2021 Chevrolet Silverado Review

Whether you need a basic work truck or a bold daily driver, the Chevrolet Silverado is a serious contender among full-size half-ton pickup trucks.

3 months ago
Jeff Zurschmeide
Contributor
PROS
  • There's a configuration for every budget and purpose
  • Torquey, efficient diesel is a great option
  • Let's hear it for the Multi-Flex tailgate!
CONS
  • Your budget has to start high and go higher
  • Myriad of choice can be confusing
  • Might be overkill as a daily driver

The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado is among the most popular full-size half-ton pickup trucks in America. No matter what you need or want to do with your Silverado, there’s a trim level or option package for your The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado is a full-size pickup truck with seating for up to six passengers. Chevrolet has been selling pickup trucks for more than a century, but the Silverado model didn’t arrive until 1975 when it debuted as a top trim level. Today’s Silverado is a fourth-generation design that was all-new for the 2019 model year. As is common in this segment, the truck is offered with a range of engines. These include gasoline-fed inline-4, V6 and V8 engines, and a diesel-fueled inline-6. There is also choice between 4×2 and 4×4 powertrains. The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado starts at just over $30,500.

Silverado Exterior

The 2021 Silverado follows all the recent pickup design and appearance cues. It’s big and bold, but not quite as blocky as the closely related GMC Sierra. The Silverado is a little less in-your-face with its toughness, but it’s by no means invisible. Its sleek body lines suggest speed rather than rock-climbing.  

The thing to know about the Chevrolet Silverado is that it’s all business – a truck built for the working day. Capability and comfort are the Silverado’s hallmarks. Buyers can select a standard single-row Regular Cab, extended Double Cab, or a full four-door Crew Cab. Only the Regular Cab is available with a 98-inch bed. The Double Cab comes with a 79-inch bed, while the Crew Cab is available with the same 79-inch bed or a 70-inch short bed. 

New for 2021, the Silverado is borrowing the MultiPro tailgate from GMC, a six-way multi-function tailgate Chevy is calling the “Multi-Flex.” This device, available on all new Silverado models, is like a tailgate-within-the-tailgate, which allows owners to flip up a backstop to extend functional bed length, create a step up into the bed, create a work table, and allow easy access into the bed for shorter people. 

Silverado Interior

Inside, the Silverado continues its emphasis on function and capability. Chevrolet doesn’t lead with large video screens and top-tier luxury items, yet the basic Silverado cabin is well-appointed and easy to use. Traditional dial gauges surround a small driver information center. The steering wheel hosts cruise control and driver information display controls. A traditional column-mounted gear selector makes the Silverado easy for anyone to drive. 

While the Silverado is built for business, higher trim levels offer every comfort. Heated and ventilated leather seats and a heated steering wheel are available up front, with heated rear seats featuring under-seat and seat-back storage compartments. A power-sliding rear window is also available. 

Depending on the trim level, every Silverado comes with a 7-inch or 8-inch color touchscreen infotainment system with a rear-view camera. The basic system supports Bluetooth, voice commands, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Higher trims offer GPS navigation, a head-up display, and an optional Bose audio system.

Because trailering is one of the primary uses of a full-size truck, the Silverado offers an optional camera system that includes a wide variety of trailering camera views. With the addition of aftermarket cameras, the Silverado can show the driver views from inside an enclosed trailer and behind the trailer, in addition to lane-change assistance down both sides of the trailer.

New for 2021, the Silverado offers new trailering technology including a trailer length indicator, jack-knife alert, zoom views of the truck bed, and trailer reversing assistance that includes guidelines showing the current trailer angle. An available trailering camera system can show both sides of the trailer while reversing, to aid in parking. 

2021 Chevrolet Silverado

Silverado Powertrain

2021 Silverado buyers can choose from multiple distinct engine options. The most basic engine is Chevrolet’s long-trusted 4.3-liter V6 (285 hp/305 lb-ft of torque), paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The traditional 5.3-liter V8 engine (355 hp/383 lb-ft of torque) is also available for working trucks at the low end of the trim range. 

The newest engines are available on mid-trim and higher Silverados. There’s a remarkable 2.7-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder option (310 hp/348 lb-ft of torque). It delivers more power than the V6, and the turbo engine comes with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Silverado is also available with a Duramax 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder turbo-diesel (277 hp/ 460 lb-ft of torque). Because the diesel is a low-revving engine with the same torque as the biggest V8. This engine is also mated to a 10-speed transmission for maximum performance. 

Finally, there is a new version of Chevrolet’s 5.3-liter V8 engine (355 hp/383 lb-ft of torque) that offers fuel-saving Dynamic Fuel Management (DFM). It can be paired with an 8-speed or 10-speed transmission. 

At the top of Chevrolet’s engine options is the 6.2-liter V8 (420 hp/460 lb-ft of torque). This engine also offers cylinder deactivation and comes with the 10-speed transmission. 

All Silverado driveline options may be ordered with rear-wheel-drive (RWD) or four-wheel-drive (4WD). 

2021 Chevrolet Silverado Review

Silverado Driving Experience

Driving the Silverado is pretty much exactly as you would expect. It’s a full-size truck, so there’s no getting around the size and weight. However, there are key differences depending on the engine package you select. The 2.7-liter turbo four-cylinder offers power comparable to a V6, but not a V8. If you want V8 power with better fuel economy, choose the Duramax turbo-diesel. Any version of the 5.3-liter V8 is a good all-around choice, and the 6.2-liter V8 is the best for maximizing towing capacity up to 13,300 pounds. 

The Silverado is comfortable once you’re in it, but consider adding running boards because it’s a climb to get in, especially for shorter people. That same height means that visibility is excellent, and the Double Cab and Crew Cab options offer plenty of interior space. 

One of the most important purposes for a pickup truck is towing, and Chevrolet has optimized the Silverado for that purpose. Chevrolet (and GMC) are leading the industry with towing technology right now, and that’s important. Towing can be stressful, so Chevrolet invited us to drive the Silverado on a test course to demonstrate how easy towing can be with the right tech. Using the 15 available camera views, we were able to place a large 8×20 enclosed trailer within inches of obstacles on the course, and make tight turns without incident. If you ever have to tow a trailer, you should really experience the Silverado’s features for yourself. 

If you choose 4WD, Chevrolet has one more important feature available on higher trim levels. Like all truck 4WD systems, you can run in rear-wheel-drive mode with the system disconnected, or choose high-range or low-range 4X4 operation. But Chevrolet also offers an automatic mode. This is similar to the AWD systems found on cars and SUVs. You can put the Silverado in Automatic mode and leave it there; the truck will engage the front wheels as needed to maintain traction, and disconnect them when they’re not needed. It’s a great mode for wet and winter weather that doesn’t need full off-road 4X4 operation. 

2021 Chevrolet Silverado

2021 Chevrolet Silverado Trim Levels and Pricing

Chevrolet offers the 2021 Silverado in eight distinct trim levels. Most trims are available with rear-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive, except the Trail Boss trims, which are exclusively four-wheel-drive. 

  • WT (starting at about $30,500 RWD/$35,000 4WD) – Chevrolet’s Work Truck trim offers just the basics. This is the only trim where a Regular single-row cab and an eight-foot bed are offered.
  • Custom (starting at about $38,000 RWD/$41,500 4WD) – The Custom trim Silverado is Chevrolet’s bread-and-butter truck. Cool cloth seat upholstery is standard, along with some nice upgrades.
  • Custom Trail Boss (starting at about $43,000 4WD) – This trim adds off-road capable features to the Custom trim.
  • LT (starting at about $41,500 RWD/$45,000 4WD) – At the middle of the trim ladder, the LT trim starts bringing luxury features.
  • LT Trail Boss (starting at about $52,500 4WD) – Like the Custom Trail Boss, the LT Trail Boss trim adds off-road tech and visual cues to the LT trim.
  • RST (starting at about $45,000 4WD) ­– Chevrolet developed RST as a sporty trim level with luxury features. Several special editions are available to further upgrade this model.
  • LTZ (starting at about $52,000 RWD/$55,500 4WD) – The 5.3-liter V8 engine comes standard, along with 20-inch wheels, integrated brake controller, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, power rear window, front and rear park-assist, blind-spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert.
  • High Country (starting at about $51,000 RWD/$54,000 4WD)  – This is the top luxury trim, with leather all around, running boards, spray-in bedliner, LED headlights, Bose audio, GPS navigation, wireless device charging, and much more.

If you are looking for a more accurate idea of pricing, you can build and price a Silverado 1500 on Chevrolet’s official web site. 

Silverado Best Features

The best features of the 2021 Silverado are the advanced towing support systems, which benefit any pickup truck and will enhance resale value down the road. For the many pickup owners who use trailers, this tech is a must-have safety feature. Also, the available 2.7-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder and 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel engines deliver impressive performance and fuel economy. Finally, the available Multi-Flex tailgate truly sets the Chevrolet apart from other automakers’ products, and brings parity with GMC’s MultiPro tailgate. 

2021 Chevrolet Silverado

What is Our Favorite Version of the Silverado?

If we were buying a Silverado for our own driveway, we’d blend value with excitement and get the Custom Trail Boss with the 5.3-liter V8 engine and a spray-in bedliner. That keeps the price at about $45,000 and gives us a truck we’d be proud to drive. 

Silverado Notable Safety Features

Every modern safety feature the industry knows how to make is available on the 2021 Silverado. Depending on the trim level, you can get the parking assistance, forward collision warnings, blind spot monitoring, and more. But we keep coming back to the trailering system. Some of the worst accidents on the road involve trailering, and the availability of the camera systems, anti-sway control, and pre-towing checklists with the Silverado is a real differentiator. 

Who Should Buy a 2021 Chevrolet Silverado?

Chevrolet has always been a value brand, and that holds true for the 2021 Silverado. That doesn’t mean you can’t have luxury, though. The top trims will satisfy any pickup truck buyer who needs to use a truck as a mobile office space, or anyone planning long-distance trips. For the more adventurous, Chevrolet offers capable off-road packages. Whatever your needs, when you match up features and price the Chevrolet Silverado gives you value for your money. Budget-conscious buyers with functional requirements for their truck should put the Silverado at the top of their test-drive list. 

CarExpert’s Take on the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado

Whether you need a basic work truck or a bold daily driver, the Chevrolet Silverado is a serious contender among full-size half-ton pickup trucks. With a variety of engine and driveline options to choose from, Silverado buyers can go for a traditional or modern truck. With advanced tech including 4G/LTE data connections to the vehicle, a Silverado can be a mobile office as well as a utility vehicle, or just a comfortable, convenient family vehicle with plenty of style. The bottom line is that the 2021 Silverado is the culmination of more than 100 years of Chevy truck development, and it shows. 

2021 Chevrolet Silverado

Silverado Competitors to Consider

  • GMC Sierra
  • Ford F-150
  • Ram 1500 
  • Nissan Titan
  • Toyota Tundra

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OVERALL RATING8
Show Breakdown
Cost of Ownership 8.1
Ride Comfort 8.3
Safety 8
Fit for Purpose 8.7
Handling Dynamics 8
Interior Practicality and Space 8.3
Fuel Efficiency 7
Value for Money 8
Performance 7.8
Technology Infotainment 7.9