There’s an almost limitless number of options and extras available on pickup trucks these days, from factory spray-in bed liners to swanky floor mats and navigation systems. This gives folks not only a choice between brands and models, but also a wide range of possibilities of trims and functionalities.

Here’s how I’d spec out a 2015 Silverado with a realistic mindset of how I’d use the truck and a reasonable budget to work with.

Like most Americans, I’d use the truck as a daily driver, hauling more people than cargo. For that reason, I opted for the Crew Cab. It offers plenty of space for four adults and six in a pinch. That sixth passenger is courtesy of the 40/20/40 bench seat up front that comes standard on the Silverado WT, LS, and LT trim levels.

Speaking of trim levels, here’s where the rubber meats the road, or perhaps the dollar meats the desk. Prices swing wildly by $13,300 between the base WT and the high-falutin’ High Country. I’d want something more than a work truck, so my choice was between the LS and LT trims. For a measly $665 more, I opted for the LT over the LS. It includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel, EZ-lift tailgate, 17-inch aluminum wheels, and the G80 locking rear differential.

That pushes the price to $38,330. That’s still not cheap, but considering incentives and the value of a trade that should bring it down, the price seems tolerable. With that in mind, there are plenty of useful options still on the table, so let’s explore.

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Exterior

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Selecting the LT package adds the 17-inch aluminum wheels over the 16-inch steelies that come standard on the LS. Opting for the LT package also adds the chrome grille inserts and body-colored bumper crown.

As far as options, I chose the $475 factory spray-on bedliner and the $60 moveable upper cargo tie-downs. Those both add functionally without killing the budget. When it came to color, I stuck with a standard tone rather than opting for one of the premium paint colors. Deep Ruby Metallic suits the bill just fine.

Interior

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Choosing the LT trim package adds several features over the LS. Those include the leather-wrapped steering wheel with both audio and cruise controls, silver trim work throughout the cabin, an under-seat storage box, carpeting rather than vinyl flooring, the 4.2-inch color driver information gauge cluster display, and vanity mirrors on the sun visors.

Beyond those features, I’d opt for the $230 integrated trail brake controller. The fact it’s integrated means the dashboard is free of an aftermarket system, the electronics are synced with the ABS, and there’s no hassle of installing it myself. That’s a win-win in my book.

Powertrain

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Even the LT package comes packing the base, 4.3-liter V-6. Sure, it boasts the all-new design and the EcoTec3 technologies, but it only has 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque. For $1,095, I’d quickly upgrade to the 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V-8.

The LS block V-8 offers 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. Like the V-6, the V-8 offers Active Fuel Management, Variable Valve Timing, and Direct Fuel Injection. The difference is all in the power. Besides having more of it, the V-8’s torque curve is darn flat, offering more than 300 pound-feet of torque from 2,000 rpm up to 5,600 rpm, with its peak output at 4,100 rpm.

Of course, adding the $770 trailering package is a must, as it comes with all the necessary hardware to tow 6,400 pounds of trailer or haul 1,710 pounds of cargo in the bed. It includes the two-inch receiver hitch, the dual seven/four pin wiring harness, and the Eaton G80 automatic locking rear differential.

That locking rear differential is important since I chose to forego the $3,150 jump to 4WD. I know from experience the G80 works well in place of 4WD for maybe 80 percent of the stuff I’d ever venture to tackle in my daily driver.

Pricing

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All told, the Crew Cab Silverado in LT trim with 2WD and the 5.3-liter V-8 – plus the optional extras I mentioned – comes to $41,060. According to Chevy’s build-and-price website, it’s offering $2,250 in cash allowance and another $2,727 simply listed as “below MSRP.” That puts my experimental build at $36,083.

Conclusion

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Trucks are expensive these days; there’s no denying that. But with some realistic views of what I’d be using a truck for and some heavy restraint in the options department, I was able to build my idea of a solid truck.

Sadly, that never leaves me from wanting. If I were to add anything else, it would be the $1,730 LT Convenience Package. That includes a laundry list of power-operated do-dads, the dual-zone climate control, remote starter, rear window defroster, the 110-volt AC power outlet, and the upgraded eight-inch MyLink infotainment system with rear view camera. On second though, that $1,730 might be well-spent.

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