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2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
The carlike 2015 Chevrolet 1500 Silverado pickup often is used as an auto substitute.

Prices: $26,105-$51,105

The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 got a redesign to make it more comfortable and carlike, and the 2015 model thus isn't changed much.

Most folks likely can't tell differences between the redesigned 2014 Silverado and the 2015 model. They both have the Silverado's traditional split grille, stacked headlights and domed hoods.

American pickup trucks traditionally don't change all that much--although the 2015 Ford-150's all-aluminum body represents its most major change in years. (Chevy's Silverado 1500 sticks with steel.)

Pickups from General Motors (Chevy and GMC) and Ford are top sellers, outdoing cars, and the Ram pickup from Fiat-Chrysler has gained lots of ground. These vehicles are enormously profitable for automakers.

Silverado 1500 list prices for the 2015 model go from $26,105 to $51,105, without a $1,195 delivery charge. This truck comes as a two-door cab, or four-door crew cab and extended cab in a variety of trim levels. Occupant seating ranges from two to six. There's good room up front, and the rear seat is spacious. There are plenty of comfort and convenience features.

The Silverado 1500 is offered with rear- or four-wheel drive (4WD).

Engines are a 4.3-liter V-6 with 285 horsepower, a 5.3-liter V-8 producing 355 horsepower or a 6.2-liter V-8 with 420 horsepower.They are advanced, with direct fuel injection, variable valve timing and a cylinder deactivation feature for better fuel economy.

The transmission is a responsive six-speed automatic.

Estimated fuel economy figures aren't bad for a big, heavy, powerful  truck. My test Silverado 1500 4WD had the 5.3-liter V-8 which made it plenty fast. It delivered 16 miles per gallon in the city and 22 on highways. Figure a few more m.p.g. with the 4.3-liter and a few less with the 6.2-liter V-8.

My 2015 Silverado 1500 LT Crew had the Z71 off-road suspension, which provided a smooth ride despite its all-terrain tires and more rugged nature, compared with the standard suspension and more pavement-friendly tires.   

A generally smooth ride is a plus feature for the Silverado 1500, although some road surfaces caused my test truck's ride to be a little jerky. I had no chance to take it off-road, but it must be competitive in that area to keep its reputation.

The list price of my Silverado 1500 LT Crew was $42,010. Its standard features included remote keyless entry, power windows and locks, air conditioning, cruise control, 4.2-inch inch diagonal color display, hill-descent control, 60/40 folding rear bench seat and steering-wheel audio controls.

There were large cupholders and lots of storage areas, including an especially big covered front console storage bin.

But a large number of options upped the bottom-line price to $51,805, including the delivery charge. Extras included a backup camera, power adjustable pedals, power driver seat, tilt/telescoping steering column and heated seat cushions and backs.

One of the must-have options was $700 six-inch chrome assist steps (running boards). It's tough for most folks to get in or out of the Silverado without running boards because of its high floor, which calls for a very high step up. Moreover, the running boards should be a little wider.

Small rear bumper "cornersteps" make it easier to get into the truck bed. Good thinking, there.

Once inside, there's a great view of surroundings, although thick windshield pillars partly obstruct visibility. It's a little hard to read the nice set of gauges in bright sunlight, but most controls are large and easy to use. Higher trim models get more soft-touch materials,

Large door handles, inside and out, allow quick entry and exit, even if wearing gloves. And big outside mirrors let a driver keep tabs on traffic behind his long vehicle.

For the most part, I almost felt as if I was in a large sedan in my test truck's  quiet interior, which had supportive front seats.

The truck's all-terrain tires lacked the more-direct feel of regular road tires, but they aren't hard to get used to. Handling was quite good, especially for such a big fella, helped by a standard Stabilitrak Stability Control system.

The anti-lock brakes worked well and were controlled by a pedal with a firm, linear action. You can get optional power adjustable pedals.

Pickups such as the Chevy Silverado 1500 have become part of Americana because they make a lot of sense to many Americans and are considered acceptable as car substitutes--especially if dolled up with options.