2017 chevrolet silverado 1500 z71 midnight edition driven

A black cloak and knobby tires for Chevy’s half-ton brawler
by Mark McNabb, on November 10, 2017, 16:00

The current Chevrolet Silverado isn’t that old, really. It debuted for the 2014 model year and underwent a very mild cosmetic refresh for 2016. Yet, in the high-stakes game that is the American pickup market, Chevy has to stay current. An all-new Silverado is destined for 2019, but until the fall of 2018, we’re stuck with the current truck. While the 2017 Silverado is hardly a bad apple, Chevy is keeping it fresh by offering several special edition models and among them is this, the Midnight Edition.

I recently spent a week driving a 2017 Chevy Silverado Crew Cab LTZ Z71 Midnight Edition, driving it the same way any truck owner would, well, save for towing a 9,300-pound trailer. I didn’t have one laying around. I did throw a couple coolers and lawn chairs in the bed, haul five people around, take the kiddo to school, and muddle through everyday life like anyone would. Turns out, the Silverado is a fantastic vehicle for active families.

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Video Overview


- * Midnight Edition brings blacked-out look, upgraded tires
- * Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires
- * Bumper steps
- * Spray-in bed liner
- * Towing Package
- * Skid plates

The 2017 Chevy Silverado is a handsome truck that’s been around since 2014. The grille, headlights, front bumper, and hood were refreshed in 2016 with a more aggressive design, but otherwise, the truck remains unchanged. Looks are subjective, so everybody will have their own opinion. For me, I like the Chevy’s squared-off appearance.

As for the Midnight Edition, the special edition package brings black door trim, a black front skid plate, black Chevy bowties, and that chrome Z71 badge on the front doors. Equally important to the tuck’s murderous tone are the black 18-inch wheels and Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires. Interestingly, the Midnight Edition also brings Front and Rear Park Assist that works via bumper-mounted sonar sensors.

When it comes to utility, the Silverado has it in spades. The cargo bed has a spray-in bedliner, which came standard as the LTZ trim package. The rear bumper features those awesomely handy steps for getting into the bed. In conjunction, the rear stake pockets have larger openings for handles when climbing up. The tailgate has an easy-lower and lift feature. The towing package, which is standard on the LTZ trim, not only includes the two-inch receiver hitch, but both seven- and four-pin wiring connectors. Having 4WD makes the front tow hooks standard. Other niceties include LED projector-beam headlights, LED fog lights,

All told, the Silverado fulfills its utilitarian role as a pickup, but also does a great job of being family transportation. Compile that with the sinister looks of the Midnight Edition, and it’s a solid package.


- * Seating for five
- * 8.0-inch MyLink Infotainment
- * Handy center console
- * Fold-up rear bench seats

Being a Crew Cab, this Silverado is meant to haul people and stuff within the comforts of an air-conditioned space. Naturally, the Silverado does this well. My LTZ tester comes with leather seats and has the $510 front bucket seat option that includes the full-length center console. Though it takes away the middle seat, reducing the seating capacity form six to five, the console offers tons of storage space, a rack for hanging file folders, a wireless phone charger, and a rubberized spot for holding cell phones. Best of all, the console adds an array of charge ports that includes two USB ports, two 12-volt power outlets, and a three-pronged, 110-volt plug.

The LTZ package makes a handful of electronic gadgetry standard, too. There’s the 8.0-inch MyLink infotainment system with navigation and the 4.2-inch driver information screen in the gauge cluster. Both are moderately customizable and allow for different information to be displayed. The MyLink system rivals Fiat Chrysler’s 8.4-inch Uconnect system for simplistic perfection while offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The home screen’s icons can be rearranged to suit the driver’s preference.

Another lovely feature is the heated and vented front seats. They both work exceptionally well at keeping backsides happy. The dual-zone climate controls keep front sides happy, too. Unfortunately for those in back, the Silverado does not have rear air vents, meaning they’ll have to rely on front occupants sharing their vents in the game of “move it a bit to the left. No, too much.” Adding insult to injury, the Silverado (and its corporate twin, the GMC Sierra) is the only full-size truck without rear air vents.

