By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 8.6
The 2016 Chevrolet Silverado looks like a brand-new truck, two years after it actually was redesigned. The new grille, headlights, hood and taillights break away from the handsome-but-bland styling of the past couple of years and give the new Silverado the double-take good looks it has needed. But there's more under the skin in the form of an 8-speed automatic transmission, now available with the 5.3-liter V8 engine for the first time. Apple's excellent new CarPlay iPhone integration is now available as well, along with a host of smaller refinements. Put it together, and the Silverado sharpens its edge against hot competitors like the Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra and of course its biggest cross-town rival, the Ford F-150.
If you've been waiting for the Chevy Silverado to look as different on the outside as it is under the skin, then this is your truck. It's also worth a look if you're seeking a comfortable driving experience with a refined interior and class-leading V8 power.
Assuming you don't have a preexisting brand allegiance, the Ford F-150's aluminum body is both high-tech and allows for extra hauling capability. The Ram 1500 offers a fuel-efficient diesel engine. And if any of those are too big, there's the midsize Chevy Colorado with its own diesel engine.
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For 2016 the Silverado gets new taillights, plus a new grille design that looks significantly different depending on the model. The 2016 Silverado also gets Apple CarPlay, making it the only full-size pickup with the technology. Lastly, GM's excellent 8-speed automatic transmission is available with the 5.3-liter V8 engine.
The lack of wind and road noise at speed in the 2016 Silverado could just have you forgetting you're driving a full-size pickup truck. The suspension easily soaks up big...
... dips, although sometimes it's too much of a good thing, and the suspension feels a little too soft. Still, the steering is light and precise, and the Silverado isn't particularly ponderous in parking situations. Three engines are available, with a fuel-efficient (but pokey) V6 anchoring the bottom, and a powerful (but thirsty) 6.2-liter V8 in the top-level High Country. In between is a 5.3-liter V8, now available with GM's excellent 8-speed automatic transmission. Its smooth shifts come more quickly, helping acceleration, and it lets the engine turn at a lower rpm on the highway, giving it the same fuel economy as the Ford F-150's 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine. We do wish all engines responded more quickly to the throttle, though.
The new styling on the 2016 Silverado incorporates clever and cool headlights, and the grille designs are distinct from trim level to trim level. It visually separates the Silverado not just from its competition, but also from its predecessor.
This is one of our new favorite things. Not only does Apple CarPlay integrate your compatible smartphone quickly and easily with the Silverado, it makes many of your phone's primary functions available on the touch screen. A bonus: listening to Siri read out emojis will have your kids (and you) laughing.
Even more basic models of the new Chevy Silverado benefit from the sensible layout and ample storage, and the plastics are nicely textured and feel upscale. Of course, if you opt for higher-end models, you get higher-end materials, with the High Country models laying on the luxury nice and thick. There are three cab styles, with passenger capacity ranging from three in regular cabs to up to six in double-cab or crew-cab configurations. With up to five USB plugs, two 12-volt ports and a 110-volt outlet, the Silverado can juice several devices.
The new exterior styling is easily the most noticeable change from last year. The 2016 Silverado not only has a new grille, but the design itself changes from trim level to trim level. The LTZ gets an especially chromed-up look, while the standard Silverado sports a more subdued look. We're particularly fond of the new Z71, which sports a body-color insert in the grille instead of more chrome. No matter what, the bluff-faced look is sharp, especially with the new LED-enhanced headlights. The hood also has more contouring than last year, giving the driver a more dramatic outward view.
Starting at the lowest-end 2016 Silverado WT, you get the basics, such as air conditioning, power windows, cruise control and AM/FM audio system with 4.2-inch display and inputs for USB, auxiliary jack and SD card. It also includes the Silverado's new projector-beam headlights and LED accents, and the CornerStep cutout on the rear bumper to make it easier to access the truck's bed. Safety equipment includes front, side and curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability control. All new Silverados also include two years/24,000 miles of complimentary factory-scheduled maintenance.
Aside from picking either a 5.3-liter or 6.2-liter V8 engine over the standard 4.3-liter V6 for your 2016 Silverado, there are an 8-speed automatic or a 6-speed automatic, rear- or 4-wheel drive, and bed and cabin size to consider. Luxury-truck buyers should start with the High Country, with its big V8, leather upholstery, navigation, Apple CarPlay, a premium audio system, and more. CarPlay is also available in the nicely equipped LT and LTZ models. One option that isn't available at any price is push-button ignition, odd since it's available in the Silverado-based Tahoe SUV.
The three engines for the 2016 Chevy Silverado remain the same. There's the base 4.3-liter EcoTec3 V6, while the 5.3-liter V8 powers higher trims, with the High Country getting a 6.2-liter V8 with up to 12,000 pounds of towing power. All engines are available with 4-wheel drive (4WD) instead of the standard 2-wheel-drive (2WD) setup. Standard on the V6 and 5.3-liter V8 is a 6-speed automatic transmission, while the 6.2-liter V8 and 5.3-liter V8 LTZ models get an 8-speed automatic. All three of the engines run on regular unleaded, and the V6 and 5.3-liter V8 are flex-fuel compliant, meaning they can use the E85 ethanol blend.
4.3-liter V6 Flex-Fuel
285 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm
305 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 mpg (2WD), 17/22 mpg (4WD)
5.3-liter V8 Flex-Fuel
355 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
383 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg (2WD), 16/22 mpg (4WD 6-speed, 2WD 8-speed), 15/21 mpg (4WD 8-speed)
6.2-liter V8 Flex-Fuel (4WD only)
420 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
460 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 mpg
An entry-level 2-wheel-drive regular-cab 2016 Chevy Silverado work truck carries a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $27,800, including the $1,195 destination charge. A 4WD crew-cab, standard-box High Country Silverado will run you more than $53,800 before you start adding options. Of course you can get a very nicely equipped Silverado just the way you want it for considerably less…or more, depending on how crazy you go with options. Regardless, the 2016 Silverado prices are right in the hunt compared to the Ford F-150, Ram 1500 and the Silverado's GMC sibling, the Sierra; the V8-only Toyota Tundra starts a few thousand higher. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Silverado truck. The 2016 Silverado is expected to retain its value well in the years ahead, but still fall short of the Toyota Tundra.