2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 2WD LS Review

Redefining the words entry-level pickup.

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May 20, 2015

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 2WD LS Review

In short, you get a lot for your money. But not all of your hard-earned cash goes into MyLink and power door locks; there's a very good truck underneath all those accessories.

Introduction
Most trucks that end up reviewed by the auto media tend to gravitate towards the top end of the price spectrum. Now, these trucks are great and all, but not everybody can spend $50,000 or more on a full-size pickup. What about the more affordable models, then? Well, we're lucky enough to have our hands on one; specifically, we've been driving a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 2WD LS.

The LS is the entry-level consumer trim, one step above the WT (which stands for Work Truck). In terms of standard equipment, the truck comes with power windows, power door locks, power heated side mirrors, several airbags, an infotainment system with a screen, and plenty more. That's a fair bit of equipment on a truck that, several years ago, had none of those items listed as standard. Yet, all this now comes together in a package that starts around $32,000 - although, according to conversations with several folks who have recently purchased similarly-spec'd Silverados, dealers will drop that price by a couple thousand dollars or more.

In short, you get a lot for your money. But not all of your hard-earned cash goes into MyLink and power door locks; there's a very good truck underneath all those accessories.

2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Interior The interior on the Silverado 1500 LS, with next to no options ticked on our loaner, is sparse. 2WD and a lack of interior creature comforts means that blank space abounds, although it's only really noticeable on the steering wheel. In other places - like where the 4x4 controls would sit, or where the rear-window controls would be - manage to hide their blank spaces well. But, like we said, the level of standard equipment on trucks these days is more than enough to satisfy an owner that uses this truck as little more than a proper utility vehicle.

Accouterments aside, the Silverado's cabin is a good place to spend time. The cloth seats feel a good blend of comfortable and resilient to spills. The steering wheel doesn't telescope, but its tilt provides sufficient articulation for drivers of all sizes. If this is 'basic,' basic is pretty damn good.

Bonus points for the center console that folds up into a bench seat. Extra bonus points for putting the center-console USB port in a place that'll still allow you to rest your phone on the seat, even with the console raised up. However, a removal of all those bonus points is in order for having the headliner come down too low in the middle, making the bench seat useless for anybody taller than five-foot-four.
2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Exterior GM knows a thing or two about brand equity, and many of its buyers are repeat offenders. Thus, even though the Silverado sports a new design, it's not a design that deviates far from the traditional Silverado formula that's worked for so many years. It's immediately recognizable as both a Chevrolet and a Silverado. Without foglights, the front bumper is a single mass of chrome, extending the full width of the front end. Between the chrome down there and the massive headlights and grille, there's a huge emphasis on visual height and width, making this truck feel like a genuine battleship, even if its handling (thankfully) doesn't act like it.

Our tester came with an optional appearance package, which includes chrome accents on the mirrors and door handles, a body-color bumper pad, and 20-inch silver wheels. The wheels fill out the wells nicely, and the additional unsprung weight didn't seem to negatively affect handling.
2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 On the Road It's a truck, and it drives exactly like you'd expect. It feels big, but with the optional 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V-8, it has no problem hustling its way down the street in a flurry of traction-control-light-blinking (the bed remained unladen for most, but not all of our time with it). The ride is actually surprisingly composed without a whole bunch of crap in the bed, and it only gets better once you take a trip down to Ikea for some flat-packed home furnishings. In that situation, the Silverado's bed was perfectly sized for the job, and the truck was nice and composed throughout our mini cross-suburban jaunt. The steering feels as light as it does on every other truck.

The only complaint we had with the drivetrain was the transmission; it was slow to shift in either direction, occasionally hunting for a bit before it decided what to do. Now, this could be remedied by moving up to the larger V-8 engine, which comes with an eight-speed automatic. We hope GM is able to put that 8AT to use in this truck sometime in the near future.

Being that the truck was light on fancy baubles, our infotainment came by way of Chevrolet's mini-MyLink on a 4.2-inch screen. While the screen looks comically small, it functions well, relying on physical switchgear rather than touch. It's a good system for what it is.
2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Final Thoughts We've really come a long way in terms of what the buying market demands from an entry-level vehicle. Now, for a negotiable price that may drop under $30,000, you're given a whole host of standard equipment that would make a ten-year-old truck blush. The Silverado 1500 LS really embodies this; sure, you're not going to get a dampened tailgate or a rear-window defroster, but those aren't things that an entire market is clamoring for. With an 'entry-level' truck like the 1500 LS (we say it's entry level, but $35,000 is still a lot of money), Chevrolet provides you with all the stuff you need and have become used to, without weighing you (and the window sticker) down with needless crap. If you really want to pay for a dampened tailgate, you can, but Chevrolet's not going to assume that everybody wants one.

That's a good thing. There are plenty of chances to customize the vehicle exactly to your liking, and with a properly low base price like the Silverado's, we bet that most customers will tack on one or two additional bits here and there. The basic customer gets what they want, the pickier customer gets what they want, and GM gets what it wants (your money). Everybody wins.
2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Specs & Price Engine: 5.3-liter naturally-aspirated V-8

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive

Power Output: 355 horsepower / 383 lb-ft

Fuel Economy (mpg): 16 city / 23 highway

Base Price: $31,940

As Tested: $35,660 (incl. $1,195 destination)

Available Features:

LS Convenience Package: 110-volt outlet, backup camera

Bed Protection Package: Bed mat, tailgate liner, tonneau cover

Trailering Package: Trailering hitch platform and 2-inch receiver, 4-pin connector, 7-wire harness, automatic locking rear differential

Individual Options: 3.08 rear axle ratio, 3.42 rear axle ratio, engine block heater, automatic locking rear differential, integrated trailer brake controller, cargo box side step, spray-on bedliner, cargo-box LED lighting, upper cargo tie-downs, tonneau cover, carpeted floor mats, rear-window defroster, interior driver grab handle, 110-volt power outlet, underseat storage

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