There’s no denying that trucks are an important part of GM’s overall business strategy, especially when it comes to their Chevy lineup (and GMC to a slightly lesser extent). Passing by a Chevy truck dealership, you can see a huge selection of different models in a wide range of shapes and sizes. At first glance, it might seem like there are far more options than Chevy needs to have, creating an excess of choices – but the reality is that there’s something for everyone, and Chevy’s lineup makes a lot of sense. To fully appreciate why Chevy has so many different truck models, let’s look at each one available now, along with some coming soon or that we might not even get here in the US.
The Chevy Colorado
The Colorado is a midsize model, and currently, the smallest truck Chevy offers here in the US (that could change, more on that below); it’s aimed at people who need a pickup that fits into their current lifestyle. For the upcoming 2023 model year, there is a single basic engine with three different versions available. There’s a 2.7L Turbo I-4 that puts out 237 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque, with a Plus version that bumps those specs up to 310 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque, and a High Output option that delivers 430 lb-ft of torque. The midsize Colorado tops out at 7,700 lbs of towing, and it has a solid number of options with different trims and features across them. Thanks to its Z71 and ZR2 trims, the Colorado is also popular for going off-road. Altogether, this is a good representation of Chevy’s approach to the truck market and a popular choice for those needing power but not in the size of a Silverado.
The Chevy Silverado 1500
While the Colorado is a great option, anyone looking for a truck that can meet the needs of professional use will likely focus on the Silverado 1500. This is Chevy’s flagship pickup model: a full-size, light-duty truck perfect for people working in trades, farmers, and other professionals who need a truck to help get their jobs done. Chevy has packed tremendous power into this pickup thanks to numerous engines, including a standard 2.7L High Output Turbo engine with 430 lb-ft of torque, an available 6.2L V8 with 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, and a Duramax Turbo-Diesel that produces a whopping 495 lb-ft of torque.
Depending on the engine, the Silverado 1500 can haul up to 13,300 lbs of weight behind it, which is perfect for boats, trailers, campers, and more. The Silverado has numerous Trail Boss trims and an impressive ZR2 trim designed for taking it off-road, and it’s become one of the most popular models on the trail today. It’s one of the top-three best selling trucks in the country and an iconic favorite amongst Chevy fans looking for a pickup.
The Chevy Silverado HD Series
For those who need a lot more power beyond what the Silverado 1500 can deliver, there’s the Silverado HD series. There are a couple of different models available here: a Silverado 2500 HD and a Silverado 3500 HD; a higher number means more power. While most drivers don’t need the kind of capability that these HD models can deliver, they’re very popular options for private and government fleets where incredible power and the ability to go just about anywhere are vital.
Models from the current 2023 lineup are offered with a 6.6L V8 gas engine that delivers 401 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque or a 6.6L Duramax Turbo-Diesel V8 that provides 445 hp and a massive 910 lb-ft of torque. While both trucks are excellent for conventional towing, to appreciate what the Silverado 3500 HD can do, you have to look at its gooseneck towing potential, which is up to 36,000 lbs when properly equipped. That’s perfect for large trailers and campers that need to be hitched to the bed of the truck and not simply through a conventional hookup.
The Chevy Silverado Low Cab Forward
Next up, we have a few specialized options that are definitely not for everyone and are meant for commercial customers with very specific needs. Chevy’s Low Cab Forward models feature a smaller cab with more of a snub-nose design and a long platform behind it that can be built upon with an upfit or other customized configuration. These models excel at delivering incredible payload ratings, making them perfect for flatbeds used to haul other vehicles or building materials or as commercial delivery trucks. With a maximum payload of more than 16,000 lbs and numerous models available, these are specialty trucks designed for businesses that need exceptional power and payload capability.
The Chevy Silverado 3500 HD Chassis Cab
Like the Low Cab Forward models, Chevy also offers a number of Silverado HD trucks as chassis cabs – meaning they have a standard cab and a flat platform behind them. These models are ideal for businesses that want a powerful Silverado truck that they can customize in a way that perfectly meets their needs. Landscaping companies can outfit one of these models with a dump bed for soil and gravel or a flatbed to transport small trees and equipment, while an electrician can choose an upfit with cargo space and numerous compartments to organize tools, materials, and everything else they need. These are powerful machines, and much like the Low Cab Forward models, they’re offered in much greater size classes, including a Silverado 4500 HD, 5500 HD, and the massive Silverado 6500 HD.
The Chevy Silverado EV
So far, we’ve looked at the current lineup of Chevy trucks, models that have been around for many years. Coming up, however, they’re about to be joined by an all-new Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV) version of Chevy’s full-size truck: the Silverado EV. This is a big one for Chevy as the BEV truck market looks like the next big contest between the major companies; while Ford is hitting the road first with the F-150 Lightning, the Silverado EV will be right behind it.
In terms of performance, it’s clear that Chevy’s engineers understand that the Silverado EV needs to make a strong first impression. It will come with dual motors for electric all-wheel drive standard on every model, with two options for performance: a starting 510 hp and 615 lb-ft of torque setup or an available upgrade to 754 hp and 785 lb-ft of torque. Those are incredible numbers for a light-duty truck and demonstrate the kind of power they’re packing into this thing – the upgraded version will be able to haul up to 10,000 lbs behind it, and the Silverado EV should have a maximum range of more than 400 miles from a full charge.
The Chevy Montana
And now for something completely different: here’s a truck that’s coming to Chevy’s lineup, but we might not actually get it here in the US. The Montana is Chevy’s upcoming compact pickup, which is a market that’s seeing a lot of interest at the moment thanks to the Hyundai Santa Cruz and the Ford Maverick. Built on a platform shared with a small crossover model available in other countries, the Montana looks like it will be powered by a 1.2L turbo engine that puts out around 130 hp and 140 lb-ft of torque, with a small size that would make it an interesting new addition to Chevy’s lineup.
Since there’s a growing market for it here in the US, it might seem natural for Chevy to release it here. The problem is that at the moment at least, it’s only going to be manufactured in Brazil (where it’s set to be released); US laws place a 25% tax on items made in South America and imported into this country, so that would make it priced well beyond what’s reasonable for a compact pickup. In order to bring the Montana to the US, Chevy would need to start making it in North America, which would require resources they’re not likely to expend any time soon. While we might see it join the Chevy lineup at some point down the road, for now, at least, it looks like Ford and Hyundai will have this segment sealed up.