While out and about looking for a used Chevy Silverado 1500 for sale, chances are you are going to want one that is fairly new. Not only will it (most likely) have less rust than an older one, but it will also have more refined performance compared to one released during the 1990s or early 2000s. Grabbing one from 2013-2016 would suit your fancy, seeing as the 2013 model is only three years old. Of course, if you prefer, you can find a 2016 model used as well, but just don’t expect to save that much on the price.
So let’s take a closer look at the major highlights and downsides of each year, and then make a more informed decision about the specific model year you should look for.
Since the dawn of time Silverado’s have always boasted great ride quality. I know. I grew up riding in an early ‘90s Silverado that my dad is still driving to this day. So even though I haven’t spent as much time in a 2013 model, it really doesn’t surprise me that consumers are still praising the Silverado for its smooth and quiet ride.
Comfortable seats are part of the 2013 Silverado, and while they may not be super fancy, they are easy enough to maneuver into a comfortable position. If you find a higher trim level, then you can get ventilated and heated seats — which is about the only type of sophisticated comfort feature found for this particular model year. Find a crew cab, and you’ve got yourself a truck that has surprisingly comfortable 60/40 split-folding rear seats.
On the performance end of things, the 2013 model has some strong V8 engine options. The 4.8-liter V8 puts out 302 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque, the 5.3-liter V8 puts out 315 horsepower and 335 lb-ft of torque, and the 6.2-liter V8 cranks out 403 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque. When properly equipped, it’s able to tow 10,700 pounds, which is plenty of capability for what you might be looking to do with a 1500 size truck.
The base 4.3-liter V6 engine that produces 195 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque is extremely lackluster, though. Sub-par when compared to the other truck options for 2013. These are also the least fuel-efficient engines out of the years reviewed here, and the bland interior design leaves something to be desired.
But, the working man likely won’t care so much about the interior. After all, it’s the least-expensive option from 2013-2016 model years, and is a perfectly good buy if you grab a 2013 model equipped with a V8 engine.
The 2014 model year saw a full redesign on the inside and out. Not only did it provide a revamped cabin, which some consumers were desperately looking for, but the redesign also improved the overall quality of the Silverado. Therefore, the 2014 model has a more durable structure, and is also a lot safer than the 2013 model — with a top five-star safety rating to prove it. The design overall also got lighter, which paired nicely with the newfound fuel-efficiency of the engines on board.
Don’t worry, though: the V8s found on the 2014 model got even more power, even with the elimination of the 4.8-liter V8. Now, the Silverado is able to get an EPA rating of 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway when paired to the 5.3-liter V8 engine that puts out 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft torque. The 6.2-liter V8 now puts out 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, but returns 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway. The V6 engine was also rebooted, and is now on par with other 2014 trucks.
The only downside associated with the 2014 Silverado 1500 is the transmission ratio is too widely spaced for towing. Therefore, that competitive V6 is only competitive if it isn’t towing a heavier load.
The 2015 Silverado gets all the benefits from the 2014 model year, except now has a new eight-speed automatic transmission available for optimal towing performance. This eight-speed transmission comes paired to the 6.2-liter V8 engine, and allows the 2015 Silverado a towing capacity of up to 12,000 pounds. That transmission is only found on the LTZ and High Country trims though, which means the other V8 and V6 engines are still stuck with the mundane six-speed transmission. But if you don’t plan on towing, then the base V6 engine, producing 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque, paired to the six-speed automatic transmission is a great buy, and returns 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway to the Silverado.
Since the standard six-speed transmission provides silky smooth transitions and shifts, having a V6 paired to it provides a very pleasant, smooth, and quiet ride. The con again with this year, however, is the Silverado is still not able to effectively reach that 12,000 pound towing capacity on any trims lower than the LTZ or High Country.
So, if you’re looking for the best towing capacity, 2015 is your year.
Much like the 2015 Silverado, not much changed for 2016, especially since the truck just benefited from a new redesign in 2014. What it did gain, however, was some upgraded technology. Now, the MyLink interface is more intuitive, and can support both Android and Apple users. The 2016 also features some upgraded technology. But, aside from the technology upgrade, the power, fuel-efficiency, and performance remained relatively the same.
Again, the only con is the fact that this truck is unable to benefit from the tow-oriented eight-speed on the lower trims. Even if it doesn’t bump up the towing capacity of the V6 model, it would still be nice to have a transmission that allowed it to effectively haul close to max towing capacity.
Also, it’s undoubtedly the most expensive used Silverado model year compared to the others on this list. After all, it was only just released.
The verdict is simple. Grab a 2015 with a 6.2-liter V8 and eight-speed transmission if you are looking for towing and don’t care about the upgraded technology. If you aren’t looking to haul 12,000 pounds, the 2014 model with the upgraded V6 engine will be slightly cheaper, and benefit from the redesign’s newfound looks, strength, safety, and interior cabin quality. If you absolutely need to have smartphone integration (and a few other technological upgrades) then you can grab a more expensive used 2016 model. If you are tight on cash and don’t mind an underpowered V6 or weaker V8 engine, a 2013 model is the option for you.
In my opinion, it’s best to avoid the 2013 and 2016 entirely. Instead, focus your attention on the 2014/2015 model. These years sit in the middle, so it’s unsurprising they strike a good balance between quality and price.