By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.5
In the world of half-ton pickups, the 2012 Chevrolet Silverado rules supreme. Granted, the Ford F-150 pickup can lay claim to being the best-selling pickup in America but, if you combine the sales of the Silverado with its identical cousin, the GMC Sierra, GM walks away with the best-selling title, no questions asked. Today's Chevrolet must contend with more than just Ford and Ram, however, because Toyota and Nissan are now selling half-ton pickups as well. To keep its big rig competitive and its customers happy, Chevrolet constantly improves the 2012 Silverado pickup line, giving it one of the most fuel-efficient V8s in the segment, not to mention the only hybrid pickup truck available. But, truck buyers care less about a 1- or 2-mpg increase in fuel economy than they do power, hauling ability and comfort. Here, too, the 2012 Silverado half-ton pickup delivers, with a max tow rating of 10,700 pounds when equipped with the 6.2-liter V8 and the Max Tow Package.
With its numerous possible configurations, the 2012 Chevy Silverado half-ton pickup will please all but the chronically indecisive. From cab configurations to bed lengths to trim and option packages, the Silverado is the half-ton jack of all trades, including models that can run on E85.
Short of its conservative styling, there isn't much to quibble with when looking at the 2012 Chevy Silverado pickup. Those who need the towing power of a diesel engine will have to look to the Silverado HD 2500 or 3500 pickup trucks.
For 2012, Chevrolet gives the Silverado full-size pickup a refreshed front end, available heated/cooling seats for the LTZ, and a new White Diamond Edition. Also new is an available navigation radio with built-in hard drive that eliminates the need for map data stored on DVDs.
Driving Impressions Thanks to its rigid frame, coil-over-shock front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering, and advanced construction techniques, the full-size 2012 Chevrolet Silverado pickup offers decidedly better ride and handling characteristics than Silverados...past. A stiff chassis means a stronger platform for towing and the Silverado's fully boxed frame delivers strength in spades. As for power, the Silverado pickup offers a few options. The 4.3-liter V6 is a good choice for those hauling only light loads in the bed and not towing. For bigger jobs, the 5.3-liter V8 is an excellent choice combining power and fuel economy in an affordable package. The big dog in the Silverado's kennel is a 403-horsepower 6.2-liter aluminum block V8. Power delivery with each V8 engine is more than ample, and the electronically controlled 6-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission delivers it smoothly and without hesitation.
In a welcome bow to those who work hard to earn their keep – and who live in frigid climes – the 2012 Silverado pickup has knobs, switches and door handles that can be easily operated while wearing gloves.
Active Fuel Management
The Active Fuel Management system available in four different V8s cuts the operation of four cylinders when they are unneeded and enhances fuel economy.
Like everything about the 2012 Silverado half-ton pickup, the interior choices are multifaceted. If you go with the WT (Work Truck), LS or LT trim, you get an interior and instrument panel that is pure Chevrolet truck: Simple and straightforward. Opt for the top-of-the-line LTZ trim, however, and your Silverado 1500 pickup becomes a bit more plush, with a highly refined instrument panel complete with wood inlays, soft-touch surfaces and additional ambient lighting. To make the cab feel more spacious, Chevy engineers mount the instrument panel low and far forward and, on Silverado Crew Cab pickups, the rear-seat area is made almost as welcoming as on some full-size SUVs. Up front, the big 40/20/40 split-bench seat features a lockable storage bin with a built-in 12-volt outlet. The bin is large enough to accommodate a laptop computer. Incorporating stadium-style seats allows the rear-seat passengers a better view forward, and when only partially occupied, the seats feature a 60/40-split design allowing them to be laid flat.Exterior
For those who find some full-size trucks to be overstyled and almost cartoonish, the 2012 Chevrolet Silverado half-ton pickup is a welcome dose of classic American styling. With clean lines, muscular fender flares and enough chrome to be cool without going overboard, the Chevy Silverado pickup is as comfortable arriving at the work site as it is departing for a night on the town. Chevy was able to create such tight gaps between the Silverado's body panels, thanks to the big pickup's fully boxed frame that makes the Silverado extremely rigid and immune to excessive body flex. The truck team at Chevy also went to great lengths to integrate the pickup box while simultaneously increasing its height. In a nod to better passenger comfort, the Extended Cab Silverado pickup features large rear-access doors capable of opening a full 170 degrees, with windows that fully lower into the doors.
