Silverado becoming family car
By Mark Sherry
The 2015 Chevrolet Silverado

I have test driven and written about the Chevrolet Silverado in the past in this newspaper, talking about how I once was a happy owner and driver of my own Silverado for a number of years.

Recently I made a decision—the next time either my vehicle or my wife’s vehicle kicks the bucket, I’m going back to a pickup truck.

I miss the open bed of a pickup truck to toss grass into to make a quick run to the compost pile; to toss a big grill into to cook brats at a community function; or to haul drywall or lumber home for the latest project.

The next time I get a pickup truck, however, it will have a four-wheel-drive option to help in saving me from incidents like the one which caused me to get rid of my old Silverado.

I hope it is at least a few years yet until I get that pickup—meaning I need to eliminate or knock down some vehicle loans yet—but when I do, I would be thrilled to get anything close to the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado which I recently took for a spin at Vogel Chevrolet in Kiel.

As he has done so many times in the past, Vogel’s ever friendly Kelly Johnson set me up with a 2015 Silverado in the Z71 package, which included optional leather seats. In some ways there was almost no need to drive one because I knew ahead of time what it was all about—power, comfort, and purpose. Still, the smooth, quiet ride of today’s pickup trucks like the Silverado continues to impress. Those factors coupled with available spacious rear seating and improved fuel efficiency are making Silverados the everyday family vehicle, not just a working person’s truck. “It’s your car really,” Johnson said about how many families now view their Silverados.

The Silverado I was driving effortlessly picked up speed going uphill on the STH 32/57 viaduct. I turned off onto more narrow town roads but had no problem keeping it squarely in my lane even on a breezy fall day as these newer Silverados handle like a dream. I was comfortable enough that I could zip down rural roads at highway speeds and still explore some of the truck’s bells and whistles, like the eight-inch color touch screen which Johnson said customers want and like.

There are plenty of other things to play with inside and outside a Silverado these days. I liked the dual temperature controls, the expansive center work console, four-wheel-drive with the turn of a knob, seat bottom and back fans for cooling or heating, a power sliding rear window, tailgate assist which slowly lowers the tailgate, sharp looking running boards, storage compartments under the rear seat, and a spray-in bedliner. None of that is all that new to vehicles, but it is all fun and helps confirm the fact that this isn’t your grandpa’s pickup truck.

The listed base price on this Silverado was $39,810 with a sticker price of $47,455. I’ve already listed some of the added options which brought the price up, but you can also add power adjustable pedals, 18-inch machined aluminum wheels, a rear vision camera, and remote start to the list.

The Silverado I drove had a 5.3L V8 Ecotec3 engine which provided fuel efficiency ratings of 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. Johnson said he knows of a local Silverado owner who got as much as 26 mpg on the highway during stretches of a trip to Wyoming and back.

For even more fun, Johnson mentioned the High Country version of the Silverado. That high-end package contains many of the features already mentioned here but also additional styling features, including the distinctive saddle premium leather-trimmed interior with the headrests embossed with the words “High Country” and an outline of a mountain range. Johnson said anytime Vogel Chevrolet gets a High Country Silverado on the lot, it is gone just as quickly.

I look forward to the day when I am back in a pickup truck. If it happens to be a Silverado, that would be just fine with me.