. The large tub is lined, with 12 tie down points and a tailgate that automatically goes up and down at the press of a button on the LTZ Premium and down on the ZR2.
The bonnet lifts easily on gas struts.
New Daytime running lights add to the external style.
Overall, both have individualised style, the LTZ Premium, the more sophisticated, the ZR2 says I’m ready for anything.
The MY23 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Premium and ZR2 will be available in nine different exterior colours.
What is the Silverado like inside.
There is huge space inside. Its one of the very few cars/trucks that actually has perhaps a little too much seat travel for me.
I can sit comfortably in the drivers seat, then jump in behind me and my knees don’t even touch the back of the front seat.
The heated leather steering wheel is both reach and height adjustable (electronic in the LTZ) and houses what has now become the usual controls. It frames the new digital driver instrument panel well.
Driver ergonomics has been given a priority in the redesign. Everything is within easy reach and well laid out.
There is obviously more than enough head room, even with the sunroof in the LTZ Premium.
Stepping up into the LTZ Premium is much easier as it sits lower, and they have side steps.
The ZR2 requires a small amount of athleticism for entry. Lucky there are assist handles on both vehicles.
Seats are relaxing, with 10-way electronic adjustability. Front ones are heated and cooled, the outer two in the rear are heated. Rear seats also have under seat storage and a cool hidden storage area in the passenger seat back.
There is room for three normal size adults in the back seat.
For a bloke my size, larger than the average bear, the interior is a breath of fresh air.
The big news is the new dash layout. There is now a 13.4-inch-diagonal colour touchscreen and new 12.3-inch-diagonal configurable digital instrument cluster. Both have crisp resolution and first-class touch sensitivity on the central screen.
Another feature is the introduction of an electronic transmission shift control now located on the centre console. I like column shifts, they are old school and cool, but the new transmission lever is more functional.
The story continues with a multiple camera system, 14 angles on the LTZ Premium and 13 on the ZR2.
Some additional features include:
- Cruise control (adaptive in the LTZ)
- Wireless smart phone charging and connectivity
- Front and rear USB ports, 6 speaker sound system in the ZR2
- 7 speaker premium BOSE sound system in the LTZ
- Dual zone A/C with rear vents
- LED headlights, indicators and DRL’s
- Power tailgate as described above
- One touch up and down for front windows
- One touch down for rear windows.
- Power sliding rear window.
- Power sunroof on the LTZ.
Silverado 1500 engine and drivetrain
Both models have a 6.2L V8 pumping out 313kW of power and peak torque of 624Nm. I have to say that while these figures are impressive, they have a lot to haul around. As I’m writing this article, I have sitting in the driveway a Land Rover Defender V8 petrol that has 386kW/625Nm and its hauling around the same weight.
If you want the big thumping 1000Nm plus Torque version you need to go to the 2500HD series.
The engine management system will shut down cylinders when not needed to maximise fuel economy. Apparently, it will go down to 2 cylinders when appropriate.
Economy couldn’t be tested on the launch, but the official ADR figures are 13.2l/100k and it will go way north of that if you have a heavy right foot or towing something heavy. You will become very friendly with your local service station owner.
Both models run a 10 Sp AT with external cooler. Both come with a two-speed transfer case with push button controls for 2WD, 4WDH, 4WDLow and Auto.
Suspension set up.
Here is another difference between the models that reflect their intended purpose.
The LTZ Premium has Z71 Off-Road suspension with Rancho™ twin-tube shocks. A conventional and effective setup.
The ZR2 has a completely different setup with High-Performance Lifted Suspension and Multimatic DSSV™ dampers. The DSSV dampers can help increase maximum front- and rear-suspension travel by using three separate spool valves to control damping and three connected chambers for fluid flow.
Without going into the details (mainly because I get lost in the technicalities) its an awesome setup.
ZR2 Off Road credentials
The ZR2 comes with additional crawl mode and enhanced off road software.
The LTZ Premium runs an automatic rear diff lock that thinks for itself. The ZR2 has both front and rear diff locks that are manually selected.
One interesting feature is that the rear diff lock can be selected in 2WD and I did just that when I dug it deep in sand, on purpose, in 2WD.
Surprisingly the ZR2 has similar approach, departure, and ramp over angles to the Toyota HiLux Rogue we tested last week. All that from a vehicle that has another 30mm of ground clearance and over half a metre longer. That’s impressive.
We drove the ZR2 over a variety of terrain, urban roads and freeway, rutted farm tracks, grassed moguls on a disused golf course, forest trails as well as the specifically designed 4WD test track at Norwell Motoplex.
Couple things that stand out.
- Even though its long and wide its surprisingly nimble and manoeuvrable
- It has stunning wheel articulation. There was a spot that would see most 4WD wagons leave one wheel spinning wildly in the air. Not so the ZR2 it showed amazing amounts of flex.
