$20,500 - $38,288

2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 was new.


Performance: 8.2

The 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 gets adequate power from its base V6, according to automotive writers. They say the Silverado gets excellent power from its V8 engines, which are well-suited for towing. Critics add that it delivers a quiet ride and composed handling, even with a heavy payload. They note that the available eight-speed transmission outperforms the standard six-speed automatic.

  • "While the Silverado's fuel-economy ratings aren't dazzling, Chevy's truck satisfies with a blend of capability and civility." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "The Silverado's ride and handling have been dramatically improved compared to last year's model. On the road, the truck now feels more like a crossover SUV than a beefy truck." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "As well as the new Silverado handles hard work; it's the refinement that really puts this truck ahead of the old model. You don't need a sound meter to hear how much quieter it is." -- Popular Mechanics (2014)
  • "On Texas's lumpy but unbroken pavement, the Silverado delivered a compliant ride with no head toss to speak of. Chevy's truck is also as quiet as a Lexus SUV thanks to acoustic-laminated glass, triple-sealed doors, and lined front wheel wells." -- Car and Driver (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The Silverado’s base engine is a 4.3-liter V6 that puts out 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. A 5.3-liter V8 that produces 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque is available, and a 6.2-liter V8 that puts out 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque is available in the Double and Crew Cab models. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, and an eight-speed automatic transmission is available with the V8 engines. The base Silverado gets an EPA-estimated 18/24 mpg city/highway, while the 5.3-liter V8 gets 16/23 mpg city/highway and the 6.2-liter V8 gets 15/21 city/highway. Those estimates are good for the class.

The base V6 engine is capable, some automotive writers report, but the available V8 engines stand out for their higher power output and better towing capacities. The standard six-speed automatic transmission downshifts slowly, according to some critics. Most praise the eight-speed automatic as the better transmission because of its superior gear ratios and timelier shifting.

  • "The old six-speed is slow to downshift (once its electronics register a kickdown at cruising speed, it momentarily engages fourth before pausing and belatedly grabbing third), and with fewer gears it holds onto lower ones longer even under light throttle applications. The eight-speed's wider ratio spread and quicker shifts allow for spirited acceleration using lower engine speeds, surely a boon to real-world fuel economy; kickdown requests are met with a lower gear and far less hesitation." -- Car and Driver
  • "As the smallest of the Silverado's engine choices, the base V6 provides only adequate power for acceleration and light-hauling duties. If you tow loads in excess of 5,000 pounds, we recommend the 5.3-liter V8. For even bigger tasks, the 6.2-liter V8 is rated to tow up to 12,000 pounds. The standard 6-speed automatic transmission in V6 and 5.3-liter V8 models does an admirable job of keeping power on tap, especially with the well-calibrated tow/haul mode engaged." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "We spent most of our time in a 2-wheel-drive Silverado crew cab with the 5.3-liter V8. This is the setup that Chevy says most buyers will order. With 355 hp, this middle engine makes more than enough power but feels as smooth as a sedan." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "Unladen, the 5.3-liter V8 delivers excellent power, hustling the truck to 60 miles per hour quicker than should be feasible. Shifts from that old six-speed are solid and well sorted, but the Silverado offers a more pleasant surprise in the brake system." -- Autoblog (2014)

Handling and Braking

Rear-wheel drive is standard with the 2016 Silverado 1500, and four-wheel drive is available. Test drivers report that the Silverado rides comfortably and negotiates imperfect roads with ease. They praise its handling, saying it maneuvers well in tight quarters. Critics appreciate the responsive steering and find that the brakes are strong and have good pedal feel.

  • "… the Silverado already boasts the best ride-and-handling balance in the full-size-truck realm, with well-controlled body motions, a firm but not punishing ride, and relatively sharp steering. And can other truck manufacturers please benchmark the Chevy's brake-pedal feel? Firm and responsive, it's a far cry from the mushy and overboosted units in other pickups." -- Car and Driver
  • "Electric power steering delivers just the right amount of road feel but also makes the Silverado easy to maneuver in a parking lot or on a boat ramp." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "Steering is light and precise, with responsiveness that belies the Silverado's portly dimensions." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "Another standout characteristic of the new truck that impressed us is how it handles road irregularities and how stable it feels on the road, empty and loaded." -- PickupTrucks.com (2014)
  • "Four-wheel disc brakes offer good bite and a firm brake pedal." -- Automobile Magazine (2014)

Towing and Hauling

With its V6 engine, the Silverado has a max towing capacity of 7,600 pounds and a max payload of 1,960 pounds. When equipped with the 6.2-liter V8 engine and the Max Trailering Package, the 2016 Silverado can tow up to 12,000 pounds. It also offers a maximum payload of 2,260 pounds when properly equipped. Some think the gear ratios on the standard six-speed transmission are not ideally spaced for towing, although they say the available eight-speed transmission remedies this issue.

  • "The six-speed automatic transmission provides smooth and timely gearchanges in normal driving. However, we've noticed that there's still too big a gap between the transmission's gear ratios when towing near the maximum. With its closer gear ratios, the new eight-speed automatic is a welcome addition. That said, we've used a Silverado with the 5.3-liter V8 and the Max Trailering package to tow a trailer with an 8,600-pound load, and there was plenty of reserve grunt." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "We got to drive Silverados with 1,000-pound boxes in the bed, which gave us the opportunity to see how the chassis dealt with heavier payloads. Although we would have liked some kind of load-leveling capability, the visual ‘squat’ to the trucks was minimal and the handling and rear-end control on our drive routes were well within our comfort zones." -- PickupTrucks.com (2014)
  • "While towing a 5500-pound camper using a trailer hitch, the [V6] Silverado never hesitated. It accelerated quickly and the integrated trailer sway controls, which use the truck's anti-lock brakes, helped steady the trailer down the windy Texan roads." -- Motor Trend (2014)
  • "Later, we towed a skid steer on a flatbed that checked in around 9000 pounds, and only then did the 5.3 feel a bit overmatched and the suspension a little too soft. Yes, the Silverado can handle a load this heavy (some Silverados will be rated to tow 11,500 pounds) but it felt like a job better suited to a heavy-duty pickup." -- Popular Mechanics (2014)

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