2016 Silverado 1500: New Face, More Performance

Rolling-shots-Mark-Williams-Silverado-1 II

By Bruce Smith

It has been less than two years since Chevrolet rolled out the current-generation Silverado 1500 pickup truck, yet constant improvements seem to keep coming, as is evident from the refreshed 2016 models we recently tested.

The newest iteration of GM's best-selling pickup now shares DNA with other GM performance cars in what Brian Izard, senior creative designer for the Silverado, calls "cross-pollination between the performance and the truck design studios specifically designed to bring a strong family resemblance between the vehicles."

However, the 2016 Silverado 1500 gets more than a new grille and face-lift; it also benefits from GM's wider use of the company's eight-speed automatic transmission, which is mated to the 5.3-liter V-8. Other new features improve the 2016 truck's performance, safety and utility. Here are the highlights:

Under the Hood

Although engine offerings have not changed for 2016, buyers of LTZ, LTZ/Z71 and High Country Silverados with the 5.3-liter V-8 might think something has changed because the 355-horsepower, midlevel V-8 definitely feels stronger thanks to Hydra-Matic 8L90 transmission previously only offered with the top-level 6.2-liter V-8.

The eight-speed automatic transmission has considerably lower (numerically higher) gear ratios through the first six gears than the 6L80 six-speed that will remain the standard trans in the lower trim levels. The lower close-ratio gear splits of the eight-speed give the uplevel 5.3-liter half-ton Silverados strong acceleration and a throttle response similar to that of the bigger V-8. We found the transmission shifts between 1st and 6th are closely spaced, quick, precise and velvety smooth.

We drove an LTZ crew-cab 4x4 with the close-ratio eight-speed; it gives the 5.3-liter V-8 the launch and towing muscle of the 6.2 without sacrificing fuel economy (EPA numbers have yet to be released). When you hit cruising speed, which comes far quicker than you might anticipate, the final shift into 8th (geared at 0.65:1) drops engine rpm well below that of the 5.3-liter V-8 with the six-speed. If you are performance-minded or a trailer tower, the 5.3-liter with this new transmission choice could be the powertrain combination you've been waiting for.


Articulating Side Steps

Silverado Articulating step[4] II

Silverado High Country trims also get retractable and articulating running boards. They are activated by a switch that pivots them out and rearward about a foot, allowing for easy access to the front of the bed, where a toolbox or other gear might sit. Tapping the switch a second time powers the board back to its stored position under the truck.

Likewise, when a door opens the steps swing out in normal fashion, providing easier access for shorter passengers. Tap the switch while the side steps are deployed and they shift toward the tailgate. Shut the door and they retract under the body.


Fresh Face, Power Hood

BS Silverado 1500 hood II

There is a difference in appearance between the 2014 and 2016 models, but it's one of attitude. The 2016 looks meaner. The previous model, a bit mild. The dramatically sculpted 20016 hood harkens back to the days of the big cowl-induction hoods on performance cars and trucks. The dual-scoop look is distinctive with high, sharp-edged breaks, and, the designers say, the strong center ridge has function beyond form — it helps add strength to the one-piece aluminum hood.


Smart, Bright Lights

BS 2016 Silverado 1500 grille II

If there's something familiar about the new Silverado's headlights, grille and daytime running lights, it's because a lot of the technology and design was pulled from the Cadillac CTS and the new Chevrolet Camaros. The narrow, wide headlights wrap around the front end, giving the illusion the 2016 Silverado is wider than the previous model. Although it's not, the curved running lights, which also serve as turn indicators, provide that effect.

Another lighting change of note: Chevrolet is the first truckmaker to offer LED fog lights, which are available on LT trim levels and above. The optics in the three LED lenses in each fog light set are designed to hit a certain part of the road ahead without the light bouncing off the fog and into the driver's eyes.

Uplevel 2016 Silverado 1500s also incorporate IntelliBeam high-beam assist technology that recognizes not only oncoming vehicles but automatically switches the truck's headlights to low beam; it also recognizes taillights and does the same when approaching a vehicle from the rear.


More in Touch

2016-GM-CarPlay-001 II

For those who can't be without their cellphones, all 2016 Silverados (1500, 2500 and 3500) will support integration with Chevrolet's available MyLink multimedia system via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Both integrate selected phone features onto the MyLink display screen in a smart, simple manner.

This integration of phone and vehicle allows drivers to more easily make calls, send and receive messages, view maps and listen to music using the touch-screen or voice commands, which help drivers keep their eyes on the road.

Manufacturer images; Cars.com photos by Bruce Smith


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2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 High Country with trailer[6] II

Rolling-shots-Mark-Williams-Silverado-2 II



Better looking than before IMO

In the paragraph about the hood, it mentions something about the 20016 hood. Its 2016.

Seems like nice improvements to an already great truck. One would think the 8 speed transmission would be the mainstream standard transmission for the 5.3. My 14 Silverado mated to a 3.42 rear end has a confused clunky transmission when traveling at slower variable speeds, which an 8 speed would possibly remedy. Now if GM would revisit the small diesel option for the 1500 in the near future, I would trade up in a heart beat.

Alright guys, who's going to be the first one to bitch about Chevy having square wheel well openings?

I will. There ugly.

Titan8or: The square fenders continue to be one of the dumbest criticisms of GM trucks out there. Haters treat it like it's a leading cause of cancer. It's a styling cue. Get over it.

when will the 2017 sliveroda HD trucks be coming out

I like it much better then the current model other then the square wheel wells . I like the hood but I can see two puddles sitting in those pockets all the time.

I hate the front end. Give me the current style any day.

Really liking the look of these, especially in the trims that don't have a wall of chrome for the front end. The trucks makers are going overboard with chrome.

A total terd. GM sucks.

I am shocked GM let that black regular cab long bed 4x4 past the censors , its nice to see a real truck showcased for once .

@Dan- phasing in the 8speed trans is a production capacity scenario. The initial modest production volume was needed to maintain fuel economy on the big 6.2. With more transmission available for the next model year, some 5.3 will get them, but there won't be enough for all of them. Ram did the same thing- the 8HP was optional on the Hemi, because it was still being built by ZF, costing more $. Once FCA got their own production on line, they made it standard.

The maximum overdrive of the 8L90 is 0.65, the maximum overdrive of the 6L80 is 0.67.
If the axle ratio were the same, that would be less than 100rpm drop at highway speed.
So the line of text that says "drops engine rpm well below that of the 5.3-liter V-8 with the six-speed." is incredibly stupid.

And GM isn't offering the 8 speed with the 3.08 ring/pinion yet. [3.23]
So your revs will be higher.

It's a wanna Ford as always.

The front end is growing on me. I am still partial to the classic "throw back" looks of the 2015 front end. The 2015 is by far the best looking half ton on the road and I am not sure the 2016 can say that now. It is't bad, just not as good as the 2015. As for 8 speeds and Apple Car Play, those two things will be nice. I am interested in seeing the MPG numbers for the 5.3. I will guess 1MPG improvement both city and highway (and overall).

Ok.... Now about that 6.2L in a regular cab. Offer that and I'll step up to buy one the day I can order it. At this point I've considered buying te 5.3L and putting in a stroked version of the 6.2L anyway, but I'd rather start with a factory 6.2L truck in the first place. Stop holding use regular cab guys down.

Ok.... Now about that 6.2L in a regular cab. Offer that and I'll step up to buy one the day I can order it. At this point I've considered buying te 5.3L and putting in a stroked version of the 6.2L anyway, but I'd rather start with a factory 6.2L truck in the first place. Stop holding use regular cab guys down.

Love the square wheel wells! They are one of the reasons that GM is selling more pickups then anyone else.

Should be a potent truck once they go aluminum like they have planned.

It will be to light as aluminum, theirs a point where being overly light will hinder it's towing ability and its ride.

@Andy. You may be right there. Ford dropped ~700LBS in some configurations just to get on equal footing weight wise with GM. GM is already a relatively low weight truck. If lighter alloys are used for body panels, and the GM drops 500 lbs, they may add some back to further beef up the frame/suspension to address any potential downside of being too light. That being said, I don't think 500 lbs weight loss would have an adverse effect on the GM's ability to tow. It could however have an even larger impact that we have seen in 2015 on ford's sales.

The weight difference between equivalent body configurations of a aluminum ford vs Chevy with high strength steel is less than 100 pounds. Why would Chevy even bother with all aluminum body?

Aluminum will allow them to put bigger stronger components to increase the tow and payload ratings, increased performance and increase features. They already said they are going aluminum in some form another. They already have aluminum hoods, aluminum wheels. Aluminum will be thicker to increase the durability compared to there paper thin and flimsy steel panels they use currently.


