2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500: 5 Things We Like and 3 Things We Don’t
The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 competes in the full-size truck market, the most popular vehicle segment in the U.S. right now. Rivals include the Nissan Titan, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra and Ford F-150, which has been the bestselling truck in North America for more than 40 years. The Silverado has perennially been hot on the heels of the F-150, and the 2021 model year brings some notable improvements to this popular Chevy truck.
Related: 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Review: Few Wows but Plenty of Good
To start with, a multifunction tailgate is now available; it’s based on the MultiPro Tailgate first seen in the GMC Sierra 1500 and can be flipped and folded to serve as a cargo bed extender, handy steps or worktable. There’s also new available camera technology for safer trailering and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.
Our Silverado LTZ test truck had the optional turbo-diesel 3.0-liter Duramax six-cylinder engine, and it was a crew-cab version with a short bed. The as-tested price was $60,265 (including destination).
Be sure to follow the related link above to read about our time with the 2021 Silverado 1500. For a quicker spin around the block to see what impressed us, however — plus some things that left us flat — keep reading below.
Things We Like
1. Choices, Choices, Choices
As with many full-size trucks, the Silverado spoils you for choice. This truck can be anything from a no-frills workhorse to a smooth-riding luxury machine fitted with heated and ventilated seats, a head-up display, a 360-degree camera system and much more. There are five available engines, including a standard gas V-6, a turbo four-cylinder, two V-8s and the turbo-diesel we tested. There are also three cab sizes, three bed lengths and eight main trim levels.
2. Impressive Diesel Engine
The turbo-diesel 3.0-liter six-cylinder works with a 10-speed automatic transmission and is available with rear- or four-wheel drive. With 277 horsepower and 460 pounds-feet of torque, this diesel provides plenty of straight-line grunt. While some diesel-specific noises remain, this is a remarkably smooth and quiet powertrain. It also returns the best fuel economy of the Silverado engine lineup, with 4×2 versions EPA-rated at 23/33/27 mpg city/highway/combined, while 4×4 models get 22/26/24 mpg.
3. Smooth Ride and Well-Behaved Steering
No matter which engine or cabin you choose, the 2021 Silverado is remarkably easy to drive for a vehicle this size. The ride is smooth in most driving situations, and the steering tuning gives this Chevy truck impressive responsiveness.
The 2021 Silverado can tow up to a maximum of 13,300 pounds. Keep in mind, however, that towing capacity varies significantly depending on the trim and powertrain; our test truck, for example, was rated to tow 9,000 pounds. The Silverado also has plenty of tools to make towing easier, such as available camera views that let you see alongside a trailer, directly behind it or even inside the trailer itself.
5. A Lot of Truck for Your Money
The bad news is that high-end versions of the 2021 Silverado ultimately aren’t as fancy and luxurious as range-topping models from Ram and Ford. The good news is that the Silverado’s best attributes aren’t limited to the highest trims. A no-nonsense multimedia system, spacious crew-cab interior and refined driving experience are found across the Silverado lineup.
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Things We Don’t
1. Interior Trails Ram 1500 and Ford F-150
Uplevel versions of the Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 offer more luxurious cabins than higher-end Silverados. In fact, the latest Ram reset the bar when it comes to the level of luxury offered in a full-size truck and won our 2020 Luxury Car of the Year award. The redesigned 2021 F-150 has improved cabin design and quality, too. While the Silverado’s interior is generally well designed and straightforward, it looks a few steps behind its two main rivals.
2. Bumpy Ride When Empty
The Silverado we tested was nicely behaved, though large bumps unsettled it. This is common in many large trucks, particularly when they’re not hauling or towing anything. On the other hand, even when the ride got bouncy, the Silverado felt solid and there were no rattles in the cabin.
3. Brake Pedal Response
Another common issue with large trucks is a brake pedal that can feel numb and spongy. Unfortunately, this is true in the 2021 Silverado 1500. The truck will come to a drama-free stop, but during our time with it, we noted that pressing the brake pedal felt like “stepping on a block of foam.”
Related Video: 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Midnight, Rally Editions: First Look
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