Full-size pickups including the Chevy Silverado 1500 have outsold conventional cars in the U.S. for decades. Trailing only Ford’s F-150 half-ton pickup truck in 2016 sales — the last year with complete numbers — the highly successful half-ton Silverado carries over into 2018 with only minor changes.
Unless you already know what you want, choosing a light truck configuration and trim level can get confusing fast. For 2018, for example, The Silverado 1500 has eight trim levels, three cab styles, three box sizes, and nine special editions. With most of those combinations, you also can choose among four powertrains and whether you want two-wheel or four-wheel drive.
Here, we highlight what has changed and what is new for the 2018 Chevy Silverado 1500 and then decipher the cab, box, and drive configurations and the trim and equipment levels.
What’s new for 2018 and coming for 2019
Chevy introduced the 2019 Silverado at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show in January. In December a group of Texans attending a Chevy Centennial Truck event got a first look at the 2019 Silverado when it was lowered to the ground by helicopter. Lighter weight, a more stylized, sculpted design, and even more selections are coming with next year’s truck.
At the Detroit launch, Chevrolet revealed more details about the 2019 model, which is 450 pounds lighter overall for V8 models, including 88 pounds off the frame. There will be eight trim levels include an off-road Trailboss. Chevy will offer a 3.0-liter Duramax turbodiesel inline-six for the 2019 trucks, an answer to the 2018 Ford F-150‘s diesel available this Spring.
Autotrader recently compiled a list of best-selling new vehicles purchased by millennials, and it turned out the Silverado trucks were quite popular. The Silverado 1500 was second place in popularity for millennials (beating out its GMC cousin, the Sierra), but the Silverado HD was also high at number 26.
The Chevrolet Silverado Centennial Edition, available only on Silverado LTZ Z71 crew cab models, celebrates 100 years of Chevy trucks. The Silverado Centennial Edition includes front and rear heritage bowtie emblems, a 100-year door badge, spray-in bedliner with heritage bowtie emblem, accessory floor liners with heritage bowtie emblems, Centennial Blue exterior paint, 22-inch painted wheels with chrome inserts, 22-inch all-terrain tires, chrome tow hooks, and a chrome bowtie on the steering wheel. The Chevrolet Colorado is also available in a Centennial Edition.
Chevy’s eAssist mild hybrid package is available nationwide on 2018 LT and LTZ trim trucks. All Silverado 1500 trims now have standard rearview cameras, teen driver mode, active aero shutters, and the tire air pressure monitoring system now includes tire fill alert.
Teen driver mode allows parents to program a selected key fob to restrict certain activities and report others. For example, the fob can be set to mute the radio unless all occupied seat belts are buckled. When the car returns home, parents can view reports detailing distance and speed traveled, how many speed warnings were given, forward distance alerts and so forth. When teen driver mode is activated, all available driver safety and assistance modes are automatically turned on and cannot be shut off.
Active aero shutters in the Silverado grilles automatically close when the vehicle speed exceeds 55 mph. The shutters’ purpose is to reduce air resistance, thereby aiding fuel economy.
Tire fill alert, which acts as a supplement to tire monitoring, kicks in only when you are actively filling one of the four mounted tires with air — it doesn’t work with the spare. When you begin to fill a tire with air, tire fill alert pays attention and signals when you reach the proper pressure. If you exceed the recommended tire air pressure, the system sounds an increasingly loud alert.
All Silverados including the base WT trim now have MyLink radio systems with at least a 7-inch diagonal color touchscreen with AM/FM stereo with seek-and-scan, a digital clock, and support for Bluetooth streaming audio for music and smartphones. Upscale models have a 7-inch screen and more capabilities.
The Silverado lineup now offers two new exterior colors: Cajun Red Metallic and Havana Metallic. Also, for 2018, the Custom trim is available with crew cab trucks — previously, you could only get the Custom trim with a double cab.
Basic considerations in choosing a Silverado
Unless you walk into a dealership lot and absolutely fall in love with a specific truck, it is helpful to know what you need in a truck and what you will use it for first. Prices can quickly rise above $50,000 and keep going up, so it helps to be able to narrow your choices ahead of time.
For many people, style, comfort, and convenience features are secondary to the truck’s functional configuration and capabilities. You can still have plenty style choices and layers of comfort and convenience, but function comes first. Functional choices include cab style, box length, engine, and whether you want two-wheel or four-wheel drive.
Cab choices, drive, and box length
With the Silverado, as with other light trucks, cab style and box length are linked. Silverados are available with front seat-only cabs — termed “regular cabs,” double cabs with four doors and a back seat with limited leg room, and crew cabs with four larger doors with larger back seats and more leg room. The three box lengths are short (5 feet, 8 inches), standard (6.5 feet), and long (8 feet).
