Some parts of the auto industry are moving faster than a full-size pickup. In a constant game of one-upmanship, Detroit’s Big Three continue to roll out new trim levels, drivetrain options, custom packages, and body styles in a bid to entice—and dollar—buyers looking for the planet’s most popular vehicle. .
In such a fast-paced environment, even the smallest mistake can be enough to lag behind the rest, forcing a brand to scramble to catch up. So is the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Duramax, a truck that checks every box it takes to keep it in the mix, but still lacks in a number of key areas that force it on the outside to look in. better than its competitors.
Strong Diesel Vibration
Any discussion about the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Duramax must of course be divided into two different lines.
First, there is the turbodiesel engine. This six-cylinder unit replaces the 3.0L and offers 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. That’s the same rev level provided by the Silverado’s optional 6.2L gas motor, but Duramax gets it online at just 1,500 rpm, which is nearly two-thirds lower than the peak production of the big V8.
In the realm of light-duty diesel engines, Duramax output sits right in the middle of Ford and Ram’s offerings, with the latter being at the top of the torque pyramid. Still it’s definitely more than enough to handle any load you might find suitable to throw at the Silverado, with a towing capacity of 9,300 lbs and a payload of nearly 2,000 lbs. These numbers aren’t class-leading—the Ford petrol-powered EcoBoost V6 is still big and responsible with a tow rating of around 11,000 lbs—but it’s nearly three times the payload of the average American trailer.
Embarrassing Thirsty V8s
More importantly, the Duramax Silverado engine balances its power as a tow option with phenomenal fuel mileage that will not be duplicated by anything other than diesel. Road consumption for the two-wheel drive model is rated at 33 mpg by the EPA, with 23 mpg listed for city driving. In combination, you’re looking at 27-mpg from a full-size pickup, with the weight and complexity of four-wheel drive cutting three miles per gallon from that figure. These numbers tend to hold up in real-world driving, too, as I discovered while driving this Silverado and related Suburban in the diesel edition (although intense stop-and-go, of course, will drop efficiency significantly).
In terms of unloaded daily commuting, the Chevrolet Silverado matches the 5.3L V8 edition in terms of acceleration and off-the-line cruising capability, which is only eclipsed by the hefty horsepower of the 6.2L V8. The 10-speed automatic transmission slogs unnoticed in the background, and while the Duramax is certainly a lot louder than the gasoline engine at idle (especially on cold starts), it’s not too distracting in the cabin.
There’s nothing but the benefit of ordering this fuel-sucking engine, which adds only about $1,000 to the price tag over and above the entry-level V8 Silverado, or $2,500 over its base turbocharged four-cylinder engine, starting at the popular LT trim level.
Almost, But Not Enough, Competitive
Spinning from the drivetrain to the truck it’s mounted on is almost like the tale of two different pickups. As modern and impressive as the Duramax engine is, there are parts of the Silverado that feel stuck in the past, especially when compared directly to the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500.
My testers arrived in the High Country trim, which is a top-tier version of the Chevrolet Silverado. However, opening the driver’s door reveals a cabin filled with plastic, some soft and some hard to the touch, but all generally unattractive to the eye. It’s an indistinguishable sea of black and gray where other full-size pickups showcase detail both visually and in terms of materials. Sure, there are some wood grain inserts on the console, door pulls, steering wheel, and LCD screen, but they look stuck and out of place, not part of a comprehensive design.
Yes, trucks need to be sturdy, durable, and easy to interact with, even while wearing work gloves, but to be honest there are some parts of the Silverado’s interior that I don’t want to touch UNLESS I’m wearing something to protect my hands. It’s a far cry from the environment that the gorgeous Ram Limited and high-end F-150 Platinum provide, from its basic infotainment system to its clunky column shift levers to its drab leather seats. That’s a shame, because the Silverado’s cabin is as roomy and practical as a full-size truck should be, but all that goodwill is erased by the fact that you’re paying a fortune for what looks like the living space of an entry-level truck. once you park it next to the competition.
I’m also not impressed with the ‘Multi-Flex’ tailgate mounted on the truck. Complicated, a bit heavy, and not particularly useful, this unit’s folding step did no more to help me load the tires backwards than the integrated bumper step already on the truck. It’s hard not to see a finicky design quickly fill up with dirt, salt, and grime throughout the year.
It’s also worth noting that the Silverado rides rougher than the spring-loaded Ram or the softer F-150, which can be annoying if you regularly have to deal with broken pavement or potholed gravel roads like I do. There’s no doubt that the stiff suspension setup is geared towards getting the job done, but if you take a breath of air you’ll notice the unrefined character of the Chevrolet.
Aid In Progress—For 2022
Don’t get me wrong: the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado will do all the truck work you put it on, and the Duramax is a great choice for anyone traveling long distances thanks to its incredible efficiency and torque. It’s just that Ford and Ram do the same thing, only with a much better cabin, more useful features and technology, and a luxury price tag that truly delivers a premium experience.
General Motors is well aware that the Silverado is falling behind the rest, which is why for 2022 it is carrying out a thorough refresh that includes major changes to the exterior styling as well as the look and feel of the entire cabin.
Unless you can’t wait to replace your current truck, or you somehow manage to get a deal on the rest of the inventory (which seems unlikely due to the production difficulties associated with Duramax due to the current global chip shortage), your best bet is to wait until the truck- the updated truck is rolling into the parking lot sometime next year.