When it comes to light duty full-size pickups, there are two main ways to get midsize crossover fuel economy -- go hybrid or go diesel. Since GM does not yet have a hybrid pickup, and its truck with a turbo-four is a bit thirsty, you'll have to embrace diesels if you're a Chevy fan. Just don't expect it to tow like a heavy duty truck, because that is not the 2021 Silverado's mission
The heart of this pickup is a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder diesel that produces just 277 horsepower. That wouldn't seem like too much power in a full-size pickup, but typical of turbo-diesels, it also produces 460 foot-pounds of torque to move up to 9,100 pounds of trailer -- plenty to move a 30-foot RV or mini-yacht, but if you want to tow a bulldozer through the mountains, this isn't your truck.
The 10-speed automatic transmission always seems to find the right gear to keep the engine humming smoothly. Fuel economy for our four-wheel-drive crew cab rates 22/26 mpg city/highway, but you can get up to 33 mpg highway with rear-drive and shorter cab.
With the exception of a DURAMAX logo on the hood, you'd be hard-pressed to tell this Silverado burns diesel. Our LTZ has the same controversial chrome grille, squinty LED headlamps and 20-inch wheels as other Silverados. Side styling is dominated by a curved swath that connects the front fenders to the bodysides and formal chrome-lined window.
Around back, corner step bumpers allow easy access to a bed with spray-in liner and 12 tie-downs. I thought the thing was hideous at first, but I've grown to almost like it. It definitely has a Chevy look.
Surprisingly, the Silverado's interior has been more controversial than its sunny-side styling. Especially given tablet-size touchscreens in the truck's key competitors, there wasn't nearly enough change from the previous generation to this one. That said, I found the cabin to be comfortable and functional.
Heated seats front/rear, ventilated seats up front, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel and dual-zone automatic climate control welcomed all passengers. Rear passengers could dance in all of the legroom.
The touchscreen may be a little smaller, but it's just as intuitive as competitors' systems. And like them, devices connect via Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth and 4G Wi-Fi. Charge wirelessly on a console pad. If you prefer analog controls, adjust audio with proper volume and tuning knobs.
There's a full suite of safety tech, too: Widescreen head-up display, rearview camera mirror and camera system that can “see through” trailers. Add to those adaptive cruise, forward collision alert with auto brake and lane keep assist. Blind spot warning, which extends to trailers, is also appreciated. GM's driver safety alert seat and rear seat occupant alert top this cake.
Employing diesel over hybrid to deliver fuel economy and low-down torquey power may seem positively last decade, but the Silverado is a very likable pickup. In fact, economy is on par with the F-150 hybrid, though without the on-board generator.
Add to that all of the luxury of our LTZ-grade pickup and there is no doubt loyal Silverado owners will have every reason to buy another. They may have to mortgage their houses, however, as base prices of $28,900 rise to $60,265 as tested.
Casey Williams is an Indianapolis automotive journalist. Send comments to Casey at AutoCasey@aol.com; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey. To see a video of this review, click on this URL -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8seFhWIJum8
2021 Chevrolet Silverado Diesel
- Five-passenger, four-wheel-drive pickup;
- Powertrain: 3.0-L Diesel, 10-spd trans Output: 277 hp/460 lb.-ft.
- Suspension f/r: Ind/Solid axle Wheels f/r: 20”/20” alloy
- Brakes f/r: disc/disc
- Must-have features: Comfort, MPGs
- Fuel economy: 22/26-MPG city/hwy Towing: 9,100 lbs
- Assembly: Fort Wayne;
- Base price/as-tested: $28,900/$60,265