Cab styles can limit box sizes and are restricted by trim levels and the number of drive wheels. The chart below represents the available choices for the 2018 Chevy Silverado 1500. We explain the different trim levels further below so you can come back to see which trims are available in the various cab, box, and drive combinations.
|Box Size||Regular Cab||Double Cab||Crew Cab|
|Short (5 feet, 8 inches)||N/A||N/A||WT, LS, LT, Custom, LTZ, High Country|
|Standard (6.5 feet)||WT, LS, LT||WT, LS, Custom, LT||WT, LS, LT, Custom, LTZ, High Country|
|Long (8 feet)||WT, LS, LT||N/A||N/A|
|Box Size||Regular Cab||Double Cab||Crew Cab|
|Short (5 feet, 8 inches)||N/A||N/A||WT, LS, LT, LT Z71, Custom, LTZ, LTX Z71, High Country|
|Standard (6.5 feet)||WT, LS, LT, LT Z71||WT, LS, LT, LT Z71, Custom, LTZ, LTZ Z71||WT, LS, LT, LT Z71, Custom, LTZ, LTX Z71, High Country|
|Long (8 feet)||WT, LS, LT, LT Z71||N/A||N/A|
Engines and transmissions
Silverado owners can choose among three gasoline engines, including one V6 and two V8s. There are few trim restrictions, but with LT and LTZ crew cab configurations you can opt for the 5.3-liter V8 with Chevy’s mild hybrid eAssist Powertrain.
The 4.3-liter V6 engine produces 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque at 3,900 RPM. Dependent on other equipment, the V6 can tow a maximum of 7,600 pounds. This engine is the most economical of the three gas engines, managing 18 mpg in city driving and 24 mpg on the highway with two-wheel drive.
Unassisted by the eAssist Powertrain, the 5.3-liter V8 produces 355 hp and 383 pound-feet at 4,100 RPM. Chevy has not published the fuel economy figures for this engine without eAssist. With the eAssist Powertrain, however, the 5.3-liter V8 equals the fuel economy of the V6, 18 mpg in city driving and 24 mpg on the highway, with two-wheel drive. Properly equipped, the 5.3-liter V8 can tow up to 11,100 pounds.
If absolute maximum towing capacity is a must, choose the 6.2-liter V8. This 420hp engine produces 460 pound-feet at 4,100 RPM and can pull the Silverado 1500’s maximum of 12,500 pounds. The EPA mileage estimate is 15 mpg in city driving and 21 mpg on the highway, but do not expect that mileage when pulling heavy loads.
General Motors’ eAssist Powertrain mild hybrid technology is not intended to operate independently, but to act as a helper engine to assist the gasoline-powered motor. When the V8 does not have to work so hard, the result is better fuel economy. Combined with six percent aerodynamics improvement from the Silverado’s active aero shutter grille flap closing and soft tonneau cover, the eAssist Powertrain adds up to a 12 percent fuel boost in fuel economy.
The eAssist system has a 24-cell, air-cooled 0.45 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that adds about 100 pounds to the truck’s weight. The electric motor acts as a torque booster, according to General Motors, providing up to 44 pound-feet and 13hp to help in acceleration and passing. The system includes Stop/Start technology and regenerative braking. With the extra electric boost, the V8, which has Active Fuel Managment — meaning it can deactivate cylinders, can run on four cylinders longer.
Which 2018 Chevy Silverado is best for you?
There are actually only six Silverado trims, but because two of the trims — the LT and LTZ — can be equipped with Z71 off-road packages that mandate drivetrain choices, we are treating the lineup as if there were eight trim levels. We grouped the WT, LS, and Custom as the more basic work and generally functional pickups. The LT, LTZ, and High Country have ascending levels of comfort, convenience, and luxury. The LT Z71 and LTZ Z71 trims are set up specifically for off-road driving for work and play.
2018 Chevy Silverado 1500 WT, LS, Custom
The first group consists of relatively basic pickup trucks for work and general-purpose use. The WT, or Work Truck, is the most basic and has the lowest starting price, $28,085. When you move up to the LS, starting at $30,110, you add a bit more comfort and convenience and some chrome trim. The Custom, $33,945 starting price, begins to step up the truck’s appearance.
WT (Work Truck) — Your grandfather or father would not consider the WT a starter-level pickup. The WT has single-zone air conditioning, Chevrolet MyLink Radio with a seven-inch color touchscreen, a rearview camera, cargo lamps, and tire pressure monitoring with fill alert. Every WT has cruise control, power door locks, and HID headlights with LED DRL (daylight running lights).
The WT has StabilTrack with Electronic Trailer Sway Control as standard equipment to help with towing and a 3.5-inch driver information center dashboard display. This plainest of the 2018 half-ton Silverado trims has vinyl seats and black bumpers, grille, and manual mirrors and painted 17-inch wheels. The WT is available in all three cab styles and all box sizes.
