2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Expert Review

3.7 Overall Score
Performance 3.4 Comfort 3.4 Styling 3.5 Value 3.5

Editor's Overview

Despite fierce competition from both foreign and domestic manufacturers, the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 full-size pickup continues to shine, offering a wide variety of engines and configurations, as well as the first and only full-size hybrid pickup truck. Whether it’s light-duty chores or heavy-duty hauling (up to 10,700 pounds), the 2013 Chevy Silverado can get the job done right.

You'll Like The 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 If...

If you like variety in your full-size pickup, the Chevy 2013 Silverado is a virtual quick-change artist. Numerous bed lengths, body configurations, axles and cabs are available from the Silverado options list, as are many interior upgrades and E85-compatible engines.

You May Not Like The 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 If...

If you like your pickup to be as expressive as it is capable, the 2013 Chevy Silverado 1500’s somewhat conservative styling probably won’t strike your fancy. Those who need the towing power of a diesel engine will have to look to the Silverado HD 2500 or 3500 pickup trucks.

What's New

Changes for 2013 are limited to two new exterior colors and the addition of powertrain grade-braking that uses transmission downshifting to ease stress and temperature build-up on the brake rotors.

Interior Features

If you go with the WT, LS or LT trim levels, you get an interior and instrument panel that is simple and straightforward. Opt for the top-of-the-line LTZ trim, however, and your Silverado 1500 pickup becomes a bit more plush, with a highly refined instrument panel complete with wood inlays, soft-touch surfaces and additional ambient lighting. On Silverado Crew Cab pickups, the rear-seat area is made almost as welcoming as on some full-size SUVs. Up front, the big 40/20/40 split-bench seat features a lockable storage bin with a built-in 12-volt outlet. Incorporating stadium-style seating allows the rear-seat passengers a better view forward.

Exterior Features

For those who find some full-size trucks to be overstyled and almost cartoonish, the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado half-ton pickup is a welcome dose of classic American styling. Thanks to the big pickup’s fully-boxed frame, Chevy was able to create tight gaps between the Silverado’s body panels. This architecture also makes the Silverado extremely rigid and immune to excessive body flex. The truck team at Chevy also went to great lengths to integrate the pickup box while simultaneously increasing its height. On Extended Cab models large rear-access doors are capable of opening a full 170 degrees and include windows that fully lower into the doors.

Driving Impressions

The combination of a rigid frame, advanced construction techniques, coil-over-shock front suspension and power rack-and-pinion steering give the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado an impressively smooth and controlled ride without sacrificing capability or payload limits. A stiff chassis means a stronger platform for towing and the Silverado’s fully-boxed frame delivers strength in spades. Power from the base 4.3-liter V6 is adequate for those hauling light to medium loads and not towing. However, bigger jobs will require either the 5.3-liter V8, which is an excellent choice combining power and fuel economy in an affordable package, or the powerhouse of the Silverado line, the 403-horsepower 6.2-liter aluminum-block V8. Power delivery with each V8 engine is more than ample, and the electronically-controlled 6-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission delivers it smoothly and without hesitation.

Pricing Notes

The 2013 Chevrolet Silverado half-ton pickup has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $24,000 for a base 2-wheel-drive Regular Cab WT. The LT Regular Cab starts closer to $29,000, while the top-of-the-line, 4-wheel-drive LTZ Crew Cab with all the options can run as high as $50,000. Before heading to your local Chevy dealership, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. We expect the 2013 Silverado half-ton pickup to retain good resale value within its segment, higher than the projected residual values for the Ram 1500, Nissan Titan and on par with the Ford F-150, but still below that of the Toyota Tundra.

Notable Equipment

The 2013 Chevrolet Silverado WT pickup includes a 4-speed automatic transmission, tire-pressure-monitoring system, anti-lock brakes (ABS), air conditioning and two auxiliary power outlets. The 1LT adds cruise control, compass and temperature-display rearview mirror, power windows, door locks and mirrors, remote keyless entry and CD/MP3 player audio system. The LTZ adds 10-way power-heated front bucket seats, leather seating, power-folding power-adjustable heated mirrors, Bose audio with MP3-compatible 6-disc CD changer and auxiliary input jack and a remote-start system. The StabiliTrak electronic stability-control system is standard on all 2013 Chevy Silverado 1500 models.

Notable Options

Depending upon trim level, Chevy’s Silverado can be optioned in several ways. For 2013, the Silverado offers five suspension systems, each tailored to suit specific driving requirements. They include Z83 for a solid, smooth ride; Z85 for enhanced handling and trailer towing; Z71 for enhanced off-road capability; Z60 for street performance with 20-inch wheels; and NHT for maximum towing capacity. A choice of 2- and 4-wheel-drive models, various cabs and bed lengths and a variety of axle ratios are also offered.

Favorite Features

In a welcome bow to those who work hard to earn their keep – and who live in frigid climes – the 2013 Silverado pickup has knobs, switches and door handles that easily can be operated while wearing gloves.

The Active Fuel Management system available in four different V8s cuts the operation of four cylinders when they are unneeded and enhances fuel economy.

Under the Hood

While we expect the 4.3-liter V6 and 4.8-liter V8 to be more than adequate in work-truck applications, we recommend the 5.3-liter V8 engines, some with cast-iron blocks and some with aluminum, but all with Active Fuel Management and variable valve timing. And, for those who want more power (or towing capacity), the 6.2-liter V8 is tops in its class, offering significantly more power and torque (pulling force) with very little penalty in fuel economy. The Hybrid has a 2-mode system that can operate on electric power only at low speeds, or deliver an electric assist to the 6.0-liter V8 at highway speeds or when towing.

4.3-liter V6
195 horsepower @ 4,600 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 2,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/20 mpg (2WD), 14/18 mpg (4WD)

4.8-liter V8 Flex-Fuel
302 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
305 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19 mpg (2WD), 10/14 mpg (2WD, E85), 13/18 mpg (4WD), 10/13 mpg (4WD, E85)

5.3-liter V8 Flex-Fuel
315 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
326 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm (E85)
335 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
348 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm (E85)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 mpg (gasoline), 11/16 mpg (2WD, E85), 15/22 mpg (XFE), 11/16 mpg (XFE, E85), 15/21 mpg (4WD), 11/16 mpg (4WD, E85)

6.2-liter V8 Flex-Fuel
403 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
417 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18 mpg (2WD), 9/13 mpg (2WD, E85), 12/18 mpg (4WD), 9/13 mpg (4WD, E85)

6.0-liter V8 Hybrid
332 horsepower @ 5,100 rpm
367 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/23 mpg (2WD), 20/23 mpg (4WD)

Editors' Notes

When it comes to full-size pickups, it’s hard to find fault with what Chevrolet has done with its 2013 Silverado 1500. Though technically not the best-selling full-size pickup in America (that honor goes to the Ford F-150), when combined with the sales of its sister pickup, the GMC Sierra, the two handily outsell their Ford rival. To remain relevant, Chevy continues to improve on the Silverado’s powerful yet fuel-efficient V8 engines and offers the industry’s only full-size hybrid pickup. We know truck buyers don’t care as much about fuel economy as they do sheer brute force, which is why the Silverado delivers performance at or near the top of its class in almost every category, including a maximum tow rating of 10,700 pounds when properly equipped.

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