2015 Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Z71

Legacy carried on with great effect

"This size of trucks is heavy but Chevrolet has done its part in reducing vehicle weight by using aluminium alloys in the engine, hood, suspension parts and a lot of other places"

"On tarmac, the electric assisted power steering does it job nicely providing a soft but not sluggish feedback"

"The reverse camera comes standard on the Z71 package and helps a lot to steer this big guy!"

"A Gentle Giant"

"The Silverado has good all-around visibility and commanding road presence" said Ershad

After spending an hour or so driving through the desert, it was time for me to drive back home. In my path was typical Middle East landscape; a mix of sand, rocks and god knows what all! But I am smiling.

The EcoTec3 5.3L V8 on this 2015 model Chevrolet Silverado LTZ 4x4 crew cab with Z71 package along with the special ‘off-road monotube suspension' makes driving on any sort of surface a breeze. The Silverado is running on 18" wheels shod with all terrain tires which I guess should be fine for mixed use. Immediately noticeable on this model is the use of softer material throughout the interior and an 8 inch display in the center console which will be an important upgrade for the Silverado in this part of the world. The grille isn't the same anymore - I bet the pictures will tell the story. You feel like you are in a classier space than the 2014 model. So, yes, I am trying my part to unsettle the Silverado from its tracks with combinations of hard acceleration and harder braking on this track but it refuses to budge which implies a very good combination of mechanical and electronic gadgetry on this vehicle. Added to this, you always have the ‘strong as a rock' feel normally associated with Silverados.

This size of trucks are heavy but Chevrolet has done its part in reducing vehicle weight by using aluminium alloys in the engine, hood, suspension parts and a lot of other places. Although minor, this will provide a small bump up fuel efficiency. Talking about fuel efficiency, this year's model features cylinder deactivation about which I will describe in a bit. Finally, I have managed to find some tarmac which should hopefully take me home and I can drink some coffee. It is going to be a short 40 minute drive to my home, but I should be able to have an understanding of the Silverado's on-road manners.

On tarmac, the electric assisted power steering does it job nicely providing a soft but not sluggish feedback. Ok, so time to get the juices flowing. A hard step on the accelerator pedal and you can literally feel and hear all those 355 horsepower from the V8 being transferred to the wheels. Typical V8 sound track, but surprisingly the engine is called EcoTec! What's so Eco in a V8 Chevy? When discussing about fuel efficiency of the new Silverado, I mentioned something called cylinder deactivation. It is a pretty tried-and-tested technology which has found its way into the Chevy block last year. So, as the name suggests what it does is that the system shuts off four cylinders in the engine when the electronics find that your driving skills don't require them! Jokes apart; especially on long cruises which is almost like a daily chore for most of us, the engine shuts four cylinders and just uses the remaining four to pull the vehicle around. So half the cylinders and hopefully half the fuel! They also have ‘direct injection' technology on this year's engine which further helps in keeping fuel bills in check. The six speed transmission on the Silverado is similar to one on the previous models, in which I felt a slight lag during urgent downshifting. Chevrolet is offering an eight speed transmission on the top line models which should help eliminate these issues with closer ratios and faster gear shifts. Hope to get my hands on one sometime soon! One good bit about this Silverado is that I could get a fair amount of driving pleasure which is normally unexpected from such cars which offer good off road performance. May be it was the upgraded suspension package on this car which provides a good balance of on road and off road handling capabilities. The suspension had its share of jitters on bumpy roads at moderate speeds and there was a certain amount of sway during urgent direction changes, which is not surprising for this size of a truck. Just one thing I would have liked to have on the Silverado are a set of 20" wheels (chrome off course!) which would have improved the aesthetics as well as on-road behavior of the vehicle; but I guess off-road performance will take a beating in this case.

I pull into a petrol station to fill up the tanks and was surprised by the agility offered by the steering. I would say that it was a zero effort maneuver to find a free space and reverse the Silverado into the desired slot. The reverse camera comes standard on the Z71 package and helps a lot to steer this big guy; that's around 5.8 meter long and 2 meter wide in the tightest spots. Waiting for the fuel to fill up, I decided to plug-in my pen drive for some good songs and the Bose sound system does its job of delivering good listening pleasure.

So back to the road again and it is just getting dark. Silverados have always provided good road illumination and this one is no exception. Excellent visibility is something that inspires a lot of confidence while driving at night. Nearing my home, I needed to get through some traffic infested streets where I was impressed by the good all-around visibility and commanding road presence of the Silverado. Except for tight parking lots you seldom remember that you are driving a full sized truck.

Verdict
Time to bid good-night to the Silverado and I would say that the Silverado legacy is being carried on with great effect on this year's model as well. It is strong, tough and built to last. And now it is more luxurious and brings you the latest in automotive technology. This will be a very strong contender in the full size truck market and good luck to you Silverado!

Pros: better interior quality, sole of truck, solid built
Cons: not much changed
Rivals: Dodge RAM, Ford F150, GMC Sierra
Engine: EcoTec3 5.3L V8, 355hp @ 5600 rpm, 519Nm @ 4100 rpm
Transmission: 6 Speed auto with manual shifting mode, 4WD
Performance: 0-100 kph: 9 sec, 12.5 L /100 km, Top speed: 180 kph
Weight: 2,543 kg

3 STARS
One word: commanding

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