by Bruce W. Smith and Keith Burton
Forget almost everything you know about the Chevrolet Silverado. The new '07 is so much improved that it is almost an entirely re-invention of the American pickup truck. These new versions are completely redesigned from the frame up and represent a much more upscale appearance for GM's best-selling vehicles.
The ’07 Silverado lineup is built on an all-new platform that supports a smoother ride and responsive, confident handling while delivering segment-leading capability and power. A lineup of six powerful, Gen IV small-block V-8 engines complements the stronger chassis to deliver the light-duty segment’s highest-rated towing capacity (10,500 pounds / 4,763 kg), horsepower (367 hp / 274 kW) and fuel economy, with a maximum payload capacity of 2,160 pounds (980 kg).
“Silverado has always been the most dependable, longest lasting pickup truck, and the 2007 lineup extends that legacy with industry-leading advancements in capability, quality, safety and fuel economy,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “Silverado owners form a partnership with their trucks; they are the everyday heroes who value the durability and dependability of a Silverado to get the job done. Our guiding philosophy during the development of the new truck was delivering the confidence that comes with driving the strongest, most dependable and longest lasting trucks on the road.”
The ’07 Silverado light-duty models are available in the fourth quarter of 2006. Heavy-duty models are available in the first quarter of 2007. There are three cab styles – regular, extended and crew cab – and three cargo box lengths: 5 foot 8 inches (short), 6 foot 6 inches (standard) and 8 foot (long). The pickup is available in three trim levels: WT, LT and LTZ, and is available in 2WD and 4WD. LS badging is available through an exterior styling option package on this year’s model.
Pure pickup design
The all-new Silverado has a broad, chiseled face, which accents a broad-shouldered stance and gives the Silverado a powerful, muscular presence. The front-end appearance is unique to Silverado, including the front fenders, grille, headlamps, bumpers, power dome hood, tail lamps, box design and flared rear fenders.
A large grille, wider and taller than previous models, and a prominent gold bow tie are flanked by premium-look, reflector-optics headlamps. The power dome hood rises from the front end, alluding to the workhorse power plant beneath it, and the fast, 57-degree sloped windshield conveys improved fuel economy due to enhanced aerodynamics. The large, vertically stacked headlamps are pushed to the outer edges of the body and have a detailed, jeweled appearance that reinforces the trucks’ refinement.
A chrome bumper is standard on LT trim level models, while LTZ trim level models receive body-color bumpers. The door handles are robust, grab-style designs, which are designed for easy use with gloves. The popular Z71 Off Road package returns with unique exterior appointments and body side identification.
Silverado models are offered with a range of 17-, 18- and 20-inch wheels. Eighteen-inch wheels are standard with the Z71 package. Twenty-inch wheels are available on LT and LTZ models.
Nine exterior colors are offered: Dark Blue Metallic, Desert Brown Metallic, Greystone Metallic, Black, Blue Granite Metallic, Summit White, Silver Birch Metallic, Victory Red and Sport Red Metallic.
Spacious, refined interior
The new Silverado features two completely distinct interiors to meet the diverse needs of today’s pickup consumer. The WT and LT trim levels feature the pure pickup interior and the LTZ trim level features the same luxury-inspired interior that is currently available on Chevrolet’s LTZ-trim full-size utilities.
Silverado models are more spacious inside, with increased storage capacity. Spaciousness is enhanced with new, “low and forward” instrument panels. The instrument panel offered as part of the LTZ trim level is 5 inches lower and farther forward than the previous model. The WT and LT trim level features an instrument panel that is 3.5 inches lower and farther forward.
The pure pickup interior offered on WT and LT trim levels features larger controls and door handles that are easier to use with gloves. A large-capacity, double glove box is integrated into the instrument panel. Cloth seats are standard on WT and LT models; leather seating is available on LT models along with a six-way, power-adjustable driver seat. A new, lockable in-seat storage bin is built into a new 40/20/40-split bench; it is large enough to store a laptop computer and features a 12-volt power outlet. WT models are offered in a Dark Titanium interior color; LT models are offered in Ebony or Ebony/Light Titanium and Ebony/Light Cashmere combinations.
LTZ models feature a luxury-inspired interior with a unique instrument panel, door panels, larger-capacity center console that offers 20.1 liters of undivided storage and other distinct trim. A heated, 12-way, power-adjustable leather driver seat is standard, along with a six-disc CD/MP3-capable audio system, Bose speaker system and heated windshield washer system. Crew cab LTZ models add rain-sensing automatic windshield wipers, a rear-seat audio system and large glove box that offers approximately 5 liters of storage capacity. LTZ interior color schemes include Ebony, Dark Titanium/Light Titanium and Ebony/Light Cashmere combinations.
The rear seats for crew cab and extended cab models are improved with more supportive cushion material, firmer support structures and revised seat back angles. Extended cab models offer more legroom. Standard on crew cab models and available on extended cab models is a new, stadium-style rear seat with a 60/40-split design and folding center armrest. It can be easily folded up with one hand, without using a release handle, to provide an uninterrupted load floor. Or, either section of the split seat can be stowed independently, allowing room for both cargo and a rear-seat passenger.
