2015 Silverado 1500 Z71 4WD LTZ Crew

I’ve got to believe that no one really cared a whole lot about what their vehicle was made of since the days of the polymer body panels on Saturn.

I’ve got to believe that no one really cared a whole lot about what their vehicle was made of since the days of the polymer body panels on Saturn. Remember: “A different kind of car. A different kind of company.”? The vehicular difference had absolutely nothing to do with anything but the plastic on the Saturn. Then after they stopped being made of polymer, the cars became rather, um, irrelevant. And thereafter, Saturn ceased to exist.

So that’s a case where the materials mattered. But after that, what? Does anyone go into a Chevy showroom and ask what the Malibu is constructed with?

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And seriously: Does it really matter what material your vehicle is made with? After all, the engineering team changed with developing that vehicle is going to select the material that meets the job requirements and so as a customer, that ought to be the least of your concerns.

Yet since the advent of the 2015 Ford F-150, the “aluminum” F-150, it’s all about the materials, at least in the full-size truck segment.

(Did you ever notice that when people talk about the Tesla Model S, it is as an “electric vehicle.” No one ever says that it is an “aluminum vehicle,” or even an “electric, aluminum vehicle.”)

So for the Silverado High Country and its kin, the folks at Chevy proudly point out: “High-strength steel makes the frames and cabs stronger and lighter” (and in case you’re wondering: that aluminum F-150 has a steel frame) and “Strategic use of aluminum alloys to reduce the weight of engines, front suspension components, hoods and other parts.” Actually, one might argue that it really tactical use of the nonferrous material. What’s more, aluminum blocks and heads are pretty standard across the board—even the Saturn engine back in the day was aluminum. Suspension components, ditto. Hoods on trucks, surprising, have been aluminum for longer than anyone was talking about it.

All of which is to say: forget about what the Silverado is made out of. What matters is how it looks and what it brings you in the way of both amenities and performance.

So the truck in question here, the crew cab version, can accommodate 5 or 6 people, depending on how large those people are. (Presumably, if they’re really large, that is 4 or 5 people.)

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Those people are in a very nice interior package. Well, the people in the front seats certainly are, because this particular vehicle has some options like heated and cooled seats for the front ($650) and leather appointments ($375). There is also a Bose audio system that’s part of the LTZ Plus package ($1,165), so everyone gets to enjoy the audio.

Overall, the thing that I like the most about the truck (and we’ll get to what it can do in a moment, so at this point the subject is “truck as something you’re going to have to drive in for probably far more hours than you want, no matter how good it is”) is the interior. It is thoughtfully designed and has an upscale look. (Of course, if you look at the price of the truck—MSPR of $45,810 and kick in $7,170 for a suite of options and $1,195 for destination, and you get to a total price of $54,175, which means that it is an upscale truck.)

It has a 5-ft, 8-in. box on the back. And that box has a volume of 53.4-cu. ft. And its length at floor is 69.3 in., and the width at floor is 64.6 in., the width between wheel housings is 51 in., and the width of the tailgate is 62.2 in., and the inside height is 21.1 in. And that floor, in this case, has a spray-on bed liner ($475) to protect the steel.

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Get it with the “Max Trailering” package and this truck weighs 5,518 lb. (remember that as a four-wheel drive vehicle, there is additional mass for the additional capability), it has a GVWR of 7,600 lb., a payload of 2,050 lb., and trailering capacity of 11,800 lb. (remember: Max Trailering package).

This truck is fitted with the 6.2-liter V8 and Hydra-Matic eight-speed automatic (which add $2,495 to the sticker). And the miles per gallon on that sticker are 15 city, 21 highway, and 17 combined. This is an engine that produces 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. (Out of curiosity I took a look at the numbers for an F-150 4x4 with a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 385 hp and 387 lb-ft—an aluminum F-150—and discovered that the fuel economy is the same. Go figure.)

The thing about pickups is not what they’re made of. The thing about pickups is really two-fold, with the first being REALLY important, and the second relevant, but not the stuff of tipping-points, generally speaking.

The first is what company produces it. The second is what it looks like. The first is about loyalty. The second is about subjectivity. The first is something that is difficult, if not impossible, to change. The second can be influenced, although one might argue that in the light truck segment, there really hasn’t been much of a leap forward in design since the model year 1994 Dodge Ram pickup, the one with the “big-rig” look. So in the case of the Silverado, F-150 or Ram 1500 (yes, I am not mentioning Toyota and Nissan here because that would take another long digression in parenthesis, and we probably don’t need to go there right now), for the past many years it has been more about design enhancement and refinement than major modifications. So you like the way it looks or you don’t. (You might say that is the case with any vehicle, but chances are while there are brand loyalties, if you really think the Chevy Cruze is awful-looking and that the Dodge Dart is really cool, you might be persuaded to switch. This sort of thinking is more rare in the truck space.) The Silverado has a suitable exterior design. But its interior is better than the exterior, and as that’s where you’re going to be planting your posterior, that’s probably a better thing.

Selected specs

Engine: 6.2-liter V8 with direct injection & cylinder deactivation

Material: Cast-aluminum block and heads

Horsepower: 420 @ 5,600 rpm

Torque: 460 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm

Transmission: Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed automatic

Steering: Electrical power-assist rack-and-pinion

Wheelbase: 143.5 in.

Length: 230 in.

Width: 80 in.

Height: 74. in.

EPA: mpg city/highway/combined: 15/21/17 mpg