Test Drive: 2015 Chevrolet Silverado

Have I ever mentioned I hate camping? Perhaps not in an article I have written, probably because it would have never come up. I never go camping, so why would I mention I hate it, right? Well the unthinkable has happened – I, Mr. “Hate camping and would rather poke my eyes out with needles while bathing in a bath of acid”, went camping.

My driver mumbled something to me about camping in a quarry, on rocks in tents – umm no.

Thankfully I didn’t take on the full on camping experience or things may not have turned out so well, I may no longer be here to talk about this new Chevrolet Silverado with the 6.2L V8 engine had I gone full-on camping.

You see I was headed to a rally, part training, part fun, part helping out a driver that needed a navigator / co-driver. At first the gig included free usage of a friend’s cottage in Bancroft, about an hour away from the rally location where we needed to be for 8 am on Saturday morning – so sleeping at home really wasn’t an option.

But then the cottage offer was revoked and my driver mumbled something to me about camping in a quarry, on rocks in tents – umm no. We have a great community of racers, friends and enthusiasts here in Ottawa so I fired off an e-mail to one of our forum members from Autos.ca – he came through and lent me his tent trailer, a Coleman Mesa, a trailer weighting in at approximately 3,500 lb according to “Angry Chicken”, I’m going to guess loaded up with gear it might actually be a little more.

As luck would have it, GM had a Silverado in town for me to test, the stars aligned, I picked up the trailer and the Silverado and here we have a real test, towing probably close to 4000 lb over 800 km to “camp” in a quarry.

I actually picked up the Silverado a few days before I was headed out camping so I got some “me” time with the truck on regular daily driven roads as well. The Z71 package with the additional appearance package and sports package really make this Silverado stand out, with a blacked out grill and headlights and a black body I was really digging the looks. Until I realized the mirrors were chrome as were the 20-inch wheels. Chrome how I hate thee, remove the chrome and this truck really does look badass.

But hey those are easy fixes, my tester also had a tonneau cover on the back which certainly helped me in my weekend excursion as it was the perfect place to store my generator in a lockable safe area – it is a $930 option though.

You can read the included option list of this vehicle at the end of the article, but this is one pricey truck at over $65,000, but a lot of those additions are vanity and luxury ones – what really counts here is the heart of the vehicle, that 6.2L V8 with cylinder deactivation (because Eco Trucks) and the eight-speed automatic transmission. 

On the inside the leather seating looks and feels nice, but the utility is the important part for me and the fold up seats with a flat load floor in the backseats is a welcome site when I pick up a pick-up, especially if you are going to use it as your race support vehicle – it’s a great location to store your race gear in a safe location and coincidentally one can stand in the back of the truck to change if one needs to.

The interior is very well laid out, super simple to use and with large dials and huge buttons it makes using it with gloves, be it winter or work, easy. Typically I’m not a big fan of GM seats, especially truck ones as the support is minimal. But I did a lot of driving in this truck while I had it, close to 1,000 km and the seats suited me just fine – so they passed the long haul test for me.

What’s different about this 2015 Silverado’s than what I’ve already driven? Well namely the big manly 6.2L engine that puts out a healthy 420 hp and a powerhouse 460 lb-ft of torque. This is a $2,745 option which also comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

This engine is also required if you want the max tow rating of 5,39 8kg (11,900 lb) out of the Silverado, as well as the max trailering tow package and 4WD. My tester was rated at 4,163 kg (9,200 lb) as it lacked the max trailer tow package – still plenty of reserve for this small trailer though.

In regular day-to-day city and highway driving you will notice that the Silverado is quiet and controlled. Yes it still feels like a truck when you hit large bumps and train tracks but compared to the previous generation this new generation rides a lot smoother and feels more planted. It is dead silent in terms of wind and road noise as well which is a bonus on a long drive – it certainly helps keeps you fresh.

The 6.2L engine is a little overkill around town and the 3.23 rear axle ratio do not help it in the city. Despite putting out a ton of power the gearing actually makes the truck feel sluggish unless you really ream your foot into the accelerator and get that engine to scream. But where it comes into its own is how quiet and smooth it is on the highway when cruising or when pulling a heavy trailer – a tent trailer for example.

On my drive up through Bancroft from Ottawa, I went north through Renfrew, little did I know I would be encountering a roller coaster of roads on my trip. Up and down steep grades, I saw one warning sign claiming a grade of 20 percent – that’s pretty significant.

I never ran out of power on these hills pulling the trailer but I certainly burned more fuel than I would have, had I taken Highway 7 instead. But surprisingly I still managed to average 14.3 L/100 km over the trip, pulling that heavy trailer on those fuel demanding roads.

I noticed that much of the time downhill or on flat terrain the cylinder deactivation was in play and the truck was running solely on four cylinders instead of eight. The switch from V4 to V8 is seamless most of the time, there was a few times where a sudden jerk was felt, most likely bad timing between the switch over and a gear change.

Not only can the Silverado pull but it can stop as well, with no trailer brakes connected on the tent trailer and steep grades the Silverado never skipped a beat. In one particularly steep downhill grade coming into a 50 km/h zone from an 80 km/h zone the truck automatically engaged engine brake assist without any intervention – I’m not sure if it provided much retardation though as it was not engaged for long.

On flat terrain the presence of the tent trailer never really made itself known, it would bounce around on rough pavement and the truck would simply laugh it off. There were a few interesting moments where a bump and a turn occurred at the same time and the trailer flew up into the air causing the truck to be jerked back slightly, but that may have had to with me going over the recommended speed limit and ignoring the “BUMP” sign.

After this trip in the Silverado I was firmly impressed – it has become my favourite current new truck, although I haven’t had the pleasure to drive the new F-150 as of yet, the Silverado proved it can pull and be comfortable over the long haul. At the end of the trip and my week with the vehicle I kind of didn’t want to give it back, and that is always a great sign in this industry.

3 years/60,000 km; 5 years/160,000 km powertrain; 6 years/160,000 km corrosion perforation; 5 years/160,000 km roadside assistance

Ford F-150
Nissan Titan
RAM 1500
Toyota Tundra

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4WD Crew Cab
2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4WD Crew Cab
Base Price $52,400
Optional Equipment 6.2L ECOTEC – $2,745; Full leather seating – $695; Chevroley MyLink – $795; Bundle Discount – $995; Custom Sport Edition – $3,150; LTZ Package – $1,185; Side steps – $660; LED Lighting – $65; Tonneau Cover – $930; Black emblem – $170; Heated and cooled front seats – $385; Sunroof – $1,325; Silver interior trim kit – $285.
A/C Tax $100
Destination Fee $1,695
Price as Tested $65,590
Optional Equipment
10 0
Scoring breakdowns 8.8
9 Exterior Styling
9 Performance
9 Interior
8 Comfort
9 Fuel Economy