More often than not, us members of the automotive media are a bunch of spoiled twats. We get to drive a wide variety of vehicles that we’ll likely never be able to afford, and all the automakers want in return are decent pictures (if that) and some kind words. Of course, in order to sweeten us up and get us as in-love with a particular model as possible, a good deal of press loaners are top-trim cars, decked out with 42-speaker this and ventilated, massaging that. Not this truck.
Due to what I assume is some sort of terrible mistake, Chevrolet brought a 2015 Silverado 1500 LS into the Chicago fleet, and having driven no truck cheaper than $50,000 over the past year, I jumped at the opportunity to drive it. The LS is the lowest non-work-dedicated trim, just above the WT. After discounts and a couple options (the Monroney is posted at the bottom), the final price for this truck is $35,660. That’s affordable, right? That’s barely above the national average.
It’s fairly obvious, though, that you won’t be both having and eating your cake with the Silverado LS. In order to keep the price nice and low, certain things you might take for granted on a typical passenger car won’t come standard on this truck. I, not being the truckiest motherfucker on the planet, was surprised by a few key omissions, although many of you may not even blink when I mention some of the following.
(This lovely blue paint is a $495 option, if you were wondering.)
So what kind of truck does $36,000 net you? Let’s start on the outside.
First, your tailgate won’t lower softly. I know that a tailgate strut is a relatively new option on trucks, even though the aftermarket’s been offering them for a while. Still, I was a bit surprised that this simple (and, for all intents and purposes, relatively inexpensive) solution hadn’t been adopted on all Silverado trim levels. I discovered this when, after haphazardly pulling the tailgate latch, the Silverado’s tailgate transferred its kinetic energy directly into my hip bone.
You also don’t get a rear-window defroster. Or anything more than a static slab of glass, to be honest. I’m assuming the lack of defroster is due to the window’s straight-vertical positioning. But you do still get bed lighting, which is convenient.
Okay, a key isn’t really “exterior,” but it’s close enough, and it works as a segue to the interior. The remote comes with two functions, lock and unlock, but since it’s a shared remote, you do get to look at the soft impressions of where additional buttons should be. Ah, blank panels — the staple of frugality.
You see that center console? It flips up and becomes a bench seat. Move into higher trim levels, and this arrangement disappears in favor of a permanent center console. Fuck that; bench seats for life.
Remember how the key is littered with blank panels? Well, you’ll get to see a whole lot more blank panels once you make your way inside the truck. The entire right side of the steering wheel is empty, as are the two spots devoted to heated-seat controls on the center stack, as is the entire panel to the left of the steering wheel. This specific Silverado does have the “Trailering Equipment Package,” which includes a locking rear differential, but it’s all automatic, so no extra knobs for you, buddy.
There’s also no central light. You get the two reading lights up front, and that’s it. Between that and the fixed rear window, the panel that comprises these lights and the sunglasses holder is also very empty. Whole lotta blank real estate up in this bitch.
The infotainment system is also a little, um, little. It’s Chevrolet’s non-touch version of its MyLink system. Here, it’s 4.2 inches on the diagonal, and it relies on a mixture of dial inputs and that row of buttons you see under the screen. Of course, you’ll forget this time and time again, smashing the screen with your finger to no avail. But when you do that, the screen does the weird warpy thing that your old flat screen television would do when you touched it. Of course, you’ll need to be on a cocktail of drugs to be intrigued by this, so hopefully you’ll get your junkie jollies from the passenger seat, if that’s the case.
My favorite kinda-cheap thing about the Silverado, though, is the instrument display situated between the gauges. You do get some nice features with it, like fuel-economy tracking and individual tire-pressure readouts, but in order to change the display, you have to spin the trip-reset knob just to the right of it. I like the tactile sensation of it, even if it relies on a part that GM’s been using since my parents were shopping for a new car shortly after my birth.
(See? Spoiled twat, like I said.)
Now, I don’t want this to sound like I’m shit-talking this truck, because I’m really not. I love it. Even driving it home from the suburbs to downtown Chicago isn’t a problem; it’s quick, and even with an unladen box, the ride is nice. It’ll probably do way, way more than you’ll ever need it to, and it’s not going to require a second mortgage or 96 months of payments.
I wanted to point out how much (or little, depending on your viewpoint) you get for this price simply because there aren’t too many near-stripper models that auto writers get to review. Sure, I like knowing about the King Ranch and how its leather comes a farm that piped Lee Greenwood songs through loudspeakers to make the heifers as ‘Murican as possible, but I also like knowing about trucks bought by people who can’t afford that much crap, or people who don’t want all that crap. Jalopnik’s own Andrew Collins was lucky enough to get behind the wheel of a bare-bones Colorado, which I don’t think I’ve even seen on Chevrolet’s website.
Bear in mind that this truck does carry a few options, but some of them were immediately covered by a “custom package” discount. Looking at the Monroney below, our options include the aforementioned locking differential, GM’s EcoTec3 5.3-liter V-8, a very nice shade of blue, color-keyed carpet, and some other niceties. I’d say that this is what you could reasonably tack on to the 1500 LS while keeping the price as palatable as possible.
This is a truck for the common man. And it’s a very good truck, at that.