$13,168 - $25,566

2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 was new.


Performance: 8.2

Despite being one of the older designs among full-size pickups, reviewers say the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is a good performer with a compliant ride, powerful engine options and strong towing capabilities. Most critics are underwhelmed by the base V6, and prefer the optional 5.3-liter V8 for its combination of power and fuel economy. They also like that the upper-level V8 engines are paired with six-speed automatics rather than the outdated four-speed units that are paired with the lower-trim engines.

  • "We know truck buyers don't care as much about fuel economy as they do sheer brute force, which is why the Silverado delivers performance at or near the top of its class in almost every category, including a maximum tow rating of 10,700 pounds when properly equipped." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The GM twins feel lithe and manageable compared with the pickups from Ford and Dodge, but they lack the solid air of the competition. New ones are coming soon." -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Silverado 1500’s available engines range from the base 195-horsepower, 4.3-liter V6 to the 403-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8. A four-speed automatic comes standard with the V6 and smallest V8 option, while the larger 5.3- and 6.2-liter V8 options get six-speed autos. Two- and four-wheel drive are both available. The Silverado’s EPA fuel economy estimates range from 12/18 mpg city/highway with the 6.2-liter V8 and four-wheel drive to 15/21 mpg with the 5.3-liter V8 with either two- or four-wheel drive.

The Silverado’s powertrains receive mixed reviews from critics, who are generally unimpressed with the base engines but pleased with the performance yielded from the larger V8s. While most say that any of the three V8 options should be fine for most drivers, they say the 5.3-liter V8 offers the best combination of power and fuel economy. This engine gets the best fuel economy rating of all available engines in the Silverado 1500. Those looking for the greatest towing capacity will need to opt for the 6.2-liter V8, but many critics are disappointed with its fuel economy.

  • "What We Don't [Like:] 6.2-liter V-8 fuel economy." -- Cars.com
  • "The smaller engines are still saddled with an outdated four-speed automatic that doesn't contribute much to either low-end grunt or fuel economy. But the six-speed automatic transmission that comes standard with the two bigger V8s does an admirable job of keeping power on tap and features a well-calibrated tow-haul mode and cruise-grade braking." -- Edmunds
  • "Power from the base 4.3-liter V6 is adequate for those hauling light to medium loads and not towing. However, bigger jobs will require either the 5.3-liter V8, which is an excellent choice combining power and fuel economy in an affordable package, or the powerhouse of the Silverado line, the 403-horsepower 6.2-liter aluminum-block V8." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

For a full-size pickup, reviewers say mostly positive things about the Silverado’s handling. They say the suspension does a good job of keeping the ride comfortable both on city streets and the freeway. Those looking for a slightly firmer suspension or those who may do some off-roading will want to look into the Z71 off-road package, which reviewers say offers a composed ride. Critics also say that the Silverado has light, accurate steering, though some comment that it has a large turning radius, making it difficult to maneuver in tight areas. The Silverado 1500 is available with either two- or four-wheel drive. For 2013, the Silverado gets powertrain grade braking, which uses the transmission and engine speed to help slow the truck rather than just relying on the brakes. This feature is standard on all models.

  • "Overall, the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is pleasant to drive. It features light yet reasonably precise steering and a relatively supple suspension. One downside is the wide turning circle, which doesn't help the broad-shouldered truck maneuver in a downtown parking garage." -- Edmunds
  • "The combination of a rigid frame, advanced construction techniques, coil-over-shock front suspension and power rack-and-pinion steering give the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado an impressively smooth and controlled ride without sacrificing capability or payload limits." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The ride-oriented base suspension is compliant and surprisingly comfortable, with less reverberation over bumps than in most pickups. The off-road-ready Z71 is surprisingly composed, with well-controlled body motions." -- Consumer Guide (2012)

Hauling and Towing

With the max trailering package and the 6.2-liter V8, the Silverado 1500 can tow up to 10,700 pounds. An integrated trailer brake controller is available on all V8 models, and stability control with electronic trailer sway control and hill-start assist is standard on all models. The Silverado can haul a maximum payload of 1,937 pounds. Reviewers say that the Silverado’s solid platform and powerful V8 engine options make it a strong choice for anyone who intends to tow or haul heavy loads.

  • "A stiff chassis means a stronger platform for towing and the Silverado's fully-boxed frame delivers strength in spades." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Excellent towing manners, plenty of pulling power." -- Cars.com

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