CHEVROLET SILVERADO

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

TRENT GIUNCO

LITTLE BIG ONE WELL ADAPTED TO LIFE IN OZ

BRANDING something an acquired taste doesn’t have to elicit negative connotations. Everyone can’t always like everything. And in the case of those who like big, Americansourced pick-ups, the want and desire for such vehicles is strong. Hence HSV and Walkinshaw have seized the opportunity, importing and converting the large Yank dual-cabs in impressive numbers.

Now there is a new player, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ. It stands as the entry-level variant, sitting below the 2500 and 3500 offerings, but given it’s 5885mm long, don’t classify it as ‘small’. It’s just not as large as its siblings. The 1500 is still bigger than a VW Amarok. And it’s packing a 6.2-litre V8 under the hood… sorry, I mean bonnet.

HSV is currently only offering the highly specified LTZ variant, and it’s expected to come in at around $110,000 – which isn’t exactly spare change.

However, you’re buying a lot of metal and robust mechanical gubbins. Packing 313kW and 624Nm, the EcoTec V8 is no slouch (sending power to all four wheels) despite the 1500 tipping the scales at 2588kg. The $5062.20 optional HSV exhaust not only sounds angrier, it adds 9kW/10Nm to the outputs.

Given most will buy the Silverado to tow and carry things, the key figures you need to know are that it has a 712kg payload, and a maximum braked towing capacity of 3500kg using a 50mm ball or 4500kg using a 70mm ball. We found that towing a 2.5-tonne caravan up steep hills isn’t an issue – thanks to plentiful torque, the automatic even resisted the urge to hunt through its 10 ratios. There is also a handy adjustment in the cabin for the trailer braking, and dedicated apps and cameras specific to towing.

Dynamically the Silverado impresses, but unladen there is some scuttle shake, while the suspension can tend to skip over bumps. Adding a 325kg ballast to the tub helped settle things down. The transfer case is a two-speed, electronic Autotrac unit, while there is also a heavy-duty locking rear differential.

Space inside the cabin is expansive. Rear legroom is at limo levels, while headroom is more than ample. The back pews can easily handle adults three abreast without rubbing shoulders. There are even handy storage cubby holes in the seat backs, with numerous USB charging points throughout as well as a wireless charging pad. Connectivity is accounted for with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, displayed on an 8.0-inch touchscreen, and a Bose sound system.

The HSV conversion to RHD is flawless and appears to OEM standards, a sentiment infused throughout the Silverado 1500 experience. The Chevy might not be the biggest pick-up offering or utilise a turbo-diesel powertrain, but it’s got ample muscle and capability to boot. For those that want something beyond an Amarok V6, the Silverado 1500 ticks a lot of boxes. Aussie tastebuds now have an interesting new flavour to savour.

TRENT GIUNCO

Model Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ 

Engine 6162cc V8 (90°), ohv, 16v 

Max power 313kW @ 5600rpm 

Max torque 624Nm @ 4100rpm

Transmission 10-speed automatic Weight 2588kg

0-100km/h 5.6sec (estimated) 

Economy 12.3L/100km

Price: $110,000 (estimated) 

On sale Now

PLUS

Strong 6.2-litre V8; towing capacity; seamless conversion

MINUS

Size takes getting used to onroad; thirsty; no diesel planned