A murdered-out pickup worthy of Darth Vader

My driveway this week holds something sinister – something dark and powerful – the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 Midnight Edition. This blacked-out pickup is also fitted with the LTZ trim package, which is the highest trim available with the Z71 Off-Road Package. Only the High Country trim outranks the LTZ. Don’t count the LTZ out though; it comes with just about every imaginable feature Chevy has available.

Pickup trucks might be workhorses, but modern examples have become thoroughbreds of luxury and creature comforts. My Silverado includes heated and vented front seats and leather over all five seating positions, memory settings for the driver’s seat, power-adjustable pedals, dual-zone and automatic climate controls, and room enough for four of the largest NFL linebackers and a scrawny waterboy in the middle seat in back. And let’s not forget handy features like four USB ports, three 12-volt chargers, a 110-volt household outlet, a center console designed for hanging file folders, and more cubbyholes and storage spots than most minivans. Sure, tree huggers can argue against pickups since most people don’t use them for towing or hauling, but dadgummit, the Silverado is insanely practical.

But it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. I do have a bone to pick with Chevy. Keep reading for that.

Continue reading for more information.

The 2017 Chevy Silverado LTZ Z71

The Z71 package includes skid plates and recovery hooks for extra piece of mind.

So, what’s my beef? Chevy apparently doesn’t think rear passengers need air vents. That might not be a big deal in Detroit, but in my home state of hot-as-heck Florida, anybody without direct airflow is sweating in the summer heat. Adding insult to injury, the Silverado (and its corporate twin, the GMC Sierra) is the only full-size pickup to not have rear air vents. Yep, the Ford F-150, Ram 1500, Nissan Titan, and even the decade-old Toyota Tundra all keep their rear passengers comfortable.

Rants aside, the rest of the Silverado provides plenty to like. Its cargo bed is extremely easy to use thanks to those handy bumper steps and stake pocket hand-grabs. It has provisions for towing. The Z71 package includes skid plates and recovery hooks for extra piece of mind. Oh, and then there’s the engine.

2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71: An Overview Drivetrain
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It boasts 355 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 383 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm.

The Silverado is available with three engine choices: the 4.3-liter V-6, the 5.3-liter V-8, and the mighty 6.2-liter V-8. All belong to the EcoTec3 family, which represents the fifth-generation of small-block Chevy V-8s. (The 4.3-liter V-6 is essentially a 5.3-liter V-8 with two cylinders lobbed off.) The engines include variable valve timing, direct fuel injection, and cylinder deactivation. My tester came with the 5.3-liter, Chevy’s volume engine by far. It boasts 355 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 383 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. Somehow, the engine feels stouter than that, especially considering it’s moving 5,300 pounds around. The sprint to 60 mph only takes 7.2 seconds. Sadly, Chevy limits the Silverado’s top speed to a measly 99 mph. Then again, the truck isn’t designed to bomb the Autobahn.

These days, the V-8 is mated with GM’s eight-speed automatic transmission. It shifts fine enough and is mostly invisible in the general driving experience. The extra gears certainly help with fuel economy, though. The EPA rates my 4WD tester at 20 mpg on the highway. Of course, in-city and mixed driving results in lower numbers – 15 mpg city and 17 mpg combined, to be exact. Still, that’s not bad for such an all-steel pickup with a fully boxed frame and a 9,100-pound tow rating. The truck can also lug 1,760 pounds in its bed.

2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71: An Overview Exterior
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2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71: An Overview Exterior
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My tester has a starting price of $48,890 then adds $5,415 worth of options and another $1,295 in delivery fees.

If things turn sour during a drive, the Silverado has a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It scored five stars in all but the rollover risk assessment, where it still earns a respectable four stars.

Of course, a loaded-out Silverado doesn’t come cheap. Sure, Chevy will sell you a base Silverado regular cab with zero options for $28,085, but unless you’re a fleet manager with a bottom line to meet, nobody buys a truck like that. My tester has a starting price of $48,890 then adds $5,415 worth of options and another $1,295 in delivery fees. The grand total comes to $55,600. While that is pricey, it’s in line with what the competition is charging for a comparable truck.

Anyway, this is just a quick look at the 2017 Chevy Silverado LTZ Z71 Midnight Edition that’s in my driveway this week. I’ll have a ton more in the coming days. Leave a comment if you have a question or want to see something specific.

References

Chevrolet Silverado

2016 Chevrolet Silverado
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Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado.

2015 Chevrolet Silverado Midnight Edition Exterior
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Read our full review on the Chevrolet Silverado Midnight Edition.

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