- We went a lot of places in 2WD as it simply ambled along.
- Having both front and rear electronic diff locks ensures that only driver error will get you stuck, probably in a place you shouldn’t have gone.
- Hill descent control holds strong and can go down to 2km/h. Unlike a lot of other vehicles, it doesn’t complain at all, just does it job.
- Drive Modes, including Terrain Mode, with ‘One Pedal Driving’ experience.
- This gives the driver precise control using the accelerator pedal and braking to handle tough terrain. ZR2 can be brought to a complete stop by simply lifting off the accelerator pedal. It’s functional and it works!
- The multiple camera angles on the central screen provide clear visibility of wheel placement and what’s close to the sides. Great for those up hill blind turns you so often encounter.
- There are two rated front recover hooks as well.
- The specially developed 33-inch mud terrain tyres are possibly the best MT I’ve driven on. The tread pattern seems to clear debris easily with side lugs that both assist in preventing staking and provide extra grip.
- There is a front bash plate, and the rear exhaust comes out under the truck to prevent damage and assist in departure angles.
Silverado 1500 Towing
- Rear View Camera w/ Hitch Guidance & View
- In-Vehicle Trailering App w/ Trailer Profiles
- Trailer Theft Alert
- Tow Bar (Not Including Tow ball and Tongue)
- 12 Pin Wiring Harness
- Electric Trailer Brake Controller
- Automated Trailer Lighting Test
- Gross Combined Mass Alert
This is a prime purpose why people buy these Pickup trucks.
A heavier tow vehicle with a longer wheelbase will minimise the tail wagging the dog when towing.
Both have a 3500kg tow rating with 350kg tow ball weight with a 50mm tow ball.
If you go to a 70mm tow ball the LTZ Premium will stretch that to 4500kg and 422kg tow ball load rating. The ZR2 has 4200kg and 400kg tow ball load rating.
Both have a tow haul mode selection, which basically holds gears a little longer to maximise the torque. Both have an inbuilt electronic tow controller that has a slide system for trailer braking.
On the launch I had the opportunity to tow both a large boat and off-road caravan. The Boat a Malibu wakeboard boat was close on 3400kg on the road. So technically within the limits of normal Utes and 4WD wagons. However, having towed at this level before it’s not comfortable.
I drove on road with the Malibu Boat behind the ZR2. Towing was a dream. It balanced out beautifully, especially as it was a standard 70mm hitch, not a load leveling weight distribution coupling. The multimatic suspension seemed to soak up most of the road irregularities on the back roads and cruised smoothly on the freeway.
There was very little twitching or sway, even at freeway speeds.
The LTZ Premium towed a heavy off-road van from one of the multitude of manufacturers.
The LTZ Premium again towed with ease. The van, I believe was a tad over 3000kg, so again within the limits of a normal 4WD wagon. There was a noticeable difference in the towing characteristics between the LTZ Premium and ZR2.
While still stable and towed with ease, there was a little more pitching and transference to the vehicle with the LTZ Premium. It also felt the tow ball weight more and seemed to have that rear end droop a touch.
Silverado 1500 Safety Features
While the Silverado doesn’t have an ANCAP rating it nonetheless has a full suite of safety features. Highlights include:
- Multiple camera visibility
- Rear-Cross Traffic Alert,
- StabiliTrak® Electronic Stability Control System with Traction Control and
- Forward Collision Alert with Low-Speed Automatic Emergency Braking.
- Three child seat anchor points
The latest versions of the Silverado appeal to two different buyer demographics
The LTZ Premium could be thought of as a viable alternative to the larger 4WDs or SUVs. It’s comfortable, luxurious, and easy to drive.
The ZR2 is altogether a different beast. With 4WD capability that matches the best of the 4WD wagons and Utes, it truly crosses boundaries.
I happen to love these mid-sized Pickup trucks as mentioned earlier. Despite that if I take the rose coloured glasses off then the ZR2 is still in the top few of my choices for an outback touring or towing vehicle.
Keeping up with the prodigious thirst for petrol would be an issue though.
Pricing – MY23 Silverado LTZ Premium has a recommended retail price of $128,000 and the Silverado ZR2 is available from $133,000 plus the usual on road costs. See your local dealer for driveaway pricing.
What is good?
What is not so good?
Some more Silverado articles
- Chevrolet Silverado 2023 models for towing and 4WD touring
- GMSV Release Details of MY2023 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Range
- Chevrolet brings new plant onstream before 5000th Silverado
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500 MY23 Range
- 2022 Chevrolet Silverado for towing a horse float
- 2017 HSV Chevrolet Silverado Announced
Also look at:
The mid-size pickup truck market is growing recently.
Ford is introducing the factory backed F150 early next year.