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Chevrolet Silverado 2020 review: 1500 LTZ Premium Edition

The Silverado 1500 is here to rattle the cage of the Ram 1500.
EXPERT RATING
Australian buyers are prepared to spend big bucks on pick-ups, and now there's a new kid on the block: HSV's locally remanufactured Chevrolet Silverado 1500. But with it wearing a six-figure price tag, is going full-size worth the extra dough?

Australians love their utes. You only need to take a quick look at the sales charts to reassure yourself of that fact.

And while you could argue the traditional 'ute' is no more locally, having been superseded by the pick-up, there's no doubting buyers have moved on from monocoque to ladder-frame chassis with ease.

Indeed, the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger are at the top of the ute pile at the moment, but a new storm is brewing: the full-size pick-up, or truck if you're that way inclined.

These beasts offer Australians the opportunity to be bigger and badder than their fellow motorists, all thanks to local right-hand-drive conversions, with the Ram 1500 enjoying the most sales success so far.

It's no surprise, then, that with its evolving business model, Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) has moved to remanufacture the rivalling Chevrolet Silverado 1500 in new-generation form. Let's see how it stacks up in its LTZ Premium Edition guise available from launch.

Is there anything interesting about its design?  

Let's get straight to the point: the Silverado 1500 cuts an imposing figure on the road.

There's a reason why models like the Silverado 1500 are called 'tough trucks'. Case in point: the upright front end, which is tall and dripping in polarising chrome.

The sense of power it evokes is hammered home by its bulging bonnet, which hints at the hard-hitting engine enclosed inside (if the sheer size of the grille isn't indication enough).

The visual spice returns at the rear end with a sculpted tailgate, another chrome bumper and a pair of trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes. The visual spice returns at the rear end with a sculpted tailgate, another chrome bumper and a pair of trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes.

Move around to the side and the Silverado 1500 is less remarkable thanks to its familiar silhouette. That said, the pronounced wheelarches add to its strength, while its 20-inch alloy wheels and 275/60 all-terrain tyres signal its intent.

The visual spice returns at the rear end with a sculpted tailgate, another chrome bumper and a pair of trapezoidal exhaust tailpipes, while the tail-lights feature the same signature as the headlights.

Inside, the upright theme is continued by the tiered dashboard and button-heavy centre stack, with an 8.0-inch touchscreen MyLink multimedia system the crowning achievement of the latter.

  • The instrument cluster carefully treads the line between traditional and digital with a tachometer, a speedometer and four smaller dials. The instrument cluster carefully treads the line between traditional and digital with a tachometer, a speedometer and four smaller dials.
  • Bright grey and dark wood trim help to break up what is otherwise a very dark cabin to sit in. Bright grey and dark wood trim help to break up what is otherwise a very dark cabin to sit in.

The instrument cluster carefully treads the line between traditional and digital with a tachometer, a speedometer and four smaller dials, which sit atop a 4.2-inch multi-function display of the high-resolution variety.

Bright grey and dark wood trim help to break up what is otherwise a very dark cabin to sit in, with Jet Black leather-appointed upholstery used liberally throughout. Yep, even the dashboard and door shoulders get in on the action. Hard plastics are used elsewhere.

There’s a reason why models like the Silverado 1500 are called ‘tough trucks’. There’s a reason why models like the Silverado 1500 are called ‘tough trucks’.

How practical is the space inside?  

The Silverado 1500 is next-level practical. After all, when you measure 5885mm long, 2063mm wide and 1915mm tall, you've got a lot of real estate to play with.

This size is most apparent in the second row, which offers oodles of legroom and headroom behind our 184cm driving position. Limousine-worthy? Absolutely! And the power-operated sunroof never had a chance of impeding the latter.

It would be remiss of us not to mention this is a vehicle that can genuinely accommodate three adults abreast on longer journey, such is the beauty of being extra wide and lacking an intrusive centre tunnel.

The tub is also carnivorous, with its floor 1776mm long and 1286mm wide between the wheelarches. The tub is also carnivorous, with its floor 1776mm long and 1286mm wide between the wheelarches.

The tub is also carnivorous, with its floor 1776mm long and 1286mm wide between the wheelarches, making it large enough to transport an Australian-size pallet with ease.

This utility is aided by a spray-on liner, 12 tie-down points, integrated steps and a power-operated tailgate, which has a camera sensor that ensures accidental collisions with static objects are avoided.

Maximum payload capacity is 712kg, meaning the Silverado 1500 falls short of one-tonner status, but it more than makes up for it with a maximum braked towing capacity of 4500kg.

