Starting with just a half-ton 1916 Model 490 chassis with about 33 horsepower to the now rugged 2021 Silverado HD with Duramax 6.6L engine and 445 horsepower, the range of advancements Chevrolet has made is undeniably huge.
One pick of the bunch from Chevrolet is the Silverado which was originally just a luxury high trim of the C/K series and soon evolved into a whole new model line of its own.
Since its release in 1998 as the 1999 1500 model, The Silverado has been a promising beast and has garnered a separate set of fans just for this model.
Though there aren’t many Silverado rigs in the Overland world as there are Toyotas, Defenders, or Raptors, it is gaining progressive popularity among overlanders.
Here’s the overland profile of the state-of-the-art truck series that’s been holding the badge tight for 4 long generations.
|Model||Years||Engine||BHP||Torque (lb-ft)||MPG (city/hwy)|
|GMT800 Silverado 1500||19998 – 2007||4.3 Liter Vortec 4300 V6||200 @ 4600 RPM||260 @ 2800 RPM||17 / 23|
|1500 HD||2001 – 2006||6.0 Liter Vortec 600 V8||300 @ 5200 RPM||360 @ 4000 RPM||13 / 17|
|2500 HD||2002 – 2006||6.0 Liter LLY/LB7 Duramax V8||300 @ 4400 RPM||360 @ 4000 RPM||10 / 13|
|SS (Super Sport)||2002 – 2006||6.0 Liter Vortec 600 V8||345 @ 5200 RPM||380 @ 4000 RPM||14 / 19|
|Hybrid (Mild)||2004 – 2008||5.3 Liter Vortec 5300 V8||295 @ 5200 RPM||335 @ 4000 RPM||17 / 19|
|3500 HD||2005 – 2007||6.6 Liter LBZ Duramax V8||360 @ 3200 RPM||650 @ 1600 RPM||13 / 17|
|Hybrid (Heavy Duty)||2009 – 2013||6.0 Liter Vortec 6000 V8||332 @ 4600 RPM||367 @ 4100 RPM||21 / 22|
|K2XX 1500||2009 – 2013||4.3 Liter EcoTec3 V6||285 @ 5300 RPM||413 @ 3900 RPM||17 / 22|
|1500 LD||2019 – present||5.3 Liter EcoTec3 V8||355 @ 5600 RPM||383 @ 4100 RPM||15 / 22|
|RST Z71||2020 – present||6.2 Liter V8, Turbo Inline-4 Gas||310 @ 5600 RPM||348 @ 1500 RPM||16 / 21|
|2500 HD||2021 – present||6.6 Liter V8, |
Duramax Turbo-Diesel V8
|445 @ 5200 RPM||464 @ 4000 RPM||19 / 22|
A Silverado can cost you anywhere between $17000 – $70000 (new or maintained) depending upon the trim levels, packages, and more. The good thing about Silverados is that they aren’t overpriced, and Chevy always aims to keep them at an affordable range.
The average price is about $33000 for a Chevy Silverado 1500 in 2021. Compared to a Ford-150, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra, or even its cousin GMC Sierra, the Silverado is the best in terms of cost-effectiveness.
Since 2015, the Chevy Silverado has constantly been expanding globally as it’s gaining more visibility and trust amongst consumers. It is now available in the United States, China, Venezuela, Canada, Chile, Middle East, and Mexico. If not, some authentic websites like USNews can land you with quality dealerships near you that might save you a few thousand.
From changing the oil to wiper replacements, ANY vehicle adds up to the cost in its own way. The Silverado is no different, but you can be pretty confident that it’s not as bad as some other models.
The only major repair problems that owners commonly recall are transmission ($5000), water pump ($1150), and AC compressor ($1500) repairs (all costs are only estimated). So do keep a lookout for them at frequent intervals.
Unfortunately, the Silverado isn’t that pleasing when it comes to fuel economy, so be ready to drop dome coins at the gas station. The MPG usually ranges from 17 to 27 on these truck models.
Though Chevrolet has incorporated the “Active Fuel Management” system since the 2nd generation, it’s still a lag when compared with its domestic competitors.
Price for the Silverado + Trims/Packages cost + Applicable registration fees as per state + fuel cost + insurance (if any) + cost of casual maintenance + cost of upgrades for Overlanding
Coming straight to the facts, Consumer Reports has rated the 2012 Silverado 1500 as the most reliable of its kind, and next to it stands the 2021 model (as per predictions) as it’s heavily loaded with advanced features. Still, the 2012 model is worth mentioning as it can fit your bill no matter what you need in an overland rig.
As for the engines, Chevy’s 6000 V8, Duramax turbo-diesel V8, or the EcoTec V8 is sure to outlast us all. Chevrolet usually covers all the Silverado models with an average of 2-3 year warranties and even 5-year powertrain warranties. This is more prominent with the recent ones.
In accordance with J.D. Power’s reliability score range (91-100 = Best, 81-90 = Great, 80-70 = Avg, 69-0 = Fair), the Silverado 2021 has scored a whopping 85/100! Simply put, it’s rusty but trusty.
Silverado’s aftermarket is alas pretty much non-existent for some owners – it’s not a Toyota anyway. It all depends upon the location, but in the U.S., owners have been able to get what they want.