The 2012 Chevrolet Silverado WT pickup includes a 4-speed automatic transmission, tire-pressure-monitoring system, anti-lock brakes (ABS), air conditioning and two auxiliary power outlets. The 1LT adds cruise control, compass and temperature-display rearview mirror, power windows, door locks and mirrors, remote keyless entry and CD/MP3 player audio system. The LTZ adds 10-way power heated front bucket seats, leather seating, power-folding power-adjustable heated mirrors, Bose audio with MP3-compatible 6-disc CD changer and auxiliary input jack, and a remote-start system. The StabiliTrak electronic stability-control system is standard on all 2012 Chevy Silverado 1500 models.
Depending on trim, the Silverado can also be optioned in several ways. It offers five suspension systems, each tailored to suit specific driving requirements. They include Z83 for a solid, smooth ride, Z85 for enhanced handling and trailer towing, Z71 for enhanced off-road capability, Z60 for street performance with 20-inch wheels and NHT for maximum towing capacity. A choice of 2- and 4-wheel-drive models, various cabs and bed lengths and a variety of axle ratios are also offered.
While we expect the 4.3-liter V6 and 4.8-liter V8 to be more than adequate in work-truck applications, we recommend the 5.3-liter V8 engines, some with cast-iron blocks and some with aluminum, but all with Active Fuel Management and variable valve timing. And for those who want more power (or towing capacity), the 6.2-liter V8 is tops in its class, offering significantly more power and torque (pulling force) with very little penalty in fuel economy.
195 horsepower @ 4,600 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 2,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/20 (2WD), 14/18 (4WD)
4.8-liter V8 Flex-Fuel
302 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
305 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19 (2WD), 10/14 (2WD, E85), 13/18 (4WD), 10/13 (4WD, E85)
5.3-liter V8 Flex-Fuel
315 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
326 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm (E85)
335 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
348 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm (E85)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (gasoline), 11/16 (2WD, E85), 15/22 (XFE), 11/13 (XFE, E85), 15/21 (4WD), 11/16 (4WD, E85)
6.2-liter V8 Flex-Fuel
403 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
417 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18 (2WD), 9/13 (2WD, E85), 12/18 (4WD), 9/13 (4WD, E85)
By Proudchevyowner on Friday, August 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price, great mph, panty-dropper"
Cons: "Rear cup holders shake (no biggie)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought it used at 15,000 miles from a fleet rental place. I've had it for 4 months so far and put 5,000 more miles on it. I test drove Chevy, Dodge, and Ford pickups. You know it's a good truck when the only thing you have to complain about is that the carpet floor mat is starting wear from where my heel sits when driving! It drives great and is incredibly smooth on the road. The instrument panel is spot on accurate! It actually gets the EPA's mpg estimates. I average 18.7 mpg commuting. Between 21 and 22 mpg while going 65-70 mph. I gave it a 9/10 for driving dynamics only because it doesn't have the acceleration that F-150's do, but it still is a great driving and handling truck."
9 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By JTros on Thursday, August 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Ready to work, sturdy, reliable, roomy"
Cons: "Cheap interior components, thirsty, expensive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I own an LTZ. Has lots of bells and whistles that the standard Silverado's lack. Love the heated washer fluid in the winter, heated seats, and auto folding mirrors. There is a setting to allow single mirror or both mirrors to automatically readjust to aid in parallel parking and it's a handy feature. Bottom line its a truck. If you get on the gas you can watch the gauge move. It rides rougher than a passenger car but I don't hesitate to take it during long road trips with the family or friends. Five adults can fit in the truck comfortably. When I have needed it to pull she does and still has room to spare. I average 18 mph on the highway and about 14 in the city. Not horrible but not great. The 5.3L leaves something to be desired after abandoning my 6.2L on the Suburban but overall the truck has not let me down and still has a relatively low operating cost far as maintenance. I am starting to see some minor cosmetic wear on the steering wheel that will lead me searching for replacement OEM parts since they bug me but truck still has a lot of life left in it hopefully. My wife thinks I love this truck more than her. Who knows it's a pretty close call. Loving my Chevy. Beats the Ford 2013 F150 I have to drive at work and mine is just an 2008 model :)"
By Clenk on Sunday, August 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 79,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks, Comfort, Durability, Power"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought a brand new 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 off the lot in 2003 and I have only great things to say about the vehicle. That's why I decided to trade up finally and I am loving my new 2011 Chevrolet Silverao 1500 LTZ. They are rock solid trucks and I will never switch to another brand. I had over 500,000 miles on my 2003 and as long as you maintain your fluids, oils and general maintenance, you will be a very happy chevrolet owner."
