Chevy brings back the Avalanche with this cargo package upgrade

Chevrolet has never been one to stray away from special editions and options packages designed to ignite customer interest. Nowhere else is that more true than with the Silverado pickup. Well, Chevy announced today a new special edition based off a concept first seen at the 2014 SEMA show. It’s called the High Desert package and it’s available on LT, LTZ, and High Country trims of the 2017 Silverado 1500.

Opting for the High Desert package brings several changes to the Silverado, the most notable is the all-new flexible and lockage storage system in the cargo bed. Coming in a close second is the addition of GM’s Magnetic Ride Control suspension system – marking the first time its been available on the Silverado. Previously, it could be had on its GMC twin, the Sierra 1500.

“The High Desert package blends the capability and utility of Silverado with the refinement and luxury of Suburban,” said Sandor Piszar, director of Chevrolet truck marketing. “It’s ideal for those customers who want both the security of a lockable cargo area, as well as the flexibility of a pickup truck bed.”

Now that Piszar mentioned it, the High Desert package does make the Silverado look an awful lot like the old Chevy Avalanche, which was based on the then-current Suburban. While GM isn’t expressly saying the High Desert fills the role of the Avalanche, it’s hard to not see the similarities, especially in the sail panels that run from the bed rails to the top of the cab.

Perhaps Chevy has customers begging for storage solutions like the RamBox, available on the Ram 1500 and Ram HD pickups, or perhaps customers just wanted something similar to the Avalanche. Either way, the High Desert package seems like a great addition to the Silverado – at least far more than any of Chevy’s recent special edition pickups.

Continue reading to learn more about the Chevrolet Silverado High Desert.

What makes the Chevrolet Silverado High Desert special

2016 Chevrolet Silverado High Desert High Resolution Wallpaper quality
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2016 Chevrolet Silverado High Desert High Resolution
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2016 Chevrolet Silverado High Desert High Resolution
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Obviously the biggest attraction to the High Desert package is its unique cargo storage solution. GM definitely pulled a page from its mid-2000s playbook when creating the in-bed system, taking plenty of cues from the Avalanche. The system adds sail panels along the rear of the cab that flow into the bed rails. The added height of the bed rails allows for the sidesaddle storage boxes, similar to those found on the Avalanche.

Also similar is the hard tonneau cover that offers lockable storage underneath and a place to secure cargo on top. The storage system further adds versatility with a slideable bed divider While the system does reduce the overall amount of cargo storage available in the bed, it makes the space more functional for smaller, everyday items while still offering the ability to haul larger things like bicycles, small ATVs, or even a few square bales of hay.

Beyond the box, the High Desert package upgrades several features on the Silverado. On LT trim levels, the wheels are upgraded to 20-inchers wrapped in all-season tires. LTZ and High Country trims get 22-inch wheels with all-terrain tires. Lastly, on the range-topping High Country trim, Chevy is offering the Magnetic Ride Control as an option.

The standard powertrain for the Silverado High Desert is the 4.3-liter V-6, which makes 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. Optionally, the 5.3-liter V-8 is available, which produces a respectable 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. The power-hungry will enjoy the 6.2-liter V-8, available only on the LTZ and High Country trims, which makes an impressive 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Both V-8s come mated to an eight-speed automatic, while the V-6 comes with a six-speed auto. 4WD is available with all three engine options.

Perhaps Chevy is testing the waters with the High Desert package to see if customers really appreciate the versatility offered by this bed system. If so, it’s possible something like this could be made an option on all Silverado models and trims to compete against the Ram’s RamBox, Nissan’s new Titan Box, and the new Honda Ridgeline – all of which offer clever storage solutions not found in the traditional pickup. Chevy says the bed system is installed over the conventional cargo bed, so its possible to simply slide this into any Silverado bed.

Chevrolet Silverado

2016 Chevrolet Silverado High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the Chevrolet Silverado here.

Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read More
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Press Release

Chevrolet today revealed the Silverado High Desert package, which will arrive in dealers this fall. Based on the concept vehicle revealed at the 2014 SEMA show, the High Desert package brings unique content and capability to Silverado’s lineup of special editions – which offers more choices for truck buyers than any other brand.

Available on LT, LTZ, and High Country trim levels, the High Desert package combines refined exterior styling, an all-new cargo system that is lockable and water resistant and available Magnetic Ride Control suspension on High Country.

“The High Desert package blends the capability and utility of Silverado with the refinement and luxury of Suburban,” said Sandor Piszar, director of Chevrolet truck marketing. “It’s ideal for those customers who want both the security of a lockable cargo area, as well as the flexibility of a pickup truck bed.”

An all-new flexible, lockable storage system in the cargo bed locks cargo away safely and protects it from the elements. The system installs over the roll-formed, high-strength steel bed to add dual side storage bins and a three-piece hard tonneau cover. Inside, a cargo divider can be raised to secure smaller items, or lowered to access the full length of the bed floor. As with all Silverado LT, LTZ, and High Country models, the tailgate locks with the keyfob, enabling users to secure their cargo with the push of a button. The High Desert package on the LT trim level features 20-inch wheels with all-season tires, while 22-inch wheels and all-terrain tires are available on LTZ and High Country trim levels.

The High Desert is also the first Silverado offered with Magnetic Ride Control suspension, which delivers more precise body motion control. Its sensors “read” the road every millisecond, triggering damping changes in as little as five milliseconds in electronically controlled shock absorbers that replace conventional mechanical-valve shocks. They’re filled with a magneto-rheological fluid containing minute iron particles and under the presence of a magnetic charge, the iron particles align to provide damping resistance. Changes in the magnetic charge alter the damping rate of the shocks, with changes occurring almost instantly.

Silverado’s EcoTec3 6.2L V-8, is available on LTZ and High Country models and is backed by the new Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed automatic transmission. The engine is SAE-certified at 420 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque, making it the most powerful engine offered in a light-duty truck.

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