Photo by Paul Clinton.
As the pickup wars rage on, the Chevrolet Silverado enters the 2016 model year with some useful upgrades for commercial users of this powerhouse fleet vehicle that include expanded use of 8-speed transmissions and support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Fleets may not place as high a value on cosmetic updates such as hood sculpting, a monochromatic grille option, and signature LED headlights, but the good news is that this widely used fleet truck continues to add features for companies and government agencies that use it. It's a very capable tool for a variety of fleet assignments.
The WT entry model gains additional connectivity features for 2016, including a reworked MyLink infotainment system that's displayed on a 7-inch touchscreen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be an option on the WT model, and standard on the LS trim.
The truck is powered by a direct-injected 5.3L V-8 with variable valve timing and cylinder deactivation to improve fuel efficiency. Chevrolet expects 23 mpg on the highway and 16 mpg in the city for the rear-wheel Silverado and 22 mpg highway for the four-wheel model.
The truck delivers power through a standard Hydra-Matic 6L80 6-speed automatic transmission or an optional 8L90 8-speed automatic transmission.
The Silverado uses a coil-over-shock with twin-tube shock absorbers to reduce a bumpy ride, and the truck again delivers a stable driving platform. We drove the vehicle at a Chevrolet event in Solvang, Calif., and it performed well on a mixture of mostly paved and hard-packed dirt roads.
Photo by Paul Clinton.
Fleets may be familiar with hand-crank windows and vinyl flooring, and the 2016 Silverado WT does provide a more basic interior than higher trim models. An available Convenience Package offers tinted windows, a 110-volt power outlet, remote keyless entry, remote locking tailgate, and a back-up camera. Power windows are now included on regular cab models.
Several safety features come into play, including six air bags including head curtain side air bags, large rear-view mirrors, and StabiliTrak stability control with rollover mitigation technology and trailer sway control. Our regular cab Silverado included a 6-foot-6-inch box.
The rear-wheel drive WT model should start near $27,850. Commercial fleets added more than 52,000 Silverado trucks in 2013, making it the second most registered fleet vehicle of that year. Of all Silverado sales, the WT model makes up about 65% of sales to commercial fleets and about 90% of sales to government fleets, according to GM.