Americans buy a boat-load of trucks. Over 2.7 million trucks were sold in 2017, with Chevy Silverado accounting for 500k of them. When you compare to the F-Series at almost 900k, you can see that Ford has a bit of an edge, and when you drive the Chevy you can see why. Everything about the 2018 Silverado feels a bit dated, from the design to the tech (or lack of it). From front to back, it feels like the end of an era, and it actually is. Chevy is coming out with an all-new truck for 2019, so let’s take one last look at the outgoing model.
The current model was introduced in 2014, not that old by most model-cycle standards, but it never really felt that fresh, and more of a facelift of the previous model that was around since 2007. And when we say facelift, we mean more like face-over, because it feels like lots of the body design elements are tacked on. The headlights have stuck-on covers that you can spot as stuck-on from yards away. The truck rides on 21” wheels, which seems like more for bling than for performance. Overall, there’s a lot more flash than substance here, and that theme follows on the inside.
Trucks are always going to be a little less glamorous or luxurious on the inside than cars, or at least it used to be that way. Ford’s excellent F-150 has raised the bar for interior finishes, and with this Silverado it seems that Chevy missed the memo. The materials used for the door panels and interior trim are both dated and feel cheap. Once again, there are some tacked-on nicer materials, but they only barely mask the cheap backbone of this interior. As with most truck manufacturers, there are a ton of options and trim levels. Our test truck is more of an appearance package, and as optioned is pushing $50k, but for around $7k more you can get an F-150 with almost every option imaginable.
There’s no safety tech, limited luxury features and a dated infotainment system. You’d think, okey then it must have lots of power. Despite having three-tenths of a liter more than the Ford V8, it’s got over 40hp less. Yet somehow, they claim a higher towing capacity. I think the marketing department might have something to do with that. A nice feature in the Chevy is the bench front seat, but the charging port for the phone is in the armrest, so if you do have someone in the middle seat, it makes the USB port inaccessible. There’s less storage, and a missing 110V plug.
Content-wise there’s no contest, the Ford seems to be winning that battle. Time will tell whether the 2019 Silverado will rectify this. In the meantime, we’re left to debate aluminum or not. Ford shocked the truck world when they announced an all-aluminum body (including the bed) for their pickups, and the move shaved around 500lb off the truck. Chevy initially announced they would be following suit, but again the marketing department had other ideas. They put out an ad campaign showing that the aluminum was less durable, and now the 2019 will feature a steel bed and cab, with aluminum doors and hood. It’s a good compromise, but I wonder if it would cost them sales in the end.
Overall, the Silverado is a disappointment. Lots of size and noise, lots of bling and tack-on appearance items but not much to back it all up. The lack of tech and comfort options makes this nearly $50k truck seem overpriced, especially when you compare it to the industry leader. Unless you’re looking for that ‘old model’ discount at your dealer, and are a die-hard Chevy fan, I wouldn’t suggest looking at these. We look forward to sampling the new one next year.
Special thanks to the Chevrolet Division of General Motors Company for providing the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado for review.
Check out our 2018 Ford F-150 review and video here.