2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Review and Prices

Last Updated: Feb 4, 2013

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2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Buying Advice

The 2013 Chevrolet Silverado is the best full-size pickup for you if you value proven technology and like it wrapped in familiar form.

The 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 will almost certainly be a virtual carryover of the 2012 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 as GM prepares an extensively revamped 2014 replacement. Same goes for the 2013 GMC Sierra 1500, Silverado’s near twin. The 2013 versions of these pickups will continue to show their age, with behind-the-times cabin design and off-the-pace tech features. But they’ll also remain bravely competitive thanks to well-developed powertrains and a surfeit of cab, cargo-bed, and suspension choices.

Should you wait for the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado or buy a 2012 Chevrolet Silverado? The 2013 Silverado is unlikely to change enough to warrant the wait, so buy a 2012 Silverado of you need a new full-size Chevy pickup right now. If you don’t, and if big discounts mean more to you than the latest styling and gizmos, the 2013 Silverado 1500 might hold some appeal. Attractive closeout deals will become available as Chevy clears inventory ahead of the restyled and re-engineered 2014 Silverado 1500.  Just remember: as the final edition of the outgoing design generation, the 2013 Silverado 1500 would suffer accelerated depreciation.

2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Changes back to top

Styling: The 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500’s styling will stand pat except for a possible new color choice or two or perhaps a special trim package. The big pickup will rely on sheet metal that hasn’t changed since model-year 2007 but nonetheless appeals if you prefer handsome understatement to the flashier pose of the newer Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram 1500.

Chevy could phase out some versions of the current-generation Silverado 1500 as the 2013 model year progresses and production transitions to the redesigned 2014 replacement. It could even offer the two generations side by side, aiming a simplified lineup of outgoing Silverado 1500s at budget-minded buyers. 

But chances are strong that you’ll see the 2013 Silverado 1500 continue to offer three cab choices and four cargo-bed lengths. A favorite of fleet customers, the 2013 Silverado 1500 regular-cab two-door would again seat two or three and offer beds in 5-foot-8-inch and 8-foot lengths.

The more versatile 2013 Silverado 1500 Extended cab would return with small, rear-hinged back doors, seating for up to six, and offer a 6-foot-6-inch cargo box in addition to the 5-8 and 8-foot lengths.

Likely to remain the most popular version of this pickup, the 2013 Silverado 1500 Crew Cab would have four conventional doors, seat up to six, and again use the 5-foot-8-inch bed.

As always, exterior styling would dress up as you climb the model line. The 2013 Silverado 1500 roster should again start in basic Work Truck (WT) trim and ascend through LS, LT, and LTZ models. Chevy could, however, consolidate the lineup or even offer a special close-out trim level, depending on its strategy for marketing the swan-song 2013 Silverado 1500.

If it continues to offer a 2013 Silverado Hybrid, the gas-electric model would again share its aerodynamic front fascia with the Silverado 1500 XFE (Xtra Fuel Economy) model. Both the Hybrid and XFE would probably continue as Crew Cabs only.

Barring some pare-back as production winds down, the 2013 Silverado 1500 should continue to feature a choice of fairly unadorned or relatively fancy cabin décors. The 2013 Silverado WT, LS, and LT models would continue with a basic design Chevy calls “pure pickup.” The 2013 LTZ would reprise a “luxury inspired” interior that shares its dashboard design with the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban SUVs, which are built off the Silverado. 

Incidentally, the “1500” in Silverado’s name refers to its general payload category, known popularly as the half-ton class. The Silverado 2500 qualifies for the three-quarter-ton class, with the 3500 designated a one-ton truck. Following a similar convention, Ford’s full-size pickups march through F-150, F-250, and F-350 designations while Dodge’s Ram follows the 1500, 2500, 3500 form.

Mechanical: The 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 won’t get any major mechanical additions, though a subtraction or two may be in the cards to accommodate production start-up of the re-engineered 2014 Silverado.

