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Chevrolet Silverado
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Overall
Chevrolet’s year-old Silverado continues to improve with higher tow capabilities and more technology.

Drivetrain
Line of “Ecotec3″ engines has direct fuel injection and variable valve timing for broader power range and improved economy; six-speed automatic transmissions for base and middle engines, while a new eight-speed automatic is standard on top-end 6.2-liter V8.

With the year-old Silverado 1500-series, Chevrolet did its homework and paid close attention to what buyers were looking for to haul and tow their stuff. It looks familiar, but there are more powerful/efficient engines as well as improvements in nearly every other area. In front, the twin stacked headlights remain, but the grille is now much more prominent and tougher looking. Behind the tailgate, the handy “Corner Step” bumper has recessed footholds that, combined with built-in handholds inside the box, make accessing the bed much easier. All body styles — regular, extended Double Cab (featuring front-hinged rear doors with outside handles) and four-door Crew Cab — are attached to reworked frames with more high-strength steel, extra bracing for stiffness and improved body mounts that help isolate road nose and vibration. You can order the Crew Cab with a longer 80-inch bed (the standard bed is 68 inches) version and you’ll get a choice of three new all-aluminum engines. The entry point is a 4.3-liter V6 that has the same displacement as the previous V6, but output has significantly increased to 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque from 195/260. Optional is a 5.3-liter V8 with 355 horses and 383 pound-feet. An available 6.2-liter V8 is rated at 420 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque. It shares much of its guts with the Corvette engine and for 2015 also gets the Corvette’s eight-speed automatic transmission. The other two engines carry over with six-speed automatics. All three powerplants feature direct fuel injection, which tailors the fuel load for the task at hand and not just the engine speed. They also have continuously variable valve timing (which allows in more fuel and air depending in the power needs) and cylinder deactivation that cuts off up to half the cylinders in light load and cruise situations. The model range also extends to include a premium “High Country” model to appeal to wealthy ranchers and city slickers. The best part about this truck is its highly optioned leather interior that places it above the previous top-of-the-line LTZ. Also for Silverado’s sophomore year is an available built-in Wi-Fi hotspot to allow all aboard to access the Internet. There’s also Siri Eyes Free, which is Apple’s voice-control software that can run many of the vehicle’s functions without the driver taking his or her hands off the steering wheel.