First introduced in 1998 for the ’99 model year, the Chevy Silverado was a follow up to Chevy trucks’ successful C/K pickup line and built on GM’s long success with pickup trucks, dating back to its first model in 1930. The 1998 wasn’t the Silverado name’s debut, however, as it had made an appearance previously. Chevy used Silverado as an upscale trim line name for both its Suburban and C/K pickup truck models from ’75 through ’99.
First generation: 1999-2007
Built on the GMT800 platform, the Chevy Silverado light duty truck came in three models including the half-ton, SS, and Hybrid. These light duty trucks used the 1500 alias and were available in three cab lengths, two-door regular cab, four-door extended cab, and front-hinged four-door crew cab.
For the first year, only the regular cab and an extended cab were available, along with the Vortec 4300 V6, Vortec 4800 V8, and the Vortec 5300 V8. In 2000, a driver's side door option became available for the extended cab, giving it four doors, and the crew-cab body was added to the lineup.
GM introduced a reworked version of the Silverado in 2003 with a new front end and slightly modified rear, but this model maintained all the power of its predecessor. Launched in early '03, the SS came on to the scene as the high-performance pickup. Based on the Silverado 1500, this truck had upgrades to the drive train and both exterior and interior appearance. Coming equipped with the 6.0 liter Vortec High-Output V8, this truck rated at 345 horsepower at 5200 RPM and 380 lb ft of torque.
In 2005, in an effort to increase sales, a two-wheel drive version became available and a sun roof was available in the SS lineup. By 2006 the AWD option was dropped leaving just the rear-wheel. Also in 2006, Chevy introduced the Intimidator SS, a special edition Silverado, to honor the late Dale Earnhardt.
2007-2013: A new generation
The all-new GMT900 generation of the Silverado arrived in the last quarter of 2006 as a 2007 model. It featured a redesigned exterior, interior, frame, and suspension as well as a power increases on certain engines. This truck had greatly improved aerodynamics thanks to the steeply raked windshields and tighter panel gaps; along with weight savings and a more efficient drivetrain, this helped create better fuel economy.
This new Silverado earned The North American Truck of the Year award and was named Motor Trend's Truck of the Year for 2007. Like the previous models this truck was available in two door regular cabs, four door extended cabs (with rear doors that now open 170 degrees similar to the Nissan Titan) and four door crew cabs.
Starting in 2008 GM full-size trucks we no longer available in the U.S. and Canada with manual transmissions. This same year, GM discontinued the Silverado hybrid, simply because it wasn't selling, as well as a slew of other GM hybrid models.
Halfway through the '09 model year, the Silverado received minor upgrades on the bumper and front fascia, but the real overhaul came in 2010 with new interior door panels and a six-speed automatic transmission. Two new exterior colors were added too--Taupe Gray Metallic and Sheer Silver Metallic. Few other modifications were made in the last few years of this generation, but that was soon to change.
Third Gen: 2014-present
The Silverado is now enjoying its third generation, and still building and improving on the success of generations one and two. On December 13, 2012, the redesigned 2014 Chevrolet Silverado was introduced in Detroit, Michigan at the North American International Auto Show. Available in three gas engine options, given added technological upgrades, and sporting a new exterior look, this Silverado was truly a mechanical wonder.
The third generation Silverado uses aluminum on the hood, for the engine block and for the control arms in order to save mass. The truck's bed is made of roll-formed steel, instead of stamped steel used by other manufacturers, in order to save weight and gain strength. All of these improvements contributed to the 2014 Silverado receiving the 2014 North American Truck of the Year Award.
The 2015 Silverado saw some transmission changes, but the real change came with the introduction of the Special Edition truck series including Rally Edition 1 and 2, Midnight Edition, Custom Sport Edition, Custom Sport Plus Edition, Black Out Edition, and Texas Longhorns Edition. In 2016, the Special Edition lineup changed slightly dropping the Longhorn and adding the Custom Sport HD Edition, Realtree Edition, Custom Sport HD Edition, Black Out Edition, and Special Ops Edition.
This third gen Silverado is available in various engine sizes and power from the 4.3 L LV3 GM EcoTec3 4300 V6 with 285 horsepower at 5300 RPM to the mammoth 6.6 L L5P Duramax V8 with 445 horsepower at 2800 RPM in 2017.
In natural 21st century style, the modern day Silverado features enough gadgets and tech to keep you connected and safe including On-Star, Bose® sound system, Bluetooth® , Chevrolet MyLink® audio system, driver Information Center with 4.2" diagonal color display, lane keep assist, and more.
Although the Silverado faces tough competition with the Ford F-Series, this truck shows no signs of slowing down. Perhaps it's because of its reputation of "America's Longest Lasting and Most Dependable Truck on the Road."
Have you owned a Chevy Silverado? Leave us a comment and tell us about your experience.