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Off-road in Chevrolet's Silverado 1500 LTZ

By Matt Raudonikis, 13 May 2020 Reviews

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ offroad review

Lighter duty Silverado 1500 takes over as HSV’s Chevrolet truck offering.

CHEVROLET IMPORTER and converter HSV has revised its range of Silverado pickups as it introduces the 1500 model and is running out of the heavy-duty 2500 models.

With the cessation of Holden and its supply of Commodore and Colorado vehicles and the end of the Chevrolet Camaro muscle car, the Silverado 1500 will, for the time being, be the only vehicle in the HSV line-up.

 The Chevy joins the Ram 1500 truck in Australia which has been a popular model for importers Ateco Automotive/Ram Trucks Australia (RTA). While there are many companies importing and converting American vehicles in Australia, HSV and RTA are unique in that they are semi-factory operations and the conversions are approved by the head offices back in Detroit.

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Of note is the fact that both the HSV and RTA trucks have their left- to right-hand drive re-engineering carried out at Walkinshaw’s Clayton, Victoria facility for the respective companies.

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 length

The 1500 pickups are what the Americans call half-ton trucks in reference to their load ratings. The heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 models are three-quarter-ton and one-ton trucks respectively, and when you’re looking at Ford trucks they are designated F150, F250 and F350 as you go up in capacity. They are generally the same trucks in size, it’s just the increased parameters of the chassis, axles and suspension that give them the added capacity.

The 2020 Silverado 1500 differs from the 2500 previously offered by HSV as it is the latest generation vehicle while the 2500 was the older model and hence why it has now left the HSV range.

HSV is only offering the Silverado 1500 in a single model and specification with a range of factory options available and more being locally developed by HSV. That LTZ spec is relatively high and it is loaded with features and hence wears a $113,000 (+ORC) sticker price.

POWERTRAIN AND PERFORMANCE

THE 1500 IS only available with one powertrain option comprising a  petrol-fuelled V8 engine backed by a 10-speed automatic transmission and part-time, dual-range 4x4. The mill is the latest 6.2-litre GM LT1 V8 that pumps out a healthy 313kW of power and 624Nm of torque. While those numbers might suggest a brute of an engine, nothing could be further from the truth as the V8 delivers smooth, refined performance under most throttle applications and opens up to a mild roar when you plant the right boot.

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 engine bay

HSV does offer an intake and exhaust package for the 1500 that delivers a mild performance upgrade and a bellowing exhaust note that most enthusiasts would appreciate.

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The LT1 features fuel-saving cylinder deactivation and stop-start functions and delivers a claimed 12.23lt/100km. Over the course of our testing, which including highway driving and a bit of mild off-roading, the Chev returned 12.4lt/100km

The column-shifted automatic transmission is also smooth and refined, slipping unnoticed through its ratios. Manual shifting of the gears is via up/down buttons on the shift stalk while 4x4 and low-range selection are via buttons on the dash.

ON-ROAD TEST

AS IS THE case with the powertrain, driving the Silverado is a refined surprise. The cabin is massive and luxurious with its leather-covered, heated and cooled power seats and all the trimming, with the chassis and suspension delivering better than expected ride and dynamics.

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 on road

The 1500 uses an independent front suspension with coil-over shocks using Rancho dampeners in Z71 pack-equipped models which all the Aussie ones are, and electric-assist power rack and pinion steering. It might be a pickup but the 1500 doesn’t steer like a truck, instead proving precise and easy to place on the road.

In true load-hauling fashion, the rear end uses a live axle on leaf springs and it is firm and does feel a bit jittery when unladen as it was on our drive. A bit of weight in the tray or on the ball should address this.

OFF-ROAD TEST

IN STANDARD trim the Silverado would make a great all-road tourer while it’s not such a great off-roader. It’s just too long and low and it touches down the front bumper and side-steps way too easily on even mild off-road terrain. Thankfully there’s an endless supply of suspension kits available from the USA to accommodate everything from a sensible lift right up to nosebleed material. HSV is also working on a suspension kit it will offer soon.

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 off-road

All of the HSV delivered 1500s come with the Z71 Off-Road Equipment Package which includes the previously mentioned Rancho shocks, Electronic Hill Descent Control, two-speed transfer case, an auto-locking rear differential, front skid plates and a heavy-duty air filter.

The rear diff works well but comes on pretty hard whenever there’s any wheelspin at the back. It takes a second or two to kick in but when it does, it propels the truck forward with gusto; you’ll want to be ready for it! The stock suspension doesn’t offer much travel, so lifting wheels and loosing traction comes easy and that rear locker is needed. 

