2000 Chevrolet SILVERADO 1500 PICKUP-1/2 Ton-V8
Fleetside Extended Cab
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Where Dodge and Ford broke new ground in truck design with their Ram and F-150 pickups, Chevrolet has chosen a conservative design for its Silverado.
Chevrolet customers are so happy with their trucks and so loyal to the brand that they don't mind if the new trucks look similar to the old ones. They realize that underneath its conservative looks is a great truck that has almost nothing in common with the old one.
Wheel flares are now available for 1500 series 4X4 models, a tonneau cover is available for all models, and the two smallest V8 engines have more power for 2000.
The 2000 Chevrolet Silverado is built on a frame that is the stiffest and lightest truck frame General Motors has ever built. The front frame rails are hydroformed, a process that uses high-pressure hydraulics to shape steel. Tubular crossmembers and roll-formed mid-rails increase rigidity further. This stiff structure enhances handling and ride quality immensely, while improving crashworthiness.
Three V8 engines are available, in 4.8-, 5.3- and 6.0-liter displacements. All three are based on the new GM small-block architecture that was introduced on the Corvette two years ago and shared with the Camaro and Firebird last year. A 4.3-liter V6 is still available and comes with a number of improvements, but the V8s will be sold in much higher volumes.
A 5-speed manual gearbox is standard in the base truck, but most opt for the 4L60 and 4L65 4-speed automatics with a new delayed-upshift feature for towing; they are excellent automatics.
There's a new aluminum short- and long-arm front suspension, with coil springs on two-wheel-drive models and torsion bars on four-wheel-drive models. Brakes are large, heavy-duty discs on all four corners, and ABS is standard on all models.
The instrument package looks like a cross between what is found in the new Corvette and what was used in the previous C/K trucks. It comprises a large speedometer and tachometer flanked by four smaller gauges. All use pleasant graphics in white on black.
The sound system control panel is located above the climate controls. The climate control system uses a rotary dial layout that works perfectly. There are three 12-volt outlets at the bottom center of the dashboard for radar detectors, cellular telephones, laptop computers, and other accessories.
Our test truck was an LT Extended Cab. The front seats were equipped with optional heaters. The doors lock automatically as soon as you pull away, but this feature can be de-programmed at the dealership. The LT package comes with a lockable floor console large enough to hold a picnic lunch for a family of four; it comes with a reversible, removable cup holder tray and a storage nook in front of the lid. Air conditioning outlets and a set of drop-down cup holders are built in for rear-seat passengers. A compass is incorporated into the LT model's overhead console, along with three storage areas for sunglasses, garage door opener, and small items. The door trim is a nice combination of vinyl panels and dotted velour that is soft and warm to the touch.
We were pleasantly surprised when we climbed through the third door of the extended-cab Silverado and into the back seat, which has been redesigned and remounted for far greater room and comfort. When cargo capacity is more important than hauling passengers, the entire rear seat assembly can be removed through the side door with a wrench.
About the only thing we didn't like was the design of the interior door handles, which operate in an up-and-in arc and felt loose whenever we used them. We'd prefer more resistance and a more positive feel.
A massive four-spoke steering wheel connects to a new rack-and-pinion steering system (recirculating ball on 4X4 models). The steering has a fairly wide dead spot in the center when cruising, which Chevrolet says is designed to minimize steering corrections on the highway. The steering feels a bit too light, but we found it tracks beautifully and handles well on pavement, loose dirt, deep dirt and off-road.
Although the 4.8-liter small-block V8 is the most popular engine for this truck, our Silverado LT had the optional 5.3-liter (324 cubic-inch) engine, rated at 285 horsepower and 325 foot-pounds of torque; those figures represent an increase of 15 horsepower and 10 foot-pounds over last year's version of this engine. That's enough torque to smoke the rear tires at will. This engine has a fat torque curve, which makes it useful for light towing and hauling, but it's also a lot of fun for commuting and touring. The new engine is a much better small-block than before, and we recommend the 5.3-liter over the smaller 4.8-liter version, which also got a 15 horsepower increase for 2000, to 270 horsepower.
Brakes have been improved substantially over the previous model and it's a welcome improvement. The four-wheel disc brakes are huge and powerful and come standard with ABS. Braking force comes into play only an inch into the pedal travel, a welcome improvement over the mushy pedal on the previous pickup. A new feature called Dynamic Rear Proportioning improves stability under heavy braking whether the truck is loaded or empty. Chevrolet promises huge improvements in fade resistance, pad life and heat dissipation; we worked the brakes on our truck very hard and experienced no fade.
If you're shopping for pickup truck this year that you'll still want to be driving in 2008, check out this Silverado. It may not offer distinctive styling, but it has the soul of a soldier and the endurance of a cowboy.
Model as tested
Fleetside LT Short Box Extended Cab ($28,110)
3 years/50,000 miles
Gas guzzler tax:
Price as tested
Options as tested
Model Line Overview
2WD Fleetside Base Shortbox Regular Cab ($15,355); 2WD Fleetside Base Shortbox Extended Cab ($19,729); 2WD Fleetside LS Shortbox Extended Cab ($22,351); 2WD Fleetside LT Longbox Extended Cab ($28,410); 4WD Fleetside LS Shortbox Regular Cab ($22,701); 4WD LT Longbox Extended Cab ($31,620); 2WD Fleetside LT Extended Cab 2500 ($29,560)
Safety equipment (standard)
Dual airbags, ABS
Safety equipment (optional)
5.3-liter ohv V8
Specifications as Tested
(LT Extended Cab) ABS, air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, light package, tinted glass, tilt wheel, alloy wheels, AM/FM/cassette/CD stereo, rear defrost, anti-theft system, leather power lumbar heated seats, overhead console, floor console, cruise control, remote locking/security system, electrochromic mirror with compass, leather-wrapped steering wheel, folding power heated chrome mirrors, cast aluminum wheels, trailering wire harness
Engine & Transmission
5.3-liter ohv V8
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
285 @ 5000
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm)
Head/hip/leg room, middle
Head/hip/leg room, front
Head/hip/leg room, rear