The all-new Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is big, bold and now available to purchase in Australia from GM Specialty Vehicles. This is no ute dressed in truck’s boots, but a proper United States of America truck that has been converted to right-hand drive here in Melbourne.
The Silverado 1500 LTZ Premium has brought a buddy along to play in Australia in 2023 as well with the first-ever ZR2 also going on sale Down Under. The ZR2 is more off-road focused with a higher ride height, no running boards and a high-performance lifted suspension and Multimatic DSSV dampers.
Both Silverado 1500s are powered by a 6.2 litre EcoTech3 V8 petrol engine that is naturally aspirated and produces 313kW of power and 624Nm of torque. You might think this doesn’t sound like enough to deal with the mass of these trucks, but I assure you it is plenty if you want get moving fast.
The engine is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and the ability to switch the Silverados between 2H, 4H and 4L with the ZR2 getting low-speed off-road capabilities as well thanks to the two-speed transfer case with push button controls.
These big trucks can also tow big things with up to 4.5 tonne towing available in the LTZ Premium and 4.2 tonne on the ZR2. We tested this out at the recent Australian launch and I travelled in the ZR2 pulling the approximately 3.5 tonne Malibu boat. The ZR2 performed beautifully and it hardly felt like we were towing anything at all.
Once we got to Norwell Motoplex, I had a chance to drive the LTZ Premium on track towing a big off-road Titanium caravan. I could definitely feel the difference in the suspension between the two Silverado 1500s, with the LTZ feeling much suppler to drive.
The technology on the MY23 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 makes towing large boats and caravans so much less stressful. Both 1500s get trailer sway control, hill start assist, and auto grade braking with the LTZ Premium offering up to 14 different camera views to assist with hitching your trailer or manoeuvring into tight spaces.
There is also a pre-tow checklist for novice caravaners that goes through a step-by-step process to ensure that you are safely connected and ready for adventure. I liked that this includes a one person trailer light check that can be done by the driver without the input of a second person. You can also save a number of trailers into the infotainment system with information like the size, weight and even service reminders set for that particular trailer.
So much of the prowess in the Silverado 1500 is focused on taking it off-road and I am a novice off-roader so I really appreciated all the tech that was on offer. The ZR2 has the ability for ‘one pedal driving’ in the Terrain Mode that allows you control the vehicle only using the accelerator only and when you lift off the ZR2 comes to a complete stop. This combined with the uncanny downhill decent control makes traversing steep declines very simple to do.
When you are going up or down a steep decline and you can no longer see the road in front of you the front-grille mounted camera in the ZR2 helps by displaying an image on the central screen of what is in front of you.
It also goes without saying that the ZR2 handled all the bumps, sand, mud and water crossings that we threw at it. Even a high speed Baja run with Paul Morris at the wheel with all of the safety turned off was a breeze for this truck. This high speed run demonstrated the suspension capabilities as it actually felt smoother than driving over the bumps at low speed.
The most obvious updates in the MY23 Silverado 1500s have come in the interior with the transmission shift controller going from the right-hand side of the steering wheel to the centre console. You now also get a 12.3 inch configurable driver’s dash and a 13.4 inch infotainment touchscreen. There is wireless charging for compatible devices and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Additional LTZ Premium highlights include Jet Black leather appointed interior, adaptive cruise control, power sunroof, and a Technology Pack featuring rear camera mirror, 15-inch head up display and bed view camera. Both the LTZ Premium and ZR2 both have heated and cooled seats and unlike many other vehicles that offer cooled seats the effectiveness of these in the Silverados was excellent and dealt with the humid Queensland weather brilliantly.
I found that there was ample head and leg room in the rear seats for me, but my knees felt that they were sitting up high. Rear passengers get central air vents with basic on/off controls and heated outer rear seats with one USB-C and one USB-A port below the controls. The rear seats can also be flipped up and secured for extra storage space in the cabin area and there is storage space under the rear seats. While the centre seat can be folded down as an arm rest with two cup holders in it and the two outer seats have storage cubbies behind them as well.
There are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points with one rear tether behind each seat, but these are a braided material like a seat belt and not a metal clip. One thing I think could be added to the rear seat area is a mat that completely covers the floor to protect the carpet to make it easier to clean out after those muddy weekends away.
The tub has one feature that I think many people will love and want on every ute or truck, a powered tailgate! On the LTZ Premium it works for lifting up and down and on the ZR2 for down only. The tub has a Durobed lining with 12 substantial tie down points, three in each corner and an LED light with an on/off switch in the cabin. The payload in the LTZ Premium is 757kg and 717kg in the ZR2.
Active safety features on both Silverado 1500s includes rear-cross traffic alert, StabiliTrak electronic stability control system with traction control, lane keep assist, and forward collision alert with low-speed automatic emergency braking. There are six airbags to protect passengers and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 range does not have an ANCAP safety rating.
The MY23 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 trucks have a 3 years/100,000km (whichever occurs first) warranty that is covered by GM Specialty Vehicles and 3 years Roadside Ultra Assistance. The service interval is 12 months/12,000km (whichever occurs first).
In Australia, the MY23 Silverado LTZ Premium has a recommended retail price of $128,000 and the Silverado ZR2 is available from $133,000, both excluding dealer delivery and on-road costs. Visit you preferred GM Specialty Vehicles dealer for more information.
|Towing technology||No ANCAP safety rating|
|Off-road prowess of the ZR2||Rear tether does not use metal clip|
|The cooled front seats||No mat over the entire rear floor|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.