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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Toughened-up Chevrolet Silverado flexes its muscles

Under the General Motors Special Vehicles banner, select versions of the Silverado will again be offered in Australia with right-hand drive.

Introduced four years ago as the most controversial iteration since replacing the C/K in 1998, General Motors (GM) has given the fourth generation Chevrolet Silverado a mid-life update, complete with a new flagship model.

Back to its usual position of America’s second best-selling bakkie behind the Ford F-150 and ahead of the Ram 1500 with sales last year 500 000 units versus the formers 620 000 and the latter’s 480 000, the exterior revisions comprise of a new grille and lowered headlights, redesigned daytime running lights on the LT model and three new colour options; Sand Dune, Dark Ash and Glacier Blue Metallic.

Inside, the interior, whose feel gained widespread panning for being cheap and below standards set by the Ram and F-150, now comes with upgraded materials in addition to tech upgrades such as a 13.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster on LT models and up.

new Chevrolet Silverado
Rear facia of the top-spec Silverado High Country.

Along with new seats, the column shift gear lever makes way for a new floor mounted shifter located on a redesigned centre console, while the top-spec High Country receives new leather upholstery and stitching, open-pore wood inserts and a choice of two colours; Jet Black and Nightshift Blue.

Stainless steel speaker grilles for the premium Bose sound system on the LTZ and High Country rounds the interior off, together with GM’s improved Super Cruise adaptive cruise control on the latter.

In terms of trim levels, the Silverado still sports three core designations; the High Value consisting of the Work Truck, Custom and Custom Trailboss trim grades, High Volume made up of the LT, RST appearance package and LT Trailboss, and High Feature comprising the LTZ and High Country.

ALSO READ: Oil-burning Chevrolet Silverado 1500 powers onto US shores

New tough is the off-road focused ZR2 that features a lifted suspension with 40 mm spool valve dampers sourced from Multimatic, model specific front and rear springs, a steel front bumper that as contributed to an improved departure angle of 31.8 degrees, and a black insert on the bonnet.

In addition, the ZR2 also receives a different grille, new front and rear skidplates, 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 33-inch mud terrain tyres, ZR2 decals and a model bespoke Jet Black/Greystone leather interior.

Underneath the bonnet, the Silverado eschews the long serving 210kW/413Nm 4.3-litre V6 engine entirely for a more powerful version of the twin-turbocharged 2.7-litre four-cylinder.

new Chevrolet Silverado
ZR2 debuts as Chevrolet’s version of the Ford F-150 Raptor.

Upgraded with a stiffer crankshaft and new cylinder blocks amongst other tweaks, the blown four-pot, a Silverado and segment first, punches out an unchanged 228 kW, albeit now with 569 Nm of torque as opposed the 472 Nm previously offered.

Unchanged though is the 5.3-litre normally aspirated V8 at 265kW/519Nm, the top-spec 6.2-litre V8 that makes 313kW/624Nm and the 3.0 Duramax straight-six turbodiesel rated at 206kW/624Nm.

A choice of three automatic transmissions prevail; a six-speed on the 2.7 and 5.3, an eight-speed on 5.3-litre models equipped with cylinder deactivation technology and the Ford co-developed ten-speed on the diesel and the 6.2.

new Chevrolet Silverado
Interior sees the departure of the traditional column shift gear lever.

Going on sale next year, the Silverado will reportedly carry a price tag higher than the current model’s $31 000 (R436 197) starting sticker with production again taking place at the Fort Wayne and Flint Plants in Michigan.

Following the disbanding of Holden last year, the former Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) division, now called General Motors Special Vehicles (GMSV), will continue importing select versions of the Silverado, converted to right-hand drive by the Walkinshaw Automotive Group, to Australia with pricing likely to start at a fraction higher than the current $106 900 (R1 113 709) for the LT Trailboss.

At present, Australia is the only market for right-hand drive Silverados with no plans in place to broaden the model’s footprint to other right hooking markets following GM’s widescale exit between 2017 and last year.

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