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09 August 2017

2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 4WD First Test Review

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Like other automakers, GM faces challenges in today’s plateaued, crossover-obsessed auto market, and rumors are circling that it will discontinue the slow-selling Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Impala and Sonic. Staying out of the “car versus crossover” fray is the Chevrolet Silverado, GM’s best-selling model by far and wide. On the 1500, buyers can choose from anything between a stripped-down Work Truck costing less than $30,000 and the High Country that can easily hit north of $65,000 when optioned appropriately. Recently, we drove the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, the second highest trim in the lineup and one with off-road aptitude.

Ford has the Raptor, Ram has the Rebel, and Toyota has TRD. But Chevrolet makes do with the milder Z71. Our tester came with the Silverado 1500’s mid-range engine, the 5.3-liter V-8 producing 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. Along with a Z71 Appearance package that features a unique exterior design, the model also has beefier tires and a Z71 off-road suspension with Rancho monotube shocks.

We clocked our tester hitting 60 mph from a standstill in 7.0 seconds. That makes it quite a bit slower than the 375-hp six-cylinder Ford F-150 Platinum 4×4 EcoBoost, which skated to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds when we tested it last year. A 2015 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro 4×4 with 381 hp reached the mark in 6.6 seconds. To be fair, as you might have noticed, the Silverado 1500 puts out less power than both of these other vehicles.

Braking from 60 mph to a full stop in our tester required 139 feet, almost as long as it took to brake in an F-150 Raptor (140 feet). You get a sense of that long distance because it takes a while for the brakes to bite upon application in the Silverado. The F-150 Platinum took 121 feet, a Silverado 2500 HD Z71 stopped in 146 feet, and the Tundra stopped in 145 feet. For comparison outside the large truck category, our long-term 2017 Honda Civic required just 120 feet to reach a stop.

The Silverado comes in short and standard boxes (69.33 inches and 78.87 inches respectively). Our short-box Silverado fit these 19 boxes in its bed. When we loaded up a two-door 2013 Toyota Tacoma PreRunner V6 SR5 extended cab, we were able to fit the same number of boxes.

In the quarter mile, the Silverado 1500 clocked a time of 15.3 seconds at 89.1 mph. The F-150 managed 14.7 seconds at 95 mph, and the Tundra clocked in at 15.2 seconds at 91.8 mph.

As we discovered, the Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71 feels at home off the beaten path, commanding plenty of clearance and confidently tackling uneven surfaces and small ditches at low speeds. But on the road, as expected, the ride is merely tolerable. The most innocent road imperfections will send you jostling and even jumping a bit from your seat. Also as you’d expect from a truck of this nature, steering feels detached, and it takes quite a bit of effort to achieve a desired turn. You might find yourself making a few more 5-point turns than you had hoped for, and parking takes some patience. Despite its roughness, the cabin stays relatively quiet on the highway because the truck doesn’t let in excessive noise from the outside world.

At $55,600, our tester featured high-quality materials, but it’s no luxury truck. The tester’s cabin boasts comfortable leather-appointed seats, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with a competent voice recognition system. The LTZ Plus package brought a Bose audio system, heated steering wheel, and power adjustable pedals, while a Midnight Edition package provided black accents to the exterior as well as Duratrac Blackwall tires. Ventilated front seats were also optioned on, as was an Enhanced Driver Alert package with front and rear park assist, lane keep assist, low speed forward automatic braking, and a “safety seat alert” that buzzes your bum to alert you of impending danger. The truck is laden with features, but the simple layout of the dashboard remind us of its focus on utility. That, and the gear stalk located near the steering wheel shifts in a clunky manner befitting of a work-oriented truck. In the back, there is plenty of room to stretch out. Our tester’s front seats consist of a 40/20/40 split bench, and the rear folding bench folds in a 60/40 configuration.

Even though it isn’t the quickest truck on the market, our tester benefits from plenty of creature comforts, reliable performance on and off the road, and a quiet cabin. Chevy fans looking for something a little more extreme will have to move down a size to the Colorado ZR2.

2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 4WD LTZ
BASE PRICE $50,185
PRICE AS TESTED $55,600
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck
ENGINE 5.3L/355-hp/383-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 5,560 lb (59/41%)
WHEELBASE 143.5 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 230.0 x 80.0 x 74.0 in
0-60 MPH 7.0 sec
QUARTER MILE 15.3 sec @ 89.1 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 139 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.75 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.8 sec @ 0.62 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 15/20/17 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 225/169 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.15 lb/mile

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