It's size is most apparent in the second row, which offers oodles of legroom and headroom behind our 184cm driving position. It's size is most apparent in the second row, which offers oodles of legroom and headroom behind our 184cm driving position.

In terms of in-cabin storage options, the Silverado 1500 has plenty. There's two gloveboxes, after all! And that's before you discover the hidden storage areas in the rear seat backrests. The rear bench even folds upwards to create more space for bulkier items.

The central storage bin also deserves a shout-out. It is absolutely massive, so much so that you could seriously lose something valuable in it if that's your thing.

This size narrative is even expressed by the wireless charging mat, which is the largest we've seen yet. Chevrolet clearly had its eye on the next generation of smartphone, with this same approach applied to the central storage bin lid's cut-out, which accommodates big devices.

When you measure 5885mm long, 2063mm wide and 1915mm tall, you’ve got a lot of real estate to play with. When you measure 5885mm long, 2063mm wide and 1915mm tall, you’ve got a lot of real estate to play with.

And tell your mates to bring as many drinks as they want, as the Silverado 1500 can take a lot. There's three cupholders located between the driver and front passenger, another two at rear of the centre console and an extra pair in the fold-down central armrest.

Intending to carry more than seven drinks? Have at the humongous door bins, which can take at least two more each. Yep, you won't die of thirst here.

Connectivity-wise, there's one USB-A port and one USB-C port in the centre stack alongside a 12V power outlet, the latter of which is substituted for an auxiliary input in the central storage bin. The centre stack's trio is replicated at the rear of the centre console.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?  

Full disclosure: we have no idea how much the LTZ Premium Edition actually costs. Yep, we attended a local launch and left none the wiser for the first time in recent memory.

HSV says it'll check in “around $110,000 before on-road costs” but won't commit to a firm price just yet, so we too are keen to know how much of your hard-earned you'll have to put down to get behind the wheel of one.

Either way, it's safe to assume competition will come in the form of the $99,950 Ram 1500 Laramie, which is another full-size pick-up with V8 petrol engine under the bonnet, albeit a 291kW/556Nm 5.7-litre unit, but more on the Silverado's bent eight in a moment...

Its 20-inch alloy wheels and 275/60 all-terrain tyres signal its intent. Its 20-inch alloy wheels and 275/60 all-terrain tyres signal its intent.

With that all now out in the open, we won't be issuing the LTZ Premium Edition with a score for this section of the review, even though we can share with you how it's specified.

Standard equipment not already mentioned includes a low-range transfer case, a rear differential lock, disc brakes, skid plates, power-folding side mirrors with heating and puddle lights, side steps, a seven-speaker Bose sound system, a 15.0-inch head-up display, keyless entry and start, heated front and rear seats, 10-way power-adjustable front seats with cooling, a heated steering wheel and dual-zone climate control.

It has an 8.0-inch touchscreen MyLink multimedia system. It has an 8.0-inch touchscreen MyLink multimedia system.

While in-built satellite navigation is absent, there is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, which is frankly the better real-time traffic option in areas with mobile reception.

Nine paintwork options are on offer. And then there's the long list of dealer-fit accessories, which range from a cold air intake, front Brembo brakes, black alloy wheels, side steps, sports bars and tonneau covers, among others.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?  

The LTZ Premium Edition is sure to please thanks to its a 6.2-litre EcoTec naturally aspirated V8 petrol engine, which produces up to 313kW of power and 624Nm of torque.

As such, the Silverado 1500 comfortably outmuscles the Ram 1500 with a 22kW/68Nm advantage, ensuring bragging rights at the worksite, caravan park or wherever the two may face off.

The former can up the ante further with HSV's dealer-fit cat-back exhaust system, which boosts its outputs by 9kW/10Nm, to a commanding 322kW/634Nm.

Maximum payload capacity is 712kg, meaning the Silverado 1500 falls short of one-tonner status. Maximum payload capacity is 712kg, meaning the Silverado 1500 falls short of one-tonner status.

At $5062.20, it's an expensive extra but one we're sure you'll agree is a necessity given the primal noise it generates. Without it, the Silverado 1500 simply sounds too quiet. Awaken the beast, we say.

A 10-speed torque-converter automatic transmission is responsible for swapping gears in the LTZ Premium Edition, which features a part-time four-wheel-drive system that didn't break traction in 4H during torrential rain. 2H, of course, made things more interesting...

How much fuel does it consume?  

The Silverado 1500's claimed fuel consumption on the combined-cycle test (ADR 81/02) is 12.3 litres per 100 kilometres, which is actually a better than you'd expect given its engine and size.

That said, despite the best efforts of the bent eight's idle-stop and cylinder-deactivation systems, real-world economy is much higher, depending on the task being undertaken.

