All-purpose vehicles such as the Chevrolet Silverado can haul passengers and plywood and tow trailers up steep grades without breaking a sweat. It’s one of the reasons why the modern full-size truck is one of the most popular vehicles on the road today. They come in many forms, from a sparsely equipped, three-seat workhorse to leather-wrapped people haulers. Fully loaded crew-cab models even rival full-size luxury sedans in terms of rear seat legroom and creature comforts. The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is no different, offering a variety of cab and bed configurations and tons of available features.
But several aspects of the Silverado help distinguish it from its rivals. If you live in California, you could check out the LT model’s eAssist package, which adds an electric motor and regenerative brakes to support an engine start-stop system. This mild-hybrid system raises EPA estimates for the 5.3-liter V8 and eight-speed automatic transmission combo by 1 to 2 mpg all around. New for this year is the Teen Driver system, which allows users to obtain notifications whenever certain parameters (such as a maximum speed or emergency safety systems) are breached or triggered by a secondary driver, such as a valet or teenager. A number of appearance packages are also available to differentiate your Silverado from the crowd.
The Silverado’s primary competitors are the 2017 Ford F-150 and 2017 Ram 1500, both of which offer a wide range of engines, cab and bed combinations, and luxury and safety features. You should also consider the Nissan Titan, which is completely redesigned for 2017. All are fine choices, but the versatility and customizability of the Silverado 1500 mean it’s definitely worth a look.
Standard safety features on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear seat side airbags, and side curtain airbags. Also standard on all trim levels is the Teen Driver watchdog feature, which can be used to set certain parameters for secondary drivers such as teens and valets. All Silverados except the Work Truck come with OnStar, which includes services such as automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, remote door unlocking and stolen vehicle assistance.
Options include a rearview camera (available on all trim levels except Custom), front and rear parking sensors, and the Enhanced Driver Alert package. This suite of driver aids adds a lane departure warning and intervention system, a forward collision warning system with low-speed emergency braking, and the Safety Alert seat that buzzes the driver seat bottom as an additional form of warning.
In government crash tests, the Silverado earned a perfect overall five-star rating, with five stars awarded for both total front-impact and side-impact protection and four stars for rollover protection. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Silverado 1500 earned the top rating of Good in the moderate-overlap front-impact, side-impact and roof strength tests. In that agency’s small-overlap front-impact test, the Silverado received the second-lowest Marginal rating. The Silverado’s seat/head restraint design was rated Good for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
During Edmunds’ braking test, a 2WD Silverado Regular Cab came to a stop from 60 mph in 122 feet, a very short stopping distance for a full-size pickup. A heavier and larger 2WD Silverado Crew Cab came to a stop from 60 mph in 128 feet, still a few feet shorter than average.
The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 receives several new additions sprinkled throughout the lineup. New active grille shutters help save fuel by restricting air flow into the engine bay when not needed. The Teen Driver watchdog mode is standard across the lineup, and a rearview camera is standard on LT and above trims. (It is optional on Work Truck and LS models.) Low-speed automatic emergency braking has been added to the Enhanced Driver Alert safety tech package. The luxe High Country gets last year’s Premium package added as standard (including the Enhanced Driver Alert package).
Trim levels & features
The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 full-size pickup is available in three cab styles: the two-door regular cab, the four-door extended (Double) cab and the crew cab. The regular cab seats three and can be had with either a 6.5-foot-long standard bed or an 8-foot-long bed. The extended cab can seat up to six and comes only with the standard bed. The crew cab adds full-size rear doors and increased rear legroom and is available with the standard bed or a shorter 5-foot-8-inch bed. All cab and cargo bed configurations can be ordered with two- or four-wheel drive.
The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado’s standard V6 engine provides more than enough power for most simple tasks. As you’d expect, the 5.3-liter V8 delivers even more thrust with good manners, though there’s still a bit of vibration during hard acceleration. More seamless than ever, however, is the 5.3-liter engine’s fuel-saving cylinder deactivation system, which swaps between V8 and V4 modes imperceptibly.
The six-speed automatic transmission provides smooth and timely gear changes in normal driving. However, we’ve noticed that there’s still too big a gap between the transmission’s gear ratios when towing heavy loads. For those who need to tow and don’t mind stepping up to the LTZ or High Country trims, the 5.3-liter V8 with the eight-speed is a happy compromise. If you don’t need the kind of luxury accoutrements those trims afford but still want a worry-free towing experience, the Max Trailering package is definitely helpful. In the past, we used a Silverado in this configuration to tow a trailer with an 8,600-pound load, and there was plenty of reserve grunt.
Overall ride and handling dynamics are some of the best available in any full-size truck. The 2017 Chevy Silverado 1500 feels robust structurally, yet most versions are compliant and comfortable over broken pavement. Take note, though, that the ride is noticeably stiffer on trucks with the Max Trailering package. A quiet cabin is one of the Silverado’s strong suits; the pickup is adept at keeping road and wind noise to a minimum, even at highway speeds. In our long-term test of a Silverado 1500, we found this truck extremely livable for daily commuting and long road trips alike.
Given its size and focus on utility, the Chevy isn’t exactly agile around turns, and there’s plenty of body lean if you push it harder. But in normal driving it feels confident, and the steering is well-weighted. Off-road, the Silverado exhibits excellent composure when bouncing around on rocky trails.
Inside, all versions of the Chevy Silverado have high-quality materials, and we’ve been impressed by the build quality in all the trucks we’ve tested. There are numerous storage bins, a deluge of cupholders, and enough USB ports to keep all your devices charged and happy. Both touchscreen infotainment interfaces feature straightforward menus and effective voice commands. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are even easier to use because they imitate the respective smartphone interfaces that users are already familiar with.
With a choice of bench or buckets up front (depending on trim level), as well as available heating, ventilation and adjustable lumbar support, the Silverado’s thickly padded seats promise plenty of long-trip comfort. If you go with the crew cab, you get plenty of rear passenger space with ample headroom, legroom and shoulder room. In addition, the current Silverado is better insulated from noise than ever before, and city potholes and grooved highway pavement seldom intrude on the cabin’s calm. Finally, clambering into the cargo bed is made easier by clever steps and handholds built into both corners of the rear bumper.