Chevrolet Silverado 2022 Better, Still Not the Best

2022 Chevrolet Silverado LT Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

By Bill Owney

Of mankind’s many destructive delusions, none has proven to be more expensive than the idea that gas is always cheap.

This idea struck me this week when I listened to a Bloomberg News report about East Texas cattle ranchers in “panic mode” to liquidate cattle as feed, fertilizer and fuel prices soared as temperatures turned hay pastures into dust bowls.

Do you think beef prices are high now? Wait a few months. The price you pay at the pump will continue to be a fraction of the cost of living on carbon-based fuels for us and those who follow.

Oh, it would be so easy to avoid thinking about such things. However, I feel cool and comfortable in the cabin of the redesigned Chevrolet Silverado LT. Premium materials, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a wide 13.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system give the Silverado 2022 a contemporary feel.

The comfortable seats and powerful cooling system make the triple-digit atmosphere on the other side of the tinted windows seem like an otherworldly experience. However, when I scrolled through the information window, there it was.

Interiors of Chevrolet Silverado
Interior of the Chevrolet Silverado LT 2022 Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Despite being equipped with an innovative, turbocharged 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine, the Silverado averages 14.3 mpg around town. “Who,” I wondered, “would purposely buy a vehicle that burns nearly seven gallons to cover 100 miles?”

I don’t have a real answer, but some people do because Chevy sent me a $52,000 crew cab powered by a four-cylinder engine. I understand that this is an attractive option as it saves about $1,500, which could be used for other options, but people are concerned about the longevity of the small high-pressure engine and the trade-in value of the pickups it is powered by.

buyer beware

After having several conversations with people who are angry about the amount they pay at the gas station, I’ve found that few realize that fuel economy is not just a public record, it’s prominently posted on the windows of all but new heavy duty vehicles.

Even if someone is buying a used vehicle, an estimated EPA fuel economy rating is available at fueleconomy.gov. People like to argue with statisticians, especially statisticians employed by the government, but this is mainly because statistics is an established field of mathematics with proven methodologies and proven principles, and as such, it gives us a headache to think about it.

For now, let’s go with Consumer Reports and other independent testers, who generally agree that the EPA is pretty much right about it. Over the years, my data trended closer to the EPA, but I’m a retired math teacher, so we knew I couldn’t be trusted.

Everything that comes down to this: the fuel economy rating for Chevy’s four-banger is a head-scratcher. The EPA says the engine can produce a combined 20 mpg when bolted to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Add 4WD and mud terrain tires like our testers did, however, and the EPA estimate drops to 17 mpg, a number we didn’t hit, nor did Car and Driver in the test.

Rear of Chevrolet Silverado 2022
The exterior of the Chevrolet Silverado LT 2022 Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Chevy offers four engines across its Silverado line, four-cylinder, 6.2-liter V-8, 5.3-liter V-8, and 3.0-liter Duramax inline 6 diesel. The EPA pegs the 5.3-L V-8 at 17 mpg, one mile per gallon better than the big V-8 and four-banger.

Consumer reports tested the diesel and found around 23 mpg. The Duramax gets good reviews across the board for smoothness and towing capability, but the CR points out that its fuel economy improvements will take nearly a decade to justify its added cost due to diesel’s premium pricing.

6.2L provides the largest towing capacity, up to 12,000 lbs. in the proper configuration. Chevies has long been known for its low-end grunt and 5.3L and the diesel is also an excellent towing repair shop.

Strict handling

In addition to fuel economy, we found the Silverado to be a pleasant driving companion. With 439-lb-ft of torque, this truck is smooth, powerful, and as fast as a scalded cat accelerates into traffic. Steering is tight and balanced. The truck shows a bit of a slender body. Yes, it’s big, but that’s where it’s headed.

The same cannot be said about travel. Like Ford, Chevy continues to use leaf springs at the rear, unlike the coil-over-shock Ram, multilink at the rear. The first two are rocking, especially for rear seat passengers.

That’s one reason why independent testers like Consumer Reports and US News and World Report continue to rank the Ram 1500 as the king of America’s pickup hill. That includes the All-New Toyota Tundra, which still prioritizes comfort and work capacity.

Silverado is also experiencing image reliability issues. Based on Consumer reportsthe 2016 and 2019 redesigns came with engine, transmission, body hardware, braking and drive system issues.

What About Reliability?

CR gives the 2022 Silverado an overall score of 46. The Ram leads with 75, followed by the Tundra at 71 and the Ford F-150 at 60.

On the other hand, loading Ford and Chevy owners into other makes of trucks is a lot like getting Methodists and Baptists to change churches on Sundays. It happened, but when it did, everyone noticed because it was so rare.

It’s a tough time to buy a new vehicle now because of supply chain issues. However, if you’re looking for a deal, Chevy has a cash incentive for some pre-facelifted 2022 Silverados that it identifies as “LTD” models.

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