One thing the Silverado Crew Cab has plenty of is storage space. Not only does the center console have a ton of room, but all four door pockets have two shelves and room for big-gulp cups. The glove compartment has two tiers, making it easier to organize things. The rear bench seat has space underneath for stuff, as well. Chevy actually sells a storage organizer for this area, should you not need the mostly flat load floor. And yes, the bench seat folds up neatly, allowing larger items to slide in.

Other interesting features include a sunroof, a power-sliding rear window, memory settings for the driver’s seat, and power-adjustable pedals. Those things help make up for the Silverado’s lack of push-button starting.


- * 5.3-liter V-8
- * 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque
- * Eight-speed automatic transmission
- * 4WD with Auto mode
- * Automatic locking rear differential
- * 15 mpg city / 20 hwy / 17 Comb
- * 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds

The Chevy Silverado 1500 is available with three engines: the base 4.3-liter V-6, the volume-leading 5.3-liter V-8, and the premium choice, the 6.2-liter V-8. All three engines are from General Motors’ EcoTec3 engine family and share the same basic architecture and technology. The three main features (and why its called EcoTec3) are variable valve timing, direct fuel injection, and Active Fuel Management, otherwise known as cylinder deactivation.

Like most consumer-grade Silverados, my tester came with the 5.3-liter V-8. The small-block Chevy kicks out 355 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 383 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. That’s enough grunt to move this 5,300-pound truck to 60 mph in only 7.2 seconds. Chevy limits the truck’s top speed to a measly 99 mph, so don’t expect to run the German Autobahn.

Behind the V-8 is GM’s eight-speed automatic transmission and two-speed transfer case with auto mode. The eight-speed isn’t as smooth as FCA’s ZF eight-speed gearbox, but it’s plenty fine for pickup duty. The 4WD system offers five modes. There’s a 2WD mode, an Auto mode, 4WD high, 4WD low, and neutral. Auto mode is the set-it-and-forget-it setting that only sends power to the front wheels when traction is an issue. For serious stuff, the Silverado is equipped with the G80 automatic locking rear differential. It mechanically senses a difference in wheel speeds between the rear tires and automatically locks to send equal power to both wheels.

The EPA rates my tester at 15 mpg city, 20 mpg highway, and 17 mpg combined.

Behind the Wheel

- * Impressive handling for a truck
- * Feels more powerful than horsepower suggests
- * Easy to drive but hard to park
- * Comfy interior makes long drives fun

The Chevy Silverado is a big truck, but it somehow drives smaller than it looks – at least until it comes time to park. The steering is decently weighted but does require several turns from lock to lock. Throttle and braking inputs are smooth and linear. Visibility is actually pretty good, too, thanks to an airy cab and large side mirrors.

When the pedal hits the metal, the 5.3-liter feels way more stout than its 355-horsepower rating would suggest. Throaty intake and exhaust sounds accompany a heavy right foot, as does plenty of tire squealing if pushed too far. Keeping the transfer case in Auto mode is definitely advisable.

Of course, the Silverado is no sports car. Body roll is present, though not outlandish, as is brake dive and squirm from the knobby Goodyear DuraTrac tires. Still, the Silverado feels stable during quick maneuvers. On the highway, things settle down nicely. The cabin is quiet and free of wind and road noise. The meaty tires do give off more noise than the average all-season, but it’s not bad.


Perhaps the biggest downside to modern pickups is the price. The 2017 Silverado 1500 starts at $29,080, but that’s for the bare-bones WT trim in the single-cab, short bed configuration with the base V-6 and 2WD. Opting for something more upscale requires a fat wallet.

