A lot had changed since 1918 when Chevrolet produced their first pickup truck. In the nine decades since, Chevrolet, and sister division GMC, have built many millions of hard working pickups, with an almost equal number of fans. But today’s realities have cast a shadow over the practicality of their mainstay full-size pickups. Ones that GM is now ready to take on with an all-new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.
Chevrolet and GMC have long linked their trucks to the needs of traditional America. But America’s needs are changing, and the 2007 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups are changing with them.
The biggest need to change is to rein-in operating cost by lowering gasoline consumption. For that GM designers worked hard to provide the GMT900 pickups with the most efficient engine lineup in its class.
And, with a V6, and three V8 displacements, what a lineup it is! The V6 is a carryover 195-horsepower 4.3-liter that becomes available next spring. Available now is a 295-horsepower 4.8-liter V8, four iron and aluminum-block 315-horsepower 5.3-liter V8s, and a 367-horsepower aluminum block 6.0-liter V8.
The 5.3 and 6.0 V8’s include GM’s gas-saving Active Fuel Management cylinder cutoff system. The 5.3 can be ordered with or without Flex Fuel E85 capability, while the 6.0-liter has standard variable-valve-timing.
The 5.3-liter V8, which will account for about 70% of sales, boasts government fuel economy ratings of 16 city/22 highway for a 4X2 automatic. That highway number is 15% better than its nearest competitor.
All seven engines are backed by four-speed automatic transmissions that include strain reliving Tow-Haul Mode. Good thing since maximum towing is a hefty 10,500 pounds.
All drivetrains move a fully-boxed frame with front hydro-formed section that is torsionally 234% stiffer than before. It’s also the safest GM truck frame yet with truck-to-car front compatibility rails.
Silverado and Sierra ride on a new 3-inch wider track coil-over-shock front suspension, no more torsion bars, and a solid rear axle with leaf springs and swayed shocks for better lateral control. For its increasingly diverse buyers, there are 5 suspension packages including a new Z60 street performance setup.
To maintain control, four-wheel ABS is a given. It’s linked to electronic stability control that’s standard on crew cab models, and optional on extended cabs. While 4-wheel-drive models sport the AutoTrac Hi-Lo active transfer case. An Eaton automatic mechanical locking rear differential is optional with 2 and 4-wheel drive.
To meet the demands of the majority of buyers who use a big pickup for family use, no less than 3 cab-styles; regular, extended, and crew cab, and a trio of box lengths, 5-foot 8-inch, 6-foot 6-inches, and 8-foot, are available. Payloads range from 1.574 pounds to 2,160 pounds. Beds can be factory-equipped with a sturdy cargo management system that handles utility racks, tool boxes, bed dividers, and even bicycle mounts. All boxes are deeper, and available with easy-close tailgate assist.
We’ve spent a lot of time in a 5.3-liter V8 crew cab Silverado, and found GM’s newest full-size pickup to have full-size performance. The ride is more refined and very quiet, while the tight handling benefits from use of cross-member mounted rack-and-pinion steering.
But wait, there’s much, much more, both inside and out. And that outside is more aerodynamic and nearly seamless, giving the GMT900’s up-to-date style. Up-to-date versatility is also in demand. The extended cab’s clamshell rear doors now open 170-degrees. On most models those doors have power windows. Then, raise the rear seats, without releasing a lever, for a load floor that is the flattest among pickups.
Curtain airbags are available that even deploy in a rear collision; an industry first. Too bad they’re not standard.
Utility models don a refined work-truck dash complete with twin glove boxes. Up level models borrow the luxurious wood-tone dash of the Tahoe and Yukon.
And, that’s just the tip of a full-size pickup iceberg that threatens to send competitors back to the drawing board.
And send buyers to Chevrolet and GMC dealers with their check books open. Prices naturally cover a broad range, Silverado and Sierra extended cabs start at $23,605. Crew cabs begin at $27,000. But growing a sticker to $40,000 is easy.
From fuel-saving engines, with a generous 100,000-mile warranty, to a beefy new chassis, and from sleek styling to more efficient interiors, the 2007 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra represent a lot of change. But it only takes one drive to see that it’s all a change for the better.
Engine: 5.3-Liter V8
EPA: 16 MPG City/ 22 MPG Highway