2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country Quick Take: Subtle Western Theme With an 8-Speed

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country is one of the nicest trucks in the Silverado family, sitting above the once-line-topping LTZ trim. But it isn't just that the High Country is posher than the LTZ; it comes with features that you can't get elsewhere, including the soft "saddle brown" leather -- and High Country embroidery -- on the seats. This truck isn't as yee-haw showy as the interiors of the competing Ram 1500 Laramie Limited or the Ford F-150 King Ranch, both of which have much more blatant cowboy styling cues. For some people, that's a good thing.

The High Country we drove came fully loaded, with work-friendly features like the EZ Lift and Lower tailgate, which does just what the name suggests, the tow package, a CornerStep rear bumper to make it easier to get to cargo in the bed and a spray-in bedliner. It also had heated and cooled front seats, an excellent MyLink system, the most intuitive audio/navigation system GM offers, a power sunroof, rear-seat entertainment and a rear-view camera handy for parking and lining up a trailer hookup. The price for our Crew Cab 4WD rig came to $59,035 -- clearly not the value option, but a ton of fun nonetheless.

Super Eight

For 2015, the Silverado High Country gets a new transmission: an 8-speed automatic. This gearbox backs the 6.2-liter V8, while the 5.3-liter continues to use a 6-speed automatic. (The 6.2/8-speed pairing is only offered with the LTZ and High Country trims.)

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2015

Opting for the 6.2-liter and the 8-speed is a $2,495 step, and comes at an additional price: you lose a little in fuel economy, despite the two extra gears. However, if you are already going for the High Country, you have your eye on the top-of-the-line, fully equipped model, and it would truly be a shame to have all of those interior amenities while missing out on the most powerful drivetrain you can get in a Silverado 1500.

The High Country with the 6.2-liter V8 and 8-speed is a refined hot rod. The 6.2 puts out 420 horsepower, compared to the 5.3-liter's 355, and that output comes effortlessly. The new transmission shifts smoothly and doesn't spend a lot of time hunting for the right gear. The 8-speed isn't just for the fun stuff, either: it's designed to help off-the-line acceleration when lugging a heavy load, and to allow the engine to run at cruising speed at a lower rpm.

When it comes to the top-level trims that are offered in half-ton pickup trucks, the Silverado High Country may not be the most in-your-face, check-me-out model. But it does offer the most available horsepower and torque in a half-ton truck. With that power, perhaps it pays to be a little less obvious.

 

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