Australia’s newest ute comes straight from the USA…via Clayton, Victoria
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The company once responsible for Australia’s hottest Commodores, HSV, has cemented itself as a centre of excellence for re-engineered left-hand drive products, and has now added the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pick-up to its range.

The dual-cab Silverado ute was one of the top-selling trucks in the United States for 2019, just behind the Ford F-Series and the Ram pickup. The 1500 variant touched down in local showrooms in March 2020, joining the existing Chevrolet Silverado range in Australia, which currently includes the 3500 and 2500 variants.

Priced from about $110,000 (the company is still finalising the specific figure) before on-road costs, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ sold in Australia is, for now at least, the sole variant offered.

LTZ trim sits roughly middle of the range in the American line-up, but looks every bit the flagship amongst Aussie utes.

The smaller Silverado comes from Chevrolet’s new generation of T1XX platforms utes and SUVs, having plenty in common with the newest Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, and the new Cadillac Escalade, and sharing less with the older generation K2 platform Silverado 2500HD sold alongside it.

HSV’s range now includes both Silverado models, plus by special order the even heavier-duty Silverado 3500, Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and, in partnership with Ateco Automotive, HSV’s parent company Walkinshaw Automotive converts the previous generation Ram 1500.

The newest Silverado occupies the same market space as Ram’s truck, providing an upsized alternative to regular 4x4 dual cabs utes, predominantly imported from Thailand and mostly powered by four-cylinder turbo-diesel engines.

The Silverado 1500 not only arrives with larger dimensions than your typical ute, but boasts a higher maximum towing capacity, more spacious interior and a petrol V8 engine with not only twice the cylinders, but also double of the power of most utes sold in Australia.

Under the bonnet is a 6.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol ‘EcoTec3’ V8 producing 313kW at 5600rpm and 624Nm at 4100rpm, plus fuel-saving tech including an idle stop system and Dynamic Fuel Management, (otherwise known as cylinder deactivation) which can shut down as many as six cylinders to save fuel in low-load driving.

HSV rates the Silverado 1500 LTZ at 12.3 L/100km for combined cycle fuel consumption.

The engine drives via a 10-speed automatic transmission, to the ‘Z71’ 4x4 system which includes a two-speed transfer case and adds in underbody protection and 275/60 R20 all terrain tyres wrapped around 20-inch polished alloy wheels.

Key dimensions see the Silverado 1500 stretch 5885mm nose to tail, standing 1915mm with a width of 2063mm. The tray measures 1776mm long internally and 1286mm between the wheel arches with a 712kg payload.

Maximum towing capacity is rated at 4500gk with a 70mm ball or a more typical 3500kg with a 50mm ball. Kerb weight stands at 2588kg and gross combined mass at 7160kg meaning with a fully loaded trailer there’s little left in the way of carrying capacity.

The standard equipment list is as big as the ute itself too. Perforated leather seat trim, 10-way power adjustable front seats with driver’s memory, heated steering wheel, front seat heating and cooling, rear seat heating for the outboard positions, underseat rear storage, rake and reach adjustable steering, keyless entry and start plus remote start, heated power folding mirrors, automatic high beam, a powered tailgate, sliding rear windscreen and dual-zone climate control tell only part of the the story.

Safety tech covers six airbags, front and rear park sensors, a rear-view camera, traction and stability control with roll and trailer sway mitigation, camera-based adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane change alert with blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, forward collision alert, and low speed (8-80km/h) camera-based autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection (up to 60 km/h).

Interior entertainment is provided via an 8.0-inch MyLink infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, Bluetooth, and seven-speaker Bose audio. There’s no integrated sat-nav, however there is a slew of advanced trailering apps installed.

Within the trailering menus you can save trailer profiles, set departure checklists, conduct single-handed light checks, track trailer mileage, receive reminders when trailer maintenance is due, and integrate the trailer with the vehicle's alarm and tyre-pressure-monitoring systems.

A hitch-view mode for the reverse camera is inbuilt to assist connecting up, along with integrated trailer brake control and a standard 12-pin trailer plug. The towbar itself is built to Australian specifications and fitted locally in lieu of the less stringent unit fitted to USA-spec cars.

HSV’s right-hand drive conversion, or re-engineering, program started around 18 months ago. The company’s access to selected OEM data from General Motors ensures any modified or newly built parts meet factory standards.