Please elaborate on your statement of paper thin flimsy steel panels.

Go push on the aluminum fender of a new f150, they are so flimsy its not even funny.

Aluminum needs to be thicker to be the same strength as steel. Going to Aluminum has only hurt Ford's sales. Ford once touted the switch to aluminum was for fuel economy but that ended up being a total flop. So now they market towards payload etc.

The marketing scheme for Ford "Military Grade Aluminum" is a total joke too. Ford sure trys to pour the kooalide down gullable Ford fan boys throats...

Panels on the gm are way more flimsy then fords aluminum truck. It doesn't take much rust and the gm panels are rusted through. If they were all about steel gm would have come out and said they will use more aluminum. Why does gm use an aluminum hood?

1- Little Giant Ladder Systems
The Little Giant is made of heavy-wall, 6005-T5 aluminum, the very same material used in aerospace construction. So it's ultra-strong while remaining light and portable. In fact, the Little Giant Type 1A is government-rated to hold up to 300 pounds, but has survived brutal stress testing of up to 1200 pounds with absolutely no structural failure.

2-Gator Fisherman boats
ALWELD The most respected Aluminum boats in the world

3-Everyday items

It is impossible to know why the pro steel side - does not want to acknowledge the invasion of aluminum in our everyday lives.

Let the F150 A#@ KICKING CONTINUE!!!!!!

@ Scott

Prove the more flimsy statement... Again go push on the rear fender of each and get back to me. 2015 vs 2015.

The hood is aluminum because that is an area of a truck that doesn't take much abuse. The areas of the truck with the most abuse are the fenders, box, and cab.

GM is not going full out aluminum like Ford, they are going with more parts that will be aluminum.

Has Ford fixed the horrible issue of door alignment on the aluminum trucks yet???

Yep. I have the steel body of the gm is more flimsy then an aluminum f150. Fenders, doors, bed sides don't take any more abuse on purpose then a hood. Yes door alignment issue is taken care of.

Anything else?

I don't mind the hood, fenders doors being alum but i think the body and bed should be steel. Even some kind of plastic like Saturn has for hood fenders and door skins might even be better. also leave the HD trucks all steel IMO the only thing ford SD had on the gm was weight. A heavier truck plows better and tows better. Im curious to see what these alum beds look like after they are put through some REAL work. some of the guys i plow with do concrete ect.. and their beds are bent down in between all the support rails. Go to a gravel pit and watch the loader drop 4k of gravel from 4 feet up into the bed, not 55 gal drum from 6in like ford tested. Also i hope anybody bolting anything to the bed (tool box, fuel tank, latter rack ect...) is using alum bolts. Probably not

I too have felt the flimsy steel of the latest gm trucks. My Son drives one on his job and yes they are very flimsy. I tried the same thing on a new Ford F150 at the dealership this past Sunday and both my Son and I were shocked to see how much the Ford DID NOT BEND like the chevy he drives at work. We could even knock on it and got a solid sound out of it. He said he knocked on that chevy today and it heard an echo. @johnny blowhard, glad to hear you are up to date on your ignorance pills.


Haha so you did your own test and know it to be right.

I bet anything you don't have a 2015 GM.

GM has been absolutely crushing Ford in truck sales. People must not be believing the Ford propaganda and have finally realized a V-8 is better in the real world than the buzzy V-6 EcoTurds, and that Aluminum does nothing but increase overall cost.

News Flash, the horrid Door alignment issues have not been resolved on the new F150's.

Go keep drinking your Kool Aide

I mis typed. I don't have a gm. But a coworker does and it is very flimsy and weak even though it's high strength steel. It is weak cause it's super thin.


So you're saying the hood takes as much abuse as the bed?? Hmm you haul dirt bikes, rocks, plywood, etc on the hood??

The hood gets door dings etc??

Again, you're analysis makes zero sense, which would make sense because you're a Ford Fan Boy.

It ok, GM will just keep selling the most trucks.

GM has the widest and most appealing truck portfolio by far, giving the consumer the biggest variety of truck offerings, with the best real world performance, fuel economy, resale value, and reliability. Probably the reason they are selling the most...

