The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado is priced from $30,995 in the United States and from $32,048 in Canada, freight and delivery charges excluded.
Great ride quality, variety of trim levels and customization options, smooth and efficient diesel engine.
Unimpressive interior fit and finish, lacklustre reliability record, payload capacities could be better.
While environmentalists are raising flags about the growing number of pickup trucks on our roads, there’s a reason why so many people are buying them—even those who don’t need their maximum capabilities. Nowadays, trucks such as the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 are good at everything, from hauling the family to towing the boat or the camper, in addition to coddling its occupants in luxury, and have become relatively efficient, too.
Yes, they’re big and tall, and they’re obviously not as environmentally friendly as a hybrid compact car. On the other hand, our roads network is breaking apart, so a heavier-duty vehicle seems more durable to many of us. And right now, rationally speaking, pickup trucks have very high resale values because manufacturers can’t keep up with demand due to the global microchip shortage.
The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is selling extremely well because it hasn’t suffered too much from a lack of semiconductors, and GM kept its assembly lines rolling by cutting out unessential features such as automatic stop/start, cylinder deactivation technology, HD radio and heated rear seats. Of course, the Silverado competes with the Ford F-150, the Ram 1500, the Toyota Tundra, the Nissan Titan (now U.S. only) and its corporate cousin, the GMC Sierra 1500.
A slew of engine choices are available in the Silverado 1500. The 4.3L V6 (285 horsepower) and turbocharged 2.7L inline-four (310 horsepower) are the base powerplants, while the volume sellers are the 5.3L V8 with Active Fuel Management (code name L82) and the 5.3L V8 with Dynamic Fuel Management (known as the L84). Both produce 355 horsepower.
At the higher end of the engine lineup is the turbo-diesel 3.0L inline-six that develops 277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque as well as the 6.2L V8 that belts out 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet. Both are connected to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Two-wheel and four-wheel drive configurations are offered as well.
The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado can also be specified in Regular Cab, Double Cab or Crew Cab configurations, the latter combined with one of two bed lengths. To please as many different buyers as possible, there are several trim levels on offer: Work Truck, Custom, Custom Trail Boss, LT, RST, LT Trail Boss, LTZ and High Country.
Pricing ranges from $30,995 to more than $70,000 in the United States, and from $32,048 to more than $86,000 in Canada, freight and delivery charges excluded.
Why You Should Buy a 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- The Silverado offers a comfortable and spacious interior, in addition to very good ride quality, whether we’re exploiting the vehicles payload or towing capabilities or not. The new-for-2021 Multi-Flex tailgate is quite handy, as its multiple configurations help haul a load that’s slightly longer than the bed, such as a snowmobile or an ATV, and it can also serve as a step up into the bed.
- The Duramax Diesel engine boasts a combined city/highway rating of 24 mpg or 10.0 L/100 km when matched with 4WD. That makes it more efficient than the F-150’s Power Stroke diesel (23 mpg, 10.7 L/100 km), but less so than the Ram 1500’s EcoDiesel (24 mpg, 9.7 L/100 km). Actually, between the three, the Duramax is the most efficient around town, but the less efficient on the highway. Obviously, it’s by far the most fuel-efficient engine in the Silverado, in addition to being smooth and surprisingly quiet. We managed 24.5 U.S. mpg or 9.6 L/100 km during our last test of the Silverado with the Duramax engine.
- Equipped with the 6.2L V8, the Silverado 1500’s maximum towing capacity is 13,300 pounds or 5,488 kilograms. That’s better than the Ram 1500 and its 5.7L V8 (12,750 pounds, 5,783 kg), although slightly lower than what the F-150 can muster with its twin-turbo 3.5L V6 (14,000 pounds, 6,350 kg), The Duramax diesel is now rated at up to 9,500 pounds or 4,309 kg, an increase of 1,900 pounds over last year, but it’s far from the max rating of the competition’s diesel engines at 12,100 pounds for the F-150 and 12,560 pounds for the Ram 1500.
- Whether we prefer a sporty, conservative or more luxurious look, there’s a 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 trim level for everyone. Several option packages can also customize the truck to our tastes, such as the Z71 package, the Rally Edition, the Midnight Edition or the Blackout Package.
- Like the majority of full-size pickups at the moment, the Silverado’s resale value is sky-high. That means shoppers can trade-in their vehicle more frequently, and dealers will gladly take it back, sit them in a brand-new vehicle, and sell the trade-in at a high price.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- Inventory is tight this year, for both the Silverado and the GMC Sierra. Very tight. Which means we might not get the trim level, the colour or the options we wanted, or we’ll have to wait until GM builds our custom order. That said, things aren’t rosier at Ford or Ram right now.
- 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).
- Since its redesign for the 2019 model year, the Silverado has been criticized for the low-rent interior furnishings. While it’s not a big concern in base trim levels, the posh High Country’s cabin is far from being as luxurious as the ones found in the Ram 1500 Longhorn and Limited trims, and in the F-150 King Ranch and Limited, for example.
- We love the optional 6.2L V8’s power and sound, but it comes at the expense of heavy fuel consumption, and premium fuel is recommended by the manufacturer, which also bites an even bigger chunk of our fuel budget. The 4.3L V6 is old and consumes as much as the 5.3L V8s, and although the turbo 2.7L engine is strong in paper, we doubt full-size pickup truck buyers will be interested in a four-cylinder engine. The diesel engine is efficient, but it costs more—$995 (U.S.) or $3,245 (Canada) in the High Country trim we tested.
- 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.
It’s been a tough year for General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, who are scrambling to build as many pickup trucks as they can. It’s also complex for buyers who are facing tight inventories, limited choice and little to no incentives, and there’s no room for negotiating a better deal.
As far as the product goes, the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado offers good value, good driving dynamics, excellent ride quality and—normally—a wide variety of trim levels, options and powertrain choices. However, it’s not the most reliable pickup on the market (that would be the very old Toyota Tundra) and buyers seeking a luxurious, upscale truck might be disappointed at the LTZ and High Country editions. The Custom Trail Boss and LT Trail Boss trims do look pretty good, but that’s just our opinion.
The Silverado 1500 and the Sierra 1500 were supposed to receive a mid-cycle refresh for the 2022 model year, bringing styling revisions, a more upscale cabin and Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving, while the 4.3L V6 and the L82 5.3L V8 will be retired. A new off-road variant called the Silverado ZR2 will also appear. However, with GM battling the microchip shortage, the refreshed trucks will arrive late in the 2022 model year, and the pickups in their current form will soldier on for 2022, called the Silverado 1500 Limited and Sierra 1500 Limited.