$10,155 - $20,422

2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 was new.


Performance: 8.6

Most reviewers say that the Silverado's performance makes it easy to live with, even for a large truck.  They say the Silverado has a refined ride, powerful V8 engines and an available six-speed automatic transmission that always seem to pick the right gear. The Silverado 1500 is available with a number of engine options: a 4.3-liter V6, a 4.8-liter V8, two different 5.3-liter V8s and a 6.2-liter V8.

  • "There's plenty of energy, especially with V-8 power." -- Cars.com
  • "We're surprised by the agility and easy-driving nature of the new Silverado." --  Road & Travel Magazine
  • "The truck pulls like a Clydesdale. The new powertrain puts the Silverado right back on top of the game, running quick strip times and hauling our test trailer without even breaking a sweat." -- Jalopnik

Acceleration and Power

The Silverado 1500 offers a number of engines, from the base V6 to the top-of-the-line 6.2-liter V8. Most reviewers focus on the V8 lineup and are pleased with it. The Silverado 1500's base engine is a 4.3-liter V6 that creates 195 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The entry-level V8 is a 4.8-liter that creates 302 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. Another step up are the two 5.3-liter V8 engines -- one with an aluminum block and the other with an iron block -- both of which create 315 horsepower.  The aluminum block makes  338 pound-feet of torque wile the iron block makes 335 pound feet.. The boss engine is a 6.2-liter V8, which makes 403 horsepower and 417 pound-feet of torque.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the V6 gets 15/20 mpg city/highway with two-wheel drive, and the 5.3-liter gets 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway, which is decent for the class.

The Silverado comes with either a four- or six-speed automatic transmission, depending on th engine, and most reviewers prefer the six-speed unit.

  • "Acceleration more than adequate at all speeds, aided by smooth-shifting transmission that kicks down quickly for more power....The 5.3-liter V8 sets class standard for large-pickup engine refinement." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The biggest V8 burbles beneath the Silverado's hood gloriously; under load it sounds like something between cherry bomb mufflers and a factory-installed Corsa exhaust. It's not just the sound though: the bite behind the bark is a force to be reckoned with." -- Jalopnik
  • "Acceleration is sluggish with the base V6 but just fine with even the smallest V8. The 5.3-liter V8 feels brawny, and the 6.2-liter V8 turns the Silverado into a veritable muscle truck. We much prefer the six-speed automatic that comes standard with the two bigger V8s; the four-speed feels past its prime." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

Handling is generally found to be one of the Silverado 1500's strong points. While the Dodge Ram offers a coil-over suspension that some reviewers say allows it to out-handle the Silverado, most reviewers say Silverado buyers should find the Chevy easy to drive and live with every day.

  • "The body structure feels as rigid as a supreme-court decision, so squeaks and groans are rare. The ride is smooth, the steering is crisp, the brakes respond without slack. Even on rough dirt roads, the ride remained smoother than in the others." -- Car and Driver
  • "The ride was smooth without being overly soft. The truck's stability is due in part to a fully boxed frame, coil-over-shock front suspension and a wider track. The rear shock absorbers are angled up and out for better handling." -- Kansas City Star
  • "On long trips, the supple suspension and quiet cabin come into play to make the Silverado a pleasing companion." -- Edmunds
  • "The steering is nicely weighted, if a bit numb. The brakes are responsive, though one test example suffered from slightly spongy pedal action." -- Consumer Guide


Though few reviewers have taken the Silverado off-road, those that have are impressed with the truck's capabilities. For heavy off-roading, a locking rear differential and skid plates are available. All Chevrolet Silverado 1500 models are available as two- or four-wheel drive vehicles.

  • "The Silverado can plow through sand as an intelligent transfer case distributes big-time engine torque to all wheels in order to maintain traction during our trek across the cactus-spiked Sonora Desert." -- Road & Travel Magazine
  • "Hit the dirt and the electronic four-wheel-drive system makes for quick and grippy traction." -- Autobytel

Hauling and Towing

The hauling capacity of the Silverado varies by cab type, drive wheels and box length. A regular cab Silverado with a long box and two-wheel drive can haul up to 1,779 pounds.  A crew cab model with four-wheel drive can haul up to 1,928 pounds.

Depending on the model and equipment, the Silverado 1500 can tow up to 10,700 pounds. A number of towing packages are available from Chevrolet. Integrated trailer brake control is available on some models. Reviewers who used the Silverado as a tow vehicle were generally happy with its performance.

  • "The standard tow and haul mode adjusts shift points for best performance with heavy loads." -- Consumer Guide
  • "An integrated trailer brake controller is now available on all regular cab models except the 4.3L V-6." -- Motor Trend
  • "An integrated trailer brake controlled, formerly available on heavy-duty models, is now offered on extended cab and crew cab models.  This brake controller is integrated into the anti-lock brake system for better control while towing." -- Kansas City Star

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