by Amy Lillard
What drives car buyers in today's society? Smart sizes, efficient fuel use, practical capability, and of course, the hidden perks and guilty pleasures. In our continuing series, we examine the most popular cars in America.
Facing stiff competition from perennials like Ford and Toyota, as well as poor reviews of past models, Chevrolet made major design and structure changes in its 2007 Silverado.
The result? Accolades, in the form of 2007 Motor Trend Truck of the Year and 2007 North American Truck of the Year. Killer reviews, in the form of ecstatic car buyers and auto enthusiasts. And impressive sales, enough to nearly best Ford and rest securely as the 2nd best-selling auto in 2006 and early 2007.
Long a trusted mainstay of farmers, construction workers and more, the Chevy truck was known for its capability. At the end of the 1990s, Chevy named its workhouse the Silverado, a moniker previously reserved for the upscale trim level option of its truck. Since, the Silverado has diversified into the versatile half-ton model (1500) used for work and family use, as well as the more heavy-duty models (2500HD and 3500HD).
It's only been in the last year, though, that the 1500 could be praised for anything other than its practicality. Bland design has now been replaced by attractive perks, as well as all the high-tech amenities a driver has come to expect.
In addition, the company is offering an alternative to the downside of trucks – low gas mileage. In 2005, the Silverado launched a hybrid version, the first ever GM hybrid vehicle. It is a mild hybrid design, with the electric motor serving only power accessories. The system also automatically shuts down when the truck brakes below 13 mph. But it's a start.
The Silverado varies in price by model and cab size, ranging from the lowest base price of $17,815 to a fully tricked out luxury model at nearly $50,000.
The trucks offer substantial hauling and towing capability, even with the light-duty 1500 model. The half-ton pickup can tow up to 7,300 lbs and carry over 1,900 lbs. In the heavy-duty models, towing power can reach up to 16,700 lbs and hauling reaches over 5,500 lbs. Three cab lengths are offered with varying passenger capacity.
Powertrain options, traditionally a driving feature for potential buyers and current owners, include a range from conservative 4.3-liter 195-horsepower V6 to a souped-up 6.0-liter V8 with 367 hp. Most Silverados, however, will be fitted with either a 295-hp 4.8-liter V8 or a 315-hp 5.3-liter V8.
A frequent contributor to ERATE® since 2006, Amy Lillard is a freelance writer specializing in turning complex information into useful tips and tricks for readers. For questions or topic suggestions, contact Amy at [email protected].
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