By Frank S. Washington
DETROIT –Although the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab is a big truck at almost 5,500 pounds, it was the little things that set it apart. But let’s start with the big stuff. Our Silverado Custom Sport Crew Cab was powered by a 6.2-liter V8 that made 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.
In its own way, Chevy tamed this engine. It didn’t sound big and gruff as yesterday’s V8 truck engines did; it was civil at low speeds and acceleration was reasonably swift for a pickup getting on and off expressways here. And as strange as it sounds, the Silverado didn’t seem too big for other traffic.
It was equipped with an optional eight speed automatic transmission. In two-wheel-drive mode it got 15 mpg in the city, 21 mpg on the highway. For four –wheel-drive its mileage dropped by one mile per gallon in the city and on the highway. Combined it got 17 mpg but that was for two-wheel-drive.
Part of the Z71 moniker meant that this Silverado was equipped with monotube shock absorbers fore and aft as part of its off road suspension. And what Chevy called an underbody shield we called slide plates.
“Off Road” was underlined on the Z71 badging on each front door and we don’t think Chevy would put it on this model Silverado unless the truck could seriously plow through muddy gunk, wade through water, crawl over rocks and slide over whatever it had to get to wherever it needed to be.
Our Silverado could tote 1,740 pounds and tow 9,200 pounds. It had a 5’8” inch box, a trailer brake controller, LED lighting in the box and movable upper tie downs. Those were respectable numbers for a pickup truck.
Our Custom Sport Edition featured body colored bumpers front and back, a body colored grille with chrome bars, body colored bezels around the headlamps and 20-inch chrome wheels shod with all-terrain tires. Since our test truck carried special paint, White Diamond Tricoat that cost $995, the solid, well almost solid, white truck had a refined appearance.
It was chock full of stuff. The Driver Alert Package featured front and rear park assist, lane departure warning and forward collision alert. The Silverado had a backup camera but we’re not sure that it had cross traffic alert. Once backing out of the driveway there was car coming down the street that a cross traffic alert system, if the truck had it, should have caught.
This Silverado could really be used as an office. It had five USB slots, four 12 volt sockets, an SD card slot, a 120-volt socket and oh yeah, it had Wi-Fi. And to keep folks comfortable, the truck had heated and cooled front seats and a sunroof.
Now, for the little things. The seats were particularly comfortable. It was like they were made for somebody, or several bodies, who had done some lifting and or toting or both the old fashioned way – manually. It was the same with the gearshift stalk. It was easy to get the truck into gear, it just didn’t require that much force to get that stalk into drive. When your shoulders are sore, or arm muscle stretched from too much lifting, too much toting or too much exercising, that makes a difference.
And what Chevrolet has branded as an easy lift and lower tailgate was really appreciated. We unlatched the tailgate and let it go and it slowly fell open. When you’re tired that, too, makes a difference.
The corner steps which were where else, at each corner of the back bumper made it easy to climb up adjust something in the box, or tie it down or whatever. It let us know that Chevy engineers knew that primarily a truck is for work and they wanted to make that easier.
However, we did have a couple of gripes. Our test vehicle didn’t have a hand grip built into the A pillar on the driver’ side. We ended up grabbing the steering wheel to leverage ourselves up into the truck. There were hand grips over the other doors. But we don’t know whether the steering wheel was reinforced to be a support rail.
And speaking of the steering wheel, it was a manual tilt telescoping affair. But there was a spring button to tilt it and a second button for telescoping. Really? We don’t how much money they saved by doing it that way or perhaps there was more articulation but it didn’t make a lot of sense.
Still, our test Silverado was impressive. It had satellite radio, Bluetooth, OnStar with its host of services, a premium audio system and voice controls.
The base price of our test vehicle was $45,810. But load it up and as tested the price came to $57,405. In a phrase, the 2015 Silverado 1500 Z71 4WD LTX Crew was a nice truck.