by Jay Traugott
Trucks are vital to General Motors' bottom line. Hence the concern when a new problem recently emerged: cross-town rival Ram's 1500 full-size truck has been consistently outselling the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 for the No. 2 sales spot behind the Ford F-150. Key reasons included the outstanding redesigned Ram's interior and a long list of cool features. Chevy had to act, but the pandemic slowed down its planned mid-life facelift.
That wait is finally over. The heavily updated 2022 Chevy Silverado 1500 features a completely redesigned interior, a new off-road ZR2 trim, and optional Super Cruise driver-assist technology. The latest Silverado is out to reclaim its sales position and, on paper, Ram should definitely be worried.
Chevy's design team didn't ignore the truck's exterior. The enhanced look is unique throughout the trim line. Those who weren't fans of the outgoing model should find the refreshed truck much more to their liking. We'll know soon enough as sales begin next spring.
See trim levels and configurations:
4.3L V6 Gas
The outgoing model already took exterior styling to a new level, though not everyone was a fan. For 2022, Chevy's designers refined the look making it bolder. The new ZR2 off-road trim is the ideal example with its black hood insert, unique grille with a "flow-tie" emblem, and special badges and wheels.
Chevy says every Silverado trim gets a new front fascia and grille with lowered headlights. The wing-shaped daytime running lights have been tweaked with a new animated lighting sequence. Three new paint colors have been introduced: Dark Ash, Sand Dune, and Glacier Blue Metallic.
Bear in mind this is mid-life refresh and not a complete redesign. Therefore, the basic core elements remain, such as the roll-formed high-strength steel bed floor construction, 12 standard tie-downs, and the optional Multi-Flex tailgate.
The outgoing Silverado's weakest point was undoubtedly the interior. That's in the past. The completely redesigned and far more luxurious and premium interior boasts a handsome horizontal instrument panel and a more functional center console with an optional electronic shift controller. A 13.4-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital configurable instrument cluster are standard, as is Google Assistant, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay compatibility. A head-up display is also available.
Depending on trim, owners will get an array of luxurious features. The top-of-the-line High Country, for example, comes standard with open-pore wood trim, leather seating surfaces, and stainless steel speaker grilles with a Bose audio system.
A long list of driver-assist features are available including upgraded adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert, lane keep assist, automatic emergency braking, and front pedestrian braking. The most important new optional system is the Super Cruise hands-free technology. Currently, there's over 200,000 miles of compatible roads in North America where drivers can fully use the tech that relies on LiDAR and a small camera located on top of the steering wheel capable of determining where the driver is looking.
Since this is mid-life update, engine choices are the same. But it should be noted that the base 2.7-liter turbo-four engine has been improved with 20 percent more torque than before, now rated at a class-leading 420 lb-ft. The eight-speed automatic gearbox it's paired to also received enhanced calibrations, according to Chevy. Total towing capacity comes to 9,500 pounds in RWD configuration. The 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel V6 returns and now has an improved towing capacity of 13,300 pounds thanks to some chassis upgrades.
The naturally aspirated 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V8s remain available. The new ZR2 off-road trim can only be equipped with the latter engine, which continues to be rated at 420 hp and 460 lb-ft. Both V8s and the oil burner are linked to a 10-speed automatic.
If off-roading is your thing, then the ZR2 is for you. Some of its highlights include the top powertrain, spool-valve dampers, numerous unique chassis calibrations, front and rear e-lockers, a skid plate package, special 33-inch off-road tires, and a new high-approach steel front bumper that allows for a 31.8-degree approach angle. Even the dual exhaust system has been relocated compared to other trims to minimize potential damage from rough terrain.
Chevrolet has not announced pricing for the 2022 Silverado 1500 lineup at this time. But we do have a few clues. The outgoing 2021 model began at just over $30,000 and surpasses the $60k mark when fully optioned. We expect the new Silverado ZR2 trim to be highly sought after, and again won't come cheap. Figure around a $35k-$40k price of entry. Expect the automaker to reveal pricing not long before sales officially get underway early next year.
As noted earlier, the full-size truck segment is fierce in America. It's owned by the Detroit automakers, though Toyota and Nissan compete with the Tundra and Titan, respectively. An all-new Tundra will also go on sale for 2022. But Chevy's prime targets remain the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500. The new ZR2 will face off directly against the F-150 Raptor and 1500 TRX, though both beat the Chevy's output. We'll have to wait and see how they do in a three-way off-road matchup.
Without question, the updated 2022 Chevy Silverado 1500 appears to be a solid improvement in key areas like styling inside and out, technology, and off-road capabilities. The sales figures should reflect that.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500: