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