The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 starts at $30,595 in the U.S. and at $33,948 in Canada.
Rugged looks, wide selection of trims and options, good fuel economy.
Underwhelming interior design and finish, uninteresting base engines, spotty reliability record.
It’s the second best-selling vehicle in North America, and GM currently can’t build enough of them to meet demand. The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, along with its Silverado HD counterpart, receives several changes and new features for the most recent model year.
The Silverado 1500 is available in regular cab, double cab and crew cab configurations, with 4×2 and 4×4 drivetrains, and no less than eight trim levels: Work Truck, Custom, Custom Trail Boss, LT, RST, LT Trail Boss, LTZ and High Country. As their names suggest, the two Trail Boss variants are ready for the unbeaten path with their lifted suspensions and go-anywhere hardware, while the RST is the sporty trim and High Country is obviously the most luxurious of the bunch.
There are also a slew of engine choices as well:
Turbo 2.7L I4: 310 horsepower, 348 pound-feet of torque
4.3L V6: 285 hp, 305 lb.-ft.
5.3L V8 with Active Fuel Management: 355 hp, 383 lb.-ft.
5.3L V8 with Dynamic Fuel Management: 355 hp, 383 lb.-ft.
Turbo-diesel 3.0L I6: 277 hp, 460 lb.-ft.
6.2L V8: 420 hp, 460 lb.-ft.
A six-speed automatic is matched to the 4.3L V6 and the 5.3L V8 with AFM, while an eight-speed automatic is connected to the turbo 2.7L I4 as well as the 5.3L V8 with DFM in some trim levels. Meanwhile, uplevel variants get a 10-speed automatic with the 5.3L V8 with DFM, the turbo-diesel 3.0L I6 and the 6.2L V8.
It’s also possible to personalize the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 to our tastes with one of several appearance packages, including the Rally Edition and the Midnight Edition, while the Z71 Off-Road package adds Rancho shocks, skid plates and—depending on the trim level—a two-speed transfer case, a locking differential, dual exhaust and all-terrain tires.
New for 2021 is the optional Multi-Flex tailgate, which offers six functions to access the bed more easily, help secure longer objects or be used as a standing workstation. It’s essentially identical to the MultiPro tailgate found on the GMC Sierra, and has now made its way onto the Chevy pickup as well. Other changes for the 2021 model year include equipment shuffling across all trim levels, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and new paint colors.
Towing capacity reaches 13,300 pounds or 5,488 kilograms, but that’s with the 6.2L V8 engine and the Max Trailering Package. The turbo 2.7L engine can now two up to 9,600 pounds or 4,354 kg (an increase of 2,500 pounds) while the turbo-diesel six can now pull up to 9,500 pounds or 4,309 kg (an increase of 1,900 pounds).
In the United States, pricing ranges from $30,595 to $76,635, destination freight charge included, while in Canada, the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is priced from $33,948 to $93,738.
What the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Does Well
- It offers variety. With so many configurations, engines, packages and options, there’s a Silverado suited to please pretty much every pickup truck buyer.
- The Chevy has easy-to-use infotainment systems with reactive touchscreens, big on-screen button zones and plenty of features. For those who want to connect their smartphone’s operating system instead, the new wireless integration is a welcome addition.
- The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has the most fuel-efficient powertrain in the full-size pickup segment (the 3.0L diesel six) with a combined city/highway average of 27 mpg or 8.8 L/100 km. For those who prefer the power and sound of a good old V8, the Silverado’s delivers a combined rating of up to 19 mpg or 12.2 L/100 km, a smidge less frugal than the F-150’s (20 mpg, 12.2 L/100 km) and slightly ahead of the Ram 1500’s (19 mpg, 12.4 L/100 km).
- The Silverado’s impressive 13,300-pound towing capacity surpasses the Ram 1500’s max rating of 12,750 pounds, although it comes up short compared to the F-150’s tow rating of up to 14,000 pounds.
- This is subjective, but we think the Silverado looks good. The RST will please sport truck buyers, while the Trail Boss variants add a healthy dose of ruggedness.
What the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Doesn’t Do Well
- The Chevy’s 2,280-pound max payload capacity is higher than those of the Tundra and the Titan, but it’s beaten by the Ram (2,300 pounds) and dominated by the F-150 (3,325 pounds).
- The interior design and especially fit and finish are subpar when compared to the more refined cabins of the Ram and the Ford. GM is promising a refresh for the 2022 model year, which should address this issue.
- The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has reliability problems, according to Consumer Reports which gave it a score of 1 out of 5. Owners complained about issues with brakes, body components and in-car electronics, and the eight-speed automatic transmission has been the subject of class-action lawsuits due to its underwhelming durability. With a score of 2 out of 5, the Ram and the Ford are marginally better.
- While there are six engine choices, not all of them are truly interesting. The 4.3L V6 is old and isn’t fuel efficient, while the four-cylinder turbo’s output and capacities are adequate on paper, but the idea of a four-piston engine in a full-size pickup is still uncommon. The muscular 6.2L V8 runs on premium fuel, which further increases operating costs.
- As manufacturers are stuffing more and more active safety features in their vehicles, 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 buyers must pay extra to obtain items like autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist and lane departure warning, high beam assist and adaptive cruise control. Even the range-topping High Country doesn’t include these features as standard.
What We Tell Our Friends
The Silverado is a hot ticket right now, and GM can’t build enough of them right now, so dealer inventory may be tight. The key here is choice and customization, which the Chevy offers in spades.
However, the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado isn’t perfect, and its reliability record could definitely use a shot in the arm. Meanwhile, buyers should favour the 5.3L V8 with Dynamic Fuel Management and the 10-speed automatic, which we think is the best powertrain combo.