INTERIOR

As mentioned, the cabin in the Silverado is huge and well-appointed. The console in between the two front seats is massive and could easily accommodate another passenger while the rear seat is similarly spacious for three passengers.

The LTZ is the second highest specification of six specs available in the USA but is the only spec offered by HSV. As such it includes all the features and comforts you would expect in a luxury vehicle and when you match that the space inside, it becomes a perfect mile eating machine.

Nothing is lost in the left- to right-hand drive conversion carried out by HSV and you would be hard-pressed to find any indication that things are not as they were when the vehicle left its original factory on the other side of the Pacific.

BORN IN THE USA: Chevy versus RAM

UTES OR PICKUP trucks, call them what you like but they offer unrivalled practicality with the ability to carry a load, haul a trailer and carry the family all in one vehicle. US trucks like the Silverado amplify this ability over any of the popular one-tonne utes here with more space and towing ability, however the general payload is usually lower than or on par with the one-tonners.

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 interior

Key numbers for the Silverado 1500 include 3500kg towing on a 50mm ball or 4500kg on a 70mm ball, a 7160kg GCM and a 712kg payload. Unless you’re hauling cotton wool, you won’t even start to fill that massive cargo tray before you reach that payload capacity especially if you’re towing with some weight on the ball.

The standard 91-litre fuel tank is a handy size but we reckon you’d start to eat into it pretty quickly if you were towing or carrying a load on the V8 1500. The US market gets V6 petrol and an inline diesel six-cylinder engines among its many Silverado 1500 variants and the diesel could be preferred by Australian buyers. There’s even a 2.7L four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine offer in the lower spec trucks in the States. Interestingly, the inline-six diesel and the LT1 are both rated to the same 623nm of torque, with the diesel bringing its peak grunt in at 1500rpm.

PRACTICALITIES

UTES OR PICKUP trucks, call them what you like but they offer unrivalled practicality with the ability to carry a load, haul a trailer and carry the family all in one vehicle. US trucks like the Silverado amplify this ability over any of the popular one-tonne utes here with more space and towing ability, however the general payload is usually lower than or on par with the one-tonners.

Key numbers for the Silverado 1500 include 3500kg towing on a 50mm ball or 4500kg on a 70mm ball, a 7160kg GCM and a 712kg payload. Unless you’re hauling cotton wool, you won’t even start to fill that massive cargo tray before you reach that payload capacity especially if you’re towing with some weight on the ball.

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 tray

The standard 91-litre fuel tank is a handy size but we reckon you’d start to eat into it pretty quickly if you were towing or carrying a load on the V8 1500. The US market gets V6 petrol and an inline diesel six-cylinder engines among its many Silverado 1500 variants and the diesel could be preferred by Australian buyers. There’s even a 2.7L four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine offer in the lower spec trucks in the States. Interestingly, the inline-six diesel and the LT1 are both rated to the same 623nm of torque, with the diesel bringing its peak grunt in at 1500rpm.

FINAL SAY

THE 1500 IS a beautiful  truck to spend time in. Big, spacious and comfortable and with a V8 engine that will appeal to those that like a bit of performance or tow. But serious long-haul towers in Australia will prefer the torque capability and efficiency of a diesel engine which, at this point, HSV doesn’t offer in the Silverado. That’s not to say the petrol Chevy won’t do that job well, but a diesel will do it more efficiently.

The 1500 is a great truck for around down, towing the boat and general duties, is a step up from the small diesel one-tonne 4x4 utes and a worthy replacement for the old Ford and Holden 2WD utes.

CHEVROLET SILVERADO 1500 LTZ SPECS

ENGINE: 6.2L OHV direct-injection petrol V8
MAX POWER: 313kW at 5600rpm
MAX TORQUE: 623Nm at 4100rpm
TRANSMISSION: 10-speed auto
CRAWL RATIO: 40.69:1
4X4 SYSTEM: Dual-range part-time
CONSTRUCTION: 4-door cab and tub on ladder chassis
FRONT SUSPENSION: IFS with wishbones & coil springs
REAR SUSPENSION: Live axle with leaf springs
WHEEL AND TYRE: 20-inch alloys with 275/60R20 AT tyres
WEIGHT: 2588kg
GVM: 3300kg
PAYLOAD: 712kg
TOWING CAPACITY: 4500kg
GCM: 7160kg
SEATING CAPACITY: 5
FUEL TANK CAPACITY: 91L
ADR FUEL CLAIM: 12.23L/100km
TEST FUEL USE: 12.4L/100km
GROUND CLEARANCE: 235mm
APPROACH ANGLE: 21 degrees
DEPARTURE ANGLE: 23 degrees
RAMPOVER ANGLE: 20 degrees

PRICING

BASE PRICE: $113,000

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