We returned several figures on our brief test drive, with the Silverado 1500 either unladen, carrying a 325kg payload in its tub or towing a 2500kg caravan. As such, these ranged from the low-teens to low-20s.

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?  

ANCAP hasn't issued a safety rating for the Silverado 1500. It has been crash tested by HSV, though, satisfying the appropriate Australian Design Rules (ADR) standards.

The LTZ Premium Edition is fitted with plenty of safety-focused equipment, including six airbags (dual front, side and curtain), electronic stability control with rollover mitigation, and trailer sway control, among other features.

Advanced driver-assist systems extend to low-speed autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, camera-based adaptive cruise control, high-beam assist, tyre pressure monitoring, hill-descent control, hill-start assist, a reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors.

Despite being fitted, lane-keep assist isn't active yet locally due to ongoing engineering challenges, although if/when they're overcome, HSV intends to enable it for existing owners.

ANCAP hasn’t issued a safety rating for the Silverado 1500. ANCAP hasn’t issued a safety rating for the Silverado 1500.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?  

Much like the LTZ Premium Edition's pricing, we don't yet know the Silverado 1500's warranty and servicing details, so we also won't be issuing a score for this section of the review.

If it's anything like HSV's other Chevrolet models, the Silverado 1500 will come with a three-year/100,000km warranty and three years of roadside assistance.

Its service intervals could also be the same, at every nine months or 12,000km, whichever comes first. Their pricing should be determined at a dealer level. If this proves to be the case again, shop around if you're keen to get the best deal.

What's it like to drive?  

The Silverado 1500 is a big beast, but it's not as intimidating to drive as you may think.

We were expecting to be more mindful of its width on public roads but quickly forgot about it as our anxiety eased. Even body roll and pitch aren't as prevalent as you'd think, although it doesn't help that brake pedal feel is on the numb side.

However, we rightly suspect navigating car parks will be a challenge in it, mainly due to its length, which exceeds that of regular parking spaces.

The Silverado 1500 cuts an imposing figure on the road. The Silverado 1500 cuts an imposing figure on the road.

That said, the Silverado 1500's turning circle is respectable for its size, partly thanks to its surprisingly well-weighted steering, which is of the electric variety. As such, it's not the first word in feel.

When unladen, the Silverado 1500 is relatively composed, even on gravel, although its leaf-sprung rear end can get a little wobbly on uneven roads, which is no surprise. Either way, noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels are really impressive for a pick-up.

On this occasion, we had the opportunity to throw a 325kg payload in the tub, and it settled things down considerably, proving it pays to actually do something meaningful with a real 'truck'.

It has a maximum braked towing capacity of 4500kg. It has a maximum braked towing capacity of 4500kg.

Speaking of which, we also had the chance to tow a 2500kg caravan with the Silverado 1500, which just oozes confidence. Indeed, driver error is the only genuine threat here thanks to its comprehensive trailering package that headlines the multimedia system.

Part of this capability is owed to the stonking V8 engine on hand, which has boatloads of torque. Even the steepest of inclines aren't enough to put the Silverado 1500 off with a large caravan in tow.

That said, due to its 2588kg frame, the Silverado 1500 is no straight-line beast. It certainly has more than enough power to get the job done, but just don't let its outputs fool you into thinking you'll see off sports cars like the Toyota Supra.

The Silverado 1500 is a big beast, but it’s not as intimidating to drive as you may think. The Silverado 1500 is a big beast, but it’s not as intimidating to drive as you may think.

The automatic transmission that pieces everything together is a solid unit with plenty of gears to work with, so much so that it keeps the engine ticking just above when at speed.

However, stick the boot in and it springs into life, promptly kicking down a ratio or three to ensure the extra mumbo required is smoothly delivered.

And those who aren't willing to wait can engage the Sport drive mode, which prompts the shift points to become higher. Yep, you can have your cake and eat it too.

Verdict

Unsurprisingly, the Silverado 1500 is now the best overall full-size pick-up on the Australian market, but time will tell if it eventually ascends to the same sales heights as the Ram 1500, which will remain a full generation older until its new model inevitably arrives.

In the meantime, the Silverado 1500 rules the roost, especially for those buyers that are lusting for a comprehensively specified full-size pick-up (we're looking at you, LTZ Premium Edition).

Yep, the Silverado 1500 is just that good on debut, which of course wouldn't be possible without HSV's near-flawless remanufacturing process. But if only we knew how much the LTZ Premium Edition costs to buy and service...

Why are Australian buyers flocking to full-size pick-ups in droves? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with travel and meals provided.

Justin Hilliard
Deputy News Editor

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