If Chevy continues with the full engine lineup it would preserve an area in which the current Silverado is quite competitive with its newer rivals. The 2013 F-150 and 2013 Ram 1500 will field designs introduced for model-year 2009 and again look and feel newer than the 2013 Silverado 1500. Driving home the point, Ford fully updated the F-150’s powertrain lineup for model-year 2011, icing the cake with the twin-turbo EcoBoost, a V-6 with V-8 power and six-cylinder fuel economy. It’s been a critical and sales success.      

The 2013 Silverado 1500 isn’t likely to match that – though the 2014 might (see “What’s Next for the Chevrolet Silverado 1500” below). The 2013 Silverado 1500 will instead return with a powertrain lineup that has served this Chevy well for years. Expect it to repeat with a base 4.3-liter V-6 and a quartet of V-8 choices, including one in the Hybrid.

Silverado’s most popular engine choice has historically been the smooth, adaptable 5.3-liter V-8. It should continue with 315 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque for model-year 2013. The 5.3 should remain available on all Silverado 1500 body styles and again save gas by employing GM’s Active Fuel Management system. This automatically switches between eight and four cylinders, depending on power demands.

The 2013 Silverado’s V-6 would likely continue with a barely adequate 195 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Also returning would be V-8s of 4.8 liters (302 horsepower/305 pound-feet) and 6.2 liters (403/417). The V-6 and the 4.8-liter V-8 have used a behind-the-times four-speed automatic transmission, the other engines a more efficient six-speed automatic. That probably wouldn’t change for model-year 2013.

The pricey Hybrid model has accounted for a fraction of Silverado sales. But keeping it in the 2013 lineup would allow Chevy (along with GMC and its Sierra Hybrid) to again claim a class exclusive. The Hybrid teams a 6.0-liter Active Fuel Management V-8 with electric motors encased in the transmission housing. Net horsepower should remain 332 and towing capacity 6,100 pounds. The hybrid system self-charges its battery pack and the take can do 30 mph on electricity alone. The electric motors allow the V-8 to more frequently tap four-cylinder mode; they also assist acceleration. The Hybrid uses a continuously variable automatic transmission.

Absent some change in driveline strategy, all 2013 Silverado 1500s, including the Hybrid, would again be available with rear-wheel drive (2wd) or a choice of two four-wheel-drive (4wd) systems. The basic 4wd system would again be a part-time setup not designed to remain engaged on dry pavement.

The alternative 4wd system would again be GM’s Autotrac unit suitable for use on all surfaces. This so-called full-time 4wd is a boon on damp pavement, where pickups with empty or lightly loaded cargo beds are susceptible to rear-tire spin and fishtailing. So far, only the Ram 1500 has matched the Silverado and Sierra 1500s with this feature. Both Silverado 4wd systems feature low-range gearing.   

A maximum towing capacity of around 10,700 pounds should keep the 2013 Silverado in the hauling hunt. That max would likely again be achieved in the 6.2-liter-V-8 Extended Cab with the optional trailering package.

Features: Don’t anticipate an explosion of high-tech additions to the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500’s roster of features. Big advances in infotainment probably won’t come until the model-year 2014 makeover. But most pickup buyers would likely be content with the fairly extensive stock of useful features apt to return on the 2013 Silverado 1500.

All 2013 Silverado 1500 models will again come standard with GM’s OnStar assistance system, cruise control, GM’s StabiliTrack antiskid system, trailer-sway control, hill-start assist, and head-protecting curtain side airbags for all outboard seating positions. Every audio system except the entry-level set should continue with USB iPod connectivity.

Sprinkled among various models as standard or optional would again be a rearview backup camera, leather upholstery, a navigation system, rear-seat DVD entertainment, heated and cooled power front seats, remote engine start, a power sliding rear window, and Bluetooth cell-phone link. An onboard WiFi access that turns the Silverado 1500 into a mobile Internet hotspot would likely return as a dealer-installed option.

