General Motors takes its Chevrolet brand to the annual Texas State Fair to pull the cover off an updated Silverado large pickup, the automaker’s best-selling product and the second-best selling vehicle in the U.S.
“The new 2016 Silverado will build on the Chevy truck legacy of dependability,” says Sandor Piszar, director-marketing for Chevy trucks.
“New muscular front end designs, sculpted hoods and signature LED lighting accents reflect Silverado’s strength and dependability, which have helped make Silverado the fastest-growing fullsize pickup brand this year,” Piszar says in a statement ahead of the truck’s unveiling later today in Dallas.
The Silverado’s refresh for ’16 comes just two years after a complete redesign in 2013 as a ’14 model. The quick update to the truck arrives on the heels of the redesigned ’15 Ford F-150, the best-selling vehicle in the land and the Silverado’s No.1 rival.
The Silverado’s exterior, interior and powertrain changes also address criticism that its redesign two years ago did not go far enough and strikes while the market is hot. Sales of pickups this year have surged 10.7% on the strength of an improving housing market and inexpensive fuel prices to become the fastest-growing segment.
And the Silverado is the fastest-growing seller of the group. According to WardsAuto data, Silverado sales through August were up 16.6% to 387,179 from 331,977 in like-2014. It also has narrowed the segment-share gap with the F-150, going so far as to challenge the Ford for leadership in recent months.
However, the F-150 remains the volume champion on sales of 461,970 through August, and those deliveries, along with its share of the segment, likely will surge as the year comes to a close and the Ford assembly plants building the pickup reach capacity.
GM hopes a quick refresh of the Silverado, due at dealers this fall, will head the F-150 off at the pass. One key element is the use of advanced lighting to create expressive exterior forms, the automaker says. Headlamps, turn signals and brake lights wrap around the corners of the Silverado for a streamlined look, and lighting up front is integrated into the horizontal grille treatments.
The new lighting also provides the Silverado with a unique look for each trim level, GM says. The base Silverado WT, for example, uses chrome horizontal grille elements, a black grille insert and compact high-intensity discharge headlamps. LT and LTZ versions receive chrome grille elements and bumpers, while Z71 models feature a monochromatic appearance. Range-topping High Country models receive chrome horizontal bars and grille inserts and skid plates accompanied by body-colored bumpers.
More Muscle, High-Tech
The front end of the Silverado becomes more muscular in an effort to punch up its road presence and leave no doubt it is a fullsize pickup. At the same time, LED lighting lends a high-tech look to the truck’s brawn.
Silverado receives Apple CarPlay and select images from iPhone 5 models and later can be projected to the Chevy MyLink display, making it easier and safer for drivers and passengers to make a call, send and receive messages, select music or use the Siri voice-command feature. Silverado units with an available 7-in. (18 cm) color MyLink display also will support Android Auto.
Key safety items include forward-collision alert, lane-keep assist and IntelliBeam high-beam assist, which turn off the bright-light function automatically to match roadway conditions, while a locking tailgate improves security. Wireless phone charging is available on LT and LTZ trim levels and appears as standard equipment on High Country models.
A choice of three EcoTec3 small-block engines remains the heart and soul of the Silverado. The truck offers a standard 285-hp 4.3L V-6, an optional 355-hp 5.3L V-8 and a top-of-the-line 420-hp 6.2L V-8 boasting 460 lb.-ft. (624 Nm) of torque for towing capacity of up to 12,000 lbs. (5,443 kg).
GM also broadens use of its newly developed 8-speed automatic transmission. Previously available only on Silverado units with the 6.2L V-8, the gearbox becomes standard on LTZ and LTZ/Z71 models, as well as High Country versions, equipped with the 5.3L V-8.
After rolling out a number of special edition models in ’15, GM says it will continue to offer unique, out-of-the-factory versions again in ’16.
GM also rolls out in Dallas the ’16 GMC Sierra Elevation Edition. The street-styled Sierra Elevation brings to market a revised front end with new, high-intensity discharge projector-beam headlamps and signature LED lighting bound for all entries in the Sierra lineup. A new radio with a 7-in. screen incorporating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone integration also bows on the Sierra Elevation.
Sierra sales are chugging away alongside Silverado, up 8.7% so far this year to 141,899 from 130,526.
Not to be outdone by GM’s truck-bluster in the Lone Star State, Ford today unveils the ’17 F-150 SuperDuty on the same fairgrounds.