LS — The Silverado LS trim is the first step up in comfort and convenience with cloth seats, remote keyless entry, heated power side mirrors, and a remote locking tailgate. LS trucks come with a three-month trial subscription to Onstar, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. Silverado LS trim trucks look spiffier than WTs, too, with chrome front and rear bumpers and grille surround. The LS still has 17-inch wheels but they are stainless steel instead of painted. As with the WT, you can buy an LS in any of the cab and box combinations.
Custom — The Silverado still may be primarily a work truck, but its 20-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels and body color grille surround and headlamp bezels look a bit more special. The Custom also has standard front recovery hooks. The starting price jump from the LS reflects that the Custom is available in Double and Crew Cab styles only, not with a Regular cab.
|Base engine||4.3L EcoTec3 V6||4.3L EcoTec3 V6||4.3L EcoTec3 V6|
|Base torque (pound-feet)||305@3,900 RPM||305@3,900 RPM||305@3,900 RPM|
|Transmission||6-speed automatic||6-speed automatic||6-speed automatic|
|Fuel capacity (gallons)||26||26||26|
|Fuel economy (City/Highway)||18/24 MPG||18/24 MPG||18/24 MPG|
|Maximum towing weight (pounds, properly equipped)||12,500 with double or crew cab, 2WD, 6.2L V8, and NHT max trailering package||12,500 with double or crew cab, 2WD, 6.2L V8,and NHT max trailering package||12,500 with double or crew cab, 2WD, 6.2L V8,and NHT max trailering package|
|Base wheels||17-inch painted steel||17-inch stainless steel||20-inch chrome clad aluminum|
|Cab styles||Regular, Double, Crew||Regular, Double, Crew||Double, Crew|
|Box lengths (feet)||5.5, 6.7, 8.0||5.5, 6.7, 8.0||5.5, 6.7|
2018 Chevy Silverado 1500 LT, LTZ, High Country
Here come the fancier Silverado trims. As you move up from the LT ($34,310 starting) through the LTZ ($42,040 starting) to the High Country ($51,800), the comfort, convenience, and luxury features keep piling up. If the WT, LS, and Custom are the worker or enlisted personnel’s trucks, the LT, LTZ, and High Country are what the managers, bosses, and officers drive.
LT — The LT is an upgrade from the LS, not the Custom. Add bright-machined 17-inch aluminum wheels, an EZ Lift and Lower tailgate, 4.2-inch driver information display, and Chevrolet MyLink with an eight-inch color touchscreen with HD radio and a CD/MP3 player. The leather-wrapped steering wheel has audio and cruise controls. The LT standard package still has cloth seats.
LTZ — For many, the LTZ is laden with all they want or need in a luxury truck. The LTZ comes standard with the 5.3-liter V8, a trailering package, and 18-inch bright machined aluminum wheels. The LTZ also has full LED projector headlights, LED fog lamps, and more chrome trim.
Inside the LTZ are dual-zone automatic air conditioning, heated leather seats front and back, 10-way power front seats, driver memory settings, a 110-volt outlet, theft deterrent system, remote vehicle starter, universal home remote, and a rear sliding power window with defogger.
High Country — If you can’t see any reason to stop with the LTZ, the High Country goes much further. High Country Silverados have everything that comes with the LTZ, adding (or exchanging) 20-inch chrome wheels, a unique chrome grille, cargo tie-downs, six-inch chrome rectangular assist steps, and a spray-on bed lining with logo. Inside, you will be pampered with premium perforated leather heated and vented front bucket seats with 12-way power adjustment, a center floor console, and power-adjustable pedals.
In the High Country Chevrolet MyLink with navigation is standard equipment as is Bose audio, enhanced wireless charging, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The High Country’s driver alert and assistance package includes lane-keeping assist, low-speed forward automatic braking, front and rear parking assist, forward collision alert, and Intellibeam headlights that automatically switch between high and low beams as traffic conditions change.
|Base engine||4.3L EcoTec3 V6||5.3L V8||5.3L V8|
|Base torque (pound-feet)||305@3,900 RPM||383@4,100 RPM||383@4,100 RPM|
|Transmission||6-speed automatic||6-speed automatic||8-speed automatic|
|Fuel capacity (gallons)||26||26||26|
|Fuel economy (city/highway)||18/24 MPG||16/23 MPG||16/22 MPG|
|Maximum towing weight (pounds, properly equipped)||12,500 with double or crew cab, 2WD, 6.2L V8,and NHT max trailering package||11,800 with double, 11,700 with crew cab, 6.2L V8, and NHT max trailering package||12,500 with double or crew cab, 2WD, 6.2L V8,and NHT max trailering package|
|Base wheels||17-inch bright machined aluminum||18-inch bright machined aluminum||20-inch chrome wheels|
|Cab styles||Regular, Double, Crew||Double, Crew||Crew|
|Box lengths (feet)||5.5, 6.7, 8.0||5.5, 6.7||5.5, 6.7|
2018 Chevy Silverado 1500 LT Z71, LTZ Z71
These are the Silverados you want to take off-road. The LT Z71, starting price $39,730, is a toughened up Silverado LT. If you want both fancy and rugged, the LTZ, starting at $46,630, adds the heavy duty bits to the LTZ trim line. Both Z71 packaged trims are available only with four-wheel drive.