Wheel and tire choices should again range from 17-22 inches, depending on a particular model’s standard equipment or options eligibility. Chevy could dial back on the array of suspension variations available on the 2013 Silverado. But the various code-named setups have helped this truck connect with buyers who recognize Z83 and Z85 as comfort-oriented suspensions, Z71 as off-road capable, and Z60 as the sporty-handling choice.

2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Prices back to top

Prices for the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 had not been released in time for this review. But base prices should remain in the $23,500-$44,000 range for conventional-powertrain models. If the Hybrid survives, it should again start around $38,000. (Estimated base prices in this review include the manufacturer’s destination fee; Chevy’s fee for the 2012 Silverado 1500 was $995.)

Several factors could affect 2013 Silverado prices – more specifically, the prices you’d actually pay to drive one off the lot. With sales slammed by unpredictable gas prices and then by the dour economy, every truck maker was forced into deep discounts to move full-size pickups.

For a time, GM was offering as much as $4,600 cash-back on some Silverado and Sierra models. It might be forced back into heavy incentives to clear out remaining 2013 Silverado 1500s in advance of the new 2014 models. That could mean sweet deals as the 2013 model year progresses, but also potentially narrower choices in models, colors, and options as inventories dwindle. 

As for official starting prices, expect regular-cab 2013 Silverado 1500s short-bed versions to start around $23,500 with 2wd and $25,500 with 4wd. Figure regular-cab long-beds to be priced from around $23,800 with 2wd and $27,000 with 4wd.

Estimated base prices for 2013 Silverado 1500 Extended Cab short-beds are $27800 with 2wd and $31,900 with 4wd. Estimated base price for Extended-Cab long-beds are $29,800 with 2wd, $33,000 with 4wd.

Expect 2013 Silverado 1500 Crew Cabs with 2wd to start around $31,800 and around $34,900 with 4wd. Estimated base price for the 2013 Silverado 1500 XFE is $35,600.

Estimated base price for the 2013 Silverado Hybrid is $38,600 with 2wd and $43,900 with 4wd.

2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Fuel Economy back to top

EPA mileage estimates for the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 were not released in time for this review but they’re not apt to change much from those of the 2012 version.

That suggests fuel-economy ratings for the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with the V-6 engine of 15/20 mpg city/highway and 17 mpg combined city/highway with 2wd and 14/18/15 with 4wd.

Expect the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with the 4.8-liter V-8 to again rate 14/19 mpg city/highway and 16 mpg combined with 2wd and 14/18/15 with 4wd.

Fuel-economy ratings for the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with the 5.3-liter V-8 should remain 15/21 mpg city/highway and 17 mpg combined with 2wd and 14/18/15 with 4wd.

The XFE model, which uses the 5.3 V-8 and is available in 2wd only, would again rate 15/22 mpg city/highway, 18 mpg combined.

Expect the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 with the 6.2-liter V-8 to repeat fuel-economy ratings 13/18 mpg city/highway and 18 mpg combined with 2wd and 12/18/14 with 4wd.

If the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid returns it should again be rated 20/23 mpg city/highway and 21 mpg combined with both 2wd and 4wd.

2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Release Date back to top

With the heavily revamped 2014 Silverado 1500s waiting in the wings, Chevy could launch the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500s early in calendar 2012. That would create an extended model year and help clear inventories for a smoother transition to the 2014s. However, with 2014 Silverado 1500s likely to filter into showrooms during the second half of 2013, Chevy could stick with a traditional fall-2012 introduction for the 2013 Silverado 1500s. In either event, you’ll likely find close-out 2013 models being sold alongside early 2014s.

What's next for the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 back to top

Any new vehicle introduction is a big deal, but some are bigger than others. That’s the case with the coming 2014 Silverado. In most years, Chevy’s full-size pickup is by far GM’s most popular model and the second-best-selling vehicle, car or truck, in the U.S. (the F-150 is perennially No. 1).