Entry to the rear seat/storage area of extended cab models is eased with new rear access doors that open 170 degrees. Power-operated rear side windows lower completely into the 170-degree access doors, providing 100 percent openness on LT and LTZ trim level vehicles. A power sliding rear window is available on extend cab and crew cab configurations with LT and LTZ trim levels.
Confident and capable driving experience
Built on GM’s new full-size truck platform, the ’07 Silverado incorporates features such as a new, fully boxed frame, coil-over-shock front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering. It supports wider front and rear tracks – approximately 3 inches (76.2 mm) wider in front and 1 inch (25.4 mm) wider in the rear – that enhance stability and driving confidence through a more secure road feel.
Responsive ride and handling traits deliver a heightened feeling of control while supporting class-leading capability, including segment-best towing capacity of 10,500 pounds (4,763 kg) and a maximum payload of 2,160 pounds (980 kg).
The front suspension consists of an all-new, coil-over-shock design that delivers linear, solid and unwavering ride-and-handling characteristics on all road surfaces. Also new is a rack-and-pinion steering system that provides precise and responsive control and enhanced on-center feel. A revised Hotchkiss-type rear suspension provides superior isolation and ride with a new, splayed arrangement for the shock absorbers.
The all-new Silverado will come with five suspension systems, each tailored to suit specific driving requirements. They include:
A high-capacity brake system with a new, four-channel ABS system provides superior stopping capability. ABS is standard on all models and is linked to the StabiliTrak electronic stability control system to help mitigate the occurrence of rollover events.
GM’s sophisticated StabiliTrak electronic stability control system is standard on Crew Cab models and available on extended cab models – and is a segment exclusive. Partnered with new brake system and four-channel, four-sensor electronic brake controls, the system provides more precise, controlled ABS stops, as well as enhanced traction/yaw stability.
Silverado models are powered by an efficient lineup of engines, led by the segment’s highest-rated V-8 engine family. Advanced technology, such as Active Fuel Management (AFM) and variable valve timing (VVT), helps Silverado deliver the segment’s best fuel economy. A FlexFuel engine is available – and partnered with fuel-saving AFM – giving customers the choice of powering their truck with E85 ethanol, gasoline or a combination of both fuels. Light-duty engine offerings include:
The engines are backed by proven Hydra-Matic electronically controlled automatic transmissions, including the proven 4L60 four-speed automatic and, with the 6.0L engine, a high-capacity 4L70 four-speed automatic.
The maximum trailering package combines the 6.0L V-8 and 4L70 four-speed transmission with a heavy-duty 9.5-inch rear axle, locking differential, 4.10 axle ratio, heavy-duty cooling system and other enhanced features to enable the segment-best towing capacity of 10,500 pounds (4,763 kg).
Safety and security
Silverado delivers 360 degrees of safety protection through a stronger frame and body structure as well as industry- and segment-leading technology. It is also designed to provide increased compatibility with other vehicles. New features include segment-first StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation technology, roof-mounted head curtain side air bags, which are integrated into strengthened chassis and body structures to provide excellent passenger protection, and segment-first safety belt pretensioners that activate during a rear-end crash. The head curtain side air bags are available on LT and LTZ models.
Driver control dynamics are enhanced by wider front and rear tracks, as well as more responsive suspensions – including a new coil-over-shock front suspension design and rack-and-pinion steering. Additional safety features are offered on Silverado, including factory-installed remote vehicle starting (segment exclusive), Autotrac active transfer case to help keep the vehicle sure-footed in slippery driving situations, Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist and a revised, easier-to-use tire pressure monitoring system.
All retail models come standard with the OnStar Generation 7 system, including a one-year subscription to the Safe & Sound plan. The OnStar service includes the General Motors Advanced Automatic Crash Notification (AACN) system, making crash data available to emergency services to potentially dispatch the appropriate life-saving personnel and equipment to crash scenes faster. If the vehicle is in a crash that activates an air bag, the OnStar system automatically notifies an OnStar advisor who will check on the occupants or summon emergency help if necessary. OnStar also can assist authorities in locating a vehicle if it is reported stolen and provides remote door-unlocking service (for vehicles equipped with power locks).
New Ride and Handling
On the road the first thing you will notice is how much smoother the new Silverado is on almost all road surfaces. Steering is more direct, with its rack and pinion steering rack. The truck is also more stable and handles more confidently in corners. Gone are the former jitters long experienced in GM pickups. That doesn't mean that the new Silverado ride like a car, but it is definitely more car-like. Lets just say its a better ride and it makes long drives less fatiguing.
Braking is also much better with a much improved brake pedal feel. The pedal now act with a linear fashion and is firm to the foot. Before when pushing the pedal, it sank a bit before anything would happen, then the pedal would feel a bit mushy. No longer in the the new truck.
It is also easier to see outside. The sight lines are good for a big four-door truck. This adds a lot of confidence when in heavy traffic. We also appreciate that the new instrument panel is easy to read with intuitive controls that are big enough for folks wearing gloves. The materials inside are also much improved with better plastics, textures and matching colors.
Overall, the new 2007 Silverado and its GMC cousin the Sierra, represent substantial improvements that if you haven't taken a look, you would be surprised at all the improvements.