2016 Chevy Silverado: High Strength Future Transcends Profound Nostalgia

2016-Chevrolet-Silverado-1500 LT, LT Z71 and High Country

I recall my when my father let me drive his 1987 Chevy Silverado to school.  My classmates were eager to know all about this mysterious, red and gray Silverado, now gracing a parking lot full of hand-me-down vehicles.

That infamous bowtie emblem opened a floodgate of vicarious praise.  As one of my best friends said, “I call dibs on always riding with Carl.”

In the fall of 1999, I pulled up to my high school for the first time with it.  One month shy of my 18th birthday and basking in the upper class glow, I was invincible; the keys hanging from my bag so everybody could see.

When teachers started asking about the Chevy key ring, I knew I had arrived.  I was the most popular kid in school and I did it without throwing one touchdown pass or dating the prom queen.  I was a “car guy” with a Silverado, but it launched this inconspicuous band geek atop the most elevated pedestal of high school society.

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A lot has changed with Silverado since that autumn day.  From engines and transmissions to technology and connectivity, they are far different from my father’s 1987.  And yet, the 2016 Silverado, although the pinnacle now for Chevy trucks, still represents that legacy wonderfully.

One can tell just by looking at it.

Silverado designers for 2016 examined the entire history of Chevy trucks, with particular emphasis given to the late 1940’s.  Chevy trucks then displayed unique horizontal elements, bold, sweeping grille bars, and an unmistakable stance.

“That gave the trucks a real presence and a very identifiable look.  When our designers looked at this over the years, they realized this is what set Chevy trucks apart.” ~ Tom Wilkinson, Chevrolet Spokesman

Special consideration was given to the 2016 Silverado front end to honor such longstanding tradition while separating it from the competition.  Designers focused intently on sculpting the spline elements running through the hood for the perfect effect.

“We paid a lot of attention to how the hood looked.  The design elements in the hood were done as much for the people inside the truck looking out as they were for the people outside the truck looking in.  We were rethinking the entire front of the truck to the point where we integrated HID and LED lights into the deep, horizontal pockets of the truck.  This creates strong dimensions and dynamic looks.” ~ Tom Wilkinson, Chevrolet Spokesman

The 2016 Chevy Silverado packs a host of technology; things never imagined in the post World War II era truck market.  Lane Keep Assist, Foward Collision Camera, OnStar, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, and the introduction of Apple Car Play and Android Auto.  With these so often demanded by Chevy truck customers, the exterior plays an important role in reaffirming such capability actually exists inside.

“We wanted to come back with some really strong updates and to make sure people understood them as new trucks.  Design helps carry that message.  If it looks fresh and new, then it reminds them of all that new technology.  We can build on that, from the basic work truck to the fully loaded High Country, but still have that foundation of strength and dependability.  Silverado stands for that and it’s something we take very seriously as we are developing new trucks.” ~ Tom Wilkinson, Chevrolet Spokesman

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The 2016 Silverado will be powered by the 5th Generation of Chevy small block engines.  The Direct Injection, Variable Valve Timing, Active Fuel Management trifecta remains a signature of the engine family.

Direct Injection maximizes power during piston strokes by controlling a precise amount of fuel into each cylinder.  Variable Valve Timing optimizes the engine valves for near peak levels of torque across a range of engine speeds, from wide open throttle to casual driving.  Active Fuel Management then deactivates cylinders under light load conditions, reducing the Silverado to a 4 clylinder application to conserve fuel.  The moment additional power is needed, however, the dormant cylinders are seamlessly reactivated.

Under that chiseled 2016 Chevy Silverado hood, a harmonious relationship of engine advancements lay out the uncompromising balance between power and fuel economy so craved by the truck market.

“Our philosophy is to continue to improve the small block truck engines which have a very long heritage at Chevrolet. We build on a tremendous amount of knowledge because these engines have been used in every type of vehicle and Motorsport.  All of that learning comes back to our engineers who can draw on it as they revise the engines.  These Gen 5 engines are very compact and lightweight with a rugged construction that can incorporate really advanced features.” ~ Tom Wilkinson, Chevrolet Spokesman

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The 2016 Chevy Silverado derives support from a high strength, fully boxed steel frame. Ride and handling are enhanced as the truck refuses to twist, loaded or unloaded. Suspension engineers can better dampen road vibrations and prevent unwanted feedback as a result.

Chevy truck enthusiasts often remark on such smoothness, citing their overall confidence in one of Silverado’s core attributes.

