2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 Review
Spending a week in this Ocean Blue Chevy Silverado is enough to make anyone a truck guy. Effortless capability and strength have always been key elements of the Silverado, and continue for 2015 -- even as the rest of the truck becomes far more tech-savvy, comfortable and fun-to-drive.
The Z71 LTZ 1500 trim of the test truck brings the best style and equipment to the table, and really helps show the Silverado in its best light. The upgraded cabin for 2015 is packed with cool goodies: some standard like the 4G LTE wi-fi, and some optional, like the huge bank of a dozen in-cab charge ports, USB inputs and even a three-prong power outlet.
Included here in the Exterior, Interior, Drive Impressions format are 65 high-res photos, plus two drive videos. A comparison of the Chevy versus the new Ford F-150 appears in the second video, but it is just subjective observations at the wheel of the Chevy.
DRIVE VIDEO ONE
The style of the 2015 Silverado majors on continuity - refining and tweaking the design to recall the legendary "Like a Rock" era trucks more than ever. A dual layer of lighting elements, split by the chrome bow-tie grille, is the most prominent new design detail. Projector low-beams up top and a new chopped-circle highbeam down below are a nice and classy update on the Chevy truck style. New running lights light up both the upper and lower amber indicator areas, and the foglamps can be on even without the main lights.
This is admittedly a pretty subtle design change versus the new F-150, and the Silverado lacks HID lights or LED accents altogether up front. Even so, the low-beams are the main DRL -- which is a nice change versus the old high-beam setup.
Toward the sides, the new body features chunky integrated fender flares in a blocky, sculpted form around both front and rear tires. The Z71 package is a full upgrade to the mechanicals, with hill-descent-control, off-road Rancho shocks and underbody shields in metal for the engine and transmission case.
With the Z71 off-road suspension comes a big style upgrade outside, with a taller ride height, shiny 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, and a chrome bath all around. The test truck has the $1400 optional 20-inch wheels, which are as big as you want for off-roading. 22-inch rims are available on other trims, but the short sidewalls will be too delicate on the rough stuff for the Z71 package.
The cabin of this LTZ trim level is where previous Chevy owners will really be in for a smooth and pleasant surprise.
Giant fixed running-boards in chrome (optional at $600) along all doors make entry easy, even with the taller Z71 ride height, and once in you have truly huge cabin room all around. The front cab has much more space on all sides than before, but the extra 3-plus inches of legroom are most noticeable. With the tilt-adjustable steering and optional power pedals, anyone can get comfortable and have a commanding view forward. No telescope on this wheel, but it still is a good driving position.
MyLink Audio with eight-inch nav touchscreen is a definite plus at its cheap $475 option price, while the $375 full-feature seats are also smart. Good power adjustment range, from super-low to perched high.
The seats are firm and the leather is still extra thick and tough-wearing -- even with the perforations on the test truck and its $650 optional heated and cooled seats. Money well spent. The LTZ Plus package for $800 includes the power-operated pedal adjustments, Bose audio and a heated steering wheel. Sounds silly, but a warm wheel does feel very nice on chilly mornings. It heats up quickly.
The view out of the Silverado easily beats the new F-150, as does the Chevy's width and roominess. The Ford feels much, much tighter inside thanks to its console-mounted shifter versus the Chevy's column-mounted setup, and the Chevy feels taller and more relaxed than the low-roof F-150. The floor of the Chevy is noticeably higher than the Ford, however, but also roomier in total leg, hip and shoulder space front and rear.
The back seat of the Silverado Crew Cab is gigantic, with rear seats full of padding and legroom that feels much larger than the Tahoe's second row. They also flip up for in-cab storage, and have extra power ports and HVAC vents to keep comfortable back there.