2012 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT: Tough, Durable and Versatile Survivor
By Mike Blake Carlisle Events
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Perennially, the Chevrolet Silverado is the number-two selling vehicle in America, but according to their high production-value Super Bowl TV ad, “Chevy Apocalypse,” the rugged, hard-working and versatile half-ton pick-up truck will be the vehicle that survives all obstacles. To the tune of Barry Manilow's “Looks Like We Made It,” only Silverados and Twinkies will make it through total destruction, as four trucks rendezvous and their drivers lament that their buddy didn’t make it because he “didn't drive the longest lasting, most dependable truck on the road.” The ad ends with a voiceover declaring: “From the beginning of your work to the end of the world. Chevy runs deep."
Where the ad entertainment ends, and reality takes over, Silverado has a history of being a dependable, tough truck since it began as a trim level for Chevrolet C/K pick-ups and Suburbans from 1975 through 1999, when it became its own model line.
Redesigned last year, the 2012 Silverado 1500 edition sees only a few tweaks. New for 2012 are a restyled chrome mesh grille with chrome surround on LS and LT models and body-color surround on LTZ models, a custom chrome front bumper with silver-painted lower fascia, and chrome end caps on 2WD models without tow hooks for improved aerodynamics. Other 2012 upgrades include available 20-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels (17-inch wheels are standard), heated/cooled front seats and hard-drive navigation radio with AM/FM/XM stereo with CD/DVD player, MP3 compatibility and USB port available on LTZ models, and the inclusion of electronic trailer sway control and hill start assist on the vehicle’s StabiliTrak stability control system.
A full-size half-ton pick-up, Silverado 1500 with an Extended Cab and a short box measures 230.2 inches long (the long box adds 19 inches), width is 79.9 inches and height is 73.7 inches for the 4WD, on a 143.5-inch wheelbase. Ground clearance is 9 inches, step-in height measures 22.6 inches and the Silverado LT’s base curb weight comes in at 5092 lbs. The Extended Cab standard box is 62.4 inches wide at the floor with a width between the wheel housings of 50.6 inches, and the box is 78.9 inches long with an inside height of 21 inches.
The Silverado 1500 is sculpted with a confident, broad-shouldered stance, a power dome hood, flared rear fenders, vertically stacked reflector-optics headlamps and Chevrolet’s iconic bow tie emblem in the grille. Large, grab-style door handles are designed for easy use with gloves and heated, power-adjustable outside mirrors with auto-dimming and integrated signal indicators are available.
Silverado power comes in a variety of sizes and capabilities, from a 4.3-liter V-6 that produces 195hp and 260 lbs-ft of torque, to a standard (on the 1500 LT) 4.8-liter V-8 that is E85 capable and puts out 302hp and 305 lbs-ft of torque, to a 5.3-liter FlexFuel V-8 rated at 315 hp and 335 lbs-ft of torque, to a brawny Vortec 6.2-liter that thunders out 403hp and 417 lbs ft of torque and gets 12/18 on gas for a 4WD.
My LT trim 4WD test truck sported the 4.8-liter plant, linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission, with the system rated at 13 mpg in the city and 18mpg on the highway for gasoline. A week of testing in terrible snow and rain, yielded an average of 14.2mpg.
The more powerful 6.2-liter engine can take the Silverado to an estimated 6.6-second zero-to-60 sprint, and the 4.8-liter should go in the 9s, but while the truck was willing, the rainy, icy track was not, and timing runs were not completed. However, on the highway and in quick maneuvers, Silverado was smooth, quiet, comfortable and secure on slick roads, sightlines were good, and power was on the money when called upon. A large turning radius made tight exercises a chore, but in most circumstances, Silverado acts like a smaller truck.
With a tow rating of 9600 lbs. and an interior packed with amenities, Silverado is a multipurpose talent.
The Extended Cab format provides roomy interior accommodations with 41.2 inches of front headroom and 39.2 in the cab; legroom goes 41.3 and 34.3 while shoulder room is at 65.2 and 65.3. The driver’s cabin and cab are filled with such items as dual-zone automatic climate control, driver information center and leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Silverado safety is first-rate with standard head curtain side air bags with rollover protection for all seating rows, seat-mounted side-impact air bags for driver and right-front passenger that provide thorax and pelvic protection, high-capacity brake system with four-channel ABS, tire pressure monitoring system and strong body structure to absorb crash energy and provide a protective “safety cage” around occupants.
The WT trim starts at $22,195; the LS starts at $29,925 and the LT goes $27,750 for 2WD and $31,110 for the regular cab 4WD. The Extended Cab starts at $33,655 for a standard bed and 4WD. The interior plus package added $1015 for EZ-Lift/locking tailgate, fog lamps, 6-way power seat adjuster, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and Bluetooth® wireless technology. A power sliding rear window added $250, destination and freight was $995 and current incentives slashed the final sticker by $2000 for a drive-off price of $33,915.
> Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.
Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.
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