With that much at stake, a pressure for a successful redesign is high. Early reports suggest the engineering of the 2014 Silverado 1500 and Sierra 1500 will remain closely tied, the trucks again separated only by styling and trim details and perhaps by a model or two exclusive to one brand, such as the upscale Sierra Denali. Their dimensions won’t change much from today’s models, and styling advances will be dictated as much by aerodynamic considerations as by pure aesthetics or image-building.

The ever-more-stringent fuel-economy standards that will influence the next-generation Silverado’s styling also will require engines that use no more fuel than absolutely necessary. That in turn compels designers to keep the trucks as light as possible. Updated six-cylinder engines may bear more of the burden in powering the next-generation Silverado and Sierra half-tons. A turbocharged V-6 in the vein of Ford’s EcoBoost six is probably in the cards. So is an eight-speed automatic transmission.

V-8 power will always have a place in the half-ton segment for its towing and payload power. Whether GM would find a four-cylinder engine suitable for Silverado duty is an open question, depending in equal measure on the engine’s capability as on how much it helped Chevy meet fleet-average fuel-economy standards.

Look for the 2014 Silverado to offer adaptable cargo-bed features, such as built-in storage bins, and for the latest in trailer-towing-stability software. One certain advance will come in infotainment technology. Connectivity systems that allow owners to interface with their smartphones and tap apps such as Pandora Internet radio is a near certainty. And trade publication Automotive News reports that adaptive cruise control will be among the next-generation Silverado’s new features. It also says the truck will be designed to be more accepting of aftermarket accessories.   

The elephant in the half-ton-pickup room is diesel power. Diesels use less fuel than comparable gas engines, but cost significantly more. All three domestic brands offer diesels in their three-quarter and one-ton pickups, but none has yet determined conditions are right for a half-ton diesel model.

2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Competition back to top

Ford F-150: An engine-lineup remake for model-year 2011 positioned the F-150 for the balance of this design generation, so Ford’s half-ton probably won’t change much until its expected model-year 2015 or 2016 redesign. That would give the updated 2014 Silverado 1500 a year or two to match the current F-150 for passenger room and in-cab storage space, and perhaps catch it for leading-edge connectivity. The Ford will continue well-positioned on the powertrain front thanks to strong V-8s and the EcoBoost V-6. Its styling has legs, and its strong but relatively light frame should help it defend class-leading tow ratings of more than 11,000 pounds.

Dodge Ram 1500: Look for the 2013 Ram 1500 to shelve its weakling 215-horsepower base V-6 for Chrysler’s brawnier Pentastar V-6 with around 290 horses. That would make the least expensive Ram 1500s more viable to buyers looking to save at the dealership and at the gas pump. Ram is likely to eventually mate the Pentastar six with an eight-speed automatic transmission, too. Otherwise, expect the 2013 Ram 1500 to reprise its bold styling, spacious cabs, and nice selection of conveniences, including the innovative RamBox storage system. It should also remain atop the half-ton category for ride and handling courtesy of its class-exclusive coil-spring rear suspension. Two V-8 choices, one of which is a Hemi with cylinder deactivation, complete its hand. 

Toyota Tundra: High hopes for the first import-brand pickup to challenge the domestic-nameplate half-tons for size and muscle never quite panned for Toyota. The 2013 Tundra will coast on a basic design that dates to model-year 2007. A model-year 2014 redesign could provide a needed course correction, but dreams of Tundra sales threatening those of Ford, GM, or Ram are unrealistic. There’s just not enough demand for this pickup among commercial users and trades people. Still, the 2013 Tundra should remain an attractive personal-use choice. This U.S.-built pickup will return with strong, smooth V-8s supplement by an adequate V-6, competitive towing capacity, and huge passenger compartments.

2013 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Next Steps