Building a Silverado for overlanding is quite complicated as there are only few aftermartket parts available. Have a look at the build example below to get a rough idea about it.
Storage will never be an issue with a Silverado as Chevrolet, as we all know, is purely committed to “building the most dependable, longest-lasting full-size pickups on the road.” We’ll let the specs speak for themselves.
|Unladen Height||73.7 – 73.8″|
|Unladen Weight||4460 – 5487 lbs|
|Gross Vehicle Weight||6400 – 7000 lbs|
|Wheelbase||158.9 – 172″|
|Unladen Weight||4982 – 5232 lbs|
|Gross Vehicle Weight||7000 – 7200 lbs|
2500 HD (2021) (Crew cab standard bed)
|Overall Length||250 – 266″|
|Overall Width||81.9 – 96.8″|
|Wheelbase||158.9 – 172″|
|Unladen Height||79.7 – 80.9″|
|Unladen Weight||6105 – 6950 lbs|
|Gross Vehicle Weight||9900 – 10850 lbs|
Chevy’s Silverados represent the status quo for comfort in large trucks, especially with trims like the luxurious High Country. But this is not the case in all. The older models do still have a truck-like bouncy ride – but for Overlanders, I’m sure that this is not a problem at all.
The cabin features lackluster materials that have been cleaned up to cleverer options in the 2021 1500 model, like a head-up display, ventilated seats, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto support. Chevy is sliding into making the Silverado more aerodynamic (by 7% more). Basically, the more you climb up the trim levels, the more goodies you’ll unlock.
All the 1500 models other than Hybrids include Trailer Sway Control, and Hill Start Assist features as the standard essentials in the StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control system. These features increase the Silverado’s image as an overland-capable vehicle.
Another fact based proof is that the 2021 Silverado got a 4/5 star rating on the whole from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a series of side crash, rollover, and frontal crash tests.
There’s a ray of standard safety features you can rely on; forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, auto emergency brake, blind-spot monitor, and more on the 3rd and 4th generation models.
The Silverado always tries its best to cater to a wide spectrum of vehicle owners. For that, it has numerous special/limited editions, packages, and 8 trim levels for each model. These are a few important packages and trims to keep in mind for off-road use:
The Z71 Off Road Package
- Autotrac two-speed transfer case
- Off-road suspension with Rancho shock
- Hill descent control
- Skid plates
- High capacity air filter
- All-terrain tires
- Auto-locking rear differential
- Z71 badge
- Metal underbody shield
The Z71 Off Road and Protection Package
- Full Z71 off-road package
- Chevytec spray-on bed liners
- All-weather floor liners
- Wheelhouse liners
In addition to these packages, the most off-road favored trim levels are the LT Trail Boss, Custom Trail Boss, High Country, LT, and LTZ trims.
|Basis||1500 (2012)||LD (2019)||2500 HD (2021)|
|Break-over Angle (°)||24.4||20.4||18.7|
|Approach Angle (°)||27.2||15.6||24.1|
|Departure Angle (°)||25.8||24.2||21.9|
|Min. Ground Clearance (inch)||10.88||9.1||10.12|
Silverado Overland Build Example
- Roof Rack: Front Runner Slimline II roof rack
- Tent: ARB Series III Simpson Rooftop Tent
- Fridge: Dometic CFX 40
- Compressor: Smittybilt High Performance air compressor 2.54 CFM/72 LPM
- Water storage: Font Runner water tank 42L
- Tires: 34” BF Goodrich KO2 Tires
- Wheels: 18” X 19” RMT Overland Wheels
- Suspension: Icon Vehicle Dynamics Stage 5 Kit
- Differential Rear: Eaton G80 Automatic rear locking diff
- Differential Front: GM 8.25 front diff
- Bumper: Westin Automotive Promod bumper – 10 gauge
- Rear Bumper: Backwoods Adventure Mods Brute Series rear bumper
- Rock Slider: Lund 26410032 Black Rock Rail Nerf Bar
- Recovery Boards: Maxtrax Xtreme Recovery Boards
- Winch: Warn VR EVO / WARN M8000 winch
- Jack: Hi-Lift Jack HL485
- Shovel: DMOS Delta Shovel
- Recovery Kit: Warn Heavy-Duty Epic recovery kit
- Tire Deflator: Rugged Ridge tire deflator kit
- Tire Repair: Smittybilt Silverado Tire repair kit
- Light Bar: All Terrain Concepts 20” LED lightbar
- Rock Lights: Rough Country LED rock light kit
- Reverse Lights: XTR LP reverse light system
- Camp Lights: 4 Inch LED Work Light – Spot & Flood
- Interior Lights: BRISHINE White Interior LED Lights Kit
- Power: EcoFlow Delta 1300 Power Station
- Solar: Zamp Solar KIT1014 1020W
- Battery: XS Power D6500 Battery
Since the first year of production, Chevy’s Silverado has been flooding in awards and honors – approximately 13+. We think that the main reason why the Silverado is not the most loved in the overland world – yet, is because of perception.
There’s a difference between perception and reality which some fail to acknowledge. What I’m getting at is that there aren’t many overlanders on the web going around with a Silverado.
You usually see lots of Wranglers, Raptors, Tacos, and more. But that doesn’t mean a Silverado can’t be a robust overland rig. It can if you build it to be so!