$22,345 - $41,965

2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 was new.


Performance: 8.3

The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has a base V6 engine that delivers ample power. However, there are two available V8 engines that are better options for towing and hauling. The Silverado has sharp steering, and it handles well on curvy roads. It even has a fair amount of maneuverability compared to class rivals. And no matter the quality of the pavement, the Silverado delivers a smooth ride.

  • "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)
  • "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 has no shortage of engine choices. The base engine is a 4.3-liter V6 that puts out 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. That’s plenty of power for daily driving, but if you plan to do a lot of towing and hauling, you’ll probably want the added power of the larger engines. The base engine does get pretty good fuel economy for a full-size truck, earning an EPA-estimated 18 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway. 

Two V8 engines are available. The smaller of the two is a 5.3-liter V8 that produces 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. The Silverado’s big boy is a 6.2-liter V8 that makes 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. As you might expect, the bigger engines don’t get quite the same gas mileage, but the drop off isn’t as steep as you might expect. The smaller V8 gets an estimated 16 mpg in the city and 23 on the highway, and the larger V8 gets 15/21 mpg city/highway. Those ratings are as good as or better than the ratings of many V8-powered rivals.

A six-speed automatic transmission is standard with the V6 and the smaller V8 engine, and an eight-speed automatic is optional with the smaller V8 and standard with the larger one. The six-speed transmission occasionally hesitates to downshift when you need more power. The eight-speed transmission is the better choice when towing, and it also delivers smooth, timely shifts.

  • "The Silverado's standard V6 offers good fuel economy but feels sluggish. We prefer either the 5.3- or 6.2-liter V8, although the latter's poor fuel economy makes the 5.3-liter engine the best fit. GM's excellent 8-speed automatic transmission delivers smooth operation and helps the Silverado achieve fuel economy on par with the F-150's EcoBoost V6. We only wish it offered better response to throttle input." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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 (2016)
  • "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)

Handling and Braking

Rear-wheel drive comes standard, and four-wheel drive is available. Some trucks have all the finesse of an army tank, but the Silverado has a comfortable ride, even over imperfect roads. It also maneuvers well in tight quarters and has decent handling for a large truck. Navigating winding roads is made easier thanks to responsive steering, and the sturdy brakes provide plenty of stopping power. 

  • "Over big dips, the suspension does an admirable job soaking up impacts, although this same ability translates into a sometime soft and bouncy ride when traveling off-road. The Silverado's steering feel is perfectly weighted, making for precise cornering and ease of use when negotiating crowed (sic) parking lots." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "… 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 (2016)
  • "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)

Towing and Hauling

One of the biggest changes to the Silverado for 2017 is its increased maximum towing capacity, which now rates at a best-in-class 12,500 pounds (when properly equipped). The Silverado’s maximum payload stands at 2,250 pounds.

Even pulling a heavy load, the Silverado never feels strained, particularly when equipped with one of the available V8 engines. The available eight-speed transmission is the better option for towing, as the standard six-speed transmission’s gear ratios aren’t ideally spaced for accelerating when pulling a trailer.

  • "On the Crew Cab models, a 12,500-pound trailering rating places the Silverado at the head of its class." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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)

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