First Drive: 2007 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra
By: BJ Killeen Posted: 12-18-06 22:15 PT
© 2006 PickupTruck.com

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Start ripping up the linen: there’s a war brewing, and it’s going to get bloody. I’m talking about the battle about to begin in the full-size pickup truck segment. Ford has been the self-proclaimed dictator for 29 years with the F-150. General Motors claims to be number one if you combine Chevrolet with GMC. The Dodge Ram, which briefly made strong advances toward the front lines slowly has been retreating, but knowing DaimlerChrysler, the Ram will come back carrying big guns.

Currently, the three domestic brands account for 2.2 million of the over 2.5 million units sold every year. The imports, Nissan’s Titan and Toyota’s Tundra, have not been able to keep up with the faster troops, and have been quiet content to play a supporting role. But even that’s about to change when the new Tundra appears next spring. The bottom line is that this is a great time to be a full-size pickup truck buyer.

The Ford F-150 all-new model made its debut in 2004, but as fast as this market is changing, that seems like a long-time ago. It did give Chevrolet a heads up so it knew what to do with the new Silverado. For 2007, General Motors has introduced a full lineup that truly delivers something for everyone.

Overview

What does the Chevrolet Silverado have that will lead it to victory? First, there are three cab styles: Regular, Extended, and Crew Cab. Then there are three box lengths: short (5’8”), standard (6’6”), and long bed (8’). Now toss in eight different powertrain combinations, five unique suspension setups, three trim levels, and a partridge in a pear tree (well, maybe not the latter, but that seems like the only thing missing). The bottom line is that if you can’t find the truck setup you want at a GM showroom, you won’t find it anywhere else.

We know offering all those different iterations can be a bit daunting, so we’ll break that list down in a bit. First let’s just look at the truck overall. Surprisingly, GM decided not to duplicate the more modern styling of the full-size SUVs. The Silverado’s fascia is more an evolution of the old truck design rather than an in-your-face façade like the Ram was when it was redesigned, or like the new Tundra is with its oversized grille. GM’s goal was to separate the SUVs from the trucks so people didn’t think the pickups were just the SUVs with the back end hacked off. While there are some similarities between the GMT900 SUVs and the trucks, there are a lot of differentiators as well; plus there are many differences between the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC’s Sierra. The S/S siblings have unique front ends, hoods, front fenders, grilles, and headlamps, as well as different taillights and box designs. To keep this review from becoming the size of a thesis paper, we’ll focus on the Silverado, with mentions here and there of the Sierra.

The Silverado grille is taller and wider than the 2006 version, and the hood features a “power dome” look that every manufacturer seems to be touting nowadays. Plus, according to Gary White, General Motors North America vice president and vehicle line executive for full-size trucks, the new Silverado features the biggest Bowtie ever on a GM light-duty pickup.

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