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Is the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 all the pick-up you need?

By Trent Giunco, 12 Mar 2020 Reviews

Is the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 all the pick-up you need?

From America, with help from HSV

Overall Rating

5 0 5

Plus & Minus

  1. Plus Strong 6.2-litre V8; mega 4.5-tonne towing capacity; seamless conversion to RHD

  2. Minus Size takes time getting used to on-road; it’s mighty thirsty; no diesel planned – yet

The Wheels Verdict: The market for American-sourced pick-ups is growing down under, meaning rigs like the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ are becoming worthwhile business. However, most are left-hand-drive only, which is where HSV comes in, converting the US-grade pick-up to right-hand drive to an OEM standard. Ultimately the Silverado 1500 is big and brash. But those who want a large pick-up won’t be disappointed.


Crikey, it’s big! Don’t let its status as the ‘baby’ of the Chevy Silverado line-up fool you. This piece of American pick-up truck is still almost six metres long and two metres wide. Pricing for the 1500 LTZ is yet to be determined, but according to HSV, expect to pay around $110,000 before on-roads and options. And don’t go too crazy on the HSV accessories as there is $33,106.63 worth of options to choose from.


The US-sourced pick-up market is going from strength to strength down under. RAM and Silverado sales are increasing month-to-month with the interest in such vehicles building at an alarming rate. The Silverado 2500 is a big rig, while the order-only 3500 is a true specialist proposition, so the ‘diminutive 1500’ could be just right. So we’re seeing if it’s any good.

Read next: How American pick-ups are set to save Australian manufacturing jobs


Branding something an acquired taste doesn’t have to elicit negative connotations. Everyone can’t always like everything. And in the case of those who like big, American-sourced pick-ups, the want and desire for such vehicles is strong. Hence HSV and Walkinshaw have seized the opportunity, importing and converting the large Yank dual-cabs in impressive numbers.

Now there is a new player, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ. It stands as the entry-level variant, sitting below the 2500 and 3500 offerings, but given it’s 5885mm long, don’t classify it as ‘small’. It’s just not as large as its siblings. For reference, the 1500 is still bigger than a Volkswagen Amarok.

It looks tough, with optional 20-inch Gloss Black wheels ($1103.30) and it’s packing a 6.2-litre V8 under the hood… sorry, I mean bonnet. HSV is currently only offering the highly specified LTZ variant, and it’s expected to come in at around $110,000 – which isn’t exactly spare change.

However, you’re buying a lot of metal and robust mechanical gubbins. Packing 313kW and 624Nm, the EcoTec V8 is no slouch despite the 1500 tipping the scales at 2588kg. Despite using GM’s Dynamic Fuel Management system (code for cylinder deactivation), the 1500 still slurps 12.3L/100km – and that’s without towing and using a light right foot. The $5062.20 optional HSV exhaust not only sounds angrier, it adds 9kW/10Nm to the outputs.

Given most will buy the Silverado to tow and carry things, the key figures you need to know are that it has a 712kg payload, and a maximum braked towing capacity of 3500kg using a 50mm ball or 4500kg using a 70mm ball. We found that towing a 2.5-tonne caravan up steep hills isn’t an issue – thanks to plentiful torque, the automatic even resisted the urge to hunt through its 10 ratios. There is also a handy adjustment in the cabin for the trailer braking, and dedicated apps and cameras specific to towing.

Read next: American-sourced trucks are booming down under

The 2020 1500 sheds 205kg compared to the previous generation thanks to GM’s all-new T1XX platform and dynamically the Silverado impresses with the Proactive Roll Avoidance tech working well. However, unladen there is some scuttle shake, while the suspension can tend to skip over bumps when cornering. Our car was fitted with HSV-tuned suspension, which offered a little more control, but it is yet to be signed off for market. Adding a 325kg ballast to the tub helped settle things down. The optional $5841 Brembo brake upgrade also offers stronger performance and better feel through the pedal. The transfer case is a two-speed, electronic Autotrac unit, while there is also a heavy-duty locking rear differential as part of the all-wheel drive system.

Space inside the cabin is expansive and comfortable, with 10-way power adjustable seats up front (heated and ventilated). Rear legroom is at limo levels, while headroom is more than ample. The back pews can easily handle adults three abreast without rubbing shoulders. There are even handy storage cubby holes in the seat backs, with numerous USB charging points throughout as well as a wireless charging pad.

Read next: HSV SportsCat axed

Connectivity is accounted for with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, displayed on an 8.0-inch touchscreen, and a Bose sound system. The Silverado also gains key safety systems highlighted by adaptive cruise control, AEB and lane-change alert with blind-sport monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Active lane keeping isn’t available yet, but HSV is working on calibrating the Chevrolet system for Australian use.

The HSV conversion to right-hand drive is flawless and appears to OEM standards, a sentiment infused throughout the Silverado 1500 experience. The Chevy might not be the biggest pick-up offering or utilise a turbo-diesel powertrain, but it’s got ample muscle and capability to boot. For those that want something beyond an Amarok V6, the Silverado 1500 ticks a lot of boxes. Aussie tastebuds now have an interesting new flavour to savour.


RAM 1500; RAM 2500


Engine: 6162cc V8, OHV, 16v

Max power: 313kW @ 5600rpm

Max torque: 624Nm @4100rpm

Transmission: 10-speed automatic

Weight: 2588kg

0-100km/h: 5.6sec (estimated)

Economy: 12.3L/100km

Price: $110,000 (estimated)

On sale: Now

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