2016 Chevrolet Silverado First Drive
Automotive manufacturers wonít typically unveil a new vehicle only to quickly update two years later, but thatís exactly what Chevrolet is doing with its 2016 Silverado. In order to stay in the mix in the highly competitive full-size truck market, Chevy has updated the look up its Silverado, added some new tech-minded features and expanded its eight-speed transmission availability.
Chevrolet invited us to a press introduction in Solvang, California, to drive its new Silverado along with the companyís new Duramax-diesel-powered Colorado. At the event, Chevy was quick to point out that the bones of its Silverado havenít changed, but the company wanted to restyle the look of the truck, most of which is focused on the front end. That means a new sculpted hood, redesigned grilles specific to each trim level, and the incorporation of more LED lighting to give the Silverado a signature look on the road.
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The í16 models still look very much Chevy though the front end is more rounded, sculpted and just a little more modern looking versus the traditional square-nosed appearance. The center of the hood features two sculpted dips designed to be visible from outside the truck while also providing a unique view for the driver and passenger from inside as well.
In the lighting department, new HID projector headlamps will be found on the WT, LS and LT models, along with a LED light incorporated into the headlamp design to give the Silverado a signature look. The upper trims, including the LTZ and High Country, will be come standard with upgraded LED headlamps along with the new LED signature lighting. Both the LTZ and High Country will also be equipped with LED tail lamps.
One of the biggest updates for the 2016 Silverado is the expanded use of the Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed transmission, which will now be available with the EcoTec3 5.3-liter V8 (no word yet on whether this will impact fuel economy) on LTZ and High Country packages, as this transmission was previously only available with the 6.2-liter V8. We liked the eight-speed when we tested it this year, and itís a welcome addition to the 5.3L V8 as well. It clicks through gears smoothly and keeps the engine in the ideal power range, so no complaints from us with its expanded use. An available remote locking tailgate option is new for the coming year, and it will be an available option on WT and LS models but standard on all other trims.
One of the progressive new features on the Silverado is a new power-articulating step on High Country models, which not only lowers for ease of entry into the truck but also articulates toward the truck bed for accessing cargo to essentially replace side bedsteps. The articulating aspect of the step is controlled via a push-button located on the rear of the step itself.
Chevy also updated its MyLink infotainment system on both its 8-inch and 7-inch touchscreens, offering improved performance thanks to a faster processor and the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (available later in the year on the 8-inch version). We had a chance to check out both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and both are nice systems that integrate phone functions more seamlessly with the Silveradoís touchscreen controls. Apple CarPlay makes Siri available for making calls or responding to text messages, and it is compatible with iOS 7.1 or higher. Android Auto is built around Google Maps and Google Now with the ability to talk to Google in the same way an Apple user would Siri, and it requires a phone running Android Lollipop 5.0 or above. Certain apps such as Pandora, Spotify and Skype, if installed on your phone, are accessible in the truck. Just donít expect to play Angry Birds or Boom Beach via the touchscreen. Chevy also made wireless phone charging an included feature on all models equipped with front bucket seats.
Additional safety features are added on the LTZ and High County models as well for the coming year, which include IntelliBeam to aid in high-beam use, and Lane Keep Assist is added to the Enhanced Driver Alert Package. A Black Out Edition will be available later in the year, and new colors include Siren Red Tintcoat, Red Hot and Iridescent Pearl Tricoat.