$21,357 - $43,827

2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 was new.


Performance: 8.1

The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado comes with your choice of three engines. The base V6 has plenty of power for daily driving and is the most fuel-efficient. The larger V8s feel stronger and are better choices for towing and hauling. The Silverado rides smoothly even over imperfect roads, and it has pretty good handling.

  • "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 base engine in the Chevy Silverado is a 4.3-liter V6 that puts out 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. The V6 has ample power for driving around town or on the highway. This engine probably won’t hold you back when it comes to towing and hauling light loads, but the larger engines are better choices for heavier duty.

The next available engine is a 5.3-liter V8 that produces 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. This engine is also available with an eAssist option, which is a mild hybrid that gets slightly better fuel economy.

The top engine is a 6.2-liter V8 that puts out 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. These engines feel stronger and are more able to pull a trailer with ease. They don’t feel strained, even when pulling uphill.

When it comes to fuel economy, the V6 is the best choice in the lineup. It earns an EPA-estimated 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. The 5.3-liter V8 with eAssist gets the same ratings, but they drop to 16/22 mpg city/highway without eAssist. The larger V8 gets 15/21 mpg.

A six-speed automatic transmission is standard with the V6 engine and the smaller V8, 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 is the better choice when towing, and it 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 (2017)
  • "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

Like all full-size trucks, the Silverado comes standard with rear-wheel drive and is available with four-wheel drive. It rides comfortably and absorbs road imperfections with ease. Handling is good by truck standards, and the Silverado is relatively maneuverable in tight quarters. Steering is accurate, and the brakes are sturdy.

  • "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 (2017)
  • "… 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

The Silverado has an outstanding maximum towing capacity of 12,500 pounds when properly equipped. It also has a maximum payload of 2,250 pounds. Even with a heavy load, the Silverado doesn’t feel overtaxed. The V8 engines are especially great for towing; you might not even notice the payload if it’s on the light side. The available eight-speed transmission is better for towing than the standard six-speed.

  • "On the Crew Cab models, a 12,500-pound trailering rating places the Silverado at the head of its class." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "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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