KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
- Updated Date: 11/4/2011
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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
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.
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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.
What's New for 2012
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.
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.
Notable Standard Equipment
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.
Notable Optional Equipment
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.
Under the Hood
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)
The 2012 Chevrolet Silverado half-ton pickup has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $23,000 for a base 2-wheel-drive Regular Cab, a somewhat Spartan work truck. The LT Regular Cab with substantial equipment starts closer to $30,000, while the top-of-the-line, 4-wheel-drive LTZ Crew Cab with all the options can run as high as $50,000. Before heading to your local Chevy dealership, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. Taken in the context of the current market, the 2012 Silverado half-ton pickup offers good resale value within its segment, higher than the projected residual values for the Ram 1500, Nissan Titan and on par with the Ford F-150, but still below that of the Toyota Tundra.