Amongst the obvious changes – like a new dash panel, steering system conversion, new steering intermediate shaft, rear light changes to include amber indicators, and new wiper arm mechanism – are less obvious, yet still important local additions.

Wiring harnesses are reworked to accommodate the dashboard changes, climate controls switched so that the left-hand side of the vehicle is the ‘second zone’, a height adjustment switch is added to the LED headlights to account for load variances (an ADR requirement), though the headlights themselves aren’t reworked like the Camaro’s, with the beam pattern meeting local regulations.

Cars arrive in full US-market specification with a km/h instrument cluster intended for the Canadian market fitted. Changes are made to the fire wall, the alternator switched to the opposite side of the engine to allow room for the steering shaft, the front footwells are modified to suit the newly installed pedal and a new brake pedal assembly and driver’s foot rest developed by HSV are fitted.

The conversion process takes around two days to complete. Major components like seats, restraint systems, and airbags are kept with and reinstalled into their original vehicle to ensure successful recall tracking if required, while new parts or those unable to be matched to their original vehicle (wiring harnesses take longer to modify than the build process, so HSV has a parts bank for those) are barcoded and scanned, forming part of the car's revised data set.

HSV also offers a huge array of genuine Chevrolet accessories – black badging kits, black alloy wheels, sports bars, alternative side steps, a nudge bar, weather guards, a stone deflector, plastic, rubber and carpet tub liners, and a range of tray storage, security and cover items are available.

Headlining the accessory range is a cat-back exhaust upgrade for a more aggressive engine note, plus an extra 9kW and 10Nm, a cold air intake which reduces flow restriction by up to 17 per cent, and a six-piston Brembo brake upgrade to replace the standard four-wheel disc brake set-up with upsized 410x32mm front rotors (+22 per cent) and six-piston calipers with an 84 per cent larger pad surface.

HSV isn’t prepared to take sales volume expectations, but has the ability to produce up to 10,000 vehicles per year at its facility in the Melbourne suburb of Clayton South.

Engine and transmission

  • 6.2-litre EcoTec V8 engine with Dynamic Fuel Management
  • 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Automatic stop/start
  • Four-wheel drive
  • Two-speed transfer case with rotary dial control
  • Locking rear differential
  • Dual-outlet exhaust with polished tips

Driver

  • Keyless entry and start
  • Remote engine start
  • Six-gauge instrument cluster
  • Multi-colour 15-inch head-up display
  • Manual tilt and telescoping steering column
  • Heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls
  • Integrated trailer brake controller
  • Auto-dimming interior rear view mirror with rear camera mirror

Cabin comfort

  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Rear seat air vents
  • Jet black perforated leather appointed seats
  • Heated and ventilated front bucket seats
  • heated rear outboard seats
  • 10-way powered driver and passenger seat adjustment including lumbar support
  • Driver's seat memory
  • Power sliding rear winder
  • Power tilt/slide sunroof
  • 60/40 folding rear bench seats with fold-up functionality

Safety and handling

  • Six airbags
  • Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with DuraLife rotors
  • Fully-boxed hydroformed front frame section
  • Electrically-assisted rack and pinion power steering
  • SatabiliTrak stability control with proactive roll avoidance, trailer sway control, hill-start assist and traction control
  • Hill descent control
  • Lane departure warning
  • Forward collision alert and low-speed autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Adaptive cruise control

Entertainment

  • Chevrolet 'Infotainment 3 Plus' system with 8.0-inch high definition touchscreen
  • Bose premium soundsystem, seven-speakers with RichBass woofer
  • Bluetooth phone and audio streaming
  • Wireless phone charging
  • 3x USB-A and 3x USB C ports including rear seat connections

Exterior

  • Chrome side steps
  • Chrome grille
  • Chrome front bumper
  • Chrome rear bumper with corner steps
  • Heated, power adjustable, power folding mirrors with puddle lamps
  • Chrome door handles
  • Spray-on bed liner
  • Power up and down tailgate with power lock and release
  • Front black bow-tie badge
  • Front frame-mounted recovery hooks
  • Rear privacy tint
  • Skid plates
  • Cargo bed tie-downs x12
  • Z71 pack with interior trim plate and exterior badging

Wheels and tyres

  • 20-inch polished alloy wheels
  • 275/60 R20SL all-terrain tyres

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pricing

  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ – $110,000 (to be confirmed, but in that range)