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2007 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4WD Crew Cab Short Box Review

One Week With GM’s 2007 Chevrolet Silverado 4WD Crew Cab. No attempt at completeness, simply comments on one week’s driving experience—balanced against decades of experience and hundreds of comparisons.


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2007 Chevrolet Silverado CC 4WD Short Box

SEE ALSO: Compare Specs and Prices - Chevrolet Buyers Guide

By Thom Cannell
Special Editor
Detroit Bureau
The Auto Channel

Despite a promise I made to myself, I couldn’t haul more than single sheets of plywood and only a couple of hundred pounds of tile and grout. Nor did I sling dirt and mud with the Victory Red 4x4 in a friend’s off road park. In other words I drove this pickup as a personal use transportation mechanism.

The Silverado performed admirably, squeezing into parking lots and parallel parking spaces with ease, hauled cargo with no apparent effort, and accommodated friends and family with style and cathedral quietness.

Delivered to the valet parking lot of a Ritz Carleton in Dearborn, MI, its fierce red color contrasted sharply with the Ritz’ rusty ochre courtyard though the handsome exterior looked quite at home next to Bentleys and Mercedes.

From Dearborn, returning to my office required driving 90 miles on congested urban freeways. That encouraged a peaceful 75 mph chance to get acquainted. The interior looked even better than it had at various auto shows, and my concern about potential noise from the dash (it has little sound absorbing padding behind it) was a no-show. Everything fit together well, and its interior is obviously better than previous Chevrolet trucks.

I didn’t, and still do not, like the way gauges are tilted away from the driver’s eyes; I kept leaning forward in an instinctive effort to make the gauges “flat” to my eyes. And, depth of the wells used to shade smaller gauges from direct sunlight made them difficult to see in their entirety. But all in all, it worked.

Next on my list for future improvements was the difference between brake and accelerator pedal heights. It started as a knee-up-my-nose difference when I lifted my foot off the accelerator and onto the brake. It was partially solved by the adjustable pedal box meant to bring pedals closer to shorter drivers; I moved the brake as close to the firewall as possible. However, I continued to find it annoying to lift my entire leg off the seat to get a foot firmly onto the brake pedal. The brakes were firm and easily modulated for stopping distance, that part was “all good.”

Finally, steering. I’m a huge fan of firm steering, which GM trucks have not had in years. The new Silverado is a giant leap in the right direction, but still about 20-30% too light. I mean, do you really want to drive one-fingered? Not that a steering wheel should require Barry Bonds’ forearm strength, but more effort and greater feelings of connectedness to the road surface would make me happier (but not maybe your wife.)

On a day-t0-day basis getting into a 4x4 that doesn’t offer a grab handle of any sort is usually a pain in the butt, literally. However, step-in for the Silverado was pleasantly low and easy if you gripped the steering wheel, or were taller than 5’8”. If of shorter stature, you’d wish for a grab handle mounted to the roof or A-pillar.

The Crew Cab’s rear doors opened widely, 170°, and rear stadium-style seats were easy to fold down for passengers or up for cargo. And hot damn, there was a very nicely integrated DVD player for kids or game-day passengers. What will surely surprise you is how roomy the Crew Cab cabin is for every passenger, and how quiet it is at highway speeds.

This truck was equipped with the 5.3-liter Vortec V-8 (a 4.3-liter engine is available and OK for regular cab models, not the Crew Cab) and it felt nearly as strong as the optional 6.0-liter, though it has 325 horsepower in comparison to 364 hp for the larger motor and 37 less pound-feet of torque. Active Fuel Management and variable valve timing meant an EPA (2007 numbers) of 16/20 mpg and it did deliver that in the city. It is very cool to keep a steady throttle and watch the engine run on four cylinders. In short, it rocks.

GM uses 4-speed automatic transmissions and has for years. They’re stout and reliable, but competitors all offer five speed or six speed transmissions, a marketing advantage for them.

Equipped with the Z85 “enhanced handling and trailer towing” suspension package, it had monotube dampers front and rear. Steering was as light, as I mentioned, but as direct and competent as you’d expect from a rack-and-pinion system. The boxed and hydroformed frame delivered the kind of solid platform that has kept generations buying Chevy’s. Yes, it felt rock solid and having five-star crash rating for driver and passenger (front,) and four-star rollover was a comfort.

Here’s the Bullet Points:

Good:
Handsome, bold, brawny, modern.
Quietness normally reserved for sedans.
Best interior ever in a GM truck, would have been the best GM interior—car or truck—ten years ago.
Seats provide adjustability and comfort.
Interior is great, everything fits and looks expensive and hardworking.
Rear seats fold with ease.
V8-V4 (AFM transition) is almost transparent when it changes modes.
Amazing engine power from 5.3-liter engine.
Cruise control offers cancel on the steering wheel, along with other useful audio controls.

Room for improvement:
Instruments tilt and make you want to crane your neck, some instruments are partly obscured.
Steering is light, encouraging driving with one finger or one hand.
Radio buttons are small and close to edges, radio knobs are tiny.
4-speed transmission needs to match competitors 5-speed and 6-speed transmissions

Conclusion:
Arguably the best pickup available today, surely the best Chevrolet pickup ever, the new Silverado delivers modern comfort and conveniences (OnStar, parking assist, Satellite radio, air bags, leather seating, DVD entertainment) along with a stronger and more robust frame and improved engines. If you need a pickup to tow, haul, or carry your loads, Silverado deserves a test drive.