The Chevy Silverado truck made Bob Seger famous—ok, well maybe not, but Chevy’s 1991 “Like a Rock” campaign did bring Bob into households that had never heard of southern rock before. No matter which classic rocker is crooning over it, General Motors full-size truck, the Silverado, has always been a top seller.
The Chevy Silverado Story
The Silverado name was originally used to denote a trim level package applied to full-size Chevy C/K pickup trucks. It wasn’t until 1999 that the Silverado became its own model.
GM Chevy Silverado First Generation (1999-2007)
GM changes the design of its pickups about as often as McDonald’s changes its Big Mac, which is to say, almost never. From 1988 to 1999, GM’s full-size truck remained unchanged. So, when the General overhauled the C/K platform and released the first generation Silverado (1999-2007) in 1999, it was a big deal. The revamped truck featured a new engine, redesigned chassis and a more aerodynamic body.
The Silverado was made available in light duty and heavy duty configurations, with a number of engine options, including everything from a 4.8L six-cylinder to a 6.6L diesel eight-cylinder. For a short time, an intimidator SS version was also produced, as was a hybrid.
There was a variety of drivetrain options as well. All rigs could be had in either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Transmissions included an automatic, heavy duty automatic or manual.
In 2004, cruise control, an updated sound system, a chrome rear bumper and chrome wheels got added to the trucks standard list of features. New optional equipment included polished aluminum wheels and 265/70R16 tires. Model year 2005 brought about standard 17” wheels and an optional power sunroof that includes HomeLink and a deluxe overhead console. The biggest news was the introduction of a gasoline/electric hybrid model.
GM Chevy Silverado Second Generation (2006-2013)
In 2006, Twitter was launched, Pluto was demoted from planet status and the second generation Silverado (2006-2013) hit dealerships across the United States. The second generation Silverado featured a redesigned exterior, interior, frame, and suspension as well as a power increases on certain engines.
Model year 2006 brought about a few changes; if you see a truck wearing the “VortecMAX” badge, you know it’s the bad boy powered by a 345-hp, 6.0L eight-cylinder. Other changes included a heavy-duty tow package and a stronger rear end, as well as mirrors with a folding and extending design.
In 2007, the Silverado was completely re-designed from the ground up. The exterior features a larger grille, a wider and taller stance and reflector-optics headlamps. The hood also features a prominent power dome. The underpinnings of the truck get a redesigned front suspension, rack-and-pinion steering and a strengthened frame. The entire engine lineup gets a boost in power output as well. Since the Silverado was completely redesigned in 2007, the 2008 model remains virtually unchanged except for addition of satellite radio as standard equipment and an optional integrated trailer brake controller.
The 2009 model year introduced new 6.2L 8-cylinder V8 and a new six-speed automatic transmission. Other new options include Bluetooth, XM traffic reporting and a back-up camera. For 2010, variable valve timing was added to the 8-cylinder engines. Side curtain airbags, front-seat side airbags and stability control also became standard. In 2011, the OnStar 9.0 system was introduced. For 2012, the Silverado received a restyled front grille and bumper, an updated navigation system and trailer sway control. No significant changes were made in the final year of the first generation, 2013.
GM Chevy Silverado Second Generation (2014-Present)
The latest iteration of the Chevy Silverado is the third generation (2014-present). For 2014, the chassis, interior and exterior of the Silverado were completely redesigned. The 6.2L eight-cylinder engine (yes, the same one that powers the Corvette—albeit a detuned version) was also made available between the truck’s frame rails. The third generation Silverado veers away from Stetson hats and cowboy boots and puts on a more sophisticated, refined demeanor. These trucks can work as hard as their predecessors, yet are as comfortable as the family sedan.
To complement its newfound sophistication, the Silverado got a bunch of available tech goodies including Chevrolet’s MyLink touch-screen multimedia interface and Bose System. OnStar is standard on all models.
Finally, for the 2015 model year, the Silverado got a new 8-speed automatic transmission to compliment the hot new 6.2L engine.
A Silverado is always desirable—no matter how many dents cover the body, or muddy work boot stains coat the floor. These trucks are dependable workhorses that are built, well, like a Rock. So, hold a lighter up for Bob Seger.