My Crew Cab LTZ Z71 Midnight Edition carries a starting price of $48,890 but quickly escalates with options. There’s the $770 LTZ Plus Package, the $1,050 Midnight Edition package, the $995 sunroof, the $945 Enhanced Driver Alert Package, the $650 heated and vented front seats, the $510 bucket seat option, and the $495 addition of navigation to the 8.0-inch MyLink infotainment system. All told, my tester carries a final price of $55,600. While expensive, that actually represents a decent deal relative to what Ford, Ram, Nissan, and Toyota are charging for an equivalent truck.


2018 Ford F-150

The Ford F-150 has undergone a mid-cycle refresh for the 2018 model year. The changes include mild exterior changes like a new grille, front bumper, and revised tailgate skin. Inside, the F-150 carries on unchanged, though that’s just fine since the cab is still fresh form 2015. The F-150 offers the widest array of cab and seating, configuration and options combinations of any vehicle in the industry. Customers can nearly build a one-off truck despite Ford building nearly a million F-Series truck each year.

The big changes for 2018 are found under the hood. The base V-6 is new, displacing 3.3 liters. It’s more fuel-efficient than the outgoing 3.5-liter while producing nearly identical power numbers. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost moves into its second generation with updated technology and 25 more pound-feet of torque at 400 pound-feet of torque. Horsepower remains at 325. The 3.5-liter EcoBoost carries over unchanged from its major updates in 2017. The 5.0-liter V-8 gets love, too, with direct injection and other tech for an increase in power to 395 horses and 400 pound-feet of torque. All but the base 3.3-liter V-6 come with Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission. The 3.3 keeps the six-speed automatic used before.

Pricing for the 2018 F-150 swings wildly thanks to the trucks numerous configurations and trim levels. The base XL regular-cab truck with zero options starts at $27,380. Check every box on the range-topping Limited trim and you’re looking at nearly $70,000.

Read more about the 2018 Ford F-150.

2017 Ram 1500

The Ram 1500 is the oldest pickup of this trio, but that will change for 2019 when the next generation hits showrooms. Until then, the 2017 and 2018 Ram 1500 continues to offer all three cab sizes, multiple bed lengths, a slew of trim lines, and nearly as many options as the F-150. And like the competition, the Ram can vary from stripped-down work truck to glammed-up and loaded out luxury machine. Niceties include the lovely 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system, a four-corner air ride suspension, and real wood and aluminum interior accents.

Three engines are available: the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, and the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6. All three have their place and target audience. The 3.6 caters to the fleet and budget-conscious with 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The Hemi is the one with muscle car ties. It kicks out 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque, matching the 2018 F-150’s updated 5.0-liter V-8. The EcoDiesel is for those who enjoy sipping diesel at a slow pace. With 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, the turbocharged V-6 can get upwards of 29 mpg on the highway when paired with the right truck configuration. That’s impressive.

Like any half-ton truck, prices vary greatly depending on trim, drivetrain, and cab choices. The base Tradesman trim on a regular cab truck with no options starts at $26,495. Interestingly, the Ram 1500’s max price peaks far lower than the Ford’s at roughly $58,000.

Read our full review on the 2017 Ram 1500.


Despite strong competition from Ford and Ram, not to mention the hungry Nissan and Toyota, the Chevrolet Silverado continues to sell extremely well, consistently ranking right behind the F-Series. It’s no wonder since the Silverado has a cab size, trim level, and engine choice for just about any job and budget. Choice is what Chevy delivers. Sprinkle on some special edition seasoning and boom, customers who crave something different with their truck can have it.

The Z71 Midnight Edition Silverado adds flair to an otherwise conventional truck. What’s more, the package adds functionality thanks to the more aggressive Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires.

  • Leave it
    • Blacked-out theme is almost too common now
    • Fuel economy
    • Gets expensive with options


2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71: An Overview

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The Handiest Feature On The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado

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Chevrolet Silverado

Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado.

Read our full review on the Chevrolet Silverado Midnight Edition.

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