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2017 Fleet Truck of the Year: Chevrolet Silverado 1500

December 2017, Automotive Fleet - Cover Story

by Andy Lundin - Also by this author

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet.
Photo courtesy of Chevrolet.

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has been named the 2017 Fleet Truck of the year. This is the second time the light-duty truck has been honored with the annual Automotive Fleet and Business Fleet award.

At a Glance

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 was named Fleet Truck of the Year. It’s features include:

  • Fleet OnStar telematics vehicle data reporting.
  • A max payload of up to 2,250 lbs.
  • Three EcoTec3 engines.

“Being recognized twice as Fleet Truck of the Year is a great accomplishment — it means we’re really delivering a Silverado that speaks to our customers’ needs,” said Ed Peper, U.S. vice president, GM Fleet. “The Silverados are designed to keep maintenance and fuel costs low, especially in real world driving when the trucks are loaded and being worked hard. Silverados are also known for their reliable powertrains, backed by our 5/100 warranty, and our durable steel bodies.”

Placing at No.1 out of a ballot of 39 trucks this year, since last being selected as the Fleet Truck of the Year in 2013 the Silverado 1500 has undergone many changes. And it’s these changes that have resonated with fleets and has ultimately earned its spot as truck of the year once again.

Indeed, the Silverado 1500 was recently given a mid-cycle refresh, which included an expanded use of eight-speed transmissions and support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

“The Silverado 1500 is a vehicle fleets want to drive,” said Peper. “Drivers appreciate the efficiency features, from exceptionally quiet and comfortable ride to features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, standard Bluetooth and available Onstar 4G LTE Wi-Fi.”

Getting Under the Hood

Fleets have several choices in configurations that best suit their needs, which include regular, double or crew cab configurations, with a choice of 2WD or 4WD.

Under the hood of the Silverado 1500 are three available EcoTec3 engines.

These are a 4.3L V-6 SAE-certified with  285 hp and 305 lb.-ft. of torque, a 5.3L V-8 certified with 355 hp and 383 lb.-ft. of torque, and a 6.2L V-8 which offers 420 hp and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. Since the 2016 MY, the 5.3L V-8 has featured optional eAssist, which is a mild-hybrid system that delivers up to a 13% improvement in fuel efficiency.

The 4.3L and 5.3L engines come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission while an 8-speed transmission is standard with the 6.2L and available with the 5.3L.

Available trim levels include: WT (Work Truck), LS, Custom, LT, LTZ, and High Country.

Payload and Towing

Since it last won the Fleet Truck of the Year, the Silverado has continued to improve elements that are important to fleets, including improved towing capabilities.

Indeed, when equipped with the 6.2L V-8, it has a max towing capacity of 12,500 lbs., a 1,000 lb. improvement over its max offering in 2013. Also, in terms of towing, StabiliTrak with Trailer Sway Control technology helps prevent swaying trailers, and Hill Start Assist, gives drivers extra time to switch from braking to acceleration without rolling back under certain conditions.

Its payload capabilities also make it an ideal fleet asset, with up to 2,250 lbs. of maximum payload. In addition, the truck features 5-foot-8-inch, 6-foot-6-inch, and 8-foot beds, and an available EZ Lift and Lower Tailgate, which is an internal torsion bar that reduces the effort to raise and lower the tailgate.

Fleet Specific Tech

The Silverado 1500 can also be ordered with fleet specific packages. Fleet managers can consider the packages when looking to for the best options for their operations.

Indeed, a Fleet Convenience Package that is available for the for the WT trim includes outside, heated power mirrors, a remote locking tailgate, keyless entry, and power windows.

Meanwhile, a LT Fleet Convenience Package includes a 10-way driver’s seat with bench seat, LED front fog lamps, rear-window defogger and 110-volt power outlet. Crew cab and double cab also include dual-zone climate control in the package. Also for the LT trim, the LT Fleet Plus Package includes universal home remote, power adjustable pedals, rear sliding window and rear window defogger.

Other notable features that are available on the 1500 include utility options such as an industry exclusive box delete option, under-rail LED cargo lighting, and a CornerStep rear bumper.

As always safety is a key focus for the Silverado as much as it does for fleet managers. Indeed, the Silverado 1500 can also be ordered with a Safety Belt Assurance System, which prevents the vehicle from being shifted out of park until the driver seat belt is fastened. Ten standard air bags and rear-view cameras are also now available across every model.

Speaking of cameras, Silverado’s EchoMaster Trailering Camera System adds up to four cameras to help eliminate blind spots and enhance the driver’s ability to line up his or her trailer and hitch when backing up.

By the Numbers

4.3L EcoTec3 V-6

  • Horsepower: 285
  • Torque: 305 lb.-ft.

5.3L EcoTec3 V-8

  • Horsepower: 355
  • Torque: 383 lb.-ft.

5.3L EcoTec3 V-8 (eAssist)

  • Horsepower: 355
  • Torque: 383 lb.-ft.

6.2L EcoTec3 V-8

  • Horsepower: 420
  • Torque: 460 lb.-ft.

Fleet Connectivity

As the world becomes more connected to technology, so do vehicles, and the Silverado 1500 is no exception.

Indeed, available connectivity features include Fleet OnStar telematics vehicle data reporting, with plans that include, but aren’t limited to, Automatic Crash Response, On Demand Vehicle Diagnostics, and Stolen Vehicle Assistance.

General Motors also has three fleet telematics solutions for fleets to consider: including Telogis Fleet for GM, Spireon’s FleetLocate, and GM’s proprietary Commercial Link tool. All offer web-based fleet management solutions to monitor vehicle and driver performance and use GM’s OnStar in-vehicle hardware.

Also available is an OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot plan for fleet managers. Available Chevrolet MyLink connectivity allows drivers to organize and integrate their smartphones with their dashboard.

Clearly, the 2016 refresh was good because the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 was awarded the “Highest Ranked Large Light Duty Pickup in Initial Quality, Two Years in a Row” by J.D. Power, not to mention earning “Most-awarded commercial pickup truck in America” by Vincentric.

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