10 people out of 22 found this review helpful
By Donny on Friday, August 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "acceleration, interior, suspension, handling"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Overall this has been a great truck to own. I'm not going to list every little detail that I like or dislike, but I will hit the high points that I found are important to me on the vehicle. Appearance is simple and streamlined. Remote start is a big plus especially in the winter months. Takes approximately 5mins for the vehicle to blow hot air so you or your kids get in. Vehicle will automatically shutoff 10-15mins after starting. Interior is straight forward, panels are not cluttered. Handling is amazing. You will slide out of your seats before the vehicle (Z71 4x4 model) rolls over. Suspension is very good with hitting bumps and not jarring you around in the vehicle. Off roading with the vehicle has been a blast. If you do hit a pot hole harder than normal the suspension seems to handle it really well. The on the go switch from 2WD to 4WD is quick. The turning radius when 4WD is active is not as good as I had anticipated. Acceleration is very quick, throttle response is outstanding. Shifting is smooth on acceleration. However, upon making a turn, and accelerating again, my vehicle does have a tendency to drop from 2nd or 3rd gear down to 1st gear and jerking your head back. Have not quite figured out the reason for this, other than the 6-speed transmission and rpm levels cause it. Braking is pretty good, but I do find applying the brakes hard and due to the weight of my vehicle, stopping is not as good as I had hoped for. I owned a 2010 F-150 XLT 2WD crew cab that would stop on a dime. Gas mileage is ok, I average 17.2 mpg driving 32 miles round trip to work and home. Long trips 18-22mpg. The cab is roomy and easily holds 5 people comfortably. I hope this helps anyone considering buying this vehicle."
By TJ on Thursday, July 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "It's a nice riding truck. Comfortable to drive in"
Cons: "VERY,VERy poor quality in my opinion"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"Purchased this new in Feb 09 about 10K - front rotors warped (warranty covered about 15K - rear brakes sticking (warranty covered At 20k I find the rims are corroding terribly. They are pitted, coating came off in spots. about 37k - check engine light small evap leak (dealer said gas cap.. hah $150 Very next week - check engine light AGAIN -same code(dealer said now fuel pump leaking - warranty) DID I NEED THE CAP, PROBABLY NOT! Dealer insisted it was bad anyway About 38k - power door locks failing. $100 About 50k - power window switch bad. not fixed yet AT 52K noticed rust on bottom edge of tailgate AND on the inside of the rear bumper About 58k - Front wheel bearing bad, wheel darn near fell off $395. This took out the front brake pads and rotor for another $300 NOW.... while doing my periodic checking of fluids etc.. I find the tranny a quart low :( (and it ain't leakin) So, YOU tell ME how you'd rate it! Then, to top it all off, I contacted GM to discuss these issues on two separate occassions when I had the problems around the 36K mark with the door locks and gas cap, looking for at least some partial help. On both occasions they convinced me to take it to the dealer for diagnosis and 'then we'll talk'. My fault for trusting their word. Never heard back from them either time and I had to contact them again after about a month to see 'what's up with this'. Both times they said 'sorry, can't help you' So, personally, after owning Gm vehicles for 30 years, I'm done with them."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By DChsvAL on Wednesday, July 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I am the second owner and it's my first truck. It quickly became one of my favorite vehicles I've owned. MPG's are good for a full size truck, even better if you add a Diablo Intune with a custom ECU program. Gives better HP and torque as well. It has more than enough power stock, but who doesn't like more? I like the looks of this truck vs other trucks of the same year, except for maybe the Tundra. Honestly I like the Tundra more, but people want way too much for used ones. For the price, the Silverado is a better deal. However, the interior leaves much to be desired. It's very dreary with nothing nice to look at except loads of black plastic. Seats are quite comfortable and if you have the jump seat it provides a great place to rest your arm or do paperwork. The three cup holders is great in theory, but do not hold larger drinks very well. Better hope your drink has a cap on it or is in a can. Large fountain drinks do not stay in very well if you have to take a corner or stop abruptly. I had a large drink fly out and dump between the passenger side door and seat while going around a round-about on a Navy base. That was lovely. There's plenty of storage as well and adding a tool box under the rear seat makes the space very useable unless you want to put a sub-woofer down there. Overall, a really great truck. I have not had a single issue with it."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful