Model: Chevrolet Silverado Extended Cab LT (2WD)
Exterior color: Graystone Metallic
Interior color: Light Titanium (leather)
Engine: 5.3 liter, V-8
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 15 mpg city, 21 mpg highway
Dealer: Walter Jackson Chevrolet (Ringgold, Ga.)
Price (as tested): $34,795
Perennially one of the best-selling pickup trucks in the United States, the Chevrolet Silverado can be a work vehicle by day and a civilized family-hauler by night.
Our test truck this week from Walter Jackson Chevrolet in Ringgold, Ga., was coated in a new-for-2012 metallic paint color called Graystone that makes a handsome choice, especially when combined with Light Titanium colored leather seats.
Like many of today's loaded pickups, the Silverado extended cab has many of the same virtues as SUVs: A plush interior, seating for six and a commanding view of the road.
It's a myth that people in the market for a pickup don't care about styling. The Silverado, like its competition the Ford F-150, is a tribute to macho mass. The grille of the Silverado is an expanse of chrome punctuated by the familiar Chevy bow-tie emblem.
Our test truck had attractive, 18-inch alloy wheels that came as part of an All-Star Edition option package, which also includes dual-zone air conditioning, Bluetooth and a CD player
with USB connections for your MP3 player. Standard features on the LT trim level include remote keyless entry, chrome rear bumper and rear-door access to the second-row seats.
Our test truck came with a 5.3-liter V-8 that is the engine of choice for most Silverado buyers, according to Ryan Jackson, Internet manager and sales representative at the Walter Jackson dealership. Jackson said some families are even opting for an extended cab truck as their primary family vehicle.
The 5.3-liter V-8 makes 315 horsepower, a significant upgrade from the standard 4.8-liter V-8. On a late-afternoon test drive along Nashville Street in Ringgold, the big Silverado was a comfortable cruiser. Meanwhile, on a sprint up Interstate 75, the big truck had power to spare.
Driving position and visibility are superior in the Silverado, while leg and shoulder room are ample. A 90-day free trial of XM radio is available.
Your choice of pickups is largely a matter of taste and personal preference. But with sales consistently topping 25,000 units a month nationally, the Chevrolet Silverado is a safe and practical choice.
Mark Kennedy is the editor of the Times Free Press opinion pages and writes the Sunday “Life Stories” column. He also writes a Saturday automotive column, “Test Drive,” for the Business section. For 13 years, Kennedy was features editor of the newspaper, and before that he was the newspaper’s first Sunday editor. The Times Free Press Life section won the state press award for Best Community Lifestyles four times during his tenure. Before Chattanooga’s newspapers ...