Just two model years after a full redesign, GM has given its half-ton pickup trucks an update that adds fresh style and some additional hardware.
The profits driven from pickup trucks are massive, and GM is making sure it doesn’t get left behind by all the new products hitting the market.
So is this just a facelift, or is the 2016 Chevy Silverado really a better truck? Let’s take a look.
SEE ALSO: Chevy Silverado High Country Review
The most obvious update to the new Silverado comes to front end, which now wears a more angular grille. The muscular look around the sides and at the back of the truck remains, though the nose loses some of the “fist in the wind” look that Chevy first touted when the truck was released.
On our High Country trim Silverado, chrome is the primary choice for the horizontal grille bars, while body color bumpers tie this sharp looking pickup together. The truck also gets LED lights all around.
Chevy is trying to make access to the bed easier with a new power folding step feature. After it deploys under the doors, a button can be pressed on the end of the step itself, which sends it rearwards, far enough so you can use it to climb onto when reaching into the bed.
It works great and is a big help for reaching things deep in your truck’s bed or for tying down large cargo, but there is a clear downside.
In complete contrast to the rear bumper-integrated step, which has no moving parts and is always deployed, GM’s new power-folding step seems like it is over-engineered, with multiple moving parts that will take a beating from road debris and weather, especially winter.
The biggest change to the driving experience of the 2016 Silverado is the addition of an eight-speed automatic for the mid-level 5.3-liter V8, which still makes 355-horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque, though that feels like a little but more, thanks to the addition of those two extra gears.
The 5.3-liter has never been a torque-laden engine, so the extra power that is getting to the ground in the first few gears are noticeable.
Shifts are always smooth, and even a 6,000-lb load didn’t upset the Silverado. Though our time with the truck was a bit to short to give a fuel economy estimate, it should improve slightly compared to today’s six-speed automatic.
New technology inside the truck is highlighted by the addition of Apple CarPlay, a proprietary system for iPhone owners that allows them to mirror their phone’s screen on the truck’s touchscreen.
Android Auto, CarPlay’s biggest competition is on its way to the this truck, but it hasn’t arrived just yet.
Chevy’s wireless phone charging has also been added to its pickup trucks, a system that will be a big help to any contractor or businessman who uses their truck as a mobile office. But not all phones are compatible, so double check your phone’s specs.
Driving safety systems have also been upgraded on the Silverado with the addition of lane-keep assist and active high-beams. The lane keep assist system worked well, not being overly aggressive. Instead, it calmly applied light steering to keep you in your lane if you started to veer.
Active high beams are also a welcome addition to the truck, though we did not drive in a dark enough situation to try them out.
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