Buyer's Guide / Chevrolet / 2008 Chevrolet Silverado



The Silverado 1500 underwent a major redesign for 2007, and not a whole lot has changed for 2008 except the addition of standard satellite radio, new exterior colors and a new gauge cluster. The Silverado competes with other full-size trucks like the Ford F-150, Dodge Ram, Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan.

Last year's major changes included exterior restyling, vastly improved interior quality, roomier cabins, higher maximum towing and payload capacities, and improved gas mileage.

The Silverado shares a platform with the Tahoe and Suburban full-size SUVs. These models were the first on this all-new platform. General Motors has tried to share the best attributes among these different models — and the sister trucks from the GMC brand — while keeping them distinct. Even for one model, the varieties are a lot to wade through: The Silverado comes in regular, extended and Crew Cab body styles and offers short, standard and long cargo box lengths; there are eight powertrain combinations, many suspension packages and four trim levels. Of course there's also rear- or four-wheel drive, as well as heavy-duty versions.

The most obvious difference in the new Silverado is a departure from the eyebrow-looking headlights of the previous model and a move toward more conventional stacked headlights flanking an enormous grille. The windshield is more swept back, yet the nose is taller and more squared off. The end result is better aerodynamics, which plays a part in the improved fuel economy.

The official trim levels are WT (work truck), LS (Crew Cab only), LT and LTZ. The Z71 Off Road package also has some exterior changes along with its suspension modifications. The LT has chrome bumpers and the LTZ's are body-colored. Unlike the Tahoe, which blends its bumper into the front end, the Silverado's remains a separate entity. Wheels range from 17 to 20 inches in diameter. New exterior colors include Dark Cherry Metallic and Deep Ruby Metallic.

The cargo bed lengths are 5 feet 8 inches, 6 feet 6 inches and 8 feet. Not all lengths are available with all cab styles and powertrains, though.

After years of promising higher-quality interiors, GM finally started to deliver in the new Tahoe. That quality now appears in the Silverado too — especially in the LTZ trim level — in the form of less-plasticky plastics and lower shine. The mouse-fur ceiling liner has been replaced by classier, woven fabric. The WT, LS and LT trim levels share an altogether different but also improved interior design.

Interior changes for 2008 are minor, including brighter pointers in the gauge cluster on all models. XM Satellite Radio is now standard on all Silverado models.

In addition to added front-seat legroom, headroom and hip room, Chevy made the interiors seem roomier by moving the dashboards down and forward a few inches. Storage capacity has grown thanks to a double glove compartment (in the WT and LT) and even-larger center storage consoles. Even the optional 40/20/40-split front seat offers a lockable bin in the center seat and another in its backrest/armrest. (Not really a bench, this configuration is like two bucket seats with a small seat between them that converts into a center armrest/console.)

Chevrolet says the rear seats are more supportive and offer more legroom in both extended and Crew Cabs. The crews have split rear seats that raise to provide more storage space. They're optional in extended cabs, which now have Nissan Titan-style access doors, which open 170 degrees. They also have power windows in the higher trim levels.

Under the Hood
Powertrain changes aren't dramatic in this generation. There are still 4.3-liter V-6 and 4.8-, 5.3- and 6.0-liter V-8 engines paired with a four-speed automatic transmission. The 5.3-liter engine includes fuel-saving cylinder-deactivation technology and is flexible — capable of running on E85 ethanol and/or gasoline. The 6.0-liter grants the maximum towing capacity of 10,500 pounds — which was the "segment's best" until Ford announced that its 2007 F-150 will match it ("Nyah-nyah"). This capability also requires one of five suspension choices called NHT. The other four Z-based suspension names (like Z71) are for a smooth ride, enhanced (but not maximum) trailer towing and handling, offroad capability and street performance.

More interesting than the powertrains are Chevy's moves toward other, more-refined systems that have been finding their way into SUVs and other trucks: Coil springs have replaced torsion bars in the front suspension, and the recirculating-ball steering has given way to the lighter, simpler and more precise rack-and-pinion design.

Antilock brakes are standard on all models. The StabiliTrak electronic stability system is standard on Crew Cabs and optional on extended cabs but not available on regular cabs. In addition to the required airbag complement, side curtain airbags are optional for all three body styles. They deploy along all the side windows in the event of a side impact or a rollover. Chevrolet says the front seat belt pretensioners are designed to cinch the belts in a rear-end collision as well as a frontal impact, intended to prevent occupants from flopping around and being injured.

The Silverado comes with OnStar, with the first year of Safe & Sound service free. This plan includes automatic OnStar notification in the event of a collision, stolen vehicle tracking and remote door unlocking should you lock your keys in the truck.


Reader Ratings:
Silverado 1500

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First Drive: 2007 Chevrolet Silverado



Retail Price:


4.3-liter 6-cylinder
195 hp
260 lb-ft
@4600 rpm
@2800 rpm
4.8-liter 8-cylinder
295 hp
305 lb-ft
@5600 rpm
@4800 rpm
5.3-liter 8-cylinder
315 hp
338 lb-ft
@5200 rpm
@4800 rpm

- Four-speed automatic

Fuel Economy:

WT Reg Cab, WT Reg Cab LB
4x2 4.3 V6
17 mpg
22 mpg
LT1 Reg Cab, LT1 Reg Cab LB,
WT Crew Cab, LT1 Crew Cab
4x2 4.8 V8
16 mpg
22 mpg
WT Ext Cab LB, LT1 Ext Cab LB,
LT2 Ext Cab, LT2 Ext Cab LB,
LT2 Crew Cab, LTZ Ext Cab,
LTZ Crew Cab
4x2 5.3 V8
15 mpg
22 mpg
WT Reg Cab, WT Reg Cab LB,
WT Ext Cab
4x4 4.3 V6
16 mpg
20 mpg
WT Ext Cab, LT1 Reg Cab, LT1 Reg Cab LB,
WT Crew Cab, LT1 Crew Cab
4x4 4.8 V8
15 mpg
20 mpg
WT Ext Cab LB, LT1 Ext Cab LB,
LT2 Ext Cab, LT2 Ext Cab LB,
LT2 Crew Cab, LTZ Ext Cab,
LTZ Crew Cab
4x4 5.3 V8
15 mpg
19 mpg

NHTSA Safey Ratings:
Frontal Crash Test
4x2 Regular Cab
- Driver Front: 5/5 Stars
- Passenger Front: 5/5 Stars

Rollover Crash Test
4x2 Regular Cab
- Rollover: 4/5 Stars

IIHS Safey Ratings:
2004 Ford F-150 Tested
- Overall: Good
- Structure / Safety Cage: Good
- Head/Neck: Good
- Chest: Good

- Leg/Foot Left, Right:
Good, Good
- Restraints: Good



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