Fenders don't see anymore abuse then the hood. Doors Mauser some dings but the aluminum ford doesn't sing as easily as gm doors. You throw a cotton ball at the side of a gm it is going to have a ding due to its weak ultra thing steel.


http://youtu.be/8hA2IHa1neE great video comparing the 2014 f150 vs the 2015 f150

I believe the 8 speed will be a modest help in closing the performance gap between the 5.3 and the 3.5 ecoboost and hemi. You still have a much weaker engine. It (the tranny) will probably improve the already class leading fuel economy. I'm referring to largest engine available across a manufacturers entire line of half tons (2wd long bed w/t to crew cab 4wd).

Why make the front look like a gmc with a bar across the middle? Who would confuse a cowl induction hood with a raincatcher hood? Dodge got rid of the birdbath hood in 79.

Yeah that hood design looks like a really dumb idea the way water will puddle there.

@andy. Interesting video. The 2015 basically crumbled and exploded into pieces where the 2014 had almost deflected the impact.
@scott, if you say the aluminum f150 panels feel stronger than the steel GM panels, you actually never knocked on a fender of the 2015 f150. The ford feels way more flimsy. It's not even a contest.

gm hd will be a really good truck with the 8 speed and a 6.2

I have a 2015 1500 LTZ Z71 Custom Sport Plus with 6.2L & 8 speed. It is a power house. 1500 miles on it now and I'm not even broken in. I didn't even consider an F-150 with ecoboost or the 5.0 Coyote. Ford forgoing the Raptor in 2015 & 2016 made my decision for me. Sure, the 2017 Raptor with the rumored supped up ecoboost may make 450-500 HP, it's still a V6. I didn't go with turbo V6 or the 5.0 offered in the 2015-2016's because I wanted a truck with a big, powerful V8 (and not a V8 that is also offered with higher compression and horsepower in a Mustang). Ford's 6.2L in the Raptor nearly had me won over. My brother in law has the Baja 700 Shelby Raptor and it's a beast in a whole new level. I don't HATE Fords, I was just sick of the Triton V8 and the Eco & Coyote just don't give me the bang for my buck.

I wouldn't have purchased the Silverado unless it had the 6.2 and 8 Speed, so don't go thinking I'm GM till I die, either. (Even though I had 2 6.0 H2's (I supercharged on of them and it was still a big fat pig, so disappointing), a Yukon Denali 6.2 and a 6.2 Escalade ESV (I love the Vortec 6.2) over the last 10 or so years. Agreed, I don't like the birdbath hood on the 2016 Silverado 1500. From inside, my 2015 hood looks like a beast with the two raised panels. I pushed on my fenders and found no flex. The truck is solid. The EcoTech3 is a great motor (when AFM is disabled). The only gripe I have about the truck is the lighting, and they seem to have figured that out in 2016.

I changed the hood on my 78 just for that reason.

I was at the Seattle Auto Show Sunday; wanted to see the new Silverado and Sierra. No luck; just had the '15's. Sat in those and all the other trucks there: Ram, Ford, Tundra, Titan, Frontier, Tacoma, Canyon, Colorado. I'll take the GM's over the bunch. Show personnel didn't have a release date.
I Went on Costco's AutoSave; can't even get a dealer name yet on the '16's for Chevy or GMC.

There are so many reasons to hate GM... but this realistically probably isn't one. It ticks all the boxes and while honestly I find it disappointing that 8 spd auto trannys are becoming common place while only providing 1ish more MPG (I had hoped going from 6 to 8 speeds would do more than that) it is a big deal. The almost continuous refinement is good (wish they would follow that philosophy with their small cars). The running boards are just a gimmicky way to make money and they choose a hood that looks like bubba sat on but the rest is pretty competently performed rapid refresh on a still new line.

"I believe the 8 speed will be a modest help in closing the performance gap between the 5.3 and the 3.5 ecoboost and hemi. You still have a much weaker engine. It (the tranny) will probably improve the already class leading fuel economy. I'm referring to largest engine available across a manufacturers entire line of half tons (2wd long bed w/t to crew cab 4wd)."

I'm not sure what performance you're speaking of as the 3.5 Ecoboost competes with the 6.2 and both walk all over the "Hemi". Most tests shows the 5.3 GM competes in performance with the 5.7 Hemi, some tests show the 5.3 is a little faster, others show a tenth or two going to the Hemi.

This looks like it may establish the 5.3's dominance over the 5.0 and 5.7 - as they're all about the same right now.

Problem with all those tests are that those trucks have setup different gears. So it is really hard to compare trucks across the board unless you have the same gears and transmissions.

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