The body is forged from high strength steel too, giving Silverado a safety advantage and lower body repair costs.

While the competition uses a different material, Chevrolet backs their reputation of high strength steel with genuine merit.

 “I was with a Texas rancher and we were riding in his Silverado HD.  As we were driving around the ranch, he pointed out how the truck was still really tight and not shaking and rattling.  He has over 225,000 miles on it and still uses it everyday.  That kind of performance is a real testament to the things like the frame and body structure.  They really matter in how the truck feels.  The high strength steel gives a sense of quality and dependability.” ~ Tom Wilkinson, Chevrolet Spokesman

Before I took it to school in the fall of 1999, I learned how to drive in my father’s Silverado, two years earlier.  My fondest memories of him are in that truck as he taught me on my learner’s permit.

I was so nervous but he reassured me.  The truck did too.

There are many good things about the 2016 Chevy Silverado.  There are many good things about the larger family it joins from previous generations.  In many great states across this country, I have talked until the sun went down about the legacy of the Silverado with current owners.  It’s more than engines and transmissions, trailer sway control and chrome wheels. It’s about how the truck makes you feel and the connection you ultimately have to it.

Chevrolet, in my opinion, does that better than any truck.

The day I first drove my father’s truck to school, I was asked by a teacher if he would sell his 1987 Chevy Silverado.  This particular teacher said he would phone my house that very evening with an offer.  I dismissed it, emphasizing my father might gift me the truck one day.

And he did.

Less than a year later when he passed away unexpectedly.

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2016 Chevrolet Silverado Gen 5 Engines

4.3L V-6 – 285 horsepower / 305 lb-ft of torque

5.3L V-8 – 355 horsepower / 383 lb-ft of torque

6.2L V-8 – 420 horsepower / 460 lb-ft of torque

Special Thanks: Tom Wilkinson, Chevrolet Trucks Manager, Silverado

About The Author

Carl represents automakers in their marketing and product development arms as a Vehicle Coach, Product Specialist, and Facilitator. He has worked with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, and Volvo. Carl is President of Detroit Working Writers and on the Board of Directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation. He enjoys a multitude of health and fitness activities and is a loyal Detroit Lions fan.

6 Comments on "2016 Chevy Silverado: High Strength Future Transcends Profound Nostalgia"

  1. ron

    GM brags about their high strength steel trucks, compared to Fords aluminum bodied 1/2 ton trucks. Yet the F-150 has a strong steel front suspension and has published a suspension torture test on youtube. GM’s 1/2 ton trucks use aluminum front suspension control arms and spindles, that are the same size as the former iron ones. GM says they are 10% stiffer, but that doesn’t mean their stronger overall. Also their is no published torture test, and they seem to avoid talking about their supposed superior aluminum front suspension. GM’s HD front suspension’s on the other hand, seem to be something to brag about.

    • ron

      Thanks for your reply. The car and truck magazines, or on line testers, don’t really talk in detail about suspensions or chassis, leaving most people uninformed.

      • Ron, thank you for your comments and for your insight. I find one of the best attributes of the Silverado is in the frame of the truck. I think it gives a smoother ride and more confident feel, especially when towing. The roll formed steel of the Silverado, particularly in the bed, is going to benefit you if you have heavier payloads. Stamped steel is fine but the edges can be weakened, therefore, having an overall effect on payload – with roll formed steel, you don’t get that.

        All Chevy trucks, from the HD to the Colorado, have a fully boxed, high strength steel frame. When you combine that with the Sheer Style Body Mounts of the Colorado and High Lateral Body Mounts of the Silverado, that is where you really come up with that smooth ride – the way the truck attaches to an already strong frame will help reduce road vibrations and unwanted movements and feedback.

        When people sense a vehicle rides poorly they usually say: “this things rides like a truck!” With the frame, suspension, and mounts of the Chevy truck family, you have much less of that and more comfort, I believe. When I drive a Chevy truck, I feel very relaxed behind the wheel.

        Thank you for taking the time to read the article and give your feedback. ~ Carl

  2. ron

    I agree with Carl about the frame, and the chevy is better looking than the f-150 outside and inside. I’m also a fan of the column gear shifter.
    I’ve studied car and truck suspension’s for 30yrs, and I’m not comfortable with the GM 1/2 ton’s aluminum front suspension. The f-150 had an aluminum lower control arm front suspension from 04-09, but a better design. Their now back to steel, except on the Raptor.

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