LT Z71 — Opt for the LT Z71 to get an automatic transfer case and automatic locking rear differential with Eaton Locker for the four-wheel drive system. The Eaton Locker is an electronic system that detects the current state of traction and locks the differential as needed for 100 percent torque to the appropriate wheels. The LT Z71 also has a high-capacity air cleaner, Z71 Off-Road Suspension with Rancho monotube shocks, and an underbody transfer case shield.
Additional standard components in the LT Z71 package include black recovery hooks, LED fog lamps, the Z71 appearance package, trailering package, and 18-inch bright-machined aluminum wheels and all-terrain tires.
The LYZ Z71 trim includes all the LTZ features plus 4-wheel drive, the Z71 appearance package, and the off-road functional bits and pieces included with the LT Z71 setup.
|Trim||LT Z71||LTZ Z71|
|Base engine||4.3L EcoTec3 V6||5.3L EcoTec3 V8|
|Base torque (pound-feet)||305@3,900 RPM||383@4,100 RPM|
|Transmission||6-speed automatic||6-speed automatic|
|Fuel capacity (gallons)||26||26|
|Fuel economy (city/highway)||17/22 MPG||16/22 MPG|
|Maximum towing weight (pounds, properly equipped)||9,500 with regular cab, 11,800 with double, 11,700 with crew cab and NHT max trailering package||11,800 with double, 11,700 with crew cab and NHT max trailering package|
|Base Wheels||18-inch bright machined aluminum with all-terrain tires||18-inch bright machined aluminum with all-terrain tires|
|Cab styles||Regular, Double, Crew||Double, Crew|
|Box lengths (feet)||5.5, 6.7, 8.0||5.5, 6.7|
2018 Chevy Silverado 1500 special editions
The following special edition packages are mostly for appearance only but they can make it easier to buy an appearance bundle you find appealing than figuring out what components to choose yourself.
Redline: Urban-inspired with red and black accents
Available only on LT Z71 double cabs and LTZ Z71 crew cabs, the Redline package includes 20-inch black wheels with red accents, black Silverado badges with red accents, red tow hooks, off-road assist steps, and body color front and rear bumpers. The blackout theme continues with black Chevy bowties, black mirror caps, black grille and grille surround, and black headlight trim.
Midnight: Command attention with its aggressive look and off-road features
The Midnight edition, available on some crew cab and double cab models, includes black 18-inch wheels, black Chevy bowtie emblems, black door handles and mirror caps, bigger and bolder Z71 badging, and Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac off-road tires.
Rally: “Own the streets like a boss,” sporty aggressive look
If you buy a Custom trim with a double cab, you can select the Rally 1 edition package with 20-inch black wheels and rally striping on the hood and sides.
You can spiff up an LT Z71 double or crew cab with 22-inch gloss black wheels and 4-inch round assist steps.
High Desert: Refinement, sportiness, and innovation
LT, LTZ, and High Country trims can opt for the High Desert Edtion, which includes a sport bar with sail panel, lighted side storage boxes, three-piece removable tonneau cover, a new lockable storage system and 20-inch wheels with all-season tires.
Realtree: Partnered with Realtree for the “ultimate truck for outdoor enthusiasts”
The Realtree edition is available only for LTZ Z71 models. The package includes embroidered head restraints and camouflage accents, black leather-appointed interior, a black exterior with blacked-out Chevy bowtie emblems, black 0ff-road assist steps, bigger and bolder Z71 badging, Rancho shocks, and Realtree exterior camouflage graphics.
Special Ops: Naval-inspired graphics blacked out with sport trim
Here is an edition for the work truck, the WT. The Special Ops Edition is only available for the WT with a double cab. The package includes 20-inch black aluminum wheels, deep-tinted windows, black Chevy bowties, exterior Naval-inspired graphics, a bed-mounted sport bar, sport assist steps, spray-on bed liner, and all-terrain tires.
Black Out: It’s all about attention
Regular and double cab WT models can be ordered with Black Out, which includes just what you would expect: Black 20-inch wheels, black Chevy bowtie emblems, black grille and headlamp bezels, and deep tinted windows.
Update: We’ve added information about the 2019 